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! Beautie is not as fond men misdeeme, 
An outward show of things that only seeme. 

Vouchsafe, then, O Thou most Almightie Spright ! 
From whom all gifts of wit and knowledge flow, 
To shed into my breast some sparkling light 
Of thine Eternall Truth, that I may show 
Some little beames to mortall eyes below 
Of that immortall Beautie, there with Thee, 
Which in my weake distraughted mynd I see." 






Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1849, by 

In the Clerk s Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts. 


No. 21, School-street. 


THE character and purpose of this Work are indicated by its title, 
and by the articles of the present number. The Editor wishes to 
assemble, upon the high aesthetic ground (away from the regions 
of strife, in any bad sense), writers of different schools, that the 
antagonistic views of Philosophy, of Individual and of Social Cul 
ture, which prevail among the various divisions of the Church, and 
of the Scientific and Literary world, may be brought together, 
and a white radiance of love and wisdom be evolved from the 
union of the many-colored rays, that shall cultivate an harmonious 
intellectual and moral life in our country. Individuals of all par 
ties have already expressed, by letters and in conversation, their 
interest in this plan ; and the Editor hopes another number may 
present a practical exemplification of the fact, that all believe that 
on the aesthetic ground all may meet. 

Whether Reviewing shall form a large part of the matter of this 
Publication is a question to be answered by future numbers. The 
object is good matter ; and no form is prescribed to the author 
who is alive. One of the Editor s correspondents says upon this 
head : " There is one species of periodical which I should like 
to see established ; and that is, a Censor of periodicals, a Review 
of Reviews, where judgments, unjust or inadequate, expressed in 
other journals, should be reconsidered and overruled; where arti 
cles, written in a bad spirit, should meet with just reprobation. 
As it is, reviewers, and editors of journals, are a class of men who 
are never called to account. I would have a court constituted 


especially for that order. I would have such writers as , and 

such articles as , brought to the bar, tried, and judged accord 
ing to their deserts." 

No one is better qualified for this duty than the author of the 
suggestion; and the Editor will rejoice to have him or others put 
the plan into execution in future numbers, and hereby gives invita 
tion to them to do it. 

The plan of publication for this Work is like that of the " British 
and Foreign Review," which has been the model of its form, size, 
and type ; namely, that a number should appear whenever a suffi 
cient quantity of valuable matter shall have accumulated to fill 
256 pages. This will in no case happen more than three times a 
year ; perhaps not oftener than once a year. 

The terms of patronage proposed are peculiar to itself. No 
person is asked to subscribe for more than one number in advance ; 
but whoever is so far pleased with the current number as to desire 
another is requested to send an order to that effect to the Editor, 
who is also Publisher, No. 13, West-street, Boston. When a 
sufficient number of orders are given to pay for the publication, 
including compensation to the authors, a new number will be 
printed ; the Editor being content to receive such profit as may 
accrue from the sale of other numbers not subscribed for before 
hand. The Publisher s subscribers will have the numbers at $1, 
payable on delivery. The price at the bookstores will be $1.25. 

Boston, May, 1849. 


INTRODUCTION. The word " Esthetic." 

Article. Page. 

I. Criticism. S. G. WARD, Esq 5 

II. Music. J. S. DWIGHT, Esq 25 

/ III. War. R. WALDO EMERSON, Esq 36 

IV. Organization. PARKE GODWIN, Esq 50 

V. Genius. Mr. SAMPSON REED . . . .... 58 

VI. The Dorian Measure, with a Modern Application. THE EDITOR. 64 
VII. Correspondence. J. J. G. WILKINSON, Esq. Member of the 

Royal College of Surgeons, London 112 

VIII. Main-street. N. HAWTHORNE, Esq 145 

IX. Abuse of Representative Government. S. II. PERKINS, Esq. . 174 
X. Resistance to Civil Government ; a Lecture delivered in 1847. 

H. D. THOREAU, Esq 189 

XI. Language. THE EDITOR 214 

XII. Vegetation about Salem, Mass. AN ENGLISH RESIDENT . . 224 


Crawford s Orpheus. THE EDITOR 110 

A Spirit s Reply Ill 

Hymn of a Spirit Shrouded 211 

Meditations of a Widow . . . . . . . . .212 

The Twofold Being . . 245 

The Favorite , 247 



OP all the scientific terms in common use, perhaps no one 
conveys to the mind a more vague and indeterminable sense 
than this, at the same time that the user is always conscious 
of a meaning and appropriateness ; so that he is in the posi 
tion of one who endeavors to convey his sense of the real 
presence of an idea, which still he cannot himself fully grasp 
and account for. 

We have adopted this vague, this comprehensive, but 
undefined word, in our titlepage ; thereby rendering ourselves 
responsible for some account, however incomplete, of that 
which it stands for to us. 

We should render little assistance by referring the reader 
to Dictionary or Encyclopedia. He might there find, that 
the word cesthetics implies a " philosophy of poetry and the 
fine arts : " but he that has used the word but twice perceives, 
that it is more than this ; that, like carbon or oxygen, it is an 
element that encounters his inquiry in the most unexpected 
forms ; that what he took for simple substances, as air or 
water, are chemical combinations, into which his new ele 
ment largely enters, and which cannot exist without it. 

The " BBsthetic element," then, is in our view neither a 
theory of the beautiful, nor a philosophy of art, but a com 
ponent and indivisible part in all human creations which are 
not mere works of necessity ; in other words, which are based 
on idea, as distinguished from appetite. 

2 The Word " Esthetic." 

Sundry pairs of words, dualistic philosophical terms, have 
been long growing into use, and exercising, by the ideas 
they represent, an influence on the world of thought ; such 
as subjective and objective, personal and impersonal, the 
Me and the Not-me ; all having a reference to the central 
fact of the constant relation of the individual to the universal, 
and of their equally constant separation. The one always 
" works and lives in the other ; " and, according to the pre 
ponderance of the one or the other element, the most various 
results appear in individuals and in nations. 

Historians have remarked, and our own eyes see and have 
seen, the " profound impersonality " which is the character 
istic of the German genius, as distinguished from the vivid 
personality of the French. L etat^ c est moil was a concen 
trated formula of that personal character which is equally 
apparent in the centralizing murders of the Merovingian 
dynasty, and in those analogous assassinations whereby, 
thirteen centuries after, each petty deputy strove to make his 
personality the central life of France. 

It results from these diverse characteristics, that the French- 
man has always shone in action,; where the strong personal 
feeling, the consciousness of the self, leads to the most bril 
liant results, the heroic of action. The German, on the 
contrary, is infinitely greatest in thought, easily placing his 
less exacting personality on one side, so that it should shed 
1 no disturbing colors upon his calm objective view. 

Into the world of art also, as into that of politics and life, 
these self-opposing and neutralizing elements enter. Each 
man, according to his personal or unpersonal mode of being, 
according to the predominance of the subjective or the ob 
jective in his nature, takes the one or the other position. 
The French school of criticism, the personal, is based upon 
taste. It inquires, Does this work satisfy and please my 
taste, that is the taste of cultivated persons ; the taste of the 
best judges or authorities ? A shifting standard, offering no 
absolute criterion; which places the highest aim of art in 
pleasing ; asking triumphantly, What, then, becomes of art, 
if its object be not to please ? According to the German 
formula, this is to subordinate the object to the observer. 

The Word " JEsthetic." 3 

The contrary position, the unpersonal, which sinks and sub 
ordinates the observer to the object, which, by putting 
my personality aside, enables me to see the object in a pure 
uncolored light, is the aesthetic. 

Germany is the discoverer j}Llhea3thetie5 because the 
German mind, more than any other, embodies the unpersonal 
principle that underlies the aesthetic view. It became con 
scious of its own possession, as soon as its criticism began 
to apply itself to the region of literature and the arts. But 
it is singular, that, armed with this talisman to explore and 
expound the mysteries of art, there is a peculiar deficiency 
in the modern German attempts in the arts that address 
themselves to the eye. It reminds us of a man, trying, in a 
painstaking manner, to imitate the sports and feats that he 
failed to learn in his youth : so that the untaught, unscien 
tific skill of a vigorous child shoots at a bound far beyond 

How, then, do we account for the wonders that German 
art achieved in architecture in old time, and lately in music ? 
Simply by the recollection, that these arts were German 
growths, antecedent to any conscious aesthetic criticism. 
Moreover, the arts may be classified, as partaking, in a 
greater or less degree, of the individual or the universal. 
Music and architecture, by their nature, are of a more uni 
versal expression than painting and sculpture, and belong 
more naturally to the German. 

The progress of art, considered with relation to these two 
principles, is as follows : Ail an, in its origin, is national 
and religious. The feeling expressed is of lar greater im- 
portance than the vehicle in which it is conveyed. The 
practical portion of early art is conventional : the spiritual is 
profoundly significant, confined in its range, narrow but 
exalted. An expression of the infinite by means of the 
beautiful, inadequate indeed as expression, but deeply inter 
esting, as is all inadequate expression, to those Avho can 
read the intention through the uncertain and vague embodi 

The second step in art is when the practical, resting on 
this deep spiritual basis, advances by means of individual 


4 The Word " Esthetic." 

powers, by the personal skill, set free from the national con 
ventionality, yet still confined within certain bounds, the 
limit and frame, as it were, of true art : a second expression 
of the infinite by the beautiful, in which the beauty and 
satisfactoriness of the expression balances the less deep sig 
nificance of the idea. 

In the first stage, the aesthetic element prevailed uncon 
sciously; for neither taste nor the aesthetic principle has 
any conscious place in creative, but only in critical ages. 
The progress of criticism is the reverse of that of art. In the 
creative age, appreciation is simple, intuitive, passionate, of 
which the delight of the people in national songs, the pas 
sionate enthusiasm with which the Florentines welcomed 
Cimabue s Madonna, are examples. When criticism springs 
up, it is first in the form of taste. The individual subjects 
the productions of art to his own personality. He says, 
" This is good, for it pleases me." Of course, however 
perfect this taste may be, it is still limited by the individuality : 
it is based on the degree of pleasure and satisfaction conveyed 
by a work to a cultivated person. It comes to be really 
believed, that the end and object of art is to please. Art 
becomes a luxury ; its pleasures can be bought and sold ; 
its appreciation becomes more and more external. 

Such was the condition of criticism, when the profound 
self-subordinating genius of Germany perceived, in the deep 
significance of ancient works, the presence of an element 
which the individual mind, with its standard of beauty, and 
its idea of gratification to the senses, was utterly unable to 
account for. The Germans went to school to their own 
ancient paintings, those singularly national works in which a 
childlike, simple, often unartistic exterior is made to convey 
the consciousness of the highest spiritual ideal. 

The word cestketic is difficult of definition, because it is the 
watchword of a whole revolution in criticism. Like Whig 
and Tory, it is the standard of a party ; it marks the progress 
of an idea. It is as a watchword we use it, to designate, in 
our department, that phase in human progress which subor 
dinates the individual to the general, that he may re-appear 
on a higher plane of individuality. 



" THUCYDIDES was the inventor of an art which before him 
had been almost unknown, the art of historic criticism, without 
being conscious of the infinite value of his invention. For 
he did not apply it to all branches of knowledge, but only to 
his subject, because it was a natural consequence of that 
subject. The historic Muse had made him acquainted with 
it : no one before or after him has drawn the line more clearly 
between history and tradition. And what is this but to draw 
the distinction between the historic culture of the East and 
West, and if we recognize how much depended on this 
historic culture between the whole scientific culture of the 
East and West ? For, to repeat a remark which has been 
already cursorily made, the great difference between the 
two consists in this : in the West, the free spirit of criticism 
was developed ; in the East, never." 

The above well-known passage of Heeren will serve as a 
suitable introduction to the few remarks we have to make on 
the same subject ; a subject which, in this short extract, 
is made to take so imposing a form. 

A Review is, or is supposed to be, an embodiment of this 
important element; exercising itself always with reference 
to the leading interests of the age, holding a middle place 
between the buzz of the newspapers and the mature judg 
ment of the historian, less subject to the influences of passion 
or party than the former, and held to less strict account for 
severe attention to justice than the latter. Our current lite 
rary ideas and forms are of English growth. The violence 
of party spirit, the universal interest in politics, have in 
England made the great Reviews into political organs. By 
this means, political passions have been made a touchstone 
of literary merit, and a spirit of unfairness has prevailed, of 
which, though the good sense of the English has lately led 
them to better things, the effects will long be visible in Eng 
lish literature. 

Our American defect lies in the opposite extreme. Grave 
men gravely vaunt American productions in a way that, to 

6 Criticism. 

an uninterested observer, must seem sadly absurd. We 
mention these national vices now, only to show the desira 
bleness of principles of criticism ; and, though a Review is 
not the place for a philosophical inquiry, we shall do no 
harm by endeavoring to make clear to ourselves and others 
some notion of Avhat this Science of Criticism may be. 

We have seen it stated above, that the Greeks were the 
inventors of criticism. The author goes on to say of Thu- 
cydides, in reference to this subject, that " neither his own 
age nor the following could reach him." If we continue the 
inquiry down, we shall see that it was not for many ages 
that this Greek invention came to exert an active influence 
on human affairs. Considering the literatures of Europe 
singly in order, we discover easily some one prevailing 
national characteristic in each, as for instance, in the Greek 
invention. Nearly every form in which human thought 
and activity have since flowed were invented by the Greeks. 
The Roman characteristic, if we subtract the elegant cul 
ture they derived, almost translated, from the Greeks, 
was patriotism, the grandeur, the power, the dignity of 
Rome. Their errand was to make the world Roman. This 
spirit is visible in every page of the greater Romans. There 
was satire in Rome, as there had been in Greece ; but satire 
is not criticism. 

In the Italians, under circumstances analogous to the 
Greek in certain respects, we see again inventors both in art 
and literature. The discovery of the ancient literatures, 
with their inimitable monuments, acted perhaps unfavorably 
on the originality of Italian genius, and accounts for the 
brevity of that list of great authors, whose small number is 
as remarkable as their wonderful excellence. It is the 
remark of a sagacious critic, that the burning of the Alexan 
drian Library was perhaps no such misfortune for the world, 
since it would have been hard for a modern literature to 
have sprung up in the face of such an overwhelming mass 
of ancient books. 

In the French we have a literature of social life. The 
great French problem is Society. It is first in the Germans 
that we discover a pure tendency towards criticism, so that 

Criticism. 7 

we may give this as the universally prevailing characteristic 
of their literature. 

To trace the action of the critical element upon litera 
ture in long periods, let us compare some Greek work with 
a modern. In the "Prometheus" of ^Eschylus, we see 
gods, demigods, and personages exalted above humanity, as 
actors. These personages were the subject of an active 
religious belief in the audience ; so that, whilst they viewed 
the author as a man, they saw something divine, consecrated, 
and inspired in his work. They recognized the Divine Spirit 
in humanity ; but, in becoming divine, it ceased to be human, 
and was clothed to their minds in forms of superhuman 
grace, beauty, and strength. The actors in the Greek heroic 
and tragic works were rarely, if ever, mere men. In the 
early ages of Greece, and even till after the age of Pericles, 
whilst such unequalled splendor and magnificence of art 
were lavished on temples and sacred places, we learn that 
no private man presumed to appropriate such splendors to 
his own use and convenience. 

If we take now a drama of Shakspeare, " Hamlet," for 
instance, we find all changed. In Greece and Rome, the 
gods gradually ceased to be divine. No longer inspiring 
belief, they had existed in literature as ornament, until, worn 
out even for this use, they were laid aside altogether. 

But literature must have an upper element in which to 
work. A higher religion succeeded the poetical theology 
of the Greeks. This new religion also revealed a poetic 
side., which was availed of for the production of great works \ ; V""*) 
of art and literature among the Italians and other nations. / 
In the North, it took a more severe, and at the same time 
more spiritual character, which, whilst rendering it unavail 
able for the purposes of art and literature, made it too sacred 
for such profanation, as it was esteemed. 

Whilst the divine element was thus removed to a sphere V "J 
beyond the reach of literature, and skepticism had banished 
to the vulgar the belief in intermediate powers, a higher 
element was developed in man himself. TThe ancient hero 
was a demigod : the modern is a man. 

Accordingly, we find in Hamlet an exalted personage 
s- -* / V 

8 Criticism. 

indeed, a king s son ; but the great interest lies in the cha 
racter, apart from all mythical interest, all^ superhuman or 
unearthly attributes. 

The critical character predominates not only in the form, 
but in the matter, of this, and in part of all Shakspeare s 
plays, and all his works. The surpassing interest of Hamlet 
over the other plays lies in the mind of the hero, to whom 
the whole world, all his relations in life, and his own soul, 
do but furnish food for a criticism, morbid in its excess ; so 
that, as he himself says, the current of all enterprise is turned 
awry, and loses the name of action. 

The inventive spirit of the Greeks was nowhere more 
exhibited than in the distinct forms they gave to every 
department of literature and art. A. great modern critic has 
shown, that the arts become debased, when they are suffered 
to run into each other : as, for instance, when poetry usurps 
the province of painting, or the latter of sculpture, &c.* In 
the Greeks, the observance of this law appears almost as a 
natural instinct, not only in respect to the different arts, but 
even in the different provinces of the same art. It seems as 
if the same principle which caused every noun or verb to be 
so rich in forms of expression, prevailed, in making their 
literature full of varied forms of artistic utterance. Every 
writing among them had a form, by which it plainly belonged 
to some one understood class. Among the moderns, on the 
contrary, every writing tends to the formless. We may 
trace the tendency to form, growing gradually weaker and 
more artificial through the Roman literature, and becoming 
antiquated in the imitative portion of the French. The effort 
towards a new establishment of literary form on a critical 
basis, in Germany, is one of the most remarkable literary 
phenomena of our age. 

The literary forms had their origin in the religious and 
festive observances of a people of primitive manners and high 
intellectual tendencies, among whom, owing to the absence of 
books, and the mechanical and other obstacles in the way 
of communication by writing, the publication or utterance of 

* Lessing. 

Criticism. 9 

every literary work must seek public occasions of one sort 
or another. Among such a people, forms acquire a conven 
tional value, depending first on religious respect and awe, 
and afterwards on habit, and the perception of a propriety and 
beauty in such natural promptings of the national genius, as 
no after-thought or higher culture is ever able to improve 
upon. They have in this respect a strict analogy with archi 
tectural forms, which in like manner have their origin in 
early and prescriptive religious models, gradually reduced 
to proportion and beauty, without ever leaving the sacred 
pristine shape. Certain of the arts are the nearly pure 
emanation and property of national genius ; whilst others, 
in various degrees, become the property of individuals. 
Among the former we may reckon, first, Language, which, 
as far as we can judge, was more perfect in times beyond 
the record of literature than in later days, so that what 
languages we possess have been called the pieced frag 
ments of antiquity ; second, Literary forms, which also 
carry back their highest perfection nearly to the age of 
their invention ; and, thirdly, Architecture. The other arts, 
religious and national in their origin, are more the province 
of individual genius, and less strictly subject to eras and 

Whilst literature and the arts speak by the mouths and 
hands of gifted individuals, they are based upon the national 
genius ; and to this they have finally to render account. 
Cultivated minds may perceive the beauty and perfection of 
a Greek temple ; but they cannot persuade a Christian peo 
ple of its fitness and appropriateness for their worship. 
Literary men may believe the epic, or the pure dramatic, to 
be the most perfect of literary forms ; yet, since the people 
have learned to read to themselves what was formerly read 
or declaimed to them, these forms have been declared 
unmanageable. Cowper said he could not imagine a man 
writing, without the intention of publishing, and the idea of 
a reading public before him ; and, in like manner, we can 
readily conceive how the idea of a circle of devoted hearers, 
fired with enthusiasm as they listened to the deeds of their 
ancestors, should be needful to inspire the bard, and buoy 

10 Criticism. 

him up as he floated through oceans of hexameters. How 
we miss this happy consciousness of the impossibility of 
satiating a living audience, in Virgil, and all later epic poets ! 
The rigid dramatic laws of the Greeks might easily become 
a magic inspiration to the poet, who was sure of a rapt 
audience during the performance of a drama, of which each 
of the three acts was a whole tragedy in itself. 

It is the greater or less certainty of an audience, and the 
nature of that audience, which rule the forms of literature, 
and develope or suppress the powers of the poet. It is true, 
a great work is written for all time, and the artist will always 
feel that time is necessary to his true appreciation ; but still 
it is the nature of his immediate audience that gives the form 
and shape to his efforts. In the first or Inventive epoch, a 
devout and popular audience will demand form as the 
medium through which thought has always been presented 
to them. In the second or Imitative, the audience is cul 
tivated, and form is to them the luxury and ornament of 
literature. In the Critical, the form becomes subservient to 
the matter ; the audience is neither to be enchanted by the 
beauty, nor charmed by the luxury, of literature ; it is nei 
ther devout nor cultivated ; it demands to be interested and 
informed. Literature is no longer the business of a festival, 
or the ornament of elegant culture : it is the thing of every 
day, and to be criticised by every-day rules. It is perceived 
that form is not necessary to the transmission of thought by 
books, and all those modes of writing are adopted where its 
fetters may be avoided ; and whereas, in its origin, form was 
the means taken by the author to come into contact with his 
audience, it is now viewed as an obstacle between the wri 
ter and his readers. It is like the ceremonious full dress, 
whereby our ancestors thought to honor themselves and their 
guests, and to forward the purposes of social intercourse ; 
but which their descendants have criticised out of existence, 
because it has become in our day a bar, instead of a gate, 
between man and man. 

We have only to consider the almost imperceptible portion 
of written and printed works, that now make pretension to 
any stricter form than the facile novel or the flexible essay. 

Criticism. 11 

In poetry what multitudes of " pieces " crowd the corners 
of our newspapers and magazines, and even find their way 
to a more permanent form, to which it is impossible to give 
any more generic name than " pieces of poetry ; " pieces, 
indeed, whereof no whole could be constructed ! If they 
happen to be of fourteen lines, they are u sonnets." There 
are " songs" that could never be sung. There are " lines," 
and " fragments," " dramatic scenes," " epical fragments ; " 
every device that can be suggested to avoid a matured, 
preconsidered form. 

Yet it may be safely said, that almost every great poetical 
genius has contemplated, were it only as a day-dream, the 
undertaking of some great and formal work ; and the respect 
with which such ideas and undertakings are always regarded, 
when based upon adequate powers, are a proof of a real 
existence and value in forms, even at this late day. How 
many epics have been dreamed of by poets, and despaired 
of! How many have tested their powers by a dramatic 
effort that could not stand the test ! What added splendor 
and importance have invested even the too pedantic form of 
the classical French school ! 

We have spoken of the German as the critical litera 
ture. We have also, in the literary history of this na 
tion, the remarkable fact, of a most careful and successful 
attention to literary forms, existing contemporaneously with 
the purest development of critical science. The admirers 
of Goethe would even perhaps go so far as to say, that in 
him we find a union of the most successful cultivation of 
literary form in later times, with the greatest critical judg 
ment and skill the world has ever seen applied to literary 
matters. However this may be, a short consideration of 
what he accomplished must necessarily have a bearing on 
our subject. 

Taking his works collectively, we are first called upon to 
remark a plain line of division between those that have a 
clear, easily understood, and pre-arranged plan or form, 
and others that are not only destitute to common eyes of 
any such outward form, but have an incoherence and form 
lessness, which the admirers of the poet have for the most part 

12 Criticism. 

been able to account for only on the hypothesis of an internal 
form and arrangement, not visible to the outward eye ; and 
this explanation seems plausible enough in an author who 
professed to regard an inner meaning as a necessary adjunct 
to a work of art. Still, granting this view of the subject, 
such internal arrangement is a different thing from the lite 
rary form, of which we have been speaking ; for, although 
all form may be said to have a body and a soul, an inward 
significance as well as an outward appearance, yet this out 
ward appearance is its essential quality. As Goethe is, of 
all the moderns, the most complete master of form, we must 
look upon his defiance of it in the one case as being equally 
premeditated with his strict attention to it in others. It is 
easy to see, however high value be placed upon form, that 
those works of the opposite character were the ones that had 
the strongest hold upon him. "Iphigenia" and "Tasso" 
were finished and dismissed ; but " Faust " and " Wilhelm 
Meister " seem to have been of perpetual recurrence to his 
mind. Of each he produced a second part in his old age ; 
and, at a time when we might have looked for greater regu 
larity and symmetry, the reader finds himself perplexed by 
a more inexplicable incoherence. 

We have said above, that we may look upon the German 
literature as the most complete embodiment the world has 
seen of the critical element. The inquiry at once suggests 
itself, whether this side of literature is to follow the example 
of the preceding phases, and, having received a full develop 
ment, cease to appear as the predominant idea ; giving place 
in its turn to some new domination, if indeed the German 
may be considered as giving such full completion to the idea. 
Leaving this question for the present, shall we be far wrong 
if we assume that the greatest literary genius Germany .has 
produced owes the peculiar form his development took, to 
his coincidence with this great national characteristic ? If 
criticism be a real and living thing, and not a dead letter, its 
essence consists in this, to see what has taken place in the 
world under a new point of view ; to find a point from which 
facts arrange themselves in a new and unexpected manner, 
so that circumstances, before isolated, are seen as a part of 

Criticism. 13 

a new whole ; and from this principle it results, that there is 
such a thing as creative criticism. 

The mind of Goethe was based on this principle. All the 
facts of his own experience, all knowledge of the characters 
of others, all the literature of the past, all the history and 
results of art, all facts of religion and history, were perpetu 
ally undergoing this process, in his mind. At each success 
ively new point of view, he placed as a milestone a work, a 
" Dorothea," a " Tasso," a " Natiirliche Tochter," a " Gotz 
von Berlichengen." But not in this light are to be viewed 
the " Faust" arid " Wilhelm," which were rather the com 
panions of his journey, other forms of the man s self. 

In Goethe we can always perceive at work two separate 
forms of the principle, constructive criticism, and destruc 
tive. That which the demonic nature of Mephistophiles 
perpetually pulls apart and disjoins, the human nature of 
Faust assimilates, and reconstructs into a whole. In the 
first part, where the object to be constructed is Life, the 
demonic power is supposed to prevail. In the second part, 
where the object is Art or creative thought, if the success is 
never complete, there is a succession of beautiful results ; and 
Mephistophiles himself becomes the engine by which these 
are brought about. If we mistake not, the same idea may 
be traced in the " Meister," though the demonic element of 
the " Faust" becomes unimpassioned observation in the 

Whilst we acknowledge these works as the results of the 
critical spirit, it may well be asked how the same principles 
apply in any measure to the other works which we have 
spoken of as the masterpieces of form, and therefore as 
divided, toto coelo, from these. 

The Germanic nations, including the English, are remark 
able for a tendency that has no less bearing on political 
and religious than on literary action; viz. that, while the 
critical spirit is always busy in pulling to pieces, the ulterior 
purpose of reconstruction is never absent for a moment. 
This may be illustrated by examples from every department 
of action or achievement. The Reformation of Luther was 
a national criticism of Catholicism, resulting in the immediate 

14 Criticism. 

establishment of a new religion. Compare this with the 
way in which the destructive element in France, when once 
aroused against Catholicism, criticised it out of fashion, 
without dreaming of creating any thing new to supply its 
place. The French Revolution was a destructive criticism 
of royal government. When this flame ceased for want of 
fuel, France could find no alternative but military power.* 
Compare this with the results of the English Revolution and 
our own. All ancient nations, relaxing from the simple 
virtues of heroic ancestors, declined and disappeared, pushed 
from their stools by new and fresher races. Modem nations 
would have followed their example, but for the influence of 
the reconstructive principle in the Germanic race ; the same 
principle which is in literature scientific criticism, is in reli 
gion reformation, is in politics reform. 

This reconstructive criticism, based upon the profoundest 
scholarship and strong natural genius, has produced in Ger 
many those works which are esteemed the flower of their 
literature, in which the mind of the nation is fused into 
moulds, not of pedantic or even of elegant formality, but of 
living, significant form. Has the same taken place in Eng 
land ? Certainly not in later times ; and, since we have 
included the English among the Germanic nations with 
reference to the presence of the critical spirit, it will be inter 
esting to inquire, why not ? 

From position and circumstance, as from natural charac 
ter, England has enjoyed a freer and more active political 
existence than any other modern nation. The basis of this 
liberty was criticism. England alone has enjoyed freedom 
of the press ; and naturally this criticism has been applied to 
the absorbing interests of politics, and the representatives of 
political opinions, persons. A rigid aristocracy assailable 
in this way only, and freely to be attacked thus, this liberty 
has in England always been licentious, simply because it 
was the only liberty ; in other words, the only ground where 
birth and place had no vantage. Personalities always tend 
to brutalize and degrade ; and it is undeniable, that a brutal 

* The course of the new Revolution may serve as a farther illustration. 

Criticism. 15 

and savage spirit, not unaccompanied by consummate ability, 
has prevailed in the English political press ; a spirit which 
would be tolerated nowhere else in the relations of life. As 
a necessary consequence, such writing has usually been 
anonymous ; Junius, in all his characteristics, was not an 
exception, but a type ; and because anonymous, irrespon 
sible. We have in England the singular spectacle of a whole 
class of writers, many of them possessed of powers that 
would under other circumstances have insured them fame, 
content to pass their lives in obscurity, unknown to the 
world, which daily feeds on the produce of their indefatiga 
ble pens. It is useless to speak of exceptions : the tendency 
of the system is inevitable. This freedom, this license of the 
press, has been indispensable to England ; but its advantages 
are dearly bought. If the German error be in criticising 
political action with the same scientific conscientiousness 
that is applied to literary or abstract questions, so that with 
them, as with Hamlet, action loses the name of action ; the 
English fault is no less, of applying to literature the same 
dashing critique that is unscrupulously used with respect to 
character and opinion. The favorite is he who can stand 
being knocked, without being knocked down ; or, if he be 
down, can rise again. They show Byron as a proof of the 
value of the system, as if, had there been no " Edinburgh," 
there would have been no Byron. But, though Byron could 
defend himself, who cannot see that he was sensitive, and 
that the truculent English criticism, of which the " Edinburgh 
Review" was but one form, soured the whole milk of his 
genius ; urged him to tours de force, to show that he was not 
to be sneered at ; and incited him to every folly in litera 
ture and life, lest the world should discover that he had a 
genial and poetical nature ? 

The extravagant praise of mediocre celebrities is a neces 
sary, and nearly as injurious, part of the system. The 
author is placed in a false position : he writes for all men ; 
but he finds he must choose a party, or, giving up the hope 
of a nation s attention, write for a coterie. 

Again, it is doubtful if the licentiousness of the press in 
England has not been injurious to freedom of thought, para- 

16 Criticism. 

doxical as it may seem. The English are free of speech ; 
but their idea of freedom of thought has been too often com 
prised in praising and blaming what they choose, and as 
loudly as they choose. Now, are freedom of thought and 
freedom of speech identical ? or do they necessarily go to 
gether ? What is freedom of thought ? Of course, no out 
ward force can prevent my thinking what I will : it is not 
even a matter of will. I think what I must, what I can 
not help. I may indeed pin my faith to another man s sleeve, 
and thus from indolence give up my thought, and become 
the slave of his ; or I may be the slave of my own prejudices 
and passions ; I may. bow to the " idols of the forum," and 
" idols of the den." The man of free thought is he whose 
mind is open to judge every opinion, every work, every man 
on his own merits. 

Is a licentious press even favorable to such a state of 
mind ? It is simply the machine whereby the rough and 
hasty instinct of a people is brought efficiently to bear upon 
the conduct of their rulers ; it is the charter of a people s 
liberties, not because its judgments are correct, but because, 
like the geese of the Capitol, it awakens men to discover 
whether good or evil is being done, lest judgment go against 
them by default. It is noisy, violent, unfair, having a blind 
tendency, rather than a steady view, towards right. It asks, 
" Right or wrong ? guilty or not guilty ? " It applies the same 
summary process to books, as we daily see, with most re 
markable results. For, according to this system, a book 
that makes any impression at all comes to be regarded as a 
public enemy or a public idol, according to the politics or 
the prejudices of the public accuser. There is no medium. 
It is evident that either of these positions is injurious to an 
author, but not equally so. He that writes in the assurance 
of popular applause has at any rate ample room and space 
to develope his genius. The crowded audience, the eager, 
expectant eyes, all comfort and inspire the singer. That 
this is not in vain, the enormous literary successes of the 
popular writers in France and England, of Scott and Dic 
kens, of Sue and Dumas, loudly attest. But as we sow, we 
must reap. We do not apply our gold and praise in vain. 

Criticism. 17 

We have the best specimens, but if not of the worst class, 
surely not of the best. 

In Germany, speech has been less and thought more free 
than in England. The popular element has never had an 
immediately available voice in public matters. Whilst criti 
cism in England has been busy with daily politics ; in Ger 
many a doubtful, if not forbidden ground ; it has been 
applied in the latter country to thought, to literature, philo 
sophy, and art. In Germany the best and most cultivated 
minds have been the critics : in England these have rather 
been the criticized. The results are before us : of what 
value, they are perhaps too near to us, as yet, for us to form 
a definite opinion. 

We do not recognize as an original element the conscious, 
reconstructive, self-restoring principle of criticism in the other 
European nations. France is indeed hypercritical ; but 
French criticism is skeptical : it destroys the old faith, and 
leaves no basis upon which to build a new. The German, 
while he criticises, is never skeptical, but substitutes a living 
belief for that which had become dead and inert. The 
French Revolution could find no reconstructive element on 
which to pause, and rebuild a political fabric. No truth 
was left but such as could be found in exact science or brute 
strength. The former was tried by Sieyes and others, and 
failed, as such attempts always must. The latter prevailed. 
In Napoleon, they found a strong man ; in a European 
war, necessity of action. Wholesome exercise restored 
health ; but France has since been the sport of fortune, 
rather than the exemplification of principles. Of its litera 
ture, what shall we say ? That it goes on, dissecting away 
the ground whereon the social basis rests, a skepticism of all 
purity and honor ? Its literary men seem to us analogous 
to the politicians of the Revolution, men of wonderful 
talent, of fearless mind, weighing every old institution, and, 
as it is found wanting, casting it aside ; but suggesting in 
their room nothing practicable, finding in the end nothing 
real but passion and power. Do we not hear of a great 
French discovery whereby all society is to be remodelled 
(within six years, the inventor says) upon the principle of 

18 Criticism. 

harmonizing the passions, instead of restraining them ? The 
very Sieves of this moral revolution. 

It is no new theory of Fourier, and of the modem French 
school, that a greater force is to be derived from the har 
monic action of the passions than from their restraint, and 
that a future society is to depend upon this law. The idea 
is true and eternal: it is the foundation of all poetry, the 
dream of youth ; it is argued in the first page of man s his 
tory, and the lapse of every few centuries sees the argu 
ment rehearsed. The human race has passionately clung to 
the belief. We are so in love with it, that we are always 
willing to sacrifice ourselves that another may enjoy it. We 
ask only that some one may enjoy ; and that one is our idol. 
The principle of loyalty is based on it. What millions are 
willing slaves, that the passions of an Alexander or a Napo 
leon may meet no check in their superb development ! We 
feel ourselves impersonated in them. There is no true lover 
that would not die, that the object of his love might be happy. 
Which is the more sublime object of the two ? Are not these 
vulgar great men, after all ? Is man ever sublime but when 
he renounces ? 

It is in this point that the French stand in opposition to 
the critical, no less than the religious, spirit of modern times. 
The mad belief of the Revolution was, that every man might 
have this theoretic freedom; the mad career of Napoleon 
was based on their will, that one man should have it. That 
which they failed to realize in the political, they now seek in 
the social world, and by the same process ; viz. a destructive 
criticism of the old, and a theory of a new social state based 
not on experience or criticism, but upon " exact science " 
and arithmetic. 

The end of our own Revolution was involved in the be 
ginning. The principle of self-government, derived through 
our Puritan ancestors, was full grown in us. It was a criti 
cism in which the fate of the world was involved ; and yet 
how little was destroyed ! It was the construction of a new 
world on grounds derived from criticism of the old. Only 
so much struggle was necessary as served to unite us in the 
effort. The French Revolution was gradual, was blind, not 

Criticism. 19 

knowing whither it went : the American was complete in the 
person of every man who signed the Declaration. 

Such is the nature of all true criticism that lies beyond the 
region of exact science. The old is reviewed, not from a 
blind fault-finding, or vague dissatisfaction, but from a com 
plete new whole, existing in embryo. 

As we recognize two distinct appearances of truth, viz. 
truths of exact science, and truths of faith ; in like manner we 
must distinguish a different form of criticism for each. 

A faith is the sum of the convictions of a man, or a nation, 
in regard to spiritual things : its form is based on the teach 
ings of the past ; and its criticism rests on inward, individual 
experience. Whetljtcriticiaeg facts, it is from an internal r\ - 
point of view, and because they disagree with inward ex 
perience : no fact becomes monstrous whilst it is the sign of 
an inward conviction. Now, not religion alone, but the 
whole life of man, social and political, rests upon faith ; in 
other words, upon a form of truth commensurate to man s 
progress, a relative, not an absolute truth, j Exact science, j 
on the other hand, rests on a correct observation of pheno 
mena : its safety lies in admitting nothing which is not capa-^J> 
ble of demonstration or proof. It is based upon doubt. In 
the predominance of one or other of these principles, lies the 
greatest difference between the civilization and the literature 
of the ancient and modern world. / Among the ancients, the 
domain of exact science was invaded by faith : in more 
modern times, the region of faith was usurped by exact 
science. In our day, there are signs of an oscillation in the 
reverse direction. A critique of the development of this new 
tendency in the greatest minds of our era would include a 
Goethe and a Swedenborg in the same category. 

In individual character, also, we may observe the presence 
of the critical element to produce the most remarkable con 
trast between the ancient man and the modern. %iii JJtoELJdeal/ 
ancient hero is a magnificent child, great, simply from the/ yS 
possession of great gifts ; an Achilles, unconscious of any /O-> 
struggle, save with circumstance and the world. The mo : 
dern idea always includes inward (struggle and conquest^ 
We mark the signs of this changed ideal everywhere. The 

20 Criticism. 

artistic spirit of the Greeks was bright, cheerful, joyous, indi 
cating facility and grace : the modern tends more to gloomy 
grandeur, a circumscribed, unconscious grace and perfection, 
in contrast with a limitless and vague sublimity. 

This latter characteristic existed in a degree also among 
the Jews, and from the same cause to which the modems 
owe it, a more sublime and terrible religious belief, that 
carried the mind beyond all visible space and power. The 
Christian revelation has modified this effect, not by rendering 
the idea of the Supreme more familiar, but by presenting a 
divine perfection as a model to every man. 

The Greek did not criticise himself, because he had no 
higher standard than the action of creatures like himself. 
The Christian criticises himself from a standard of ineffable 

V perfection, so that the idea of struggle and difficulty, even of 
the greatest struggle the powers are capable of, is inseparable 

/.from that of the true Christian. 

This element being thus in general existence throughout 
the world, even those who are unmoved by the demands of 
religion partake of the idea of an indefinitely exalted stan 
dard towards whatever excellence they incline ; and, as 
human exertions are limited, instead of resting with that we 
can easily accomplish, a longing for the indefinite springs up 
in every ardent breast, and finds a response, as every genuine 
feeling does, in nature, and demands it of art. 

How is it that, while we receive a deeper answer from 
nature, art has become incapable of adequately responding 
to it ? Instead of producing greater works than of old, we 
fail of reaching the ancient excellence. Is it that outward 
nature has become too great to our apprehension, that man 
has been invested with attributes too internal to be repre 
sented by outward form ; that thus these outward arts 
decay ; and, if this hypothesis be correct, that we must find 
in poetry and music what the other arts can no longer repre 
sent ? 

However these things may be, we cannot leave this part 
of our subject, without recurring once more to " Hamlet," 
in illustration of what we have been saying. In the Greek 
works, individual character is subordinate to the general 

Criticism. 21 

action of the piece ; when it becomes prominent, its charac 
teristic, like that of their statues, is a charming propriety and 
harmony ; in other words, beauty. In " Hamlet " the action 
of the piece is subordinate to the character of the hero ; and 
this character is more interesting than beautiful or harmo 
nious. The reason of this change, which affects the whole 
of art, may be traced to the struggle we have spoken of as 
the characteristic of modem character, and which, by its 
very nature, possesses more interest than beauty. As a 
sequel to what we said of Goethe, it may be remarked, that, 
even in works of carefully observed form like the " Tasso," 
the presence of struggle and the predominant interest of 
individual character mark a broad line of distinction between 
their effect, and that of the more simple elements of the 

The English were the first great nation in which the prin 
ciple of a practical criticism was admitted as the political 
basis. There was a nearer approach to this in the polity of 
Greece and Rome than in any other modern state ; and 
perhaps the only reason why this principle in those nations 
did not develope the modern fact of national regeneration 
may be found in the existence of slavery among them. So 
long as a person can exist in a state without rights, so long 
the true and only foundation of political criticism is want 
ing. Unless the principle is admitted that every man is free, 
no good reason can be given why any man shall be free. 
The reason why the detrimental influence of slavery was 
so long inert in the ancient nations, was that the condition 
of slavery had never been criticised. No error becomes 
immediately demoralizing, until it is the subject of criticism. 
A hundred years ago, a man might get daily drunk, and 
still retain his self-respect. Now drunkenness is ruin. So, 
in the ancient states, slavery might exist, and its fatal effects 
appear only after the lapse of centuries, and then be ascribed 
to other causes. Our Southern States are an obvious ex 
ample. Freedom of the press does not exist, criticism does 
not exist, political or literary. Surely that is a strong faith 
which believes this state of things can be lasting. We have 
seen freedom of thought exist in Germany, with a censorship 

22 Criticism. 

of the press ; but freedom of thought can surely not exist 
where the whole energies of the mind are exerted in defence 
of a falsehood. Suppose the energies of the Greek mind to 
have been turned by circumstances to the defence of their 
system of servitude, what would the world have known of 
their after-history ? 

The philosophy of this state of things is this : ~ As long 
as an institution is not criticised, we view it as a fixed fact. 
It has therefore no prominent place in our thoughts among 
other questions. When criticism of it begins, every man is 
called on to make up his mind in relation to it. Suppos 
ing, then, the institution to be either false in itself, or worn 
out and become false, we are reduced to the necessity of 
either renouncing it, or of living a lie for the sake of our 
prejudices or our interests ; a state, of which a man is always 
more or less clearly conscious, and which soon proves demo 
ralizing and fatal. 

In England the critical principle has lived and flourished 
among institutions otherwise aristocratic and stringent ; or 
rather we may say, that the English race split, and that the 
younger half came to work out on a more spacious field that 
establishment of a free and universal political criticism which, 
from many causes of outward position, as well as feudal 
strength, was felt to be alike ineligible and infeasible at home. 
If England had become a republic after the time of Crom 
well, it is doubtful if the strength would not have been 
dissipated in internal faction, which, concentrated under 
monarchical rule, has been able to balance the despotic 
powers of Europe. It is even probable that our own politi 
cal existence depended on the same cause. If there had 
been toleration in the mother-country, it would not have been 
so fiercely fought for here. 

In this country, we for the first time see, theoretically at 
least, a pure critical basis ; a constitution, not the growth of 
time, or the slow and encumbered fruit of the genius of a 
nation in combination with circumstance and difficulty, but 
a free critique from the highest point of view of the past 
history of the world. The theory of all our action, from the 
school district to the presidency, is, that the act of to-day 

Criticism. 23 

criticises the act; of yesterday ; the party of conservation, that 
of progress. 

The ideal state of any period would represent the ideal 
man upon a large scale, exposed to the same temptations, 
subject to the same weaknesses, subsisting by the same 
strength. The ancient state, or man unconscious, uncriti- 
cised, subsisting by native strength and superiority, is just 
or unjust, generous or selfish, as natural disposition or his 
own wild will may prompt. .This .spirit ,j$:as the ancient 
idea of heroism : of such heroic states and heroic men, his 
tory gives us many examples. The modern state, like the ^ 
modern man, has his being, not merely in strength, but also 
in principles. Of every step he is conscious, always hearing 
the voice of external or internal criticism. His will and nat 
ural impulse have ceased to be a law to himself or others, 
except so far as they, in fact or belief, square with principles. 
Baseness is, to be wanting by the test of one s own standard. 
This standard, in a rude age, is martial virtue : until that is 
corrupted, the nation may be destroyed, but cannot be 
demoralized. It is no longer so with us. We are like the 
man who has professed religion, who has separated himself 
from_the world from principle : he cannot sin, without losing 
y.s self-respect. 

If all our political safety lies in the certain criticism to 
which every public action is amenable, to the same principle 
are to be traced many of the political vices, of which we 
ought to be on our guard. The source of power criticises 
itself, reverses its own decisions, yet will not respect the 
statesman who changes with it. Whoever courts the people 
to-day is sure to be distrusted by it to-morrow ; yet when 
can we expect politicians to cease to court the people ? In 
quiet times, he who will not go out for office, no matter 
what may be his pOAvers, is left at home. Thus the aspirant 
is placed in the dilemma of remaining inglorious, or subject 
ing himself to a criticism that may, as we have so often seen, 
prove fatal to his independence. And yet it is out of these 
men, whom we have ruined by not trusting enough, that we 
make our first magistrates, whom we entrust with all. Our 
great statesmen public servants we call 1hem have their 

24 Criticism. 

self-respect destroyed by being watched too closely by their 
masters. The true statesman, interpreting the wisest will, 
the best instinct of a people, uses the force delegated to him 
to constrain the- nation in that direction. Our position is 
often the reverse of this. Our servants have understood and 
executed our sinister will, and the tardy criticism of our bet 
ter judgment comes halting after. That it does come inevit 
ably is our safety, and perhaps an adequate recompense for 
these evils, inseparable from our condition. 

In literature also, the good of free criticism is not un 
mixed with evil. Our first misfortune is, that there is a 
reference to a standard from without, viz. from England. 
As the spirit that dictates this is, from many causes, unfair 
and depreciating, a natural consequence has been to cause 
all our own criticism to take the opposite ground, to over 
praise that which we felt to be undervalued, or invidiously 

In the second place, although all original literature comes 
from and refers to the heart of the people, it cannot, except 
in a rude age, address itself to that people, except through a 
class capable of receiving it. If great works do not find 
such a class in their own age, they wait till time and their 
own influence create it. No one will pretend, that Shak- 
speare or Milton spoke to their age in the same sense they 
do to us. But Shakspeare and Milton lived in times that 
could be unconscious of their greatness. It could not be so 
now. Ours is a conscious age, and every man is made the 
most of. We believe a conscious greatness inseparable from 
a critical literature ; and such, therefore, we look for in this 
country ; a literature and art based on thorough criticism, 
and thorough knowledge of what already exists in the world ; 
in a word, on a higher culture. 



ONE class of persons seeks the soul of Music, and dwells in 
it; another, the laws which reign in its creations; and a 
third, the form in which it is embodied, the actual beauty as 
it charms the sense. To one it is a feeling, a sentiment, a 
passion ; to another it is a science ; to another, a sensible 
creation and enjoyment. The heart, the intellect, and the 
senses ; the soul, the body, and the everlasting laws ; the ac 
tive prompting motive, the passive substance into which it 
pours its will, and the impersonal regulating reason medi 
ating between will and action ; what more enters into 
our existence as a whole, or into any single experience or 
act of ours ? At any moment, there is somewhat prompting 
us within ; some thought, accompanying that prompting, to 
guide it to its end ; and some passive instrument or object, 
endowed with motion or with form, in obedience to that 
prompting and that thought. We will, from inmost passion ; 
we see, by light not our own ; we g-o, as the world opens to 
receive us. Thus in life there are three forces : Motives, 
which are first, and spring from within ; secondly, guiding 
principles and laws, independent of us, yet involved in us 
and in every thing ; thirdly, actions or expressions, which 
are the body or thing moved. And these are the three ele 
ments of music, as well as of our lives, presiding over all its 
grand and primary divisions. 

In the history also of music, since music could be called 
an art, which is only in comparatively modern times, each 
of these three component elements of music has exercised 
ascendancy in turn. The scientific phase, that is, the learned 
style, came first in the order of development, with the Bachs ; 
the music of expression, of sentiment, the grand deep poetry 
and soul of the art, came next, with Haydn and Mozart, 
Handel and Beethoven ; the music of effect, the music of the 
senses, the age of Rossinis and instrumental virtuosos, has 
succeeded. Historic periods and scientific doctrine corre 
spond part to part in a series of three terms. 

To the three spheres of sentiment, of science, and of prac- 

26 Music. 

tice, conform three classes of character, in whom each 
respectively predominates. We feel the spirit of the first ; 
we admire the intellect of the second ; we deal only with 
the actions of the third. We turn to the first for inspiration 
and for influence ; to the second for reasons and methods ; to 
the third for execution, whether in the way of amusement or 
of use. The highest type of the first class is the saint ; of the 
second, the philosopher ; and of the third, the statesman. 
Their collective organizations, from of old, have been the 
Church, the University, and the State. A corresponding 
division holds in every department of life, in every art, in 
every subject of inquiry. Its keen blade passed through 
each arid all, when Thought began. It is the primary analy 
sis of the universe, which the mysteries of the church have 
carried even into the inmost nature of the Deity. 

These analogies, accidentally started, lead directly into the 
inmost essence of the science and the art of music. The 
number Three is the number of science ; and there is a cer 
tain poetry of science, which consists in tracing the presence 
of the same great laws, and detecting the same type in all 
things ; so that one sphere becomes an expression and reflec 
tion, as it were, of every other ; so that the passions and 
emotions of our soul read themselves acknowledged, and en 
joy their own harmonies anew, in every kingdom of nature 
and the arts. So much it is necessary to glance at in the 
science of music, that divine source of enthusiasm, that 
transcendent medium of expression, that homelike yet mys 
terious element of passion, of the love that yearns for the 
human, or that climbs in secret aspiration, flame-like, to 
the infinite Heart of hearts, centre of light and warmth, in 
whom all spirits seek their unity. 

But science is not the essence of music. It is not the warm, 
glowing thing itself. It is only the measure of its heart-beats, 
the law that distributes the ramification of the innumerable 
ducts and channels through which that heart propels its life- 
blood. It is the principle of order in the system, the divider 
of the one into the many, which resent resemblance in each 
other, and wander off in every way from uniformity, only 
that they may be the more completely one ; or, in other 

Music. 27 

words, that unity may become universality. Since, however, 
unity precedes variety, since it is only the whole which can 
explain the parts, we will not follow the spiral path of the 
restless analyzer and divider, Science, before we have cha 
racterized the whole, which in this case it divides. 

Music is both body and soul, like the man who delights in 
it. Its body is beauty in the sphere of sound, audible 
beauty. But in this very word beauty is implied a soul, a 
moral end, a meaning of some sort, a something which 
makes it of interest to the inner life of man, which relates it 
to our invisible and real self. This beauty, like all other, 
results from the marriage of a spiritual fact with \\ material 
form, from the rendering external, and an object of sense, 
what lives in essence only in the soul. Here the material 
part, which is measured sound, is the embodiment and sen 
sible representative, as well as the re-actirig cause, of that 
which we call impulse, sentiment, feeling, the spring of all 
our action and expression. In a word, it is the language 
of the heart ; not an arbitrary and conventional represen 
tative, as a spoken or written word is ; but a natural, inva 
riable, pure type and correspondence. Speech, so far as it 
is distinct from music, sustains the same relation to the head. 
Speech is the language of ideas, the communicator of thought, 
the Mercury of the intellectual Olympus enthroned in each 
of us. But behind all thought, there is something deeper, 
and much nearer life. Thought is passive, involuntary, cold, 
varying with what it falls upon like light, a more or less 
clear-sighted guide to us, but not a prompting energy, arid 
surely not our very essence ; not the source either of any 
single act, or of that whole complex course and habit of 
action which we call our character. Thought has no impulse 
in itself, any more than the lungs have. " Out of the heart 
are the issues of life." Its loves, its sentiments, its passions, 
its prompting impulses, its irresistible attractions, its warm 
desires and aspirations, these are the masters of the intel 
lect, if not its law ; these people the blank consciousness 
with thoughts innumerable ; these, though involuntary in one 
sense, are yet the principle of will in us, and are the spring 
of all activity, and of all thought too, since they, in fact, 

;>8 Music. 

strike out the light they see to act by. The .special 

and phases of this active principle we call emotions; and 

music, which I hold to be its natural language, has tor its 

very root and first principle, and is actually born from, 


Sound is generated by motion ; rhythm is measured mo 
tion ; and this is what distinguishes music from every other 
art of expression. Painting, sculpture, architecture, are all 
quiescent : they address us in still contemplation. But music 
is all motion, and it is nothing else. 

And so in its effects. It does not rest, that we may contem 
plate it ; but it hurries us away with it. Our very first intima 
tion of its presence is, that we are moved by it. Its thrilling 
finger presses down some secret spring within us, and in 
stantly the soul is on its feet with an emotion. Painting and 
sculpture rather give the idea of an emotion, than directly 
move us ; and, if speech can raise or quell a passion, it is 
because there is kneaded into all speech a certain leaven of 
the divine fire called music. The same words and sentences 
convey new impressions with every honest change of tone 
and modulation in the speaker s voice ; and, when he rises 
to any thing like eloquence, there is a certain buoyant rhyth 
mical substratum of pure tone on which his words ride, as 
the ship rides on the ocean, borrowing its chief eloquence 
from that. Take out the consonants which break up his 
speech, and the vowels flow on musically. How often will 
the- murmur of a devout prayer overcome a remote hearer 
with more of a religious feeling, than any apprehension of 
the distinct words could, if he stood nearer ! 

Music is a universal language, subtly penetrating all the 
wnlls of time and space. It is no more local than the mathe 
matics, which are its impersonal reason, just as sound is its 
body, and feeling or passion is its soul. The passions of the 
human heart are radically alike, and answer to the same 
tones everywhere and always, except as they may be unde 
veloped ; and music has a power to develope them, like an 
experience of life. It can convey a foretaste of moods and 
states of feeling yet in reserve for the soul, of loves which 
yet have never met an object that could call them out. 

Music. 29 

A musical composition is the best expression of its author s 
inmost life. No persons in all history are so intimately 
known to those that live; away from them or after them, as 
are Handel, Mozart, Beethoven, Weber, Schubert, Bellini, 
and others, to those who enter into the spirit of their musical 
works. For they have each bequeathed the very wine of 
his peculiar life in this form, that it sparkles still the same as 
often as it is opened to the air. The sounds may effervesce 
in each performance ; but they may be woke to life again at 
any time. So it is with the passions and emotions which 
first dictated the melodious creations. 

Hence it is that great composers have no biography, ex 
cept their music. Theirs is a life of deep, interior sentiment, 
of ever-active passion and affection, of far-reaching aspira 
tion, rather than of ideps or events; theirs is the wisdom of 
love ; their belief is faith, the felt creed of the heart ; and 
they dwell in the peculiar element of that, in the wondrous 
tone-world, communicating all the strongest, swiftest, and 
most delicate pulsations of their feeling to the ready vibra 
tions of wood or metal or string, which propagate themselves 
through the equally ready vibrations of the air, and of every 
other medium, till they reach the chambers of the ear, and 
set in motion chords more sensitive, that vibrate on the ner 
vous boundary between matter and the soul ; and there, 
what was vibration becomes sound, and the hearer has 
caught the spirit of the composer. Yes : the whole soul of 
a Beethoven thrills through your soul, when you have actually 
heard one of his great symphonies. There is no other com 
munion of so intimate a nature possible, as that which ope 
rates through music. Intimate, and yet most mystical ; 
intimacy not profaned by outward contact of familiarity, but 
a meeting and communing of the ideal, one with another, 
which never grows familiar. Why is it but because in sen 
timent the tendency always is to unity, while thought for ever 
differentiates and splits ? Feeling communicates by sym 
pathy, or fellow-feeling, the earth round ; and music is its 
common language, which admits no dialects, and means the 
same in Europe and America. Light corresponds to 
thought ; and light is changed and colored by every me- 

->() Music. 

diurn through which it shoots, by every surface which re 
flects it. Sound, or, which is the same thing, measured 
motion or vibration, corresponds to feeling, and its vibrations 
are passed on through every medium unchanged, except, as 
ihey grow fainter. Light is volatile; but sound is constant: 
so it is when you compare thought with feeling, which last 
comes more from the centre where all souls are one. 

Music is religious and prophetic. She is the real Sibyl, 
chanting evermore of unity. Over wild, waste oceans of 
discord floats her silvery voice, the harbinger of love and 
hope. Every genuine strain of music is a serene prayer, or 
bold, inspired demand, to be united with all, at the Heart of 
;ill things. Her appeal to the w r orld is more loving than the 
world can yet appreciate. Kings and statesmen, and men 
of affairs, and men of theories, would stand aside from their 
own over-rated occupations to listen to her voice, if they knew 
how nearly it concerned them, how much more it goes to the 
bottom of the matter, and how clearly she forefeels humanity s 
great destiny. The soul that is truly receptive of music learns 
angelic wisdom, and grows more childlike with experience. 
The sort of experience which music gives does not plough 
cunning furrows in the brow of the fresh soul, nor darken its 
expressive face by knitting there the tangled lines of Satan. 
Here, the most deeply initiated are in spirit the most youth 
ful ; and Hope delights to wait on them. 

The native impulses of the soul, or what are variously 
called the passions, affections, propensities, desires, are, all 
of them, when considered in their essence and original un- 
wjjrped tendency, so many divinely implanted loves. Union, 
harmony of some sort, is their very life. To meet, to unite, 
to blend, by methods intricate as swift, is their whole busi 
ness and effort through eternity. As is their attraction, such 
must be their destiny ; not to collision, not to excess followed 
by exhaustion; not to discord, chaos, and confusion; but to 
binding ties of fitness and conjunction through all spheres, 
from the simplest to the most universal accords. Through 
these (how else?) arc; the hearts of the human race to be 
knit, into one mutually conscious, undivided whole, one living 
temple not too narrow, nor loo fragmentary for the reception 

Music. : >l 

of the Spirit of (rood. Is not this foretold in music, the 
natural language of these passions, whieh cannot exj)ress 
corruption nor any evil feeling, without ceasing to be music ; 
which has no tone for any bad passion, and translates into 
harmony and beauty whatever it expresses ? The blending 
of all these passions harmoniously into one becomes the cen 
tral love, the deepest and most undivided life of man. This 
is the love of God, as it also, from the first, is the inbreathing 
of God, who is love ; to whom the soul seeks its way, by 
however blind an instinct, through all these partial harmonies, 
learning by degrees to understand the universal nature of its 
desire and aim. The sentiment of unity, the strongest and 
deepest sentiment of which man is capable, the great affec 
tion into which all his affections flow to find, not lose them 
selves ; which looks to the source when little wants conflict, 
and straightway they are reconciled in emulous ardor for the 
glory of the whole ; which lifts a man above the thought of 
self, by making him in every sense fully himself, by reuniting 
his prismatic, party-colored passions into one which is as 
clear and universal as the light ; the sentiment which seeks 
only universal harmony and order, so that all things, whether 
of the inner or of the outer world, may be perfectly transpa 
rent to the love in which they have their being, and that the 
sole condition of all peace and happiness, the consciousness 
of one in all and all in one, may never more be wanting ; 
that is what the common sense of mankind means by the 
religious sentiment, that is the pure essence of religion. 
Music is its natural language, the chief rite of its worship, 
the rite which cannot lose its sacredness ; for music cannot 
cease to be harmony, cannot cease to symbolize the sacred 
relationship of each to all, cannot contract a taint, any more 
than the sunbeam which shines into all corners. Music can 
not narrow or cloak the message which it bears ; it cannot 
he ; it cannot raise questions in the mind, or excite any 
other than a pure enthusiasm. It is God s alphabet, and not 
man s; unalterable and unpervertable ; suited for the har 
mony of the human passions and affections ; and sent us, in 
this their long winter of disharmony and strife, to be a perpe 
tual type and monitor, rather say an actual foretaste, of that 

32 Music. 

harmony which must yet come. How could there be reli 
gion without music ? That sentiment would create it again, 
would evoke its elements out of the completes! jargon of dis 
cords, if the scale and the accords, and all the use of instru 
ments, were forgotten. Let that feeling deepen in our nation, 
and absorb its individual ambitions, and we shall have our 
music greater than the world has known. There was an age 
of faith, though the doctrinal statements and the forms thereof 
were narrow. Art, however, freed the spirit which the priest 
imprisoned. Music, above all, woke to celestial power and 
beauty in the bosom of a believing though an ignorant age. 
The Catholic church did not neglect this great secret of ex 
pression and of influence ; and the beautiful free servant 
served it in a larger spirit than itself had dreamed of. Whore 
it could not teach the Bible, where its own formal interpreta 
tions thereof were perhaps little better than stones for bread, 
it could breathe the spirit of the Bible and of all love and 
sanctity into the most ignorant and thoughtless worshipper, 
through its sublime Masses, at once so joyous and so solemn, 
so soul-subduing and so soul-exalting, so full of tenderness, 
so full of rapture uncontrollable, so confident and so devout. 
In these, the hearer did, for the time being, actually live 
celestial states. The mystery of the cross and the ascension, 
the glorious doctrine of the kingdom of heaven, were not 
reasoned out to his understanding, but passed through his 
very soul, like an experience, in these all-permeating clouds 
of sound ; and so the religion became in him an emotion, 
which could not so easily become a thought, which bad 
better not become such thought as the opinionated teachers of 
the visible church would give him. The words of the Credo 
never yet went down with all minds ; but their general tenor 
is. universal, and music is altogether so. Music extracts and 
embodies only the spirit of the doctrine, that inmost life of it 
which all feel, and miraculously revivifies and transfigures 
tfce cold statements of the understanding with the warm faith 
of feeling. In music there. is no controversy ; in music there 
are no opinions : its springs are deeper than the foundations 
of any of these partition wails, and its breath float* undivided 
over all their heads. No danger to ; the Catholic whose head 

Music. 33 

is clouded by dull superstitions, while his heart is nourished 
and united with the life of all lives by this refreshing dew ! 

The growing disposition, here and there, among select 
musical circles, to cultivate acquaintance with this form of 
music, is a good sign. What has been called sacred music 
in this country has been the least sacred in every thing but 
the name, and the forced reverence paid it. With the super 
stitions of the past, the soul of nature also was suppressed ; 
and the free spirit of music found small sphere amid our loud 
pretesting s. A joyless religion of the intellect merely, which 
could almost find fault with the sun s shining, closed every 
pore of the self-mortified and frozen soul against the subtle, 
insinuating warmth of this most eloquent apostle of God. 
The sublime sincerity of that wintry energy of self-denial 
having for the most part passed away, and the hearts of the 
descendants of the Pilgrims having become opened to all 
worldly influences, why should they not be also visited by 
the heavenly corrective of holy and enchanting music, which 
is sure to call forth and to nourish germs of loftier affection ? 
Can the bitter spirit of sectarianism, can the formal preach 
ings of a worldly church which strives to keep religion so dis 
tinct from life, can the utilitarian ethics of this great day of 
trade, give the soul such nourishment and such conviction 
of the higher life as the great religious music of Mozart and 
Haydn and Beethoven ? The pomp and pageantry of the 
Mass we have not. But the spiritual essence lives in the 
music itself; and a mere quartette of voices, a social friendly 
group, bound alike by moral and by musical sympathies, 
may drink this inspiration, may pour it out on others. The 
songs and operas of the day, which take the multitude, 
become insipid in comparison with such music. 

Greatest of all masters in this peculiar line was Mozart, 
the boy Mozart we might say, who wrote the major part 
of his eighteen Masses ere he had reached his twenty-second 
year ; and yet they seem, the best of them, to have been 
wrung from the profoundest experiences of the long-tried 
heart of a man, as well as to pour forth the raptures of a 
bright seraph-soul, which has not yet buried any portion of 
its heavenly inheritance in the earth. 

34 Music. 

In music of this kind, there is somewhat that is peculiar to 
the individuality of the composer ; but there is more that is 
universal, true to the inmost meaning of all hearts. Every 
sentiment, if it is deep enough, becomes religion ; for every 
sentiment seeks and tends to unity, to harmony, to recogni 
tion of the one in all. And every sentiment in music is ex 
pressed in its purity, and carried up as it were to the blending 
point of all the emotions in one, which is the radical desire 
and feeling of the soul, its passion to be one with God. 

If Mozart is perhaps tHe deepest in this order of composi 
tion, he by no means stands alone. The church afforded to 
genius that sphere, for its highest and holiest ambition, which 
it found not elsewhere. The Masses of Hadyn are more 
numerous, and more of them elaborate, great efforts, than 
those of Mozart, many of whose Masses were composed at 
so early an age? ; and his genius steadily drew him towards 
that sphere of music, in which he was destined to reign 
supreme, the opera. But, though to Hadyn we must 
grant the very perfection of artistic skill and grace, a warm 
and childlike piety, and a spirit of the purest joy ; and though 
at times he has surpassing tenderness ; still there is an inde 
scribable atmosphere, an air of inspiration, a gushing forth 
as of the very warmest, inmost life-blood, in Mozart s religious 
music, which affects us, even when it is simpler than Hadyn s, 
with more power. Religion takes in Hadyn more the form 
of gratitude and joy. The mournfulness of a Miserere or a 
Crucifixus of his is a passive mood, often but the successful 
contemplation or painter s study of such a mood, where the 
subject calls for it, rather than a permanent and inherent 
quality in the whole music of his own being. His ground 
tone seems to be a certain domestic grateful sense of life, in 
which the clearest order and the sweetest kindliness and 
thankfulness for ever reign. In Mozart the ground tone is 
love, the very ecstacy and celestial blias of the re-union of 
two souls long separated, at once romantic and Platonic, 
sensuous, and yet exalting the senses to a most spiritual 
ministry. In him we have what is nearest to the naked soul 
of music, its most ethereal, transparent, thrilling body. 
One would scarce suppose, that the soul of Mozart ever 

Music. 35 

inhabited any other body than those melodies and harmo 
nies in which it dwells for us. Something of a personal 
love, however, is felt in his most religious strains : it is the 
worship of the Holy Virgin ; the music of that phase of 
the religious sentiment, which Swedenborg might call con 
jugal love. 

To Beethoven s three or four great Masses, it comes most 
natural to add the term solemn ; for, with him, all is a great 
effort. It is the very sentiment of the man, aspiration, 
boundless yearning to embrace the Infinite. With him the 
very discontent of the soul becomes religion, and opens sub 
lime visions, which are like a flying horizon of ever near, 
yet unattainable order and beauty. In the inexhaustibleness 
of the heart s cravings, he finds revelations ; and out of 
those depths, with gloomy grandeur, with fire now smoth 
ered and now breaking out, and always with a rapt impet 
uosity, the worship of his nature springs, escaping like a 
flame to heaven. 

Then, too, besides this captivating music of the Catholic 
church, we should think of the plain church, the voices of 
the united multitude, in simple, solemn, sublime strains, 
presenting themselves as one before the Lord. Even our 
modern psalm, as monotonous and artificial as it often is, 
satisfying scarcely more than the grammatical conditions of 
a musical proposition, has oftentimes an unsurpassable gran 
deur. Where thousands sing the same slow melody, the 
mighty waves of sound wake in the air their own accompa 
niment, and the effect is that of harmony. On this broad 
popular basis, Handel built. He is the Protestant, the 
people s man, in music. In him the great sentiment of a 
common humanity found expression. The individual van 
ishes : it is the mighty music of humanity ; his theme, the 
one first theme, and properly the burthen of all music, 
humanity s looking-for and welcome of its Messiah. What 
a prediction and foreshadowing of the future harmony and 
unity of the whole race is that great Oratorio ! What are 
those choruses, those hallelujahs and amens, but the solemn 
ecatacy, the calm, because universal and all-sympathizing, 
everywhere sustained excitement, which all souls shall feel ; 

36 War. 

when all shall feel their unity with all humanity, and with 
all to God. 

And it is not alone in the music of the church of any form, 
whether mass or plainer choral, that this sentiment is strong 
est. Perhaps no music ever stirred profounder depths in the 
hearer s religious consciousness, than some great orchestral 
symphonies, say those of Beethoven. Even a waltz of his, it 
has been said, is more religious than a prayer of Rossini s. 
His symphonies are like great conflagrations of some grand- 
piles of architecture, in which the material substance seems 
consumed, while the spirit soars in the graceful but impatient 
crackling shapes of the devouring element, and is swiftly 
lost in upper air. 


IT has been a favorite study of modern philosophy, to indi 
cate the steps of human progress, to watch the rising of 
a thought in one man s mind, the communication of it to a 
few, to a small minority, its expansion and general reception^ 
until it publishes itself to the world by destroying the existing 
laws and institutions, and the generation of new. Looked 
at in this general and historical way, many things wear a 
very different face from that they show near by, and one at 
a time, and, particularly, war. War, which, to sane men 
at the present day, begins to look like an epidemic insanity, 
breaking out here and there like the cholera or influenza, 
infecting men s brains instead of their bowels, when seen 
in the remote past, in the infancy of society, appears a part 
of the connection of events, and, in its place, necessary. 

As far as history has preserved to us the slow unfoldings 
of any savage tribe, it is not easy to see how war could be 
avoided by such wild, passionate, needy, ungoverned, strong- 

* Many persons will remember listening to the present article, delivered 
as a lecture in Boston, in March, 1838. It has been obtained for this publi 
cation at much solicitation, not having been looked at by the author since 
that time. 

War. 37 

bodied creatures. For in the infancy of society, when a thin 
population and improvidence make the supply of food and 
of shelter insufficient and very precarious, and when hunger, 
thirst, ague, and frozen limbs universally take precedence of 
the wants of the mind and the heart, the necessities of the 
strong will certainly be satisfied at the cost of the weak, at 
whatever peril of future revenge. It is plain, too, that, in the 
first dawnings of the religious sentiment, that blends itself 
with their passions, and is oil to the fire. Not only every 
tribe has war-gods, religious festivals in victory, but reli 
gious wars. 

The student of history acquiesces the more readily in this 
copious bloodshed of the early annals, bloodshed in God s 
name too, when he learns that it is a temporary and prepa 
ratory state, and does actively forward the culture of man. \ 
War educates the senses, calls into action the will, perfects 
the physical constitution, brings men into such swift and close 
collision in critical moments that man measures man. On its / 
own scale, on the virtues it loves, it endures no counter 
feit, but shakes the whole society, until every atom falls into 
the place its specific gravity assigns it. It presently finds the 
value of good sense and of foresight, and Ulysses takes rank 
next to Achilles. The leaders, picked men of a courage and 
vigor tried and augmented in fifty battles, are emulous to 
distinguish themselves above each other by new merits, as 
clemency, hospitality, splendor of living. The people imitate 
the chiefs. The strong tribe, in which war has become an 
art, attack and conquer their neighbours, and teach them their 
arts and virtues. New territory, augmented numbers, and 
extended interests call out new virtues and abilities, and the 
tribe makes Iqng strides. And, finally, when much progress 
has been made, all its secrets of wisdom and art are dissemi 
nated by its invasions. Plutarch, in his essay ;< On the For 
tune of Alexander," considers the invasion and conquest of 
the East by Alexander as one of the most bright and pleasing 
pages in history ; and it must be owned, he gives sound rea 
son for his opinion. It had the effect of uniting into one 
great interest the divided commonwealths of Greece, and 
infusing a new and more enlarged public spirit into the coun- 

38 War. 

cils of their statesmen. It carried the arts and language and 
philosophy of the Greeks into the sluggish and barbarous na 
tions of Persia, Assyria, and India. It introduced the arts of 
husbandry among tribes of hunters and shepherds. It 
weaned the Scythians and Persians from some cruel and 
licentious practices, to a more civil way of life. It intro 
duced the sacredness of marriage among them. It built 
seventy cities, and sowed the Greek customs and humane 
laws over Asia, and united hostile nations under one code. 
It brought different families of the human race together, 
to blows at first, but afterwards to truce, to trade, and to inter 
marriage. It would be very easy to show analogous benefits 
that have resulted from military movements of later ages. 

Considerations of this kind lead us to a true view of the 
nature and office of war. We see, it is the subject of all his 
tory ; that it has been the principal employment of the most 
conspicuous men ; that it is at this moment the delight of half 
the world, of almost all young and ignorant persons ; that it 
is exhibited to us continually in the dumb show of brute 
nature, where war between tribes, and between individuals of 
the same tribe, perpetually rages. The microscope reveals 
miniature butchery in atomies and infinitely small biters, that 
swim and fight in an illuminated drop of water ; and the lit 
tle globe is but a too faithful miniature of the large. 

What does all this war, beginning from the lowest races 
and reaching up to man, signify ? Is it not manifest that it cov- 
ers a great and beneficent principle, which nature had deeply 
at heart ?. What is that principle ? It is self-help. Nature 
implants with life the instinct of self-help, perpetual struggle 
to he, to resist opposition, to attain to freedom, to attain to a 
mastery, and the security of a permanent, self-defended be 
ing ; and to each creature these objects are made so dear, that 
it risks its life continually in the struggle for these ends. 

But whilst this principle, necessarily, is inwrought into the 
fabric of every creature, yet it is but one instinct ; and though 
a primary one, or we may say the very first, yet the appear 
ance of the other instincts immediately modifies and controls 
this ; turns its energies into harmless, useful, and high courses, 
showing thereby what was its ultimate design; and, finally, 

War. 39 

takes out its fangs. The instinct of self-help is very early un 
folded in the coarse and merely brute form of war, only in 
the childhood and imbecility of the other instincts, and re 
mains in that form, only until their development. It is the 
ignorant and childish part of mankind that is the fighting 
part. Idle and vacant minds want excitement, as all boys 
kill cats. Bull-baiting, cockpits, and the boxer s ring, are 
the enjoyment of the part of society whose animal nature 
alone has been developed. In some parts of this country, 
where the intellectual and moral faculties have as yet scarcely 
any culture, the absorbing topic of all conversation is whipp 
ing ; who fought, and which whipped ? Of man, boy, or 
beast, the only trait that much interests the speakers is the 
pugnacity. And why ? Because the speaker has as yet no 
other image of manly activity and virtue, none of endurance, 
none of perseverance, none of charity, none of the attainment 
of truth. Put him into a circle of cultivated men, where the 
conversation broaches the great questions that besiege the 
human reason, and he would be dumb and unhappy, as an 
Indian in church. 

To men of a sedate and mature spirit, in whom is any know 
ledge or mental activity, the detail of battle becomes insup- 
portably tedious and revolting. It is like the talk of one of 
those monomaniacs, whom we sometimes meet in society, 
who converse on horses ; and Fontenelle expressed a volume 
of meaning, when he said, " I hate war, for it spoils conver 

Nothing is plainer than that the sympathy with war is a 
juvenile and temporary state. Not only the moral sentiment, 
but trade, learning, and whatever makes intercourse, conspire 
to put it down. Trade, as all men know, is the antagonist 
of war. Wherever there is no property, the people will put 
on the knapsack for bread ; but trade is instantly endangered 
and destroyed. And, moreover, trade brings men to look 
each other in the face, and gives the parties the knowledge 
that these enemies over sea or over the mountain are such 
men as we ; who laugh and grieve, who love and fear, as we 
do. And learning and art, and especially religion, weave ties 
that make war look like fratricide, as it is. And as all his- 

40 War. 

tory is the picture of war, as we have said, so it is no less 
true that it is the record of the mitigation and decline of war. 
Early in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, the Italian cities 
had grown so populous and strong, that they forced the rural 
nobility to dismantle their castles, which were dens of cruelty, 
and come and reside in the towns. The Popes, to their 
eternal honor, declared religious jubilees, during which all 
hostilities were suspended throughout Christendom, and man 
had a breathing space. The increase of civility has abolished 
the use of poison and of torture, once supposed as necessary 
as navies now. And, finally, the art of war what with 
gunpowder and tactics has made, as all men know, battles 
less frequent and less murderous. 

By all these means, war has been steadily on the decline ; 
and we read with astonishment of the beastly fighting of the 
old times. Only in Elizabeth s time, out of the European 
waters, piracy was all but universal. The proverb was, 
" No peace beyond the line ; " and the seamen shipped on the 
buccaneer s bargain, " No prey, no pay." In 1588, the 
celebrated Cavendish, who was thought in his times a good 
Christian man, wrote thus to Lord Hunsdon, on his return 
from a voyage round the world : " Sept. 1588. It hath 
pleased Almighty God to suffer me to circumpass the whole 
globe of the world, entering in at the Strait of Magellan, and 
returning by the Cape of Buena Esperanga ; in which voyage, 
I have either discovered or brought certain intelligence of all 
the rich places of the world, which were ever discovered by 
any Christian. I navigated along the coast of Chili, Peru, 
and New Spain, where I made great spoils. I burnt and 
sunk nineteen sail of ships, small and great All the villages 
and towns thai ever I landed, at, I burned and spoiled. And 
had I not been discovered upon the coast, I had taken great 
quantity of treasure. The matter of most profit to me was 
a great ship of the king s, which I took at California," &c. 
and the good Cavendish piously begins this statement, " It 
hath pleased Almighty God." 

Indeed, our American annals have preserved the vestiges 
of barbarous warfare down to more recent times. I read 
in Williams s History of Maine, that " Assacombuit, the 

War. 41 

Sagamore of the Anagunticook tribe, was remarkable for 
his turpitude and ferocity above all other known Indians ; 
that, in 1705, Vaudreuil sent him to France, where he was 
introduced to the king. When he appeared at court, he 
lifted up his hand, and said, c This hand has slain a hundred 
and fifty of your majesty s enemies Avithin the territories of 
New England. This so pleased the king, that he knighted 
him, and ordered a pension of eight livres a day to be paid 
him during life." This valuable person, on his return to 
America, took to killing his own neighbors and kindred with 
such appetite, that his tribe combined against him, and would 
have killed him, had he not ned his country for ever. 

The scandal which we feel in such facts certainly shows, 
that we have got on a little. 4=U history is the decline of 
war, though the slow decline. All that society has yet gained 
is mitigation : the doctrine of the right of war still remains. 

For ages (for ideas work in ages, and animate vast socie 
ties of men) the human race has gone on under the tyranny 
shall I so call it ? of this first brutish form of their effort 
to be men ; that is, for ages they have shared so much of the 
nature of the lower animals, the tiger and the shark, and 
the savages of the water-drop. They have nearly exhausted 
all the good and all the evil of this form : they have held as 
fast to this degradation, as their worst enemy could desire ; 
but all things have an end, and so has this. The eternal 
germination of the better has unfolded new powers, new 
instincts, which were really concealed under this rough and 
base rind. The sublime question has startled one and 
another happy soul in different quarters of the globe. Can 
not love be, as well as hate ? Would not love answer the 
same end, or even a better ? Cannot peace be, as well as 
war ? 

This thought is no man s invention, neither St. Pierre s 
nor Rousseau s, but the rising of the general tide in the hu 
man soul, and rising highest, and first made visible, in the 
most simple and pure souls, who have therefore announced 
it to us beforehand ; but presently we all see it. It has now 
become so distinct as to be a social thought : societies can be 
formed on it. It is expounded, illustrated, defined, with dif- 

42 War. 

ferent degrees of clearness ; and its actualization, or the mea 
sures it should inspire, predicted according to the light of 
each seer. 

The idea itself is the epoch ; the fact that it has become 
so distinct to any small number of persons as to become a 
subject of prayer and hope, of concert and discussion, that 
is the commanding fact. This having come, much more will 
follow. Revolutions go not backward. The star once risen, 
though only one man in the hemisphere has yet seen its 
upper limb in the horizon, will mount and mount, until it 
becomes visible to other men, to multitudes, and climbs the 
zenith of all eyes. And so, it is not a great matter how long 
men refuse to believe the advent of peace : war is on its last 
legs ; and a universal peace is as sure as is the prevalence 
of civilization over barbarism, of liberal governments over 
feudal forms. The question for us is only, How soon ? 

That the project of peace should appear visionary to great 
numbers of sensible men ; should appear laughable, even, to 
numbers ; should appear to the grave and good-natured to be 
embarrassed with extreme practical difficulties, is very na 
tural. " This is a poor, tedious society of yours," they say : 
" we do not see what good can come of it. Peace ! why, we 
are all at peace now. But if a foreign nation should wantonly 
insult or plunder our commerce, or, worse yet, should land 
on our shores to rob and kill, you would not have us sit, and 
be robbed and killed ? You mistake the times ; you over 
estimate the virtue of men. You forget, that the quiet which 
now sleeps in cities and in farms, which lets the wagon go 
unguarded and the farm-house unbolted, rests on the perfect 
understanding of all men ; that the musket, the halter, and 
the jail stand behind there, perfectly ready to punish any 
disturber of it. All admit, that this would be the best policy, 
if the world Avere all a church, if all men were the best men, 
if all would agree to accept this rule. But it is absurd for 
one nation to attempt it alone." 

In the first place, we answer, that we make never mu^h 
account of objections which merely respect the actual state 
of the world at this moment, but which admit the general 
expediency and permanent excellence of the project. What 

War. 43 

is the best must be the true ; and what is true that is, 
Avhat is at bottom fit and agreeable to the constitution of 
man must at last prevail over all obstruction and all oppo 
sition. There is no good now enjoyed by society, that was 
not once as problematical and visionary as this. It is the 
tendency of the true interest of man to become his desire and 
steadfast aim. 

But, farther, it is a lesson, which all history teaches wise 
men, to put trust in ideas, and not in circumstances. We 
have all grown up in the sight of frigates and navy yards, of 
armed forts and islands, of arsenals and militia. The refer 
ence to any foreign register will inform us of the number of 
thousand or million men that are now under arms in the 
vast colonial system of the British empire, of Russia, Austria, 
and France ; and one is scared to find at what a cost the 
peace of the globe is kept. This vast apparatus of artillery, 
of fleets, of stone bastions and trenches and embankments ; 
this incessant patrolling of sentinels ; this waving of national 
flags ; this reveillee and evening gun ; this martial music, and 
endless playing of marches, and singing of military and naval 
songs, seem to us to constitute an imposing actual, which 
will not yield, in centuries, to the feeble, deprecatory voices 
of a handful of friends of peace. 

Thus always we are daunted by the appearances; not 
seeing that their whole value lies at bottom in the state of 
mind. It is really a thought that built this portentous war- 
establishment, and a thought shall also melt it away. Every 
nation and every man instantly surround themselves with a 
material apparatus which exactly corresponds to their moral 
state, or their state of thought. Observe how every truth 
and every error, each a thought of some man s mind, clothes 
itself with societies, houses, cities, language, ceremonies, 
newspapers. Observe the ideas of the present day, . ortho- \ 
doxy, skepticism, missions, popular education, temperance, 
anti-masonry, anti-slavery ; see how each of these abstrac 
tions has embodied itself in an imposing apparatus in the 
community ; and how timber, brick, lime, and stone have / 
flown into convenient shape, obedient to the master-idea 
reigning in the minds of many persons. 

44 War. 

You shall hear, some day, of a wild fancy, which some 
man has in his brain, of the mischief of secret oaths. Come 
again, one or two years afterwards, and you shall see it has 
built great houses of solid wood and brick and mortar. 
You shall see an hundred presses printing a million sheets ; 
you shall see men and horses and wheels made to walk, run, 
and roll for it : this great body of matter thus executing that 
one man s wild thought. This happens daily, yearly about us, 
with half thoughts, often with flimsy lies, pieces of policy and 
speculation. With good nursing, they will last three or four 
years, before they will come to nothing. But when a truth 
appears, as, for instance, a perception in the wit of one 
Columbus, that there is land in the Western Sea ; though he 
alone of all men has that thought, and they all jeer, it will 
build ships ; it will build fleets ; it will carry over half Spain 
and half England ; it will plant a colony, a state, nations, and 
half a globe full of men. 

We surround ourselves always, according to our freedom 
and ability, with true images of ourselves in things, whether 
it be ships or books, or cannons or churches. The standing 
arrny, the arsenal, the camp, and the gibbet do not appertain 
to man. They only serve as an index to show where man 
is now ; what a bad, ungoverned temper he has ; what an 
ugly neighbor he is ; how his affections halt ; how low his 
hope lies. He who loves the bristle of bayonets, only sees 
in their glitter what beforehand he feels in his heart. It is 
avarice and hatred; it is that quivering lip, that cold, hating 
eye, which builded magazines and powder-houses. 

It follows, of course, that the least change in the man will 
change his circumstances ; the least enlargement of his ideas, 
the least mitigation of his feelings, in respect to other men ; 
if, for example, he could be inspired with a tender kindness 
to the souls of men, and should come to feel that every man 
was another self, with whom he might come to join, as left 
hand works with right. Every degree of the ascendancy of 
this feeling would cause the most striking changes of external 
things : the tents would be struck ; the men-of-war would 
rot ashore ; the arms rust ; the cannon would become street- 
posts ; the pikes, a fisher s harpoon ; the marching regiment 

War. 45 

would be a caravan of emigrants, peaceful pioneers at the 
fountains of the Wabash and the Missouri. And so it must 
and will be : bayonet and sword must first retreat a little 
from their present ostentatious prominence ; then quite hide 
themselves, as the sheriff s halter does now, inviting the 
attendance only of relations and friends ; and then, lastly, 
will be transferred to the museums of the curious, as poison 
ing and torturing tools are at this day. 

War..and_peace thus resolve themselves into a mercury of 
the state of cultivation. At a certain stage of his progress,, 
the man fights, if he be of a sound body and mind. At a 
certain higher stage, he makes no offensive demonstration, 
but is alert to repel injury, and of an unconquerable heart. 
At a still higher stage, he comes into the region of holiness ; 
passion has passed away from him ; his warlike nature is all 
converted into an active medicinal principle ; he sacrifices 
himself, and accepts with alacrity wearisome tasks of denial 
and charity; but, being attacked, he bears it, and turns the 
other cheek, as one engaged, throughout his being, no longer 
to the service of an individual, but to the common soul of 
all men. 

Since the peace question has been before the public mind, 
those who affirm its right and expediency have naturally been 
met with objections more or less weighty. There are cases 
frequently put by the curious, moral problems, like those 
problems in arithmetic, which in long winter evenings the 
rustics try the hardness of their heads in ciphering out. And 
chiefly it is said, Either accept this principle for better, for 
worse, carry it out to the end, and meet its absurd conse 
quences ; or else, if you pretend to set an arbitrary limit, a 
" Thus far, no farther," then give up the principle, and take 
that limit which the common sense of all mankind has set, and 
which distinguishes offensive war as criminal, defensive war 
as just. Otherwise, if you go for no war, then be consistent, 
and give up self-defence in the highway, in your own house. 
Will you push it thus far ? Will you stick to your principle 
of non-resistance, when your strong-box is broken open, 
when your wife and babes are insulted and slaughtered in 
your sight ? If you say yes, you only invite the robber and 

46 War. 

agsasain ; and a few bloody-minded desperadoes would soon 
butcher the good. 

In reply to this charge of absurdity on the extreme peace 
doctrine, as shown in the supposed consequences, I wish to 
say, that such deductions consider only one half of the fact. 
They look only at the passive side of the friend of peace, only 
at his passivity ; they quite omit to consider his activity. But 
no man, it may be presumed, ever embraced the cause of 
peace and philanthropy, for the sole end and satisfaction 
of being plundered and slain. A man does not come the 
length of the spirit of martyrdom, without some active pur 
pose, some equal motive, some flaming love. If you have a 
nation of men who have risen to that height of moral cultiva 
tion that they will not declare war or carry arms, for they 
have not so much madness left in their brains, you have a 
nation of lovers, of benefactors, of true, great, and able men. 
Let me know more of that nation ; I shall not find them 
defenceless, with idle hands springing at their sides. I shall 
find them men of love, honor, and truth ; men of an immense 
industry ; men whose influence is felt to the end of the earth ; 
men whose very look and voice carry the sentence of honor 
and shame ; and all forces yield to their energy and persua 
sion. Whenever we see the doctrine of peace embraced by 
a nation, we may be assured it will not be one that invites 
injury ; but one, on the contrary, which has a friend in the 
bottom of the heart of every man, even of the violent and the 
base ; one against which no weapon can prosper ; one which 
is looked upon as the asylum of the human race, and has the 
tears and the blessings of mankind. 

In the second place, as far as it respects individual action 
in difficult and extreme cases, I will say, such cases seldom 
or never occur to the good and just man ; nor are we care 
ful to say, or even to know, what in such crises is to be done. 
A wise man will never impawn his future being and action, 
and decide beforehand what he shall do in a given extreme 
event. Nature and God will instruct him in that hour. 

The question naturally arises, How is this new aspiration 
of the human mind to be made visible and real ? How 
is it to pass out of thoughts into things ? 

War. 47 

Not, certainly, in the first place, in the way of routine and 
mer^Jo^^^^\\Q\^\\\\c^\\\ specific of modern politics; not. 
by organizing a society, and going through a course of reso 
lutions and public manifestoes, and being thus formally accre 
dited to the public, and to the civility of the newspapers. We 
have played this game to tediousness. In some of our cities, 
they choose rioted duellists as presidents and officers of anti- 
duelling societies. Men who love that bloated vanity called 
public opinion, think all is well if they have once got their 
bantling through a sufficient course of speeches and cheer- 
ings, of one, two, or three public meetings, as if they could 
do any thing : they vote and vote, cry hurrah on both sides, 
no man responsible, no man caring a pin. The next season, 
an Indian Avar, or an aggression on our commerce by Malays ; 
or the party this man votes with, have an appropriation to 
carry through Congress : instantly he wags his head the 
other way, and cries, Havoc and war ! 

ThisLiS not to be carried by public opinion, but by private 
opinion, by private -conviction, by private, dear, and earnest 
love. For the only hope of this cause is in the increased 
insight, and it is to be accomplished by the spontaneous 
teaching, of the cultivated soul, in its secret experience and 
meditation, that it is now time that it should pass out of the 
state of beast into the state of man ; it is to hear the voice of 
God, which bids the devils, that have rended and torn him, 
come out of him, and let him now be clothed and walk forth 
in his right mind. 

Nor, in the next place, is the peace principle to be carried 
into effect by fear. It can never be defended, it can never 
be executed, by cowards. Every thing great must be done 
in the spirit of greatness. The manhood that has been in 
war must be transferred to the cause of peace, before war 
can lose its charm, and peace be venerable to men. 

The attractiveness of war shows one thing through all the 
throats of artillery, the thunders of so many sieges, the sack 
of towns, the jousts of chivalry, the shock of hosts, this 
namely, the conviction of man universally, that a man should 
be himself responsible, with goods, health, and life, for his 
behaviour ; that he should not ask of the State, protection ; 

48 War. 

should ask nothing of the State ; should be hiinself a king 
dom and a state ; fearing no man ; quite willing to^use the 
opportunities arid advantages that good government throw 
in his way, but nothing daunted, and not really the poorer if 
government, law, and order went by the board ; because in 
himself reside infinite resources,; because he is sure of him 
self, and never needs to ask another what in any crisis it 
behoves him to do. 

What makes to us the attractiveness of the Greek heroes ? 
of the Roman ? What makes the attractiveness of that ro 
mantic style of living, which is the material of ten thousand 
plays and romances, from Shakspeare to Scott ; the feudal 
baron, the French, the English nobility, the War wicks, Planta- 
genets ? Jt is their absolute self-dependence. I do not wonder 
at the dislike some of the friends of peace have expressed at 
Shakspeare. The veriest churl and Jacobin cannot resist the 
influence of the style and manners of these haughty lords. 
We are affected, as boys and barbarians are, by the appear 
ance of a few rich and wilful gentlemen, who take their honor 
into their own keeping, defy the world, so confident are they 
of their courage and strength, and whose appearance is the 
arrival of so much life and virtue. In dangerous times, they 
are presently tried, and therefore their name is a flourish of 
trumpets. They, at least, affect us as a reality. They are 
not shams, but the substance of which that age and world is 
made. Tliey are true heroes for their time. They make 
what is in their minds the greatest sacrifice. They will, for 
an injurious Avord, peril all their state and wealth, and go to 
the field. Take away that principle of responsibleness, and 
they become pirates and ruffians. 

This self-subsistency is the charm of Avar ; for this self- 
subsistency is essential to our idea of man. But another age 
comes, a truer religion and ethics open, and a man puts 
himself under the dominion of principles. I see him to be 
the servant of truth, of love, and of freedom, and immoveable 
in the waves of the crowd. The man of principle, that is, 
the man who, without any flourish of trumpets, titles of lord 
ship, or train of guards, without any notice of his action 
abroad, expecting none, takes in solitude the right step uni- 

War. 49 

formly, on his private choice, and disdaining consequences, 
does not yield, in my imagination, to any man. He is will 
ing to be hanged at his own gate, rather than consent to any 
compromise of his freedom, or the suppression of his con 
viction. I regard no longer those names that so tingled in 
my ear. This is a baron of a better nobility and a stouter 

The cause of peace is not the cause of cowardice. If 
peace is sought to be defended or preserved for the safety of 
the luxurious and the timid, it is a sham, and the peace will 
be base. War is better, and the peace will be broken. If 
peace is to be maintained, it must be by brave men, who 
have come up to the same height as the hero, namely, the 
will to carry their life in their hand, and stake it at any 
instant for their principle, but who have gone one step beyond 
the hero, and will not seek another man s life ; men who 
have, by their intellectual insight, or else by their moral 
elevation, attained such a perception of their own intrinsic 
worth, that they do not think property or their own body a 
sufficient good to be saved by such dereliction of principle 
as treating a man like a sheep. 

If the universal cry for reform of so many inveterate abuses, 
with which society rings, if the desire of a large class of 
young men for a faith and hope, intellectual and religious, 
such as they have not yet found, be an omen to be trusted ; 
if the disposition to rely more in study, and in action on the 
unexplored riches of the human constitution, if the search 
of the sublime laws of morals and the sources of hope and 
trust in man, and not in books, in the present, and not in 
the past, proceed ; if the rising generation can be pro 
voked to think it unworthy to nestle into every abomination 
of the past, and shall feel the generous darings of austerity 
and virtue ; then war has a short day, and human blood will 
cease to flow. 

It is of little consequence in what manner, through what 
organs, this purpose of mercy and holiness is effected. The 
proposition of the Congress of Nations is undoubtedly that 
at which the present fabric of our society and the present 
course of events do point. But the mind, once prepared for 

50 Organization. 

the reign of principles, will easily find modes of expressing 
its will. There is the highest fitness in the place and time 
in which this enterprise is begun. Not in an obscure corner, 
not in a feudal Europe, not in an antiquated appanage where 
no onward step can be taken without rebellion, is this seed 
of benevolence laid in the furrow, with tears of hope ; but 
in this broad America of God and man, where the forest is 
only now falling, or yet to fall, and the green earth opened 
to the inundation of emigrant men from all quarters of 
oppression and guilt ; here, where not a family, not a few 
men, but mankind, shall say what shall be ; here, we ask, 
Shall it be War, or shall it be Peace ? 


SOCIETY cannot remain stationary. It must either go forward 
or backward. It is a living organism, composed of living 
active members, who are always doing something, both in 
their individual and collective capacities. Every act done, 
either by individuals or by the social body, has some influence 
on the existing state of society ; advances or obstructs the 
general movement ; makes a portion of mankind better or 
worse ; brings them nearer to, or removes them farther from, 
their true destinies, as determined by the eternal law T s of 
God. There is no middle ground here. If men are not 
advancing, they are retrograding ; if society is not improving, 
we are certain that it does not stand still. 

But the great question is, how it advances ? What are the 
laws and characteristics of its progress ? When a change is 
made in the state of any thing, how do we know that such 
a change has been for the better ? By what signs do we 
distinguish an onward from a retrograde movement ? Great 
changes are constantly taking place in the forms of matter, 
in the lives of men, in the constitution of states, in the whole 
structure and working of society. The elements, the pas 
sions, discoveries in literature, in art, all produce stupendous 
revolutions in human affairs. How do we know, that these 

Organization. 51 

various changes are for better or for worse, or that they carry 
us towards perfection or imperfection ? 

There is a characteristic, there is a positive internal sign, 
by which we may detect whether a change in any object has 
raised it to a higher place of existence, or depressed it to a 
lower. The mark is this : Its approach to a more or less 
compact organization. The simple principle of organization, 
i. e. the adjustment of a variety of parts to a unity of end or 
result, is the test and measure of perfection in any sphere of 

By this is meant, that a thing or movement is greater or 
less, better or worse, an advance or a retrogradation, just in 
the degree in which the organization of its parts is more or 
less perfect. If it has no organization, it exists on an exceed 
ingly low plane of creation, in fact, on the very lowest plane ; 
but the more complete, intricate, and perfect its organization, 
the more eminent, excellent, and good it is. 

The perfection of an organism depends upon two things : 
first, that there shall be a great variety of parts ; and, sec 
ondly, that these parts shall act harmoniously towards one 
end. Where there are few parts, or where those parts, if 
many, do not co-operate to the same ends, the organization 
is incomplete, just in the degree in which the conditions are 

Thus the vegetable kingdom is said to be higher in the 
order of nature than the mineral, and the animal than the 
vegetable. But why higher ? Why, in the scale of creation, 
or the classifications of science, is the tree placed in a more 
elevated rank than the stone, the lion than the tree, or man 
higher than all ? Simply, because the organization in these 
cases respectively is more and more complete. The mineral 
kingdom is a mere aggregation or conglomeration of particles 
held together by the simplest power of attraction ; as any one 
may discover, who takes a friable stone in his hand, or knocks 
a gem into pieces with a hammer. Again, the vegetable 
kingdom, though composed essentially of the same matter as 
the earthy, exhibits a more compact structure and more per 
fect forms. Its members cannot be fried in the hands, nor 
broken by a hammer. The relation of part to part is more 

52 Oranization. 

intricate and compact, and the attractive power by which 
they are united exhibits a greater arid more subtle cohesion. 
Then, the animal kingdom, still composed of the same essen 
tial matter, shows a still more compact structure, still more 
perfect forms ; and its parts are bound by higher powers of 
attraction, which even resist the attractions of the lower 
spheres, till man, finally, the summit of all the kingdoms, 
though made up of the same materials, walks abroad the 
most complex and concentrated of all structures, the most 
harmonious and beautiful of all forms. The progress of na 
ture, therefore, from one kingdom to another, from a lower 
rank in creation to a higher, consists in a gradual passage 
from a loose and irregular organization to one more compli 
cated and concentric. 

Again, if you take any of the natural kingdoms separately, 
to consider the relative rank of its different members, we shall 
find the distinction of degree marked by the same principle. 
In the mineral region, for instance, the grain of sand may be 
regarded as one of its lowest forms, and the crystal one of the 
highest ; because the former exhibits no traces of organiza 
tion ; while the latter splits into regular mathematical figures, 
thereby showing a tendency, or mute prophecy, of an organic 
arrangement of parts. 

So, in the vegetable kingdom, mosses and lichens, which 
are found growing loosely upon the rocks, are among the 
simplest, and therefore lowest, elements of it ; while among 
the highest is the firm-knit and lordly oak, whose organization 
has given it a grace of outline which painters envy, and a 
strength of structure that defies the blasts of a hundred years. 
Or take, finally, the animal kingdom, with its first rude speci 
mens of animals, almost formless, almost without parts and 
without powers as the oyster ; and ascend gradually 
through worms, reptiles, fishes, birds, quadrupeds, up to man, 
do we not find one invariable character of progress all 
along the ascent, in the increasing compactness, delicacy, and 
finish of the organization ? 

But further : even in the growth of the individual members 
of any one of these kingdoms, this fact is strikingly exempli 
fied. The bird, for example, begins in the lowest phases of 

Organization. 53 

its life as a soft, pulpy, formless mass, which can be kept 
together only by a rude external shell, called the egg ; then 
a small spot or knot is formed in this, and after a while shoots 
out a single tendril ; next another knot is formed, which 
shoots out another tendril ; till the whole egg begins at last 
to assume the appearance of a network of knots and tendrils. 
At a subsequent period in the formation, these points con 
dense, and fill out, when a chick is formed, having a remote 
resemblance to a bird, but without plumage ; too weak to 
move, and not very pleasing to the sight. In the end, as the 
organization is perfected, this chick grows into the imperial 
eagle, whose pinions waft him across the loftiest Alleganies, 
and whose eye gazes undaunted into the mid-day sun. And 
so too man, whose outset and lowest state after birth is that 
of the flabby, puling, defenceless, unknowing, almost uncon 
scious infant, becomes in his highest state each step being" 
marked by a more and more complete organic development 
the giant, whose single arm levels the mountains, Avhose far- 
reaching intellect discovers worlds millions of miles away in 
the depths of space, whose imperious will uplifts and dashes 
together nations in tempestuous conflicts. What marks the 
difference externally between the poor idiot, who cries " pall- 
lal" upon the highways, and the myriad-minded Shakspeare, 
who talks, in his immortal utterances, to the universal heart 
of all ages ? The degree of difference in their respective 
physical and spiritual organizations. The greatest of men 
is known, in that he is the most highly organized of men. 
The progress of each of us towards a nobler standard of 
humanity is marked by the growing perfection of our organ 
isms. When we raise ourselves to higher intellectual power, 
we feel that our intellectual forces have been trained, disci 
plined, adjusted, or, in a word, organized. When we reach 
loftier moral eminences, we feel that we have received fresh 
accessions of strength, chiefly through the better organization 
of our spiritual powers. 

But here we arrive at another step in our argument. We 
have seen that one invariable characteristic attends all the 
developments of the natural world, in their transitions from a 
lower to a higher place ; and the next question is, Whether 

54 Organization. 

the same characteristic does not accompany the advances of 
society ? History shows us conclusively, that nations and 
bodies of men are in a process of constant change ; and it is 
universally conceded, also, that in many respects this change 
has been for the better. The passage from barbarism to civi 
lization is called a social advancement. One nation is often 
said to be ahead of other nations in its attainments. There 
is great talk, too, everywhere, of the progress of the human 
species ; of the improvement of society ; of the gradual ad 
vancement of man to a more elevated existence. What does 
such language mean ? What are the marks and sign of this 
progress ? We answer, the same as have been shown to 
exist in the natural world, the successive steps of nations 
or societies to a more and more perfect organization. 

The first or simplest state of society, known to our annals, 
is the savage state, where the members of it subsist in almost 
complete isolation and independence. Indeed, the bonds of 
union between them are so rude, that they can hardly be 
said to possess society at all. They are rather an aggrega 
tion, like the particles of a mineral, than a society, like the 
elements of a plant. Such plans of general government as 
they have are exceedingly imperfect ; and, except occasion 
ally in cases of war and public festivals, they engage in no 
concerted or unitary actions. The individual is every thing ; 
society, nothing. He pitches his tent where he pleases ; 
cares for nobody, and has nobody to care for him ; is without 
fixed property ; and, save a sort of wild friendship which he 
indulges for his wife or the members of his tribe, is almost 
without affections. Of course, it is in vain to look for any 
social organization among these solitary roamers of the wil 
derness. It is only in the next state of society above this, 
which is called the patriarchal, that traces of organization 
begin to be clearly seen. Men unite in certain family com 
pacts for mutual defence and assistance. The will of the 
patriarch is constituted a species of common law ; the ties of 
consanguinity give rise to more or less compact settlements ; 
the members of the tribes acknowledge a controlling head, 
and submit to regular processes of government. The wild and 
roaming independence of the savage is surrendered for more 

Organization. 55 

compact and regular social relations. Then the barbaric 
nation arises, where the patriarch of one united family grows 
into the king or monarch of many united families. The 
savage horde^ before merged into the patriarchal clan, is 
further consolidated into the barbaric nation. The rude and 
arbitrary regulations of the previous state are converted into 
settled laws and a constitutional polity. The adjustment of 
the power of the government, and the relations of different 
classes of the people to each other, become more compact, 
and at the same time more complex. Men are brought into 
more intimate connections, get more and more mutually 
dependent, have broader interests in common, and act more 
frequently in concert. In a word, they are more highly 
organized. But, after a time, the people rise into greater 
power as an element of government, which assumes a more 
definite and responsible shape ; industry and wealth, which 
serve to bind distant nations, are prodigiously developed ; 
men unite more closely, not merely for purposes of Avar, but 
to cultivate the innumerable arts of peace ; laws are digested 
into complete systems ; the industrial and social relations and 
interests of various classes are consolidated ; all the arrange 
ments of society grow more intimate and complex. The 
universal life of man has more aims in common ; all the 
members of the state feel more closely bound to each other, 
and act more often and more in concert for comprehensive 
ends. This state of society is the one in which we live, and 
is denominated Civilization. It is the last term to which 
society has yet attained. 

Now, who will deny that there is a vast interval between 
the rude social condition of the savage in his hut, to that of 
the merchant-prince of England or the United States ? Who 
will deny, that the passage from one to the other denotes 
a great progress ? Yet we have seen, that each step is 
marked and demonstrated by nearer approaches to a high 
organization. The change has been a change in organic 
development. Civilization is better than barbarism, barbarism 
than patriarchalism, patriarchalism better than savageness, 
simply because they are respectively better organized. The 
degree of organization marks the degree of excellence. This 


is the universal fact in all the gradations of nature, and in all 
the advances of humanity. 

It is the fortune of the people of the United States, that 
they see nations springing up almost every day. Our ex 
tensive Western frontier is a cradle of infant commonwealths. 
The whole process of social growth is there laid open to us, 
as natural growth Avas in the patent hatching machine, or 
Eccolobean, exhibited a few years since. We see the first 
germ deposited in the form perhaps of a single family ; we 
see this family spread out into numerous branches, or other 
families moving in to unite with it, till the desert and the 
solitary place blossoms into a flourishing and many-columned 

Now, what are the successive steps of this progress from 
the wild wilderness to the thriving mart, from the distant and 
lonely log-cabin of the prairie to the thronged and temple- 
covered metropolis ? What are the indications of the gradual 
advance of the settlement from almost savage isolation and 
insecurity to the peace, wealth, comfort, and refinement of 
civilized union ? The answer is plain : first, gradual increase 
in the number of the families or persons ; and, second, 
a corresponding multiplication and interweaving of their 
various relations ; or, in other w r ords, their nearer and nearer 
approach to complete organization. 

The original squatter, we know, lives for a Avhile alone, 
cultivating a narrow patch of ground for food, and shooting 
his habiliments for the most part from the trees. He is poor, 
dependent, and half- wild ; his own farmer, miller, merchant, 
mechanic, and governor. He builds his own house, raises 
his own wheat, makes his own tools, keeps his own store, 
argues his own causes, teaches his own school. He is with 
out society, the merest fraction of man. 

The first possibility of improvement which comes to him 
is when he is joined by a few other persons, who relieve 
him at once of a portion of the laborious tasks and anxieties 
he was before compelled to undertake, and whose very pres 
ence acts upon him as stimulus to a more wholesome activity. 
He is no longer his own blacksmith, carpenter, tailor, or 
tradesman. The functions of these, he finds, are better dis- 

Organization. 57 

charged by some of his neighbors, who are willing to exchange 
the results of their labors for the products of his, whereby he 
gets more for a less exertion. But both parties soon discover, 
that there are a great many objects which can be attained only 
by working in common. Accordingly, they lend a hand to 
each other in felling forests, erecting houses, and cutting 
roads. As the population multiplies, the occasions for their 
mutual assistance increase. They combine their judgments 
and energies for a greater variety and a more extensive range 
of purposes. They discuss plans of general usefulness ; they 
lay out streets for their little town ; they put up a church and 
a school-house ; they club their funds for the purchase of a 
library ; they organize societies for mutual improvement ; 
they institute tribunals to decide disputes ; or, in manifold 
other modes, they contribute to the general defence and 

If, now, we suppose a similar town to have grown up not 
far off, we shall see the two establishing an intercourse be 
tween themselves, and combining to construct roads, endow 
colleges, and accomplish other undertakings convenient to 
the public good : their internal ties, as they spread, exhibit 
the same tendency to union which marked their previous inter 
nal arrangements. Other towns, again, spring up, which still 
further multiply and complicate their respective relations. 
From time to time, the union is rendered more definite and 
complete, a regular code of laws determines the relations of 
the respective communities and of their members respectively, 
and a constitutional government is finally instituted. Thus 
the single family of the squatter has grown first into a settle 
ment, then into a village, then a township, then a county, 
next a state, and at last a federated republic. At each step, 
the relations of the people have extended, multiplied, and 
complicated. Their union has been strengthened ; they have 
been brought nearer together ; they have had more interests 
and more labors in common ; isolation has given place to 
concentration ; rude independence to regulated dependence ; 
the centrifugal tendency of individuals restrained by the 
centripetal tendencies of society ; and transient expedients 
and loose arrangements, one by one, have been supplanted 

58 Genius. 

by a solid and permanent organic unity. Wealth, comfort, 
refinement, and substantial happiness have, of course, kept 
pace with the organic movement. 

The question at this day is, whether men have even here 
reached the limit of social progress ; whether the principle of 
social organization is susceptible of any higher applications 
than it has hitherto received ; whether our civilization is the 
last stage of social improvement ; whether the fact of progress 
is destined to any higher triumphs in the future, similar to 
those which have illustrated the past. Is it extravagant 
to anticipate a time when the tendency to union shall have 
been perfected ; when the whole organization of society shall 
have been rendered more compact and harmonious ? Will 
God suddenly suspend the great law of providential devel 
opment ? 

Organization is not life, but it is the sign of life ; and the 
degree and perfection of organization is the test of life.* 


THE world was always busy ; the human heart has always 
had love of some kind ; there has always been fire on the 
earth. There is something in the inmost principles of an in 
dividual, when he begins to exist, which urges him onward ; 
there is something iii the centre of the character of a nation, 
to which the people aspire ; there is something which gives 
activity t$ the mind in all ages, countries, and worlds. This 
principle of activity Is love : it may be the love of good or of 
evil ; it may manifest itself in saving life or in killing ; but it 
is love. 

The difference in the strength and direction of the affections 
creates the distinctions in society. Every man has a form of 
mind peculiar to himself. The mind of the infant contains 
within itself the first rudiments of all that will be hereafter, 

* The above article is an extract from an unpublished course of Lectures, 
which may yet see the light as a whole. 

Genius. 59 

and needs nothing but expansion ; as the leaves and branches 
and fruit of a tree are said to exist in the seed from Avhich it 
springs. He is bent in a particular direction ; and, as some 
objects are of more value than others, distinctions must exist. 
What it is that makes a man great depends upon the state of 
society : with the savage, it is physical strength ; with the 
civilized, the arts and sciences ; in heaven, the perception that 
love and wisdom are from the Divine. 

There prevails an idea in the world, that its great men are 
more like God than others. This sentiment carries in its 
bosom sufficient evil to bar the gates of heaven. So far as a 
person possesses it, either with respect to himself or others, 
he has no connection with his Maker, no love for his neigh 
bor, no truth in his understanding. This Avas at the root of 
heathen idolatry : it was this that made men worship saints 
and images. It contains within itself the seeds of atheism, 
and will ultimately make every man insane by whom it is 
cherished. The life which circulates in the body is found 
to commence in the head ; but, unless it be traced through 
the soul up to God, it is merely corporeal, like that of the 

Man has often ascribed to his own power the effects of the 
secret operations of divine truth. When the world is im 
mersed in darkness, this is a judgment of the Most High ; 
but the light is the effect of the innate strength of the human 

When the powers of man begin to decay, and approach 
an apparent dissolution, who cannot see the Divinity ? But 
what foreign aid wants the man who is full of his own / * 
strength ? God sends the lightning that blasts the tree ; but 
what credulity would ascribe to him the sap that feeds its 
branches ? The sight of idiotism leads to a train of religious 
reflections ; but the face that is marked with lines of intelli 
gence is admired for its own inherent beauty. The hand of 
the Almighty is visible to all in the stroke of death ; but few 
see his face in the smiles of the new-born babe. 

The intellectual eye of man is formed to see the light, not 
to make it ; and it is time that, when the causes that cloud 
the spiritual world are removed, man should rejoice in the 

60 Genius. 

truth itself, and not that he has found it. More than once, 
when nothing was required but for a person to stand on this 
world with his eyes open, has the truth been seized upon as 
a thing of his own making. When the power of divine 
truth begins to dispel the darkness, the objects that are first 
disclosed to our view whether men of strong understand 
ing, or of exquisite taste, or of deep learning are called 
geniuses. Luther, Shakspeare, Milton, Newton, stand with 
the bright side towards us. 

There is something which is called genius, that carries 
in itself the seeds of its own destruction. There is an ambi 
tion which hurries a man after truth, and takes away the 
power of attaining it. There is a desire which is null, a lust 
which is impotence. There is no understanding so power 
ful, that ambition may not in time bereave it of its last truth, 
even that two and two are four. Know, then, that genius is 
/ divine, not when the man thinks that he is God, but when he 
acknowledges that his powers are from God. Here is the 
link of the finite with the infinite, of the divine with the hu 
man : this is the humility which exalts. 

The arts have been taken from nature by human inven 
tion ; and, as the mind returns to its God, they are in a 
measure swallowed up in the source from which they came. 
We see, as they vanish, the standard to which we should 
refer them. They are not arbitrary, having no founda 
tion except in taste j they are only modified by taste, which 
varies according to the state of the human mind. Had we 
a history of music, from the war-song of the savage to the 
song of angels, it would be a history of the affections that 
have held dominion over the human heart. Had we a his 
tory of architecture, from the first building erected by man 
to the house not made with hands, we might trace the varia 
tions of the beautiful and the grand, alloyed by human con 
trivance, to where they are lost in beauty and grandeur. 
Had we a history of poetry, from the first rude effusions to 
where words make one with things, and language is lost in 
nature, we should see the state of man in the language of 
licentious passion, in the songs of chivalry, in the descriptions 
of heroic valor, in the mysterious wildness of Ossian ; till the 

Genius. 61 

beauties of nature fall on the heart, as softly as the clouds on 
the summer s water. The mind, as it wanders from heaven, 
moulds the arts into its own form, and covers its nakedness. 
Feelings of all kinds will discover themselves in music, in 
painting, in poetry ; but it is only when the heart is purified 
from every selfish and worldly passion, that they are created 
in real beauty ; for in their origin they are divine. 

Science is more fixed. It consists of the laws according 
to wjaich natural things exist ; and these must be either true 
or false. It is the natural world in the abstract, not in the 
concrete. But the laws according to which things exist, are 
from the things themselves, not the opposite. Matter has 
solidity : solidity makes no part of matter. If, then, the 
natural world is from God, the abstract properties, as dis 
sected and combined, are from him also. If, then, science 
be from Him who gave the ten commandments, must not a 
life according to the latter facilitate the acquirement of the 
former ? Can he love the works of God who does not love 
his commandments ? It is only necessary that the heart be 
purified, to have science like poetry its spontaneous growth. 
Self-love has given rise to many false theories, because a 
selfish man is disposed to make things differently from what 
God has made them. Because God is love, nature exists ; 
itecause God is love, the Bible is poetry. If, then, the love 
of God creates the scenery of nature, must not he whose 
mind is most open to this love be most sensible of natural 
beauties ? But in nature both the sciences and the arts exist 

Science may be learned from ambition ; but it must be by 
the sweat of the brow. The filthy and polluted rnind may 
carve beauties from nature, with which it has no allegiance : 
the rose is blasted in the gathering. The olive and the vine 
had rather live with God, than crown the head of him whose 
love for them is a lust for glory. The man is cursed who 
would rob nature of her graces, that he may use them to 
allure the innocent virgin to destruction. 

Men say there is an inspiration in genius. The genius of 
the ancients was the good or evil spirit that attended the 
man. The moderns speak of the magic touch of the pencil, 

62 Genius. 

and of the inspiration of poetry. But this inspiration has 
been esteemed so unlike religion, that the existence of the 
one almost supposes the absence of the other. The spirit of 
God is thought to be a very different thing when poetry is 
written, from what it is when the heart is sanctified. What 
has the inspiration of genius in common with that of the 
cloister ? The one courts the zephyrs ; the other flies them. 
The one is cheerful ; the other, sad. The one dies ; the other 
writes the epitaph. Would the Muses take the veil ? Would 
they exchange Parnassus for a nunnery ? Yet there has 
been learning, and even poetry, under ground. The yew 
loves the graveyard ; but other trees have grown there. 

It needs no uncommon eye to see, that the finger of death 
has rested on the church. Religion and death have in the 
human mind been connected with the same train of associa 
tions. The churchyard is the graveyard. The bell which 
calls men to worship is to toll at their funerals, and the gar 
ments of the priests are of the color of the hearse and the 
coffin. Whether we view her in the strange melancholy 
that sits on her face, in her mad reasonings about truth, or 
in the occasional convulsions that agitate her limbs, there are 
symptoms, not of life, but of disease and death. It is not 
strange, then, that genius, such as could exist on the earth, 
should take its flight to the mountains. It may be said, that 
great men are good men. But what I mean is, that, in the 
human mind, greatness is one thing, and goodness another ; 
that philosophy is divorced from religion ; that truth is sepa 
rated from its source ; that that which is called goodness is 
sad, and that which is called genius is proud. 

Since things are so, let men take care that the life which is 
received be genuine. Let the glow on the cheek spring from 
the warmth of the heart, and the brightness of the eyes beam 
from the light of heaven. Let ambition and the love of the 
world be plucked up by their roots. How can he love his 
neighbor, who desires to be above him ? He may love him 
for a slave ; but that is all. Let not the shrouds of death be 
removed, till the living principle has entered. It was riot till 
Lazarus was raised from the dead, and had received the breath 
of life, that the Lord said, " Loose him, and let him go." 

Genius. 63 

When the heart is purified from all selfish and worldly 
affections, then may genius find its seat in the church. As 
the human mind is cleansed of its lusts, truth will permit 
and invoke its approach, as the coyness of the virgin subsides 
into the tender love of the wife. The arts will spring in 
fall-grown beauty from Him who is the source of beauty. 
The harps which have hung on the willows will sound as 
sweetly as the first breath of heaven that moved the leaves 
in the garden of Eden. Cannot a man paint better when he 
knows that the picture ought not to be worshipped ? 

Here is no sickly aspiring after fame, no filthy lust after 
philosophy, whose very origin is an eternal barrier to the 
truth. But sentiments will flow from the heart warm as its 
blood, and speak eloquently ; for eloquence is the language 
of love. There is a unison of spirit and nature. The genius 
of the mind will descend, arid unite with the genius of the 
rivers, the lakes, and the woods. Thoughts fall to the earth 
with power, and make a language out of nature. 

Adam and Eve knew no language but their garden. They 
had nothing to communicate by words ; for they had not the 
power of concealment. The sun of the spiritual world shone 
bright on their hearts, and their senses were open with delight 
to natural objects. In the eye were the beauties of paradise ; 
in the ear was the music of birds ; in the nose was the fra 
grance of the freshness of nature ; in the taste was the fruit 
of the garden ; in the touch, the seal of their eternal union. 
What had they to say ? 

The people of the golden age have left us no monuments 
of genius, no splendid columns, no paintings, no poetry. 
They possessed nothing w 7 hich evil passions might not obliter 
ate ; and, when their " heavens were rolled together as a 
scroll," the curtain dropped between the world and their 

Science will be full of life, as nature is full of God. She 
will wring from her locks the dew which w r as gathered in 
the wilderness. By science, I mean natural science. The 
science of the human mind must change with its subject. 
Locke s mind will not always be the standard of metaphysics. 
Had we a description of it in its present state, it would make 

64 The Dorian Measure. 

a very different book from " Locke on the Human Under 

The time is not far distant. The cock has crowed. I 
hear the distant lowing of the cattle which are grazing on 
the mountains. " Watchman, what of the night ? Watch 
man, what of the night ? The watchman saith, The morning 


AT this moment when so many nations seem to be waking 
up to re-assert their individuality, and, more than all, when 
the idea is started, that the object of Providence in societies 
is to produce unities of life, to which the individuals that 
compose them shall each contribute something, even as every 
limb and fibre of the physical system contributes to the whole 
ness of the body of a man, it is wise to cast the eye back 
over the records of history, and ask whether there be any 
thing in the past which predicts such consummation. 

The assertion of the Hebrew nation to an individuality 
which has ever been believed to be an especial object of 
Divine Providence, and the fact that this faith, developed in 
the patriarchs of the nation, and guarded by the system of 
religious rites which has rendered the name of Moses immor 
tal, have resulted in accomplishing what it predicted, rises 
immediately before every one s mind. But the case of the 
HebreAvs, as it is commonly viewed, rather obscures than illus 
trates the general truth ; for the very brilliancy of the illustra 
tion so dazzles the eyes which gaze upon it, that they do not 
see anywhere else in history the same truth illustrated ; and 
thus it is looked upon rather as an exception than as an expres 
sion of a general principle on which nations may act. 

There is, however, in antiquity another nation, whose idea 
was also something more than a blind instinct, but which, 
from the earliest times we hear of it, knew itself to be a moral 
being, and did not live by accident. This nation was THE 

The Dorian Measure. . 65 

DORIANS, whose antiquities and whole life have been faithfully 
set forth to modern times by Karl Otfried Miiller, but which 
has not yet been considered sufficiently with reference to 
general edification in social science. 

In order to be intelligible, and because all persons have 
not access to Miiller s books, it is necessary to begin with 
some historical sketches, which are derived from several 
sources, and which pertain to other Grecian tribes, as well 
as to the Dorians. 

Greece, in the earliest times of which we have tradition, 
was a congeries of little nations, independent of each other, 
but which as a whole were remarkable for one thing ; viz. 
the peculiar relations to each other of their religious and civil 
institutions. These relations were very loose. 

It would seem, from the tradition which appears under the 
form of the fabulous war of the Titans and Olympic Gods, 
that at first a sacerdotal government obtained over this region, 
but that, through the ambition of some talented younger son, 
who led that rebellion which always must be smouldering 
among the subjects of absolute sway, when there is still any 
human life left to dream of freedom, this sacerdotal govern 
ment was overthrown, and a reign of talent and political 
power began. 

The Jupiter of the Olympic dynasty was some Napoleon 
Bonaparte, who began a new regime made brilliant with 
the spoils of a past which had been cultivated, and carried the 
arts of life to great perfection, but which had no elasticity to 
receive the new floods of life poured forth from the prodi 
gality of a Creator who, in every generation of man, goes forth 
anew. One does not desire to be altogether pragmatical in 
the analysis of these old myths. Doubtless, we can inter 
pret the relations of the Titanic and Olympic dynasties as an 
allegory of the relations of ideas to each other, without the 
intervention of their historic manifestation ; and it is unques 
tionable that ^Eschylus, and some other Greeks, so used 
them. But it is nevertheless not impossible that they are, at 
the same time, the magnificent drapery of historic facts. 

All the stationary nations of antiquity, when we first know 
of them, are under sacerdotal governments. These govern- 

66 The Dorian Measure. 

IMC nts have a genesis and history, that can be discerned, but 
A\hich we will, just now, pass by. Their deadening in 
fluence, combined with that of an enervating climate and 
other circumstances, succeeded in checking the progressive 
life of most nations altogether. But this was not the uniform 
experience ; and in one location especially, circumstances 
combined favorably, and genius escaped the strait -jacket of 
custom, and asserted itself. It was genius cultivated ; and 
it had all the advantages of its cultivation. 

To its aid came the multitude. Let us be pardoned if we 
analyze, even like Euhemerus himself. Briareus, the hun 
dred-handed giant, who comes to the assistance of Jupiter, 
is invoked (so we learn from Homer) by Thetis. Is it the 
genius of commerce that has made the people rich, and a 
strong helpmeet, to serve the purposes of the young autocrat, 
who overthrows the old system, because it is devouring all 
that it generates ? It is remarkable that afterwards is another 
war, inevitable in like circumstances, and repeated in all 
subsequent history, the war of the conquering Olympics, 
with their instruments the giants. The people has been 
made use of, and has thereby learned its force : now it asks 
for participation of power, or perhaps only for a recognized 
existence as a living part of the body politic. In the Gre 
cian history, Jupiter here triumphs again. He stands at that 
happy point between the cultivated conservative, and the 
fresh strong children of earth, who are his foster-brethren, 
that he has the advantage of both. He rules by fulness of 
natural life. He rules no less by cultivated genius ; for 
Prometheus assisted him.* He has wedded custom, the 
oldest daughter of Saturn ; and, though on occasion he hangs 
her up and whips her, on the whole he honors her more than 
all his wives ; and she is Juno, queen of Olympus. 

We would not try, even if we were able, to trace out the 
story into ah 1 its details, to join on the old mythology with 
the plain prose of annals. We only mean to show that it is 
indicated in Grecian traditions, that, in remote antiquity, an 
immense revolution took place, which broke asunder some 

* " Prometheus " of ^Eschylus. 

The Dorian Measure. 67 

great social unity ; and that of its fragments were the Greek 
nations which we see in remotest historical narrations, nes 
tled, in their independence, now among the hills of Arcady, 
now on the Eurotas, now on the Alpheus, now about the 
Cyclopic architecture of Argos, now in the Olympic vales of 
Thessaly, and again on every hill-side and by every stream 
of Middle Greece ; all being alike only in this, that all are 
independent of each other, all free from sacerdotal rule. 

But their antagonism to one another and to the sacerdotal 
rule is not brutal or furious. They respect each other ; they 
respect the old traditions. The Titans are still served. Ceres 
has her Eleusis ; Neptune, his Isthmus and ./Egsean recess ; 
Pluto, his Pherse ; the Furies are worshipped at Athens. The 
peculiarity of Grecian freedom is, that it respects every thing, 
consecrates every thing that lives. It worships life as divine, 
wherever manifested. The very word theos, which represents 
something out, proves manifestation to the apprehension of 
man, to have been inseparable, in their opinion, from the idea 
of God ; and their own active character and plastic genius 
received its impulse from this religious intuition. " As a 
man s god, so is he." Certainly, as a nation s god, so is it. 

Some things were gained by those Titanic and Giant wars, 
which distinguished Greece, in all future time, from all other 
nations. The religion, henceforth, was an enacted poetry, 
and not a sacerdotal rule, as in Asia, or a state pageant and 
formula, as in Rome. They had diviners, soothsayers, and 
priests, elected for the year ; but never a priesthood, in the 
full sense of the word. In the heroic ages, and on public 
occasions, the kings, and, in all times, fathers of families, 
conducted religious rites. The various worships also dwelt, 
side by side, with mutual respect. Each tribe, each city, 
had its own divinities. They were mutually tolerated, mu 
tually reverenced. Hence, the human instincts and divine 
ideas which each divinity represented were thrown into a 
common stock. Hence, Homer made of the gods of the 
several tribes a community acting together ; and explained 
the variations of man s mortal life, by their antagonisms and 
harmonies. Hence, Hesiod conceived the idea of a Theog- 
ony, in which we see a vain attempt to make into one 

68 The Dorian Measure. 

consistent whole, what was but the imperfect reflex of the 
spiritual life of many nations not harmonized. This high 
influence of toleration came from the Dorians, who were 
pre-eminently the genius of Greece. 

To that large multitude, whose idea of Dorians is derived 
from Plutarch s life of Lycurgus (a personage whom the 
researches of Miiller make to be rather shadowy, certainly 
mythological), it will be a new idea that they were not mainly 
a military race, nor at all of a conquering spirit, like the 
Romans. Yet their forcible occupation of Peloponnesus in 
the age after the Trojan war, and the military attitude of 
Sparta during the period of recorded history, seem to have 
given a natural basis to such a view. The truth is, we have 
looked at Greece too much with eyes and minds that the 
Romans have pre-occupied. It is necessary to understand 
distinctly, that Greece, at least Dorian Greece, was, in most 
important respects, very different from Rome. Both nations 
had organic genius, but the Greeks only the artistic-organic. 
The Romans organized brute force, together with the moral 
force of the Sabines, the cunning of the commercial colonies 
of Magna Grsecia, and the formal stateliness of a sacerdotal 
Etruria ; forming a compound whole, which expressed one 
element of human nature, that which commands and obeys. 
On the other hand, the Greeks organized the harvest of their 
sensibilities into ideal forms. It was not strength merely or 
mainly which they sought as the highest good, but beauty, 
order, which might be expressed by a building, a statue, a 
painting, a procession, a festival, and, more fully still, by the 
body politic. 

But what is order ? It surely is not mere subjection. It 
means subordination according to a true, which is ever, if 
largely enough apprehended, a beautiful idea. It is an 
arrangement around a centre. It is a disposition of elements, 
such that the weak may borrow of the strong, and the strong 
be adorned. Thus their aim in politics was far other than 
to exhibit the right of the strongest. It was to have a 
society perfectly organized to express the beauty of the most 

The genesis of the Dorians is yet undiscovered. Like 

The Dorian Measure. 69 

their god Apollo, they are the children of the creative wis 
dom and mystery. That festival of Apollo, which com 
memorates his return from the Hyperborseans, is possibly the 
mythic history of their origin, too obscure, perhaps too 
fragmentary, to be clearly elucidated. Sometimes it seems 
as if they must have come from the foot of the Himmelaya 
mountains, and that Apollo and the Indian Heri are the same. 
Other researches, for instance those of Professor Henne, 
would lead us to believe that they were the emigrating life 
of the ancient nation, which he believes, and endeavors to 
prove, had its seat, before history began, in Europe. In 
favor of this, we may remark that the Hyperborsean proces 
sion came from the North-west, passing from the Scythians 
through a chain of nations on the coast of the Adriatic, by 
Dodona, through Thessaly, Euboea, and the Island of Tenos, 
accompanied with flutes and pipes to Delos.* 

Another argument for the Dorians being of European 
origin is, that their character is in strong antagonism to the 

But we leave these curious and interesting inquiries for 
the present, to record what Miiller has ascertained.! The 
Dorians, says this indefatigable antiquarian, are first known 
at the foot of Mount Olympus. The oldest known temple of 
Apollo was in the Vale of Tempe. Thence they spread in 
colonies by sea, along the eastern shores of the Archipelago, 
among the islands, into Crete especially, where they estab 
lished themselves long before the Trojan war. Their where 
about is always traceable by temples of Apollo. These 
temples were their centres of artistic cultivation. Apollo is 
always the god of music, and of all elegant exercises, whe 
ther of mind or body, but especially of those of mind. 

Within the borders of the mainland, we do not find that 
the Dorians advanced much, till after the Trojan war. To the 

* "According to the tradition of Delphi," says Mailer, " Apollo, at the 
expiration of the great period, visited the beloved nation of the Hyperbor 
seans, and danced and played with them, from the vernal equinox to the 
early setting of the Pleiades ; and, when the first corn w r as cut in Greece, he re 
turned to Delphi with the full ripe ears, the offerings of the Hyperborseans." 

t History of the Dorians. 

70 The Dorian Measure. 

early Ionian Greeks, Apollo was a stranger. Homer does 
not profess to understand his nature, or betray any insight 
into it. One sees occasionally the mythical origin of Homer s 
Jupiter. He is generally an autocratic principle, founding 
his action on natural, self-derived superiority : his will is law, 
because it has present ascendancy, and is an entity not to be 
disputed. On the other hand, he is sometimes obviously the 
ether, and Juno the atmosphere, as in the beautiful episode 
near the end of Book xiv. where the flowers of earth spring 
into being on their embrace. Homer s Mars, too, is the 
blind, uncultured instinct of violence ; what the phrenologists 
call destructiveness. He makes him the war-god of the 
Trojans, whose instinctive courage he could not deny ; re 
serving Minerva, the art and science of war, as the war-god 
of the Greeks. There is not a god or goddess, except 
Apollo, that Homer does not show he understood, and who 
is not therefore a plaything in his hands. But Apollo comes 
on the stage, " like night : " he is terrible ; he deals myste 
rious death. Whatever success or movement of the Tro 
jans Homer cannot account for on any natural principle or 
human instinct, Apollo brings about arbitrarily; and this 
prevails throughout the " Iliad." Homer was not a Do 
rian to worship Apollo intelligently ; but he was an Ionian, 
and his candid, open nature did not refuse to see the mag 
nificence and power which was manifested in his name, or 
to do a certain homage to his divinity which he pays to no 

Apollo is sometimes confounded with Helius by later Gre 
cian poets ; and Homer, in making him the author of the 
Pestilence, may have had a suggestion of the kind. But 
nothing is proved more clearly by K. O. Miiller, than that 
the Apollo of the Dorians was not the sun, although the sun s 
rays are an apt symbol of the genius that radiates beauty 

Homer s mode of treating Apollo is a testimony to the 
power of the Dorians of his day. His mode of representing 
the Cretans and Lycians is another proof of their acknow 
ledged superiority in cultivation ; for it was the Dorian colo 
nies that civilized Crete and Lycia. Sarpcdon, the golden- 

The Dorian Measure. 71 

mailed son of Jupiter from Lycia, and Idomeneus, the son of 
the wise Minos, both testify to the same general fact. 

The Dorians appear to us, from the first, as a highly cul 
tivated race. Lycurgus did not create the cultivation of the 
Dorians. Indeed it is probable, that in Sparta the breadth 
and beauty of this cultivation were injured, in order to con 
centrate strength, and intensify the individuality of the race, 
which became more and more precious to the wise, as they 
compared themselves with other races. 

After the Trojan war, the Dorians of Thessaly moved 
southward, and at last crossed the gulf at Naupactus, and 
spread over Peloponnesus. K. O. Miiller thinks only about 
twenty thousand crossed at Naupactus, and that they never 
were in great numerical force. Yet they overturned Pelopon 
nesus. Their mode of warfare was to fortify themselves in 
some place, and make excursions round. As soon as pos 
sible, they built temples to Apollo, and won the people by 
their superior cultivation. In the course of time, they won 
Laconia entirely : Messenia was a later conquest. The 
lonians fled before them to Attica, and across the Archi 
pelago ; while the Achseans of Sparta and Argos retreated 
to the northern shores, just deserted by the lonians. But it 
was by moral rather than physical force, that they took the 
precedence of all other races in Peloponnesus. Their con 
quering rule was like no other on historical record. They 
are the only conquering people who have benefited, by 
intention and in fact, the nations they conquered. They 
did give them such freedom as to incorporate them among 

The Dorian rule was freedom by means of law. Their 
form of government was not at first sight democratical ; but 
neither could it ever, like the Athenian democracy, become 
an unprincipled tyranny. The Dorians governed themselves, 
as well as others, by law and religion. Their king was an 
occasional officer. Hence the moral superiority of the Spar 
tans was always allowed. Hence they were always appealed 
to by nations oppressed by external or internal tyrants. Let 
us therefore examine their religion. 

The gods of this race were Apollo and Diana, with their 

72 The Dorian Measure. 

parents, Jupiter and Latona. The parents, however, remain 
in the background : Hesiod, himself a Dorian, makes 

" The azure-robed Latona, ever mild, 
Gracious to man and to immortal gods, 
Gentlest of all within the Olympian courts," 

the third wife of Jove, next after Metis and Themis. But in 
all he says, there is nothing but her name which throws any 
light upon her nature. Leto (Latona) means mystery ; and 
Apollo and Diana are the children of mystery, whether we 
consider the unexplained origin of the Dorians, or the nature 
of the principles, Genius and Chastity, which they embody. 

It is noticeable, that the Dorian Diana, who must be dis 
criminated from Diana of Ephesus, a very different divinity 
and also from Diana of Arcadia, though in later times they 
were confounded, is the feminine of Apollo, and nothing else. 
As he is the severity of intellect, she is the severity of morals. 
Here the Dorian respect for woman, which is brought out in 
strong relief by K. O. Miiller in his history of Grecian litera 
ture, as well as in his account of the Dorian institutions, has 
its highest expression. Apollo and Diana are twins, and 
have equal dignity, united by sympathy of nature and same 
ness of birth ; and the latter not at all displaying any subor 
dination to the former. Again, we may remark that Apollo, 
with all his power and splendor and autocratic character, is 
never represented as the Supreme God. He tells the mind of 
his father, Jupiter. Do we not see here the shadow of God 
and the Word of God ? The Dorian Jupiter is never at all 
the Ionian Jupiter described by Homer, but is absolute, un- 
manifest, except by the oracle and action of his son. This 
oracle and action betray the finiteness inseparable from mani 
festation ; but, nevertheless, there is a sublimity about Apollo 
which we find nowhere else in the Greek heaven. He is no 
instinct, no power of external nature personified. He is no 
thing less than the moral and intellectual harmony of the uni 
verse. In his action we find the practical religion of the 
Dorians. He is beautiful : his recreation is music. He leads 
the Muses with his harp in hand, and even mingles in the 
dance. He is resplendent ; where he is, darkness cannot be : 

The Dorian Measure. 73 

his inevitable arrow destroys deformity. Excellence is his 
prerogative : whoever contends with him is worsted and dies. 
His first great oracle commands to man self-consciousness. 
It is man s prerogative and duty to act, not blindly, but in the 
light of the past and the future. 

There is trace in Greece, as everywhere else in the ancient 
world, of a worship of nature, which grovelled in the material 
slime. This appears in the mythology as monsters, especi 
ally as serpents which some hero, personifying or concentrat 
ing in himself the genius of some Grecian tribe, destroys. 
Perhaps one hideous form of earth-worship had its seat, in 
very early times, at Delphusa and Delphi, and was expelled 
thence by a Dorian colony, who settled there, and built the 
temple of Apollo.* But the most important part of the wor 
ship was not a commemoration of historical facts, but the ex 
pression of an idea ; which, though it has not, in the Apollonic 
religion, the complete expression that it after wards found 
in the facts of the Christian history, w^as no less deep than the 
central idea of Christianity. 

Apollo kills the Pythoness by the necessity of his nature. 
It is his virtue. But his virtue is a crime that must be ex. 
piated. No sooner is the deed done, than, by a necessity as 
irresistible as that by which he did it, he flies from the scene 
of the slaughter toward the old Vale of Tempe for purifica 
tion. On the way occurs the expiation. For eight years, he 
serves Admetus ; and Muller has demonstrated, that Admetus 
is but a title of Pluto, and that Pherse was from the earliest 
times a spot where the infernal deities were worshipped. 
Having expiated, he goes on to Tempe, and breaks the bough 
of peace from the laurel groves that encompass the temple, 
and, returning to Delphi, lays it on the altar. 

The interpretation of this fable is awful. Life, then, is 
sacred : even the all-divine Son of God, if he violate it in its 
lowest, most degraded manifestation, must expiate the deed 
afterwards by years of activity in the service of Death. The 

* See Homeric Hymn to Apollo. But there is no proof that it was 
written by the author of the " Iliad," although it is called Homeric. It is 
doubtless very ancient, and probably consists of fragments of several Dorian 


74 The Dorian Measure. 

best life pays this tribute, and thus acknowledges a certain 
equality before God with its opposite ; for even a bad life 
has divine right, inasmuch as it is. "To be is respectable." 
The expiation, indeed, is measured, and comes to an end ; 
and Apollo is interpreter of God for evermore, and king, giv 
ing a death which does not wound or pain its recipient, 
euthanasia, if not immortality. Here, indeed, the symbol 
falls, both in form and meaning, below the Christian symbol ; 
which makes the Resurrection SAvallow up, and annihilate 
with its glory, the Crucifixion. Yet it is something, that the 
ancient story intimates the cheering truth. The whole thing 
is fainter in the Grecian form, because addressed to a nation, 
and not to humanity, to a nation at a peculiar stage of cul 
ture, and not to humanity through countless ages. Apollo 
may be held as the Word of God to a tribe of ideal Greeks, 
whose life can be counted by centuries. Christ is the Word 
of God to humanity, thinking and Buffering all over the globe 
and through all time, and whose influences take hold of 

But we should not omit to speak here of the fable of 
Apollo s rescuing Alcestis from Pluto, on his return from 
Tempe towards Delphi, after his purification. A later fable, 
which Euripides has immortalized (perhaps originated), 
makes Hercules the rescuer of Alcestis. This may have 
been one of the many interchanges of names which took 
place with respect to Hercules, and that tribe of the Dorians 
called Heracleides ; and which led to the misapprehension, 
very early in Grecian history, that the children of Hercules 
were a component part of the Dorian nation, and that the 
Dorian invasion of Southern Greece was the return of these 
children to the land of their fathers. K. O. Miiller has 
entirely cleared up this subject. But the point of interest 
for us is, that this rescue of Alcestis from death was, in either 
form, a Dorian fable. Miiller says there is also trace of a 
fable of the death of Apollo. 

That the fable of Apollo s killing the Pythoness, and ex 
piating it, and becoming purified, was the heart and marrow 
of the religion of the Dorians, is evident from the fact, that a 
dramatic representation of it, on a theatre stretching from 

The Dorian Measure. 75 

Delphi to the Vale of Tempe, was the grand mass of the 
worship. Once in a certain number of years, the death of 
the Pythoness was enacted in pantomime by a beautiful boy, 
representing Apollo. Having discharged his arrow, he fled 
away, along a road always kept in order by the Grecian 
nations for the express purpose ; and, when he arrived at 
Pherse, he went through certain pantomimes which repre 
sented servitude. This done, he proceeded on the road to 
Tempe, where he passed the night, and returned next morn 
ing with the sacred bough, to break his fast at Pherae. Thence 
he proceeded back to Delphi, and was met by processions 
from the sacred city, shouting lo PJSAN ; and a festival cele 
brated the laying of the bough upon the altar. 

The importance of this great act of worship is apt to be 
overlooked, especially by England Old and New, who, on 
account of their Puritan pre-occupations, are not accustomed 
to look for important results from a form of worship whose 
festive air and entertaining character give it, in their eyes, 
the trifling tone of mere amusement. But these nations of 
the South of Europe are merely not sanctimonious. They 
live seriously, while they dress the festival of life. The sym 
bolic language of their festivals harmonizes with the symbolic 
language of nature. They see God in the sunshine and the 
flowers, rather than in the storm and wilderness. It is utterly 
impossible for any persons to understand Greece, who per 
sist in believing that Greek festivals and processions were 
mere amusements, and had not the higher aim and effect of 
awakening all human energies, by the expression of serious 
ideas. Every thing in Greece became artistic, and over 
flowed with beauty, precisely because the people were so 
intellectual, they caught, and were continually expressing 
symbolically, the grand ideas of order and harmony which 
pervade the universe. They neglected nothing, and trifled 
about nothing, because, by the wayside or the hearthstone, 
alone as well as in company, they recognized that " the gods 
were there." See Hesiod, in his " Works and Days," where 
he gives the minutest directions about the small moralities of 
paring nails, and other decencies, and sanctions his counsels 
by these very words. 

76 The Dorian Measure. 

The worship of Apollo was not the only worship of Greece, 
but it was the only national worship of the Dorians ; and the 
predominance of the Dorians in Greece, and their influence 
over all the other tribes, direct or indirect, placed it in the 
forefront ; and at last the shrine of Delphi seems to have 
concentrated all religious feeling into itself. 

Let us compare this Dorian religion with the other Grecian 

Each tribe seems to have had its peculiar god. This god, 
when examined and analyzed, gives us the genius of the 
people. They are instincts, which characterized the different 
tribes, personified. The names only came from foreign 
lands. Thus Pan, in Egypt, signifies the Supreme God, 
nature personified. In Arcadia, the Pelasgic genius wor 
shipped the beauty and music of the surface of nature ; and 
therefore their Pan, whose name they took from the Egyp 
tians that early settled in Peloponnesus, together with the 
association of God of nature, became a perfect expression 
of Pelasgic genius, 

" Who, frisking it, ran 
O er woody cragg d Pisa, in fun 
And frolic and laughter, 
With skipping nymphs after, 

Shouting out, Pan, Pan. 

Pan, merry musical Pan, 

Piping o er mountain-tops, 
Rough-headed, shaggy, and rusty like tan ; 
Dancing, where er the goats crop, 

The precipice round, 

And his hoofs strike the ground 
With their musical clop-clop. 

Pan is the lord of the hills, 
With their summits all covered with snow ; 
Pan is lord of the brooks, of the rivers, and rills, 
That murmur in thickets below ; 

There he saunters along, 

And listens their song, 
And bends his shagged ears as they flow. 

The Dorian Measure. 77 

Where the goats seem to hang in the air, 

And the cliffs touch the clouds with their jags, 
How he hurries and leaps, now here and now there, 
And skips o er the white shining crags ; 
And, quick to descry 
With his keen-searching eye, 
Bounds after the swift-footed stags ! 

Pan drives before him the flocks, 
To shades of cool caverns he takes 
And gathers them round him, and, under deep rocks, 
Of the reeds a new instrument makes ; 
And with out-piping lips 
Blows into their tips, 
And the spirit of melody wakes."* 

The Earth was worshipped under the name of Diana at 
Ephesus and in Arcadia, although no trace of the Dorian 
goddess of chastity is to be found in the character or the 
worship of these divinities. They were, in fact, the manifes 
tations, in personal form, of the fecundating principle. In 
Syria and other places, where their worship was fully devel 
oped, their festivals were the gala of licentious passion ; and, 
if in Greece such excesses were checked, it can be ascribed 
to no cause but that of the restraining presence of the Dorian 
Apollo, and the superior character of his votaries. The dark 
ness fled before the light, and " concious Law is King of 

Again, the Egyptian Hermes, the expression of all severe 
and awful wisdom, becomes, among the mercenary, thrifty, 
shifty Arcadians, the Mercury, who is the messenger of the 
gods, the patron of thieves, the ready go-between, the " brain 
in the hand." There is not in Grecian literature or art any 
thing that suggests more to the historic investigator of such 
subjects than the Homeric hymn to Mercury, where Apollo 
is made to say, in a transport of gratitude, because Mercury 
has given to him the lyre, 

* See the whole of the Homeric Hymn to Pan. 

78 The Dorian Measure. 

" Now, since thou hast, although so very small, 

Science of arts so glorious, that I swear 
(And let this cornel javelin, keen and tall, 

Witness between us what I promise here) 
That I will lead thee to the Olympian hall, 

Honored and mighty, with thy mother dear ; 
And many glorious gifts in joy will give thee, 
And even at the end will not deceive thee." 

We might go through all the names of the mythology, and 
we shall still find that always the Grecian gods are some one 
elemental power of nature or of mind personified and wor 
shipped by the people, in whom that power of mind, or 
around whom that power of nature, obtained. But Apollo 
was the manifestation of a Triune God. Apollo was never 
conceived, without a father to give him wisdom and the 
oracle, and without an object towards whom the activity of 
his love or hate is manifested. 

This spiritual superiority of the Apollonic religion explains 
its predominance over all the other worships, which it finally 
swallowed up. Other oracles died out, even that of Dodo- 
nsean Jupiter ; but Delphi ever became greater. This triumph 
of the religion of Apollo is a lesson to sectarian Christendom. 
It triumphed by tolerance ; it conquered by accepting. 

This fact is most remarkably displayed in its relations with 
the worship of Bacchus. Nothing could be more antipodal 
than the genius of these two worships. Bacchus concentrated 
the spirit of the earth-worships. His name and origin were 
Asiatic, and his worship had all the characteristics of Asiatic 
worship. It was the exciting, even to frenzy, of that ele 
mental, mysterious, vital power, which is not idea, but seems 
its polar basis of life, the source of the substance that we are 
" without form, and void." The Asiatics always seem to 
regard this fury as divinity in its purest form. The Dorians 
opposed to Bacchus, Apollo, who, by the law which he is, 
arranges in order this blind force. Hence, the characteristic 
difference of Asiatic and Dorian worship. With the Asiatics, 
it consisted in a wild excitement of nervous energy, preclud 
ing all intellection and all reflection. The Bacchantes, as 
described by Euripides, could not see with their eyes what 

The Dorian Measure. 79 

they were doing, much less understand with their mind. 
Agave tears her own son Pentheus limb from limb, while she 
is filled with the god, and wakes up afterwards to the horrid 
truth, but with no misgivings of conscience. 

Moderation, balance, on the other hand, was the character 
istic of the worshipper of Apollo. He was joyous, but calm ; 
everything in balance. Self-possession was his beatification. 
He saw every thing around him in the pure light of truth 
and beauty. Hence the character of Dorian music. It was 
an old saying, that " Apollo hated the sound of the flute," 
and the lyre was his instrument. Their music must compose, 
clear the mind, soothe and calm the spirits ; not touch and 
excite the passions. 

From a passage in Homer, the speech of Diomede, in 
Book v. we have reason to infer, that, before his time, there 
had been an attempt in Thessaly to introduce the worship of 
Bacchus ; and the fundamental antagonism of the two wor 
ships is indicated by Lycurgus s armed opposition to it. It 
is intimated, that the disorder of the worshippers disgusted 
him. But so reverent are the Greeks, that his subsequent 
blindness was referred to the anger of the insulted god. In 
Euripides tragedy, we see the difficulty of introducing the 
worship of Bacchus into Thebes, by Pentheus s opposition, 
which seems to be defended by reason and r6 nginov^ peculiar 
to the Greeks ; but here the old and wise in experience, 
represented by Cadmus and Tiresias, are reverent of the new 
manifestation ; arid the self-respecting worshipper of the god 
who alone elevates the human mind to full self-consciousness, 
because he is the uncompromising opposer, becomes the 
victim of Bacchus. 

The new worship was at last accepted, because it was 
seen to cover undeniable facts of nature. As in the Eumeni- 
des, the battle was admitted to be a drawn one. There is 
antagonism in life. Life indeed exists only by antagonism, 
being subjective-objective. So each party of the last- 
mentioned magnificent drama maintains its position. The 
intellectual power, which contemplates only the idea, is 
represented by Apollo ; the unmeasured, immeasurable sen 
sibility, in which inhere the passions, is represented by the 

80 The Dorian Measure. 

Furies ; and the man Orestes is justified by the free grace of 
Minerva, who represents the compromise of the Creator of 
man, in accepting into fellowship with himself the human 
being, whose very existence is a compromise between the 
finite and infinite. 

Are we surprised to meet these great ideas in heathen 
Greece ? But it cannot be denied that here they are ; con 
ceived, indeed, only by the highest mind of his time, of almost 
any time, arid probably not realized very widely ; yet they 
may have been understood more widely than we think. And 
why should we doubt ? It is the Christian s formula, if not 
his faith, that " His goings forth were of old," and that 
" Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever." 
Truth has no age ; and the mind, at a certain point of 
elevation, must necessarily find itself in it. To that ele 
vation, no condition is so indispensable as an atmosphere of 

It may be observed, that .ZEschylus was not a Dorian. In 
his time, however, the Dorian culture had spread over Greece ; 
and ^Bschylus was a Pythagorean, and Pythagoreanism was 
the philosophic expression of the Dorian religion ; for, though 
Pythagoras was a Samian by birth, he was a Dorian by cul 
ture, and lived in the Dorian cities of Magria Grsecia, where 
he endeavored to realize in political institutions the Dorian 
idea, to which his plans did, in some respects, do more 
complete justice than the Spartan institutions ascribed to 

But to return : by accepting with reverence and liberality 
the worship of Bacchus, Apollo modified it. No stronger 
proof can be given of this than the very fact, that the feasts 
of Bacchus were celebrated in Athens by the tragic drama, 
w r hich, with both ^Eschylus and Sophocles, was consecrated, 
as it were, to the worship of Apollo. Before that era, all the 
excesses of the Bacchic orgies had yielded to the superior 
genius of the Dorian worship. Apollo is the god of CEdipus 
and his ill-fated family, of Cassandra, of Orestes ; and, if he 
does not appear by name in the " Prometheus," yet nowhere 
is that depth of idea which belonged to his worship more 

The Dorian Measure. 81 

Nor is this the only fraternization of Apollo with the older 
gods of Greece, which is on record. 

In Arcadia there was, on one side of the hill of Cyllene, 
an old temple of Mercury ; and, on the other side of the same 
hill, the Dorians afterwards erected a temple to Apollo. In 
the Homeric hymn to Mercury, mentioned above, we have a 
mythical story, whose meaning seems to be a commemora 
tion of the reconciliation of the two worships. This hymn is 
a masterpiece of characterization and humor, and evidently 
of Dorian origin ; for the Dorian god is represented alto 
gether as the most divine. Apollo s majestic honesty and sim 
plicity are finely contrasted with Mercury s subtlety and frisky 
cunning. It was just the contrast of the Dorian and the 
Arcadian character. But Mercury supplies the instrument 
by which the great Apollo may express himself ; and this gift 
becomes the bond of union. So the Peloponnesians were the 
plastic material which supplied to the Dorian intellectual 
power the means of manifesting itself. 

The Dorians may be considered the masculine principle of 
Greece, and the other Greeks the feminine. K. O. Miiller 
demonstrates, that the germ of comedy, the germ of tragedy, 
the germ of architecture and of art generally, always came 
from the intellectual Dorians ; but the seed was thrown into 
the rich soil of Ionian sensibility, Pelasgian liveliness of appre 
hension, Achaean subtlety of application ; and hence the rich 
harvest of art in all its kinds. Either race, disconnected with 
the other, would have been comparatively sterile. In Sparta, 
where there was most isolation, most repugnance to social 
union with the other states, there was least flowering out. 
There, however, was most strength in the root, though the 
least luxuriance in the branches. In Sparta the race vies 
with the Hebrew, in that self-springing power which keeps a 
people individual, and makes it more forcible to give than to 
receive influences. Like the Hebrew race, it has never been 
lost. To use the eloquent words of John Miiller, in the close 
of his chapter on Lacedemon, in his " Universal History," 
vol. i. : " What an ascendency must that lawgiver have pos 
sessed who knew how to persuade the opulent of his country 
to an equal division of their lands, and to the abolition of 

82 The Dorian Measure. 

money ; who changed a whole republic into a single family, 
and gave to a corrupt populace a love for their country, 
capable of producing such wonderful effects ; who infused 
into a multitude a degree of valor which never yielded even 
on the calamitous day of Leuctra, and such mutual forbear 
ance that no civil war broke out among them during seven 
hundred years, even after the decline of manners ; who formed 
an army which never inquired how strong the enemy Avas, 
but only where he was to be found ; youth full of obedience 
and respect for their elders, and at the same time firmly 
resolved to conquer or die for the liberty of Sparta ; old men 
who, after the field of Leuctra, with only one hundred young 
soldiers, arrested the victorious enemy in his impetuous ca 
reer ; women who never repined when their sons fell for their 
country, but bitterly wept when they were not ashamed to 
survive their leader and fellow-soldiers ; and, lastly, a nation 
eloquent in short proverbs and often in silence, in whom two 
thousand five hundred years have not wholly extinguished the 
genius of liberty ! 

" For after the republic, after Lacedemon itself had per 
ished, neither the Roman power nor the turbulent and 
degrading sway of the Byzantine monarchy, nor the arms 
of the Ottoman Turks, have been able wholly to subdue the 
citizens of Lycurgus. The bravest among them, as the son 
of Agesilaus long ago counselled them, left their falling 
country, and fled with their wives and children to the moun 
tains. After they had lost, all, they still saved themselves ; 
and often they descend from the heights of Taygetus, to reap 
the fields which their more tirnid countrymen have sown for 
the oppressor. They still dwell in freedom on the mountains 

of Maina, under two chiefs, fearless of the Janissaries 

The Mainottes themselves are strong, warlike men, and rival 
their forefathers of Lacedemon." 

Whence came the life of this wondrous people but from 
their deep theology of a Triune God, their justification by 
faith, and their sanctificatiori by life ? Even from the begin 
ning, as we have seen, Apollo confesses that he is not the 
Absolute ; for, when he touches the house of life, he suffers 
re-action. The sacredness of a life which neither evil nor 

The Dorian Measure. 83 

deformity could quench, Apollo acknowledges by service of 
Pluto. His own superior divinity is manifested, in that he 
never ceases to act and assert himself, under whatever 

Let the self-righteous of modern time, who may not learn 
of Christ, meditate this lesson promulgated in Greece, and 
which was one of the formative or creative principles of the 
Dorian culture and character. The Greeks dared to look 
the prime difficulty, the great mystery of life, in the face, 
and reverently to bow before it. It is good for man to shun 
evil and do good ; nay, it is incumbent on him to resist evil. 
But he must pay the penalty of contact. The Greek was 
inspired by Apollo to go up man-like, and act, with eyes 
wide open to the expiation that was to follow ; and which, 
in its turn, he also suffered man-like, without subterfuge or 
meaching. There are amongst us a people of sickly moral 
ity, who never do any thing for fear of doing wrong. 

" God ! forgive our crimes : 
Forgive our virtues too, those lesser crimes, 
Half converts to the right!" 

Apollo may teach such, who will not listen to the same les 
son given by Christ, in a form so sublime that its meaning is 
not dreamed of by thousands who pride themselves on the 
name of Christian, but do not understand as much of 
the doctrine as is expressed by the Dorian Apollo. Life is 
antagonism ; action and re-action. Will you not act, for 
fear of the re-action ? You can then choose but to die, or 
what is worse, life in death. The Muses will never fol 
low you. 

But the Dorian religion was not a mere symbolic repre 
sentation, an acknowledged theory of the difficulty of life. 
It was eminently practical. It enjoined on all its votaries 
personal culture. These people were pious. Their god was 
in all their thoughts. They lived upon the oracle. It was 
to them a living guidance, and wise were its utterances. 
Indeed, all wisdom was included prophetically in the motto 
on the temple of Delphi. A temple of Apollo, which was a 

84 The Dorian Measure. 

school of arts and sciences, was the nucleus, the heart of 
every Dorian community. Did they found a colony ? It 
was always at Apollo s command they went forth, and his 
temple was their first structure. The last myth was of the 
nymph Cyrene, carried off by Apollo into Africa. The life 
of the pious Dorian \vas like his god s, the destruction of 
the ugly Pythoness, and a manly endurance ; nay, a joyful 
expiation of alL the inevitable consequences of this lofty 
action, amid the disturbing influences of time and circum 
stance. He was moderate and severe to himself, but never 
ascetic : that would not have been moderate. His recreation 
was music. Education itself was called by the Dorians, 
learning music. They did not confine this to learning ac 
cords of sound ; but it was a study of the harmonies of man 
within himself, with the state, and with nature. 

Hence the characteristics of the Dorian politics. 

According to Miiller, the Dorians did not consider the 
state merely or mainly " an institution for protecting the per 
sons and property of the individuals contained in it ; " but 
its essence was, that, " by a recognition of the same opinions 
and principles, and the direction of actions to the same ends, 
the whole body became as it were one moral agent." Again 
he says, " Whereas, in modern times, that which commonly 
receives the name of liberty consists in having the fewest 
possible claims from the community ; or, in other words, in 
dissolving the social union to the greatest degree possible, as 
far as the individual is concerned ; the greatest freedom of 
the Spartan, as well as of the Greeks in general, was to be 
a living member of the body of the state. What the Dorians 
endeavored to obtain, as a state, was good order (xocrwoc), the 
regular combination of different elements. A fundamental 
principle of this race is found in the expression of king 
Archidamus, recorded by Thucydides, that it is most honor 
able, and at the same time most secure, for many persons to 
show themselves obedient to the same order (xfopos). Thus 
this significant word expresses the spirit of the Dorian go 
vernment, as well as of the Dorian music and philosophy, 
which was the Pythagorean system. Therefore, the supreme 
magistrate among the Cretans was called XOCT//O? ; among the 

The Dorian Measure. 85 

Epizephyrean Locrians, XOO-^OTTO/^C." * Again, " In the gen 
uine Doric form of government, there were certain predomi 
nant ideas which were peculiar to that race, and were also 
expressed in the worship of Apollo, viz. those of harmony and 
order, TO etixoafiov- of self-control and moderation, acocpgoavrr]; 
arid of manly virtue, doetTj. Accordingly, the constitution 
was formed for the education as well of the old as the young ; 
and, in a Doric state, education was upon the whole a sub 
ject of greater importance than government. And this is 
the reason that^ all attempts to explain the legislation of 
Lycurgus, from partial views and considerations, have neces 
sarily failed. It was soon perceived, that external happiness 
and enjoyment were not the aim of these institutions ; but 
then it was thought, with Aristotle, that every thing could be 
traced to the desire of making the Spartans courageous war 
riors, and Sparta a dominant and conquering state ; whereas 
the fact is, that Sparta was hardly ever known to seek occa 
sion for a war, or to follow up a victory : and, during the 
whole of her flourishing period (i.e. from about the fiftieth 
Olympiad to the battle of Leuctra), she did not make a single 
conquest by which her territory was enlarged. In fine, the 
Doric state was a body of men acknowledging one strict 
principle of order, and one unalterable rule of manners ; and 
so subjecting themselves to this system, that scarcely any 
thing was unfettered by it, but every action was influenced 
and regulated by the recognized principles." 

Considering the prevalent ignorance, even misconception , 
of the whole political and social state of the Dorians, one is 
tempted to go into particulars, and copy out the large pro 
portion of K. O. M tiller s second volume, which shows so 
satisfactorily that the aristocracy of these states was not an 
aristocracy of persons, but of principles ; that the people were 
the most moderate, gentle, humane, modest of the Greeks ; 
the least overbearing, whether in the relations of governor 
with governed, master with servant, conquering with con- 

* The Spartans called the son of Lycurgus Euxocfuog, in honor of his 
father, says Mailer. Might not this son have been the state itself? If Lycur 
gus is mythological, his son must have been so. 


86 The Dorian Measure. 

quercd race, or paramount state in the confederacy. Their 
principle was respect and justice to the inferior, protection to 
the weak, and true organization for life. With the rich 
humor and pure mirthf illness known only to the serious and 
chaste, they were severe without austerity ; simple in private 
life, that they might be splendid in all that pertained to 
religious rites and public duties ; with pure and dignified 
relations of friendship, realized on both sides, by husbands 
and wives, by the unmarried of both sexes, and by the old 
and the young. Virtue, in the strict sense of the word, seems 
never to have pervaded any society, ancient or modern, so 
completely as it did the Dorian. For, if friendship and not 
philanthropy, or the charity which is founded on the Chris 
tian s faith and hope was their highest social characteristic, 
yet, on the other hand, must be subtracted from their con 
dition those depths of spiritual vice and social wrong, to 
which the eternities, unfolded by the same hope and faith, 
have opened the passions of Christendom. 

But the question for us is, whether, on the new platform 
upon which Christendom finds itself, now that the spiritual 
future has descended as it were into human life, there may 
not be found a harmony corresponding to the Dorian mea 
sure ; whether there may not be a social organization 
which does as much justice to the Christian religion and 
philosophy, as the Dorian state did to Apollo. We have 
seen, that there is a correspondence, point by point, between 
Apollo and Christ. Christ attacked sin, as Apollo attacked 
the Pythoness ; and; in the contest , the serpent bruised his 
Heel. Christ " descended into hell," as Apollo served Ad- 
rnetus. The humiliation was temporary ; the triumph proved 
the God. It is the only Pagan religion which can be brought 
into any comparison with Christianity, because it is the only 
one which involves the contemplation of man in an objective 
relation with Divinity ; and its inferiority consists, not in its 
leaving out the antagonism, rather the triplicity of life ; for 
it did not do this, but in its not estimating the infinite reach 
ofjjassjbn. The Dorians do not represent, nil of humanity : 
they were of an exceptional organization. Apollo was not 
" U-mpted in all points, like as we are." He was not all of 

The Dorian Measure. 87 

God, and not all of man. He was only so much of God as 
the universe, exclusive of passion, manifests ; and so much 
of man as may be comprehended in the esthetic element. 
But he was enough of God and of man, that his chosen 
people should exhibit a rounded organization in their political 
and social condition, and so become a type of that future 
harmony of Christendom, when " the lion shall lie down with 
the lamb, and a young child shall lead them." 

With the Dorians, as we have seen, the political problem 
was for the whole body to become xoa/uog, by a path which 
should make each individual XOCT^OC ; for they had such faith 
in the divine order as to believe these ends were correlative. 
Hence, by necessity, " in a Doric state, education was a sub 
ject of greater importance than government ; " and, in point 
of fact, as long as the education was uncorrupted, the govern 
ment lasted. In every Doric state where, as in Corinth and 
Magna Grsecia, intercourse with foreign nations, and oppor 
tunity for individual accumulation of wealth, relaxed the 
severity of personal culture, the state declined, and such 
luxury and corruption ensued as has made the name of Sy 
barite a by-word among nations. 

We will first speak of the forms and objects of this educa 
tion, and then of the spirit of it ; and afterwards proceed to 
speak of an education of Christendom as true to Christ as 
this was to Apollo, out of which, therefore, should grow 
political forms and activity worthy the name of kingdom of 
heaven upon earth. 

The Dorians assumed, that in a company of men guided 
by Apollo, inhered a power which circumscribed the liberty 
of the individuals that composed it to the interests of the 
company as such ; and that this social power must legitimate 
itself, by discharging a duty of which they had also the intui 
tion, viz. that of unfolding each of its members into the har 
monious exercise of his powers. 

Perhaps they saw proof of this priority of the social to the 
individual right in the fact, that the human being is socially 
dependant, before he is individually conscious. His growth 
into bodily perfection is not self-directed. It cannot take 
place, unless it be subjected to laws, according to an ideal of 

88 The Dorian Measure. 

which the individual is not conscious, and which he cannot 
discover without assistance from the society into which he is 

The Dorian society, therefore, first judged of the body, and 
decided whether or not it was sufficiently well organized to 
be capable of its place in the social body, and then assumed, 
without hesitation, the direction of its development. For a 
certain number of years, indeed, the child was left with its 
parents, whose instincts, enlightened by the general tone of 
the state, were believed to be the most faithful guardians 
of its physical well-being ; but, at seven years old in Sparta, 
and at a somewhat later date in some other Dorian states,* 
the more public education began, and the child joined classes 
to be taught song and the choral dance, with other exercises 
of body, by which a complete physical development and 
action might take place. Here let us observe, that the Do 
rian gymnastic was always accompanied by music, as the 
intellectual exercises were called. Not a shade of brutality 
was ever allowed in the Spartan gymnasium. Boxing and 
violent wrestling Avere prohibited ; also gladiators, i. e. com 
batants who used arms. The wrestling was never permitted 
to touch upon that violence which would injure the body, or 
give occasion for the combatants to cry for mercy. The 
foot-race was the exercise in which the Dorians oftenest bore 
away the crown of victory at the Olympic games. Their 
bodies were strengthened and hardened by hunting, and ex 
posure to the extremes of heat and cold, hunger and fatigue, 
in the refreshing open air. The scourging at the temple 
of Diana Orthia, mentioned in history, was not Dorian. The 
Diana Orthia was not Apollo s sister, but the earth-goddess, 
spoken of above ; and this gloomy and bloody superstition 
was the tenacity of the old religion upon the Doric ground. 
The custom of compelling or allowing the children to steal 
their food, in order to educate them in dexterity and self- 
dependence, seems an exception to the common probity of 
Dorian life ; but, in judging of it, we must remember that 
food was in common, and thus no individual right seemed to 

* In Crete the education was directed by the parents till seventeen. 

The Dorian Measure. 89 

be invaded. This custom, and that of the bridegroom s 
stealing his bride, as the form of marriage, seem to 
indicate an open and merry contest of the individual with 
the social power, in the one case ; and of masculine with 
feminine force, in the other ; a gay admission of the fact, 
that the problem of adjustment, in either case, was not quite 
solved, and that it should be left to the right of the strongest, 
heroically exercised. The Doric organization of society, in 
these respects, bears the same relation to the ideal Christian 
organization, as the hero to the saint. But the law of prop 
erty, and the physical advantage of the masculine sex, never 
descended with the Dorians to the brutality of the Homan 
rule, where the debtor, and woman from her birth to her 
death, were absolute chattel slaves.* 

The gymnastic exercises of youth were not confined to the 
male sex. The virgins also contended in classes. But there 
is no proof of Plutarch s assertion, that they contended naked 
before rnen. There is sufficient circumstantial evidence 
against this.f Their bodily exercises were in private, al 
though, in some religious festivals, they raced in public, as 
well as danced, but in the usual Dorian dress for virgins. 
This dress, it is true, only covered the bosom, and reached 
to the knee ; and it is a noticeable fact, in connection with 
the known chastity of this race, where adultery was unknown 
before Alcibiades visit to Sparta, and every approach to 
impurity was punished with death. The married women 
among the Dorians alone appeared veiled, or with long gar 
ments. The education of girls was so invigorating to mind 
and body, they could be safely trusted to the chaste instincts 
of true womanhood. But the Athenians, and other later 
Greeks, whom Asia had corrupted with its female license, 
and who were thrown upon the virtue of outward restraints, 
might have characterized the Dorian virgins as " naked ; " 
not being able to appreciate the drapery of purity. 

That to which we sequestrate the name of music stands in 
the forefront of Dorian education. The musical ear is that 

* See Dr. Arnold s " History of Rome," for proof of these facts, 
f Vidp K. O. Mailer, passim. 


90 The Dorian Measure. 

region which connects the bodily and spiritual life, and it 
occupies a large portion of the consciousness in the favored 
organizations of the people of the South of Europe. Its due 
proportion denotes physical perfection, and is one of the most 
obvious indications of the capacity of an individual or of a 
people for a high culture. 

Since this is so, in the character of the music must be the 
deepest secret of the education of a people ; and that the Do 
rians thought this, is evident from the rigidity and solemnity 
of all their regulations about music, and that the penalty of 
death was threatened against any one who violated the sanc 
tity of the ancient music by new measures, or even new 
strings to the lyre. 

The true Dorian music was that which entirely expressed 
the idea of the Dorian character. It was the sound of Apollo 
in the soul. The movement was just that which waked up 
the intellect to the perception of all law, and checked the 
passions from falling into deliquescence ; making the whole 
human being a calm, clear-sighted, creative power. That 
they believed this music was in the universe, objective to the 
soul, is expressed by the Pythagorean symbol of the music 
of the spheres, apprehensible through the silence which was 
but another name for the perfect act of intellection. There 
was therefore ideal propriety in the Dorians making music 
their central activity. Not only did all bodily exercise thus 
become more or less of a dance, and an intellectual impress 
was made upon passion, but, what is more important, thus 
they formed, in the consciousness of each individual, a stan 
dard by which all their activity was measured. 

The dances of the Dorians were intellectual in their charac 
ter, sometimes representative of historical events, some 
times of foreign customs, sometimes they were allegorical ; 
in all instances, even when comic, they expressed thought, 
and stimulated intellectual activity ; while the dances of other 
nations expressed the softer passions merely, and tended to 

The dancing in chorus of young men, of virgins, and of 
old men, were parts of the public worship. The motions of 
the young men, says Muller, were vigorous, and often of a 

The Dorian Measure. 91 

military character ; those of the virgins were in measured 
steps, with feminine gestures ; and the whole was solemn and 
grave for the participation of age. 

It is impossible here to go into the history of Dorian music 
and dancing ; but its early purity, as well as its subsequent 
corruption, its action upon the ceremonies of other worships 
than that of Apollo, and the re-action of other worships upon 
it, all testify to the wisdom of the Dorians in making the 
music and dance an affair of legislation. 

The power of music and the dance is exemplified especially 
in the fact, that with the Dorians they entered even into war, 
and elevated the exercise of destructiveness into an elegant 
art. It may be thought that this has been of no advantage to 
humanity, in the long run (a point of which we may not 
judge, perhaps, as the end is not yet) ; but there can be no 
doubt that, if war does exist, the subjection of it to the Dorian 
measure of music and motion has robbed it, as Burke would 
say, of half its ferociousness, by taking away all its brutality. 

Song was the accompanying, or immediately consequent, 
step to the mimetic and allegoric dance ; and perhaps here we 
may discover the origin of the multitude of measures in Greek 
poetry. Lyric poetry prevailed over every other among the 
Dorians, and was cultivated by both sexes. It originated 
with the Dorians, as epic poetry has originated in almost all 
the other tribes, and is to be referred to the predominance of 
religion. The ode is the natural address of the cultivated 
mind to the god whose very nature is proportion, and whose 
own sound is music. The later history of the drama is well 
known. The earlier history of comedy, as well as tragedy, 
leads us immediately to the Dorians, whose intellectual sharp 
ness and power originated humorous expression, if not wit 
itself, to a remarkable degree. Humor is impossible with 
the intellectually effeminate. Bucolics were the accompani 
ment of rustic dances, and elegies of those dances which 
celebrated astronomical changes ; and this opens out a new 
vista of thought as to the derivation of the very idea of danc 
ing from the motions of the heavenly bodies. The poems of 
Homer were recited at first by Ionian rhapsodisls ; bur Tor- 
pander the Dorian is said to have first sel them to a regular 

93 The Dorian Measure. 

tune. He is also said to have first mixed Greek and Asiatic 
music. Another consequence of the Dorian music and dance 
was the sculpture of Greece, which took its ideal character 
from the Dorians, who had Apollo for model, and the un 
veiled human form, beheld with a chaste delight in the gym 
nasium, for their school of art. Their love for proportion, 
harmony, and regularity, rather than for luxuriance of orna 
ment and glitter, is also exemplified in their architecture, 
which betrays a certain relation to the sculpture of the 
nation and era. Thus the Dorian measure came to char 
acterize their artistic eye, as well as ear and limb, and the 
body received its highest education ; almost reminding one 
of the sublime image of Milton, who speaks of the time when, 
by the natural ascension of matter, 

"bodies shall at last all turn to spirit, 

Improved by tract of time, and, sving d, ascend 



But the music of the Dorians comprehended their moral 
and intellectual culture, which was very much the same 
in both sexes. We may infer a natural education of the 
affections, and that discipline which precludes selfishness 
in its grossest form, from the fact, that the family spirit was 
free and genial. The Dorian called his wife, mistress ; and 
it was no unmeaning title ; for women enjoyed a real influence 
in the management of their families, and as mothers. " Aris 
totle speaks," says Miiller, " of their influence on the govern 
ment, in the time of the ascendency of Sparta : it increased," 
he says, " stih 1 more when a large part of the landed property 
fell into the hands of women." He adds, that, " little as the 
Athenians esteemed their own women, they involuntarily 
revered the heroines of Sparta ; and this feeling is sometimes 
apparent even in the coarse jests of Aristophanes." Again, 
" In general, it may be remarked, that, while among the 
lonians women were merely considered in an inferior and 
sensual light, and though the ^Eolians allowed their feelings 
a more elevated tone, as is proved by the amatory poetesses 
of Lesbos, the Dorians, as well at Sparta as in the South of 
Italy, were almost the only nation who esteemed the higher 

The Dorian Measure. 93 

attributes of the female mind as capable of cultivation." 
The anecdote of the daughter of Cleomenes, who warned her 
father, though yet a child, of the Persian s gold, is still more 
in point than the pretty story of Agesilaus found playing 
horse with a stick to amuse his infant-boy. It proves rational 
relations and intercourse between parents and children. 

The moral influence of the relation of friendship is to be 
considered in the Dorian education. Every well-educated 
man was bound to be the love of some youth, who was called 
his Listener, as he was called Inspirer ; and these words 
express the pure and intellectual connection. Plutarch, who 
has much misrepresented this " friendship," admits, however, 
that for some faults the inspirer was punished, instead of the 
listener. The listener had also liberty by law to punish his 
inspirer for any insult or disgraceful treatment. The friends 
could represent each other in the public assembly, and stood 
side by side in war. Cicero testifies to the sanctity of the 
Dorian friendship. 

It was only in Sparta and Crete that this institution was 
recognized by the state ; but it was founded on feelings 
which, it is evident, belonged to the Dorian race ; for, in 
their other cities, particular friends are spoken of by name. 
The relation was not merely of men. Noble women would 
have their female listeners ; and sometimes a female inspirer 
had a small company of girls, who cultivated music and 
poetry. In his history of Grecian literature, K. O. Miiller 
gives details respecting this. The moral and intellectual 
training implied in the existence and respect for the family, 
presided over by cultivated female intelligence, is an explana 
tion of the long conservation of the Dorian virtue, and pre 
vented the hardening effect of what seems to us living in 
public. The Dorian men eat in public in messes, and had 
Ae a/ca, or little clubs, at which they conversed with a freedom 
guarded by a high sense of honor ; and to these conversa 
tions the youths were gradually introduced by their inspirers. 
Instead of the gossip which destroys mind, the conversation, 
rational, brilliant with wit and humor, was of the sort which 
makes the man, by keeping him in relation with worthy 
objects. The sentences of this conversation, which have 

94 The Dorian Measure. 

been handed down to us, are diamonds cut with diamonds ; 
and the young Dorians were trained in concise, witty, and 
symbolic expression, to fit them for it. It was the object to 
learn, in the first place, to see the truth, and sharply define 
it in their thought, in order to express it exactly. This 
developed to their mind all the intellectual treasures of the 
Greek language, as the constant demands for the ode and 
choral song searched out all its melodies. Nor was this study 
of grammar, in the highest and etymological sense, including 
logic, their only purely intellectual training. In default of 
the comparative study of languages, which makes our seve 
rest discipline, they had geometry. The mystic numbers of 
Pythagoras probably covered an application of mathematics 
to nature, to trace which had a high intellectual effect ; but 
they studied geometry with practical applications, such as AVC 
seldom enter into : witness the discoveries made of the genera 
tion of beautiful forms from simple ground forms and circles, 
as displayed in the architecture of the Parthenon and recent 
discoveries of symmetrical beauty in the antique vases.* 

The Dorians proper seemed to have nothing to do in time 
of peace, but to converse. But the Perioikoi, or that part of 
the nation descended from the conquered race, were included 
in all the education ; and these were not only warriors, on 
apparently equal footing with the Dorians proper, but agri 
culturists, artisans, and traders ; manufacturers, artists, and 
mariners. In some instances, the Perioikoi of Laconia were 
citizens of Sparta; for, as Miiller says, " the Doric dominion 
did not discourage or stifle the intellectual growth of her 
dependant subjects, but allowed it full room for a vigorous 

It might seem like dodging to speak of the Dorians, and 
say nothing of the Helots. 

This subject is undoubtedly involved in some obscurity. 
But one thing is pretty evident. The Helots were not. en 
slaved by the Dorians : they were slaves of the conquered 
people, and the Dorians did not destroy their relation to the 
Perioikoi, when they subjected the latter. This is " the height 

* See Hav on " Symmetric-ill Beantv." 

The Dorian Measure. 9o 

and front of their offending." As to Plutarch s story of the 
Spartans making the Helots drunk, in order to teach their 
children, by the disgusting association, to be temperate, 
its foundation, in fact, is indicated by Miiller, who, in speak 
ing of the dances, mentions the dances of the Helots, indige 
nous with themselves ; some of which represented riotous 
scenes, and in which drunken persons were probably repre 
sented. The Dorians were not responsible lor these dances, 
which very probably it would have been a cruel oppression to 
suppress. Undoubtedly there were evils and injustices in 
separable from slavery, from which the Dorians did not. 
deliver the Helots ; but in Sparta there was a legal way for 
them to gain liberty and citizenship. Callicratidas, Lysan- 
der, and G ylippus were of the race of the Helots. 

In speaking of the Dorian education, we must not omit to 
say, that the Pythagorean philosophy was its highest instru 
ment. Pythagoras was the philosophic interpreter of Apollo ; 
and the triumphand proof of the reality of the Dorian intel 
lectual culture were given in the fact, that, in the Pythagorean 
league, " the philosophy of order, of unison, of xdo-woc, ex 
pressing, and consequently enlisting on its side, the combined 
endeavors of the better part of the people, obtained the 
management of public affairs, and held possession of it for a 
considerable time ; so that, the nature and destination of the 
political elements in existence being understood, and each 
having assigned to it its proper place, those who were quali 
fied, both by their rank and talents, were placed at the head 
of the state ; a strict personal education having, in the first 
place, been made one of their chief obligations, in order by 
this means to pave the way for the education of the other 
members of the community." 

Other effects of this intellectual culture were to be seen in 
other parts of Greece, where the germs of comedy and tra 
gedy, sculpture and architecture, fructified. The Dorian 
was the father of Greek literature, in its multifarious forms ; 
but the mothers were Achaean, Ionian, Pelasgic. Does not 
the Dorian genius and character pervade the page of Thucy- 
dides ? and, but for Spartan culture, would Pericles have 
given name to his era ? 

96 The Dorian Measure. 

Without going any farther into minutiae, we may finally 
speak of the spirit of the Dorian education. It was purely 
human. It began and ended in man. From the exercises 
of the gymnasium even to the possession and exercise of 
political power, there was nothing proposed for pursuit 
beyond the excellence attained, and the honor of that. We 
see in Homer s time, that prizes of real value were proposed 
to the Achaean victors, in contests of strength and skill. But 
with the Dorians, crowns of no intrinsic value were the 
prizes, mere symbols of an excellence which was its own 
reward. The Dorian strength and beauty continued un 
impaired just so long as they could thus symbolize the 
" superiority of man to his accidents." The son of the morn 
ing fell, as soon as his eye turned from the worship of objective 
truth to subjective indulgence : and his Avorks did follow him ; 
the grand style rapidly giving place to effeminacy, until, 
where ^Eschylus had been, was Seneca the Roman trage 
dian ; and every thing in proportion. " The ancients 
described beauty," said Goethe ; " the moderns describe 
beautiful 1 1/" 

But the Dorian culture was applied only to a fragment of 
the great race of humanity : it was the perfect form of one 
wave which has passed away on the tide of time. The ques 
tion is, May the great flood itself take this perfect form ? an 
Christ govern mankind as completely as Apollo governed 
the Dorians ? 

In order to this, religion must enspirit political forms as 
truly with us as with them, and an adequate education con 
serve them. Being Americans, we can take leave to skip 
the difficult task of legitimating, upon the doctrine of Chris 
tianity, the states of modern Europe. We doubt whether 
any philosopher of history may do that. It is our privilege 
to live under political forms that it is not difficult to trace 
quite immediately to our religion. For the United States, 
in its germ, was a Christian colony ; and the oracle which 
directed it was deeper in the breasts of the Pilgrims than they 
themselves knew, or could adequately unfold, either in doc 
trine or practice. But later times have read the writing; 
and the fathers of the Federal Constitution built the temple. 

The Dorian Measure. 97 

whose foundations the Pilgrims had laid (we would rever 
ently say it) after the model of one " not built with hands, 
eternal in the heavens." For the Federal Constitution 
corresponds to the spiritual constitution of man, and has 
elasticity to admit his growth. It is the unity of a triplicity. 
The universal suffrage expresses the Passion ; the legislative 
and judicial departments, the Intelligence ; and the execu 
tive, the Will, of the people. This political form was made 
out ideally by Sir Harry Vane, in his letter to Cromwell, 
when that remarkable person pretended to call his friends to 
counsel him as to what form he should give the government 
of England in the day of his power. Cromwell rejected it 
on the plea, that the sovereign grace of God, on which all 
progress depended, could be more readily found in an exe 
cutive officer, whom a church recognized to be one of God s 
elect, than in the common sense of the electors of a legisla- 
lature. But this was but a new form of the old divine right, 
as the Protectorate proved ; and Sir Harry Vane was farther 
justified by the growth of our government into an actual fact, 
a hundred and fifty years later. 

It follows from such a political form, that the political 
action of the nation must reflect the character of the nation, 
point for point. The suffrage shows the prevalent character 
of its passion ; the Congress and Supreme Court manifest its 
degree of intelligence, which necessarily will preserve a 
certain ratio to its passion, since it is elected by it ; and the 
President expresses its will, on the penalty of being removed, 
if he does not execute its will, and also approve himself to 
the " sober second thought." It is an inevitable evil, that, 
like the principle of will in an individual, he will ever be 
more expressive of the passion than of the intelligence ; for 
his interest depends more immediately upon it. He goes 
counter to the intelligence, to execute the impulses of the 
passion. Moreover, the intelligence of the people, as that of 
the individual is liable to be, is rounded in by its passion ; 
and the too prevalent " doctrine of instructions " increases 
the danger of this. 

In the last analysis, then, all is dependant upon the pas 
sion. " Out of the lieart are the issues of life." 

98 The Dorian Measure. 

From this statement, the dangers to which our political 
system is exposed are obvious. It is the same as that to 
which every man is exposed, the revolving in a vicious 
circle of unenlightened passion, unprogressive mind, and 
headlong will. The national safety, like man s individual 
salvation, depends upon the intelligence being informed by a 
Spirit above itself, so that it may mediate wisely between the 
passion and the will ; elevating the character of the one, and 
directing the movements of the other. In short, a true spirit 
of culture must do for the national heart what the ever- 
incoming grace of God does for the individual soul. The 
chief clanger to a nation and to a man is from within, that 
the passion and the will may be too strong for the uncultured 
intelligence. And the danger in our nation is in proportion 
to the breadth of the national life. All humanity is in it. 
Our geographical extent and position expose us to the 
access of all temptation. Not a pleasure, not a dominion, 
but is opened upon our desire. Every susceptibility of 
human nature to ambition, to avarice, and to sensual indul- 
dulgence, is addressed. What an original affluence of 
intellect, what a training of mind, is necessary in order to 
grasp all this life, and legislate for it in such a manner that 
it may not prove suicidal ! . In truth, man seems to be placed 
under the United States government, free of the universe, 
and, as in the case of Adam in his garden, amid such a luxu 
riance of all that is desirable, that the chances are entirely 
that he shall miss of the tree of life, which is not so obvious 
to the eyes, but requireth that they be " purged with euphra- 
sie and rue." 

Nevertheless, it is our only hope that we should eat of the 
tree of life, and the passion of this people be subjected to 
the x6(j[to$ which breathes in a baptism of fire from the Rock 
of Joseph, whence rose man glorified as God. In other 
words, we must be educated by our religion, which compre 
hends in its scope the life that now is, no less than that which 
is to come ; a religion which honoreth the spirit in its 
regenerate human manifestation, even as it honoreth it abso 
lute and unmanifest in the Father. 

To explain : The religion we profess teaches us, that 

The Dorian Measure. 99 

men, in the first phase of their existence, become empassioned 
"by any and all the objects in the universe with which they 
are in contact ; and that they are, in fact, hurried hither and 
thither, perpetually losing themselves through the richness of 
their subjective nature, in objects which are at best but signs 
of an absolute good, of which they have the undying but 
undefined presentiment. For the various objects which en 
trance the eye of the natural man, and draw him to adventure 
his bark towards them, may be likened to light-houses on the 
rock-bound coast of a rich country, which are mistaken by 
savage discoverers for the riches that they indicate ; and the 
ignorant mariner rushes towards them, and gets shipwrecked 
on the rocks upon which they are built. 

To stop here : our religion would be gloomy, but it teaches 
us another thing. It teaches us, that the first phase of human 
life does not exhaust us, but that it is ours to see the futility 
of all feeling and activity, unenlightened by God s plan for 
making his finite creature live on an infinite principle. And 
to see this futility, and bravely acknowledge it, is to die to 
the life of mere passion, and to rise to the intellection of the 
secret of life eternal, which is no less than this : All human 
passion is to re-appear even upon earth, no longer as master, 
but as servant, to do the behests of that will, become by 
gratitude an infinite principle of love, and displaying the - 
office of every faculty and every feeling of human nature, to 
manifest something of the divine life. 

Never before the birth of our political constitution, which 
was not made by man, but grew up from the instincts of 
Christian men who had brooked no control of their relations 
with God, was there any nation on earth, within which the 
life eternal could unfold its proportions ; and it is not wonder 
ful, therefore, that we are slow to enter upon our inheritance, 
and have not yet unfolded a system of education correspond 
ent to our large privileges. 

Let us, however, briefly touch some outlines of such a 
system ; and, in order to give form to our remarks, we will 
run a sort of parallel between the form of culture proper for 
us, and the Dorian form that we have just considered. 

Men do not now, in sitting in judgment upon the physical 

100 The Dorian Measure. 

system of the new-born, proceed so summarily as did the 
Dorians with the infirm of body. They accept this evil, 
when it comes; and the education of the blind, of the deaf, 
even of the idiot, is in proportion to that richness of resource, 
indicated, as the gift of God to man, by him who is said to 
have healed by his touch all the ills that flesh is heir to. A 
study and analysis of the physical constitution of man, and 
of the origin and law of its life, united with a sacred sense 
and practice of duty, shall, in some future on earth, ensure 
to all who are born, a fair physical constitution, and a sub 
sequent preservation of the same perhaps to euthanasia. 

This part of culture rests so much with parents, that it 
can only be indirectly reached by a public system. Yet 
society should feel it a duty, as society, to provide for the 
study and diffusion of all knowledge on this subject. A 
partial apprehension of the Christian religion, in times past, 
has led to a general perversion of thought concerning every 
thing pertaining to the body. To die bodily with Christ has 
been that for which saints were canonized. Strange that 
even those who so clung to the letter which killeth, should 
have read so partially the letter, that they did not see, that, 
if Christ s body was tormented and buried, yet it rose again, 
not subject to decay, but capable of being assimilated to the 
glory which eye hath not seen ; for God did not suffer his 
holy one to see corruption. The symbolic meaning of the 
death has been considered much more deeply than the sym 
bolic meaning of the resurrection, which is the complement 
of the spiritual truth he died to express. Christendom has 
depreciated the physical system, so that the conscience, which 
should form and preserve the body in a perfect harmony with 
nature, has not been developed. Truly, as St. James saith, 
" he that sinneth in one thing sinneth in all." By this neglect, 
the mind and spirit have been warped, weakened, and in 
jured, beyond our power to estimate. 

A truly Christian system of culture would not neglect a 
proper gymnastic of the body. It appropriates all that the 
Dorian culture discovered. Not only the military drill, with 
running, fencing, and every exercise that developes without 
brutalizing, should be made a part of the exercises of the 

The Dorian Measure. 101 

school ; but boys and girls should be exercised, as of old, in 
every species of dance which expresses an idea. The musi 
cal ear should be early trained, and the body be taught to 
move in measure. Nothing but the artificial asceticism which 
arose from that one-sided view of religion which the too 
energetic Puritans had, could have crushed out of human 
nature, even so far as it has done in New England, the natu 
ral tendency to dance, and degraded the music of motion 
with associations of presumptuous sin. It is unquestionable 
that a corrupt people will dance in a manner to corrupt 
themselves still more ; but " to them that hath shall be given." 
The system of dancing, natural to the innocent-minded and 
intellectually cultivated, will refine and elevate. * 

* A woman of talent of the present day, for mere economic purposes, 
has discovered to the world, and especially to the American world, which 
is peculiarly ignorant on the subject, what a power lies in dancing to inform 
the mind, while the eye is delighted. The Viennese children, by performing 
the various national dances of Europe, suggested a means of studying the 
characteristics of various races, without travelling for the purpose ; and their 
ideal dances opened out the possibility of a still higher intellectual effect, 
suggesting to those who criticized their utility the words the poet puts into 
the mouth of the retired Rhodora : 

"Tell them dear, that if eyes were made for seeing, 
Then Beauty is its own excuse for being." 

Of course, it is bad for any human beings to be exclusively dancers. 
" There is a time to dance," and a time for other things, said Solomon. But 
how easy it would be for all children to be trained to dance, among other 
things ; and then for talent to idealize, in the ballet, the customs of nations, 
historical events, even the processes of many kinds of industry ; while genius, 
" at its own sweet will," should rise into the region of the allegoric and 
mystic dance ! 

It is an encouraging circumstance, that some good-natured persons in 
Boston have turned their attention to the object of teaching the whole 
youthful population the practice of this art. The whole aim of these per 
sons, however, is only to provide more gentle and elegant exercises, to super 
sede the rude and boisterous mirth which brutalizes the minds as well as 
manners of the laboring people, and to provide a harmless channel to lead 
off the overflowing animal life, that, left to prey on itself and others, turns 
into intemperance and ferocity. All this is well, but not enough. The 
Swedeiiborgians of Boston have done better, by combining, as a church, to 
have social dancing parties, disconnected with the dissipation of late hours. 
But even this is not enough. If dancing is not elevated by those who invent 
its mazes, to have something of an intellectual character, it will probably 
degenerate into an expression of mere blind passion, and really become to a 

102 The Dorian Measure. 

By an intellectual dancing, nothing is meant which is 
heavy or pedantic. There will undoubtedly be solemn 
dances ; but so there will be fanciful ones, the Mother 
Goose and fairy-tale for the very young, the innocent love- 
tale of later youth, enriched by the imagination, till the ballet 
is commensurate with the opera. Whatever can be expressed 
in music may be heightened in effect by an accompanying 
dance ; and Sophocles and ^Eschylus have taught us (for 
they trained their own choruses, and Sophocles led his in 
person), that the highest and gravest genius may employ itself 
in idealizing the motions of the body. 

But mere good- will cannot bring this art to high degrees 
of perfection. A peculiar genius, which must be born, and 
cannot be made, is needed here, not less than to compose for 
the harp or organ. The dancing of Christian Europe is still 
Pagan, and even the Dorian dances are mostly forgotten. 
Yet out of that Pagan material might be raised an art of 
dancing not unworthy of the name of Christian. 

Dancing is an admirable initiation of the young into the 
love and practice of music ; because the beauty of measure, 
first appreciated by measured motion, disciplines the mind to 
measure time. It is not necessary so elaborately to defend 
the introduction of music into general education, as of danc 
ing ; for only one small sect of Christendom has undertaken 
to exclude music absolutely from human expression.* The 
largest sect of Christendom, the Roman Catholic church, has 
developed it so completely, that, on the wings of harmonies 
which essay to penetrate and reveal the heart of mysteries too 
generally hidden by " words without counsel which darken 
knowledge," the world did for a long period, and, in some 
degree, does in all time, rise above the narrowing influences of 
that creed which condemns to everlasting woe all who are out 
of the pale of the church, and even excludes from heaven 
those who, in involuntary unconsciousness of its existence, fail 
to pass under its baptizing waters. f 

comiminity the evil which the Puritans believed it to be ; and which in fact 
it is now, in the less favored classes of our own society, in no small degree. 

* The Quakers. t Dante. 

The Dorian Measure. 103 

But though music is made a part of almost all Christian 
worship, and though its great masters have proved by their 
compositions, that it expresses the highest ideas, and even the 
most varied thoughts, as well as sentiments, of humanity 
more adequately than words can do ; yet it does not take its 
place in American education, even upon a par with reading. 
Somewhat of the practice of music in choral singing, it is 
true, begins to enter into our common-school education. But 
this hardly goes beyond the metropolis ; and the theory of 
music is not taught in any school or college in our country, 
with the exception of the asylums for the blind, and a few 
private schools. There are multitudes of the fathers of our 
country who, as school-committee men, direct its education, 
who never have thought of music but as an amusement of the 
senses ; who never have dreamed of its moral, far less of its 
intellectual, influences. And there are some who look upon 
it, when introduced into religious services, as a mere rest of 
the weak mind from the laborious act of worship. 

But it is time that the importance of music, taught - 
thoroughly, especially in its theory, should be recognized 
in education ; and that the hideous screaming, without mel 
ody, measure, or harmony, which is heard in most places of 
Protestant worship, should be stilled, together with the scrap 
ing of violins and bass-viols, and the pounding of the keys of 
piano-fortes and organs, to the destruction of all musical ear, 
and the derangement of every standard of proportion which 
God has planted in the nervous organization of man, for the 
first discipline of the mind to order. 

One objection that is made to the introduction of music 
into common education is the time that it would occupy, 
which, it is said, should be taken up with more useful exer 
cises. But, waiving the circumstance, that this objection 
entirely begs the question respecting the comparative impor 
tance of music in education, we reply, that, were music and 
dancing a regular part of school exercises every day, as they 
should be, it would be no hardship to children to remain 
more hours at school. These exercises could profitably be 
so arranged that they would break the monotony of book- 
studies, and supersede the boisterous, and too often mis- 

104 The Dorian Measure. 

chievous play-hours, which make the neighborhood of a 
school a thing to be eschewed by all decent society. The 
advantages to health of mind and body are no less to be 
esteemed than the elegance of carriage and general graceful 
ness which would inevitably take the place of the uncouth, 
romping manner, or awkward, stiff want of manner, not only 
of our country people, but even of the inhabitants of our 

In the small degree in which music now is introduced into 
schools, it is appropriated to the forms of religious worship. 
This is well, and might be much extended, when, by a thor 
ough study of the theory of music, the vast treasury of 
religious strains which the genius of the Old World has 
accumulated, shall be put within the powers of execution 
of more learners. Music affords, indeed, the only means of 
persuading the soul of childhood into any thing that may 
bear the name of worship, at the early age before experience 
has revealed to the soul its necessities, and opened its eyes 
upon the great truth which solves the problem of evil, and 
gives the second birth. But music does do this. It awakens 
presentiments which may be said to be the wings which the 
condescending Deity occasionally fastens upon the child, to 
raise him into the empyrean where he shall by and by intel- 

(ligently dwell. Music, as we have intimated above, is in a 
region above sectarianism, and affords a common ground 
upon which the divided in opinion may meet ; and if all 
religious instruction (we do not mean all moral science) which 
is imparted to the young could be confined to that which can 
be conveyed in music, that perplexity of mind upon the sub 
ject, which is the generating cause of most of the speculative 
infidelity of modern times, might never take place, because 
the mind would not turn to the greater questions of life, 
before it was sufficiently enriched by experience, and ma 
tured in judgment, to cope with them. The Protestant 
education does not wholly err in exercising the understand 
ing upon these themes. We are not arguing for what Fene- 
lon calls, and means to commend it, " the profound darkness 
of the true faith." We would only have the aesthetic element 
developed, as nature meant it should be, before the mere 


The Dorian Measure. 105 

understanding shall be sharpened to chop a logic which, at \ 
that stage of development, can make but " a series of empty J 
boxes " for the soul to dwell in. 

Having thus introduced the young mind to the science of 
order, by the music of motion arid of sound, elements in 
which childhood will dwell in their /oc, if not in their X^MO?, 
we proceed to the training of the eye and hand, by imitative 
drawing and the arts of design. 

Ifj>inging should take the lead of reading, so should draw- 
ing of writing. The eye should be accustomed to pictures 
from very babyhood ; and it is marvellous to those who are 
inexperienced, to see how, very early, mere drawing, in the 
sketchy style, is perfectly understood by children. " Severe 
simple lines " are amongst the readiest means of developing 
the intellect. The mechanical difficulty, too, of using the 
chalk or lead may be very easily mastered. Quite little 
children will be amused to draw lines, and thus learn to 
steady the muscles of the hand to a purpose ; and, as soon 
as the mind is a little developed, a rough imitation of forms 
begins. By and by, a little practical perspective can be 
taught by means of holding a thread, horizontally and ver 
tically, over the points of a solid rectilinear figure, in order 
to see the bearing of its outlines upon the plane of the pic 
ture ; and thus the discouraging disgust that children are 
apt to feel, as they learn to compare their attempts with the 
originals which they make their models, will be avoided. 
The idea of perspective drawing once taken, the career of 
improvement is entered upon at once.* 

Geometry, as well as arithmetic, may be begun at an 
earlier age with children than is generally believed, if it is 
taught disencumbered of the verbiage of demonstration that 
disgraces our text-books ; and it will unite itself to drawing, 
by being carried out into descriptive geometry, and applied 
to the drawing of the antique architecture and vases. This 
application will recommend it to many minds which now are 

* Schmid s " Perspective," in Part First of " Common School Drawing- 
book," and especially Frank Howard s " Sketcher s Manual," afford admirable 
hints a to a natural mode of learning to draw from nature. 


106 The Dor inn Measure. 

matured without any mathematical discipline, on the idea 
that this is only necessary for the mechanically scientific. 

Before dismissing the subject of educating the eye to form, 
it is to be remembered, that modelling, as well as drawing, 
should be practised in all places of education.* 

After this preparation of body and mind, reading and 
writing should be taught at once, and in such a manner as 
to make our own language the " open Sesame " to all 
speech. At present, the American people although a 
congeries, as it were, of all peoples is comparatively 
dumb. In no country which is called civilized, are even the 
cultivated classes themselves so completely sequestrated to 
the use of one language. While its economical interests, as 
well as its intellectual necessities, cry out for a general faci 
lity in speaking foreign tongues, the system of language- 
teaching falls confessedly below that of other nations. In 
the schools of Holland, the children grow up, speaking with 
facility four languages, English, German, French, and 
Dutch. But it begins to be seen, that there is a natural 
and intellectual philosophy of expression ; and that a true 
philological art can be taught to every child who learns to 
read and write, that shall make the native tongue appreciated 
in all its deep significance, and prepare the mind for such a 
comparison of our own with other tongues, as shall immensely 
facilitate their acquisition ; and this glossology, while it affords 
so great an incidental advantage, shall discipline the intellect^ 
like the learning of any natural science ; showing grammar 
and logic to be, not mere technics, but the forms of thought, 
and languages themselves to be nothing less than the monu 
ments of the history of the human mind in its first intuitions 

* One lady, who kept an A B C school in Boston, did at one time intro 
duce into her school-room a long trough, with lumps of clay and some 
well-shaped toys, together with the ground-forms^ the egg, the sphere, 
the cylinder, &c. ; and it was made a privilege for her little pupils to go and 
model by turns, in the intervals of their lessons. It was found an admirable 
way of keeping quietness and order ; and, although it was done but a short 
time, and not very long ago, one professional sculptor seems to have grown 
out of this very partial experiment. Such a department of the play-room at 
home, as well as a blackboard for drawing in the nursery, will always be 
found an aid to the home discipline of tempers as well as of minds. 

The Dorian Measure. 107 

and reflections. On the ethereal element upon which the 
spirit of man works with the ethereal instrument voice, is this 
history carved ; or rather in this element has human thought 
vegetated, not to the eye, but to the ear. 

And perhaps it may take no more years to gain a key to 
the expressed mind of man, than are devoted now to learn 
by rote a few books in Greek and Latin ; and which, after 
all, are so learned that only the exceptions among the uni 
versity-educated (as the frequenters of our partial colleges 
are, as if in mockery, called) can read Latin and Greek with 
pleasure to themselves. Still fewer can write these lan 
guages, and almost none can speak them. Philology should 
be studied as the most important of sciences, not only for the 
sake of knowing the works of art and science that the various 
languages contain, but because^words themselves are growths 
of nature and works of art, capable of giving the highest 
delight as such ,, and because their analysis and history reveal 
the universe in its symbolic character. Moreover, no lan 
guage, learned in the light of philology, could be forgotten. 
Indeed, it would seem as if no knowledge conveyed in words 
could be forgotten, if the words were understood as the liv 
ing beings that they are when seen in their origin. 

But it would take a volume to unfold this subject ade 
quately. The value of language-learning to discipline the 
mind into power and refinement has been always blindly felt ; 
but, not being understood as well as felt, it has not justified 
itself to the practical sense especially of this country ; and 
nothing is more common than to hear all study of languages, 
except of those to be used in commercial and other present 
intercourse, condemned as at best a costly and unprofitable 
luxury. These languages are therefore learned by rote, more 
or less, on such a substratum of Latin and Greek as is thought 
necessary to facilitate their acquisition. In the best instances, 
there is some study of idiomatic construction, some investiga 
tion of the composition of sentences, as characteristic of a 
people ; but the words themselves are used as counters, and 
there is no investigation of their composition, and their cor 
respondent relation to the nature they echo on the one side, 
and the thought they symbolize on the other. 

103 The Dorian Measure. 

A certain preparation is required for children s entering 
upon the study of language in the right way, which would 
be involved in the training of ear, eye, and hand, mentioned 
above. By means of drawings and pictures, a great deal of 
information will be conveyed respecting objects of nature 
and art, and such processes as are capable of pictorial repre 
sentation; and then, if the learning to read and write is 
delayed to the age even of six or seven, the mind has not 
been left uncultivated, but has learned to love order, and to 
use language ; especially if exercised, as children should be 
at the first schools, to reproduce in their own words what 
their teachers tell them of the pictures and objects of nature 
which are put before them.* 

A true study of language not only involves a development 
of the relations of nature and mind, in the forming of an 
intellectual conscience, but leads to a study of nature of a 
fundamental character. Science, which has been defined 
" the universe in the abstract," when put into appropriate 
words thoroughly understood, would be breathed into the 
mind and assimilated, as the body breathes in and assimi 
lates air and food. Thus the common student would, like 
Newton, read the propositions of the Euclids of every science, 
and be able to skip the labored demonstrations without loss. 
The clear mind, uridarkened by " words without knowledge," 
would find it sport and recreation to apply science to the 
progress of mechanical art ; and a vast amount of energy 
would be left to explore new worlds of nature, and manifest 
thought in new forms of beauty. 

The mere enjoyment of an education, such as has been 
here hinted at, is the least of its advantages, though it is one 
not to be despised. Its use in preserving the race under the 
political forms which, as we showed above, are alone, of all 
yet discovered, elastic enough to admit the whole man to be 
unfolded, can be shown to be probable. The mass of man 
kind have no fancy for governing ; and they would not be 
driven to meddle with what they know nothing of, if there 

* Mrs. Ma3 o s "Lessons on Objects" gives a hint upon this subject; 
but an infinitely richer book might be made. 

The Dorian Measure. 109 

was no social oppression to cast off, or they could so exercise 
their energies as to be in a state of enjoyment already. At 
present, everybody in this country is running to the helm of 
state, in order to see if they cannot succeed in steering the 
ship into some pleasanter waters ; and, in the old countries, 
they are engaged in throwing overboard the cargo it is carry 
ing, that they may save the ship perchance from sinking, old 
and leaky as it is. But, in a nation truly cultivated, life 
would prove so rich, that every man could afford to pursue 
his own vocation ; and " nothing should hurt or destroy in 
all the holy mountain." Or, if it is fanciful to suppose that 
quite this millenium is to be attained in this sphere, into 
which is born, in every generation, a fresh mass of chaotic 
life, to be trained and cultivated by truth and beauty, yet 
more and more approximation is to be looked for, as the ages 
roll on. In the mean time, we need lose no opportunity that 
we have. There is no reason why we should not instantly 
begin to work on this plan. Our country is full of means. 
Europe is pouring out upon us her artists and scholars. We 
are rich, and can tax ourselves for conservative as well as 
for destructive purposes. Why not employ these artists and 
scholars to make a new revival of learning, which shall be, 
to times to come, what that, produced by the dislodged 
Greeks of the captured Eastern Empire, was to Europe in 
the fourteenth century ? Why should not our merchants 
become, like the merchant-princes of Italy, the patrons of 
science and art, and give their children as well as their money 
to these pursuits ? How many of the growing evils of our 
society would be crushed, as they are taking root, if, as fast 
as Americans became rich, they should leave the pursuit of 
riches to those who are poorer, and use the advantage of the 
leisure they have earned, to cultivate what the ancients ex 
pressively call " the humanities ; " at least educate their chil 
dren to live, rather than to accumulate superfluous means of 
living ; to be living men, rather than instruments of living ! 
" Is not the life more than raiment ? " 

It is plain, that, if we can spend a hundred millions of dol 
lars in a year for so questionable a purpose as the late war 
of Mexico, we have resources on which we might draw for 

110 Crawford s Orpheus. 

public education. And, were education organized and set to 
music, as the art of destruction is, and that which it is to gain 
made as definite an object to the imagination, can it be 
doubted that it could raise its corps of volunteers, ready to 
spend and be spent for the truth, beauty, and power over 
nature, which are offered as rewards to the striving ? 

Great institutions, large and combined efforts, are doubt 
less necessary ; universities, properly so called, in which a 
universal culture should be made possible ; and these should 
exist in all our great cities, sending forth their branches into 
the country towns, or at least their scholars, until the passion 
of all this people be inspired with truth and beauty. But, if 
this only adequate measure is still delayed, let every man 
and woman who see into the subject cultivate their own 
natures, arid those of their children arid immediate circle. 
No hour, redeemed from sordid or brutal degradation, but 
shall tell. Thy Father worketh hitherto ; and do thou work, 
nothing doubting. It is thus that thou shalt enter spiritually 
into the legislature of thy country, and help redeem its 
heart to progress. For it is w T ith thy country as with thyself: 
unless an ever-progressing truth inform that department 
which mediates between the passion and the will, it will 
revolve in a vicious circle, till all freedom, and all capacity 
for freedom, expire. 

Only the Truth can make us free, and keep us free. 


FOR ever passeth Beauty s form 

To Nature s deep abyss : 
Not always Love, unchanged and warm, 
Dares with his lyre old Night to charm, 

And win the faded bliss. 

But always Poet s heart believeth, 

Whatever Time may say, 
There is no loss but Song retrieveth : 
He is a coward-heart that leaveth 

The Light of Life, Death s prey. 

A Spirit s Reply. Ill 

Blest be the Poet s hand that toiled 

To -carve in lasting stone 
The act that in all time hath foiled 
Despair s terrific power, and spoiled 

Destruction of his own. 

Thus ever, from the vulgar day, 

The Hero shades his eyes ; 
Peering through dim Obstruction s sway 
Perchance, upon his darkened way 

The cherished form may rise ! 

He sees her not ! and what though low 

Lies Cerberus overwrought, 
His lyre hath quickened Lethe s flow, 
Cast coolness o er Cocytus glow ; 

All this he heedeth not : 

He only knows tlwu art not won 
The "perfect good and fair : " 

The race of life is yet to run ; 

The only deed is yet undone ; 
The Hero still must dare. 


THOU who hast sought thy Light of Life 
Through Hades horrors black, 

Hast charmed them all, and won thy quest, 
And wouldst thy way retrack, 

Rest thou as he of old did not 

Upon the promise fair, 
That Beauty aye shall follow him 

Who all for her will dare. 

As thou didst count no bygone loss, 

Count step by step no gain ; 
But trust that in the upper air 

She 11 be with thee again. 



THE fact that nature answers to spirit is one which is con 
fined to no new or narrow circle of experiences. The world 
at large is the school which believes in it ; and daily life, in 
all its immense detail, is the theatre of its exemplification. 
The young child acts upon it spontaneously, when the change 
ful play of the mother s countenance is interpreted into gen 
tle love or gentle rebuke ; and mankind, in the main, are 
satisfied with the living face, as the natural representative of 
the soul. Love and dislike attach to the human countenance 
as though it were the inner man. Moreover, the whole body, 
in its obedience to the will, is known universally as answer 
ing to the spirit ; and its actions are not regarded as mechan 
ical, but as spiritual, by virtue of the correspondence. The 
difficulty under which the learned labor, of conceiving a con 
nection between virtues and machines, is no difficulty at all 
for the common faith ; which, in truth, embraces the learned 
themselves, and maintains that the bodily good deeds of good 
men are noble, and that their willing arms are the real ex 
tending of their spiritual powers and inclinations. It is the 
same with the Arts, which comprehend all rational actions, 
as contradistinguished from divine or natural operations ; for 
whatever arts we learn and practise, answer to particular ends 
for which they are acquired and exercised, and are estimated, 
by all who understand them, in proportion to their correspond 
ence with the design in the mind of the inventor, and to the 
requirements of those for whose sake they are applied. An 
art without an end is an absurdity ; a body without a soul is 
fearful to souls ; a face without a mind is idiocy, worse than 
death. No wonder, then, that we enjoy an intuitive percep 
tion of the correspondence of means to ends, and of nature 
to spirit ; for otherwise the universe would be a vast charnel- 
house, and society upon earth a mere brotherhood of the 

If the face, the body, the actions, and the inventions of man 
kind are always interpreted by an instinctive application of 
the law of correspondence, the frame of nature itself is also 

Correspondence. 113 

felt, according to the same law, in the workings of the poetic 
faculty ; a power the most eminently passive to the great in 
fluences of substantial truth. For Poetry is the synthesis of 
our other perceptions, the universalization of our common 
thoughts, the midway hospice in ungenial times for the way 
worn traveller from the religion of the past to the religion 
of the future. When church and state, theology and philo 
sophy, forsake the universal verities of existence, then poetry 
takes them up. In such times, it becomes the church, the 
provisional spouse of the Father of the fatherless. It is the 
only faculty to which all facts are welcome in all times. Place 
the most pinched sectary in the seat of the Muses, and you 
see his puckered lips expand into round and flowing smiles ; 
and " his eye, in a fine frenzy rolling," communes manifestly 
with superior beings from all the quarters of the opened hea 
vens. Unwittingly he transcends his creed, and all the creeds 
of his generation, and utters profundities which perplex his 
own understanding the moment the spiritual wine has ceased 
to work upon him. As the prisoner of doctrine, he pusil- 
lanimously wrings his hands over the problems of existence, 
of which his own doctrines are the difficulty ; but in his poetic 
enfranchisement, by the clue of unfearing love and harmony, 
he easily and gaily perambulates the open gardens of virtue 
and beauty, where feeling and delight are all-sufficient ex 
positors of the unity of creation. Obsequious to the guidance 
of the spirit of nature, he submits himself unconsciously, na 
turally, to the principles and laws whereby nature issues into 
satisfaction. The first of these conditions for poetry is, that 
all things in the world shall be capable of an application to 
the human heart, that objects seemingly dead shall still be 
fitly the objects of love or dislike, from relevancy, whether 
of harmony or discord, to the affections of mankind. Thus 
poetry is the complement of our social instincts, as it pro 
claims that the connection of the soul with nature is not 
limited to correspondence with the head or the body, or the 
works of the hands or the inventions of the thought, but 
extends to the kingdoms of the earth and the entire fabric of 
the universe ; and that every form, great or small, breathes 
out life, and aspires to personality and animation. In this 

1 14 Correspondence. 

way, poetry is creative, because it revives the bodies of nature 
with new but congenial spirits, and completes their intended 
animation, by repossessing them in the name of the human 

This, however, is nearly all that can be said of the apprecia 
tion of correspondence by mankind at present. It is, wher 
ever we find it, only an instinctive knowledge, and maintained 
for the necessity of the case ; enough being admitted to carry 
on the business of the world, or to authorize the jaded mind 
to take refreshment in the ideal realms of song. For the 
rest, correspondence has died away out of religion ; it has 
had neither revival nor shelter in the conceptions of philo 
sophy ; and science, preoccupied with engagements and dis 
tractions, has not yet had leisure to base it, where its lower 
foundations will lie, upon the rocks and mountains of nature. 
Let us briefly review the reasons which prevent its admission 
within the pale of knowledge in any of these spheres. 

It may be premised, that the acknowledgment of cor 
respondence as a general law, depends upon the acknow 
ledgment of God as one infinite Being, who has created all 
things for one infinite end. Whatever impairs the force of 
this idea, or perplexes its ultimate unity, also essentially dis 
turbs the doctrine of correspondence. If there be not unity 
in the design of nature, then one thing is not answerable to, 
or serviceable for, another, which is the same as to say, that 
there is no universal correspondence. But where, among the 
religions and sects of the old world, is the theology which is 
not virtually polytheism ? As against the heathen religions, 
we admit the charge easily enough : their votaries bow down 
to wood and stone ; and the fact is as palpable as the idol. 
They conceive of God as a finite being, man, animal, or 
thing ; or perhaps they conceive of a multitude of gods ; and 
it is; impossible that creative or universal functions should 
attach to these, or that the uses of all things, in all worlds, 
should ascend by steps to such local and partial centres. 
Who can imagine for a moment that any of the gentile or 
national deities are the infinite ends of creation ? But no 
finite power, and no number of such powers, could even 
modify the universe correspondentially, still less create it so. 

Correspondence. 115 

The utmost unanimity among a thousand deities would not 
amount to particular, but only to general unity, and general 
only for some one district of the planet. In short, to think 
finitely of God is to think of him from the resistance of matter, 
and the environment of adverse circumstances, and not from 
love, wisdom, order, and unity, the omnipotent principles to 
which nature is completely plastic, and the grounds of the 
endless forms that minister to each other in their degrees, and 
specifically answer to one infinitely manifold end in the mind 
of the Creator. 

The Pagan polytheism, then, can afford no place to a doc 
trine of universal correspondence ; because Paganism does 
not admit the fact of a creation, but regards matter as either 
eternal or non-existent, and only conceives of an arbitrary mo 
dification of natural powers by a multitude of beings generi- 
cally like ourselves ; and, we may almost say a fortiori, neither 
can that more condensed and compact form of the same 
sensuality, which may be denominated Christian Polytheism. 
The theory of three gods and a devil, the cautious Heathen 
ism arid ManichsBism of polite nations, is as destructive of all 
notions of regime arid unity as if the three were three thou 
sand ; and darkness and light, good and evil, were co-equally 
universal and divine. Thus, the Tritheist has no doctrine of 
a Creator, from which to deduce the universality of corres 
pondence. But the counterpoise to this Tritheism lies natu 
rally in the abstract admission of a unity in the Godhead, 
combined with the practical worship of the three mental 
idols ; which brings us to the second point, or the aspect of 
Philosophy towards Correspondences. 

The present philosophies are the re-action of the human 
mind, thoroughly ashamed of its theology, but unable to 
escape from it, except into pure negations. This is the rea- / 
son of their abstract character ; for, were they to let them 
selves down into shapes or images, they w r ould alight at once 
among the monstrosities of the existing churches. Hence 
they Hit over the whole of our intellectual possessions, as 
though there was no church in the world ; and, in their 
unresting isolation from reality, proclaim in the strongest 
manner the want of correspondence between the different 

116 Correspondence. 

organs of the mind. Their general doctrine is, that God is 
an abstraction ; an abstraction one and infinite ; force, 
substance, mind, intelligence, wisdom, love, what you 
please ; but all these abstractions still, allied to no form, and 
barely allowed to be or exist. Where theology commits 
suicide, philosophy is its unhappy ghost ; a thing with no 
power of embodiment ; haunting the world, not dwelling in 
it ; and disturbing the business of life, without aiding to bear 
and lighten its real burdens. Nevertheless, philosophy con 
tains the shells of truth, and the general principle of corre 
spondence. For force and substance answer to their peculiar 
manifestations ; mind, intelligence, wisdom, love, infinite as 
well as finite, correspond to their own appropriate means, 
adaptations, ends, and delights. All this, philosophy recog 
nizes, and produces even the general formula, that the human 
mind is the image of the Divine, and that man is the mirror 
of the universe. But the mischief lies here, that these philo 
sophical principles are confirmed abstractions, or closed ideas, 
containing no internal series, and incapable of tallying with 
the indefinite multiformity of men and things. For where 
an indivisible unity, like the God of the metaphysician, or the 
blank forms of consciousness, is the first degree or term, it is 
plain that it can correspond to nothing distinct in the second 
sphere, or the region of causes, and to nothing really various 
in the third, or the region of effects. Spiritualities, seized 
upon as a general formula, and carefully emptied of all 
particulars, can bear no relation to a world like ours, or a 
creature like man, where, and in whom, parts are distin 
guished from parts, in form as well as function, to a degree 
which baffles the most instructed faculty; and where, indeed, 
succession and detail of things comprise all the means of 
God. If there be no series, but a blank, in our knowledge 
of the higher and the highest, if it number none but closed 
ideas, plainly we cannot apply it to the series of the lower, 
and see piece for piece in each sphere ; or discern the spe 
cific wisdom of any given natural form, still less the distinct 
carrying-out in nature of any spiritual principle of existence. 
Now, this settled emptiness is the sole attribute of all con 
firmed abstractions ; and philosophy, for the present at least, 

Correspondence. 117 

is forced, as we have shown, to continue abstract, for fear of 
falling into the incongruous imagery of the vulgar Christian- 
ism. The result is, that while, by its antagonism to the 
corruptions of theology, and the rational examination of 
the grounds of that antagonism, it gains some true maxims, 
these are confined to general admissions without details ; for 
the very existence of this protesting philosophy depends upon 
its quarrel with the positive sphere, which is the lawful 
domain of theology. Such is the case with the philosophical 
maxim, that man is a microcosm, and the mirror of the universe, 
which, although recognized a hundred times, yet remains in 
the mind unapplied ; and indeed the very men who enunciate 
as a maxim would be the last to sanction any attempt at 
detailed proof of it, in the field of nature or the sciences. 
All philosophy, in fine, implies or proclaims correspondence ; 
no philosophy studies it. The shadow of the doctrine is 
grasped ; its power and substance are neither believed nor 

But, if philosophy refuses to impregnate the natural sci 
ences with those germs which it contains, or to put them 
through the circle of growth and fructification, it is only to 
be expected, that a counterpoise and re-action should arise 
to its abstruse barrenness ; and this counterpoise exists in the 
sciences confining themselves to reality within the rigid limits 
of material law. Philosophy was seen to be the protest against 
theology ; science is the protest against both, but proximately 
and prominently against the former. Hence, for the present, 
science is opposed to all general principles arising at once 
from the mind, and bestows its favor only upon its own gen 
eralizations, which are so slow in clearing even the material 
world, that it must be ages of ages before even the existence 
of correspondence could come before it as a question. For 
the prospects of a science which receives the seeds of truth 
at the beginning are very different from those of a science 
which has to make them before it can sow them ; for this is a 
hopeless task, against the nature and possibilities of science. 
No wonder, then, that science, refusing to be distended with 
the data of subjective philosophy, should cleave to matter as 
a practical certainty, and seek to locate the whole of know- 

118 Correspondence. 

ledge under the dome of the visible heavens ; building up 
cities of material philosophy and material theology, in rivalry 
of those other mansions which were the prospect and conso 
lation of seers and prophets, and simple hearts, in less sophis 
ticated ages. No wonder that she excludes useless truths 
from her careful foundations ; for her aim is progress, in 
contradistinction to the immobility of philosophy, and hence 
she takes no cognizance even of the truth itself, unless it be 
presently capable of application and enlargement. This is 
the reason why there is no science of correspondences ; the 
doctrine of correspondence being an abstraction standing by 
itself, which gains from theology no life or impetus sufficient 
to make it circulate downwards, and take body and clothing 
among the things of this world. 

So great is the dread with which the inductive or scientific 
regard the philosophical class, that the former disregard 
practically the plainest and truest maxims of the latter, in 
order to break for ever with all knoAvledge which is appa 
rently unprofitable. Truth, in its commonest forms, becomes 
therefore suspect to the scientific analyst, lest some root of 
philosophic barrenness should lurk under it. You may 
venture such a truism as this, that the general is made up 
of its appropriate particulars ; but the scientific man will 
refuse to apply it in its own mode to organization, or any set 
of natural objects, or to deduce from it any of those harmo 
nies of construction which it manifestly involves. He will 
rather postpone indefinitely these precious results of so plain 
a principle, than run the risk of landing himself among the 
eunuchs of philosophical systems. 

It is, however, far from my intention to deny, that there 
are exceptions to this view, both Avith relation to theology 
and science ; for there are exceptions to every general state 
ment, and it will indeed be my object to show presently, that 
there is a theology in existence which not only admits the 
notion of correspondence, but fills it with details ; and a sci 
ence in outline which will receive open-armed the instruc 
tions of that theology, and apply them to natural facts, as its 
most ennobling function. .But this theology and science are 
not orthodox, or central to our present state, but exceptional 

Correspondence. 119 

and transitional, and will require a new general state before 
they can become ruling influences in the world. Meanwhile, 
nothing could be more destructive to existing limitations and 
prejudices than a doctrine of correspondences, which might 
be inferred from the dread wherewith our thinkers regard 
analogical reasoning, although, by the way, reasoning and 
analogizing are fundamentally one process. 

What is the first postulate for the successful prosecution 
of a science of correspondence ? Evidently this, that there 
be at least as much detail in the higher sphere, as the mind 
or the senses discern in the lower, with which the higher is to 
correspond. Otherwise it is clear, that the two spheres can 
not compare with each other in the way of apposite particular 
equivalents. For example, if light is the lower term, and 
truth the higher ; and if light embraces the phenomena of 
reflection, refraction, polarization, &c. ; then truth cannot 
correspond to light, unless there be modes of truth answering 
to reflection, refraction, &c. &c. and to the other exhibitions 
of which light is the ground. "Where the two fail to tally, 
the higher is occult, or its series is confused into uniformity, 
in which case it is impossible to say what it corresponds to. 
The beginning of mystery coincides, therefore, with the ces 
sation of correspondence. 

We may go a step further than this, and declare that the 
highest object of knowledge, or the divine nature, must be 
capable of presenting to the mind as many truths as equal 
the totality of things ; or otherwise there can be no corre 
spondence. Indeed, in point of number, there never was, 
or can be, a polytheism which furnished a sufficiency of 
detail in this respect alone. It is therefore of primary im 
portance to receive a doctrine of God sufficiently ample to 
provide all the principles of correspondences, at the same 
time that is sufficiently unitary to contain them, and all things 
else, in one Divine Idea. This doctrine can be no other than 
that of the Humanity of God. For, according to the maxims 
of the philosophers themselves, all nature is combined in man, 
so that he is a microcosm, or miniature world, and man him 
self must be comprised in a Divine Man ; which shows that 
the Divine Humanity is a doctrine co-extensive with all 

1 20 Correspondence. 


thmgs, and therefore an adequate origin for the whole exist 
ence* of correspondences. 

But, quitting the ground of number or measure, we may 
assert on other grounds, that the positive root of the doctrine 
{>f correspondences, as of all universal doctrines, lies in the 
admission of the Divine Humanity. For, apart from this, 
we have no right, save as a convenience of thought, to attri 
bute ends, or Divine Ideas, or even a Divine Mind, to the 
Creator ; failing which, the idea of God becomes altogether 
closed or occult, and can answer to no series of existence, 
either successive or simultaneous. Ignorance of correspond 
ence depends, then, mainly upon ignorance or denial of the 
Divine Humanity ; and, conversely, the possibility of our 
knowledge of the doctrine depends expressly upon the quan 
tity and quality of our knowledge of the love and other 
attributes of the same intelligible humanity. It is not to be 
understood, that this doctrine of God need always be con 
sciously admitted, in order to a belief in the unity of creation, 
and the universality of correspondence ; but only that, for 
this purpose, it must always be accepted, either tacitly or 
openly, before the laws of Divine Order can be deduced from 
their genuine fountain. We know, however, that many 
simple men do really live an unconscious life, upon this glo 
rious reception ; nor is it to be doubted, that its bright rays 
have streamed down often for a few moments upon the pages 
of philosophers ; nay, have been habitually though invisibly 
present, wherever worthy and open conceptions of nature 
and human destiny were the staple thoughts of the good or 
great in our own and other generations. 

The Divine Humanity, then, is the only refuge from ab 
stractions on the one hand, and from idolatry on the other. 
It is the only doctrine of God which involves neither mystery 
nor mental degradation ; therefore the only doctrine which 
can be central to the whole of human knowledge. It is the 
sun, of which all the objects of science are the correspon 
dences ; even that brightness of wisdom by which the worlds 
were made. Radiant in the depths of the human soul, it 
makes our finite nature the delegated centre of the corre- 
spondential world ; and as it constitutes man the image of 

Correspondence. 121 

God, so it enables him to conclude, that his own constitirtion 
is in reality the minimal end of correspondence, and the, 
microcosm of .the microcosm. It opens up a highway from 
man to God, a broad path upon which the angels are ascend 
ing and descending ; and empowers us to conclude with 
reverent intentions from the one to the other, and to recon-^ 
cile the science of correspondence with the truth, that " His 
thoughts are not as our thoughts, nor his ways as our ways." 
We may, therefore, now pass on to finite man, as the second 
ary fountain of correspondence, or the modifying principle 
of the universe. Let us, then, narrow our field for a time 
to this convenient limit, and illustrate the law of correspond 
ency from our own familiar actions and objects. 

Now, what is the series and procession of all human works ? 
Man undoubtedly lives for a multiplicity of ends, which arise 
to him one after another ; and he proposes them to himself, 
in the sevenfold ages of his lifetime. These ends, we must 
repeat, are not abstractions, but objects containing indefinite 
details. For instance, the love of which children are the 
object ; or, to abridge so extensive a theme, let us take only 
that portion of the love which proposes the education of our 
offspring. Here the end or object (the end and object are 
the same ultimately, and the end is complete in proportion 
as it is correlative to the object primarily) comprises, or may 
comprise, all the results of moral and intellectual training, 
all the perfections of the character of the child ; which per 
fections are the points to be attained. When the end is 
somewhat comprehended in detail, the next step is to place 
under or submit to it a series of means exactly adapted to 
advance it ; so that, for every item that is desired, there shall 
be a specific adequate instrument or cause of gratification, 
and at least as many pieces in the cause as there are general 
divisions in the end. In the present instance, these pieces of 
the cause are all the suitable means of education. The last 
step is to direct the end, and to apply the causes, to the 
proper subject, or to the child, the genuine natural effect, 
recipient of education ; an effect, however, less manifold than 
the cause, even as the cause is comparatively poor, in relation 
to the universal end. 

122 Correspondence. 

Here observe again, what it is impossible to observe too 
often, that the end we have been considering is not a closed 
idefl, or a blank point, but a human being spiritually culti 
vated towards perfection ; and that the same must be the 
case with all other ends, because they have the like divisions 
with their objects, and thereby correspond piecemeal, as well 
as in general, with their effects. Also that the more thorough 
the correspondence between end, cause and effect, the more 
do we realize in the last sphere that which we intend in the 
first ; and the less perfect the correspondence, the more 
devoid of will and intelligence is the worker, and the more 
abortive the work. In the latter case, the ends are absent 
from the causes, or the causes omitted from the effects ; or 
heterogeneous ends and causes are introduced, and operate 
confusion in the result. Let us further observe, as a corol 
lary from the preceding, since human efforts themselves are 
always directed to the subjects of the Divine creation, that 
our action can never be perfectly harmonious, until it is con 
sciously regulated by the universals of correspondence ; until 
humanity is the transparent medium and directing rein of 
Providence ; or, in other words, until the modifying principle 
coincides with the creative. This is the attachment of cor 
respondence to God, or its inauguration into religion. 

Having regarded man in one of his parental functions, 
let us now regard the Creator under the same type of love, 
and we shall recognize that the Divine Father has prepared 
his universe for the spiritual education or sustenance of all his 
children. The goodness and wisdom of all possible genera 
tions in all worlds is the object of his works ; a greatest Man, 
containing all men for ever, and for ever increasing in its 
correspondence to his own infinite humanity. And this end 
or object, again, is not a closed idea, a blank point, a meta 
physical unity, or an abstraction, but a subject more abound 
ing in detail than the created universe ; and hence, indeed, 
its power of abridging itself into a given correspondence with 
the creation. 

This indefinitely ample and specific end marches to its 
accomplishment through all the Works of God in either world, 
and directly through his Word, whence there is a most par- 

Correspondence. 123 

ticular analogy between the Word and the Works, and cor- ". 
respondence between both and the end. In fine, Revelation 
and Creation are the means of God, answering to and car 
rying out the Divine End or Idea. 

Man is the subject to whom the Divine care applies, and 
hence the above end and means generate the very potencies 
of man ; the great movement of the universe enters his body, 
and becomes his constitution. The world lives in him, and 
fits him to live in the world. Not a stone, or a plant, or a 
living creature, but carries up its heart s thread into his loom, 
there to be wound into human nature, and therefrom and 
thenceforth, in its form and fortunes, to obey the progress of 
his own immortal destinies. For, as was said before, while 
creation is the work of God, modification is the function of 
man ; or, in other words, the world is continually created by 
God through man, that is to say, co-ordained to humanity. 

Such are some of the preliminaries of a doctrine of parti 
cular correspondences : let us now look a little more closely 
at what it is that makes correspondence. We have seen, 
that the created universe consists of chains of specific cor 
respondences, reaching from heaven to earth. What, then, 
is the condition of correspondence between any two things 
in these different spheres ? To this it may be answered, 
that gradation or subordination of use is the first principle of 
the law, and that the same also is the universal principle 
of connection between spirit and nature, and particularly 
between the soul and the body. Thus, in studying corre 
spondence, we are virtually studying the connection between 
the soul and the body, and between the natural world and the 
spiritual. This, the pressing difficulty of human thought for 
thousands of years, turns out to be only soluble upon the 
neglected theory of correspondence. 

The body corresponds to the soul. Why so ? it will be 
asked. Simply because the body is the soul over again, or 
is the vicegerent of the soul in a new sphere whither the soul 
itself could not penetrate. The body is a form co-ordained 
to the service of the soul, shapen into usefulness by forces 
emanating from the soul. As the human hand shapes the 
pen, and then writes with it, so the soul forms the body, and 

124 Correspondence. 

then makes active use of the properties resulting from the 
form. The connection between the soul and the body is not 
more mysterious than the connection between the pen-maker 
and the pen ; excepting, indeed, that our knowledge of the 
pen is so much more complete than our knowledge of 
the bod^, A science of the body, had we such a science, 
which displayed its uses, or its specific fitness to minister to 
the soul, would as evidently account for the attachment of the 
soul to the body, as the capabilities of the pen account for 
its connection with the fingers of the ready writer. It is, in 
both cases, the bond of service, of love, of use ; for what other 
connecting principle is possible ? Is this too simple for the 
philosophers ? Nevertheless, it is the one only ground of 
any connection they ever formed, or could form, either with 
man or thing, since the world began. Unity of system alone 
would prescribe, that answerableness or correspondence of 
use be the tie between all spirit and all nature, and between 
each particular spirit and its bodily organ, as it confessedly 
is the tie which unites man to all his works, and the channel 
which carries forth human ends through the extensive rami 
fications of our mundane dwelling. 

Correspondence, then, in nature means correspondence of 
use. Let us, however, as the first of all correspondences is 
that of the soul with the body, proceed to make the latter 
somewhat more objective, that we may see its uses more 
distinctly, and connect it more easily in thought with the 
uses of other instruments. For this purpose, let us admit 
that the soul or spirit itself is the spiritual or real body, and 
that the natural body is the well-furnished house, the admi 
rable circumstance, of the soul. Something like the follow 
ing analogical discourse may result from this point of view, 
in which a stand is taken further inwards, to gain distance, 
distinctness, and integrity for the object. 

The soul being assumed as the real body, the natural 
body will represent all the arts of life, whether economic or 
aesthetic. Thus the eye is its window, telescope, microscope, 
and serves for the whole series of media which transparent 
substances proffer to vision, and which are as curious and 
exquisite for appearance as they are excellent for use ; for the 

Correspondence. 125 

eye receives the finest of impressions from things, and gives 
the finest of expressions from the soul. So likewise the ear is 
the hearing trumpet of the real body, which would otherwise 
be deaf to the sounds of nature ; it embraces all the means of 
reverberation, whether in the free air, or of cheerful voices 
from the household ceiling, or of more solemn souifds from 
the long-drawn aisle and fretted vault ; in short, both the 
whole instrumentality and the whole architecture .of sound. 
But the nose is to the real body the prophecy of more devi 
ces than have yet entered our arts ; for hitherto sweet odors 
and aromas are but casual visitants of the soul, and have 
few artificial aids for preservation or concentration ; they 
come and go with the fitful winds, and where is the vessel, 
that can hold them ? For the nose seems more deficient of 
analogies in art than either the eye or the ear, and hence we 
can only identify it unworthily as the scent-bottle of the real 
nose. To pass over the other senses, we next observe that, 
the legs are the w T hole outward art of locomotion, from pas 
sive to active, from the nails of the toes to the wheel of the 
knee, and the globe of the hip ; in short, from the cane 
to the railroad : the real body uses them in nature, whether for 
the support of its lowliness, or the means of its swiftness, 
or the equipage of its pride : they are the dignified columns 
of all movement, material as well as social ; the rich soul s car 
riage, and the poor soul s crutches. But the arms and hands 
are all the finer machineries or inventions which are wielded 
directly by the arms and hands of the soul ; they are the 
pen and the sword ; the instrument of many strings ; strength 
and manipulation in all their bearings ; in short, the mecha 
nics of animal intelligence, whereby the nice conveniences 
of truth are brought to the rooms and walls of the micro- 
cosmal home. Then the abdomen is the natural kitchen of 
the soul, raising to sublimity the processes of the gastrosophic 
art ; preparing from all things in its indefinite stores one 
universal dish, lower than cookery, higher than philosophy, 
even the natural blood of life, to be served up day by day in 
repasts for the spiritual man : the viand of viands, solid and 
fluid all in one ; varying from hour to hour, and suited with 
more than mathematic truth to the constitution of the eater. 

126 Correspondence. 

Then, again, the chest distributes, with a power of wisdom 
dictated from the halls above, this daily bread of the body 
of the soul ; and the wisdom that ordains and distributes, 
enters the very feast, and it becomes a living entertainment ; 
and the brain is the steward and keeper of the animated 
house, perennially receiving order and law from the soul or 
unseen body, and transplanting them into its mundane econo 
my. Yea, and the brain is its natural universe, its wide 
spread landscapes, its illimitable ocean, its blue vault of 
heaven ; its royal library, studio, theatre, church, and what 
ever else is a place of universal sympathy for the soul. And, 
lastly, the skin is dress and clothing in every sphere, con 
venient, beautiful, or official, and it is the very mansion itself; 
for our houses are but our fixed and stiffest clothes, standing 
by themselves, and large enough to admit of some degree of 
movement ; and these houses represent over again, even on 
their outside, the busy scene within, and themselves have 
eyes or windows, mouths or doors, and in general a paral 
lelism true beyond our suspicions, with the real bodies of 
their inhabitants ; for they are clothes which fit generally, ay, 
and particularly too. 

Now, by this artifice, of holding out our bodies at some 
distance from us, Ave are enabled to illustrate for the com 
monest thought the connection or correspondence between 
the soul and the body; and, though there may be other 
motives of connection, yet it is sufficient to remark for the 
present, that, according to all the foregoing analogy, it is 
because the body is so replete with the most exquisite con 
venience, that it is the chosen residence or domestic establish 
ment of the soul. Given a tenement of the kind stored with 
the sumptuous apparatus of the universe, and it is impossible 
that the soul which answers to it should not be present to, and 
fitly use, or, what is the same thing, animate it. Not to admit 
thus much, would be to think meanly indeed of the soul, and 
of the Framer of the soul. This, then, is the first solution, 
quite satisfactory so far as it goes, of this hitherto intractable 
question. Other solutions are too simple to be comprehended 
at all in these difficult ages. 

But let us now reverse the picture, and suppose, for 

Correspondence. 127 

example s sake, that a savage is introduced for the first time 
into one of our convenient mansions, and that he knows 
the use neither of table nor chair, knife nor fork, bed nor 
carriage, but that his naked body and unarmed hand have 
been accustomed to direct fellowship, or fight, with nature. 
Can he account for the connection of the civilized man 
with his house ? By no means. Unhoused body that 
he is, we see in him a full type of those who dwell on the 
purity and freedom of disembodied spirits, and cannot con 
ceive the bond between spirit and nature, because they know 
nothing of the uses of nature to spirit. At first, then, the 
savage cannot divine why his civilized brother limits himself 
to a house, because he is uninformed of the good of a house. 
As he learns the uses of the furniture, and, still more, the 
mode of using it, the points of connection come forth one by 
one ; and when all the uses are understood, then, for the first 
time, he has a plenary understanding both of the reason and 
mode of the permanent act of inhabitation. 

Just so it is with the body and the soul. The physiologi 
cal savage (I beg his pardon), who has been unaccustomed 
to the means of thought, and approaches all subjects directly 
with his undoctrinated, undisciplined senses, knows not of the 
body as a rational abode, but as a raw substance in the midst 
of nature ; and how, then, should he see its connection with 
a soul ? For the uses of things are the reasons why they 
are used. And hence the perception of the connection of 
nature with spirit is the exact measure of the perception of the 
uses of nature. To see the one is to see the other ; as to 
miss the one is to miss the other also. 

The soul corresponds directly to the body ; it corresponds 
remotely, or through the body, which is the perfection of physi 
cal art, to the house in which the man lives. Or, to put the mat 
ter proportionally, the soul is to the body as the body is to the 
house. In a secondary sense, therefore, the house, including 
all the implements of social life, may be said to correspond to 
the body. For the body has to live in the material universe ; 
but this it cannot do nakedly. Its skin is not a sufficient 
shelter, or a sufficient space, for life on the planet ; its hands 
are not strong enough, or long enough, to move all and do 

128 Correspondence. 

all by themsel\ r es. And, not to pursue the enumeration, the 
body, wishing to be at home in the world, must build up in 
the world a medium corresponding to itself, for itself to dwell 
in. This medium is the house ; which is a correspondence, 
because it extends the active and passive powers of the hu 
man frame to the general system of nature, and is a defence 
as well as a medium. The precise uses of the house, and all 
it contains, are the parts of this correspondence : they are the 
handles by which the bo ( dy holds the house ; and the form of 
the use need only be stated to explain the mode of the con 

Strictly speaking, however, the connection between two 
things is subsequent to their correspondence, and is the use 
or fruit of the latter ; and we therefore return, for the present, 
to" the consideration of correspondence, and proceed to remark, 
that, whenever one thing is to a higher sphere what another 
thing is to a lower, correspondence has place between the two. 
Correspondence is, therefore, definite proportion between dif 
ferent spheres. Thus truth is to the spiritual world what 
light is to the natural world ; wherefore truth and light are 
correspondences. Love is to the spiritual world what heat 
is to the natural ; therefore love and heat correspond to each 
other. The understanding is to the soul what the lungs are 
to the body ; therefore the understanding and the lungs cor 
respond to each other. This is the formula of that high kind 
of correspondence which is identical with the law and order 
of creation, whereby the Divine Ideas are embodied in the 
creatures. For the threefold world is a celestial equation, 
always co-ordinated from above and below, and fluent in a 
widening stream from node to node, and from immensity to 

[ have said that the lungs correspond to the understanding ; 
and, to exercise abstraction, which is the ghost of thought, 
let us draw out the uses of the two a little particularly, that 
we may see with our eyes that they correspond, or that 
the one is in the body what the other is in the mind. Now, the 
understanding gives distinct division, or shapen genera] force, 
to the affections of the man : it is those affections formed from 
without, as the will is the same actuated from within. The 

Correspondence. 1&9 

lungs give the capacity of separate or circumstantial action 
to the organs of the body, and take up or absorb the propul 
sions of the heart by the formal attractions of the organs them 
selves : they enfranchise the organs from the general force 
and form, as the understanding enfranchises the man from 
the domination of the surrounding universe. The under 
standing dictates precise motives into the soul from without, 
and by the bonds of truth, .which are its membranes, acts 
specifically upon the affections. The lungs, through then- 
universal connectkms in the body, carry distinct motions into 
the system, and operate physically upon the vital parts. The 
understanding admits invigorating elements of truth from 
heaven : the lungs receive fresh air from the atmospheres. 
The understanding, obeyed in action, conciliates the earth 
with heaven, and joins spiritual powers to bodily works : the 
lungs, in their healthy operation upon an obedient frame, 
mediate between the brain and the body, and draw the animal 
spirit of the former into the blood and muscles of the latter. 
But, not to extend too far this parallelism of uses, we may 
state in brief, that the understanding distributes the affections 
into series, and provides for the separate and alternate, as 
well as combined, action of these series ; and that analo 
gously the lungs dispart the natural motions into free series, 
moment these into expansion and contraction, and also pro 
vide a general movement into which all particular actions 
cease as their office expires. 

Now, then, so far as this has gone, the lungs are to the 
body what the understanding is to the mind. Quoad under 
standing, the mind cannot pass really out of its own sphere, 
or grapple with the material body ; but it descends in its form, 
and adopts the prepared lungs, which receive because they 
express its form of motion, and, in performing their functions, 
carry out its designs in the lower world. This, then, is the 
correspondence between the two, that they are co-ordained, 
and the higher finds in the lower an answerable minister for 
extending its effects to a new goal. Similarity of end ensures 
correspondence ; also the virtual presence of the superior in 
the inferior, and reciprocal conjunction of each with each. 
And this endures so long as the lower can serve the higher, 

130 Correspondence. 

and rightfully demand the wages of the service, or continuance 
of life ; but it is annulled, and death takes place, when from 
any cause such service becomes impossible. 

Correspondence is, then, first, co-ordination by creation ; 
and, secondly, adoption and inauguration into analogous uses. 
The lungs are delineated by the soul, as a bodily form capable 
of communicating, when the time arrives, with its future un 
derstanding ; the understanding is a spiritual organization 
co-ordinate with the lungs, and which, as it comes into being, 
by harmony of end flows into them, and by continuous har 
mony into the body. In the Divine Idea, which contains the 
soul or first end, the understanding generates the lungs, which 
are but itself according to matter ; in human nature, the lungs 
come first, and the understanding afterwards ; and then the 
two are co-ordinate, and the understanding, as a motion, gen 
erates the distinct animations of those organs, or the pulmonic 
functions. In creation, therefore, while there is absolute 
correspondence or causation, particular as well as general, 
subsisting between the Divine Ideas and universal nature, 
there is on the other hand a modifying power assigned to 
man as always becoming a partaker in the Divine End, 
whereby the Creator consents to actualize in the world all 
the forms, whether good or bad, which man evolves in his 
mind ; precisely to maintain inviolate the creative law of cor 
respondence, whereby the world is the exact habitation of 
humanity. As a great authority has said, " God passes 
through man into the world, and has nothing in common with 
nature excepting through man ; whence the perfection of na 
ture depends upon the perfection of man. For God, the 
Author and Builder of nature, disposes the world exactly 
according to the character of man, the medium whereby he 
communicates with the world." In the earliest ages, indeed, 
the whole creation corresponded, as far as possible, to the 
Divine Idea, and the first men also ; but as the times ran 
down, and man decayed, then the creation corresponded to 
our fallen race, as their only dwelling and their best educa 
tion. Thus the primary as well as the secondary world cor 
responded at first to the will of God ; the later or subversive 
world, to the realized waywardness of mankind itself, free to 

Correspondence. 131 

draw to an indefinite extent upon the Divine permissions, 
which granted legions of substantial evils in all the kingdoms 
of nature. 

Light is to the eye what truth is to the mind ; and heat is 
to the body what love is to the man. Hence heat and light 
are the natural vicegerents of truth and love ; because, by 
accordance of use, they prolong and extend the empire of 
truth and love through inferior nature. The Divine Light, 
per se, cannot enter the material creation ; but, by the obse 
quious arm of light-giving suns, it reaches the lowest world 
with creative love and power, and becomes omnipresent even 
through death itself by the perfect correspondence of the in 
strument to the end. This correspondence necessarily carries 
with it the greatest force ; for wherever there is a well-adapted 
instrument of use, a body expressly built and informed by 
nature for accomplishing a given design, there that design or 
end is spiritually present with it (for likeness of end or love 
is spiritual presence) , and inaugurates it into active functions. 
Thenceforth there is no way of severing the two but by injur 
ing the instrument, or unfitting it for the purposes of that prin 
ciple which can make use of it. This principle cleaves to its 
convenient form on the same grounds, and with tenfold the 
tenacity, that a wealthy citizen cleaves to his comfortable and 
convenient home, or civilized mankind in general to the ap 
pliances which make their position in the world. 

On account of the universality of this force, the magic of 
the ancient world arose out of the science of correspondences. 
The conjuring rod and the paraphernalia of the magician s 
cave were symbols, into which, as appropriate bodies, spirit 
ual forces entered. For, the natural circumstances occurring 
in a certain order, by the laws of creation the upper world 
will animate them, and rush down through them with new 
and marvellous efficacity. This, indeed, is the ground for 
which the two comprehensive symbols of Christianity, Bap 
tism and the Lord s Supper, are solid means or verities, and 
not superstitious abracadabra. But it is not surprising, after 
obscurant philosophers have been preaching for ages against 
the power of circumstances, and endeavoring to erect the 
freedom of the human will upon the ruins of natural facts, 

132 Correspondence. 

that the world should know little of natural order, and nothing 
of the effects which it does, and is designed to, produce in 
the happiness and highest relations of mankind. 

If the creations of an infinite Being, or the house and do 
main in which man is to dwell, are necessarily correspond 
ences, so also are whatever revelations he vouchsafes for 
the edification of his finite creatures. If, in a real sense, 
there be a Word of God, if that Word be not the fruit of 
an exalted enthusiasm of our finite faculties, but the outward 
gift of Heaven, then as the world is made by correspond 
ence, so must the Word be written by correspondence ; 
and the inevitable effect of a devout and still more of an 
intelligent reading of such a volume must be the instantane 
ous presence of the Divine Soul in the letter, converting the 
heart, and making wise the simple. This follows in the strict 
est manner from the premiss of a Word sent down from 
heaven by the golden rod of correspondence. How ama 
zing our interest in the existence of such a Word, and the 
ministrations of such a Science ! Better, for very hope s 
sake, to hold to them, than to sit in the seat of the wittiest 
scorner, or to wrap up the proud soul in the threefold honors 
of skepticism ! Philosophy has nothing but darkness to offer, 
when it rejects precise and unitary ideas of inspiration, whe 
ther for the emptiness of rationalism, or for the incoherency 
and caprice of the Protestant ideas of the Divine Truth, from 
which the only safeguard is the blessed inconsequence of 
those who entertain them. 

A correspondential Word is not, however, necessarily un 
alterable in its outward form, or incapable of modification 
and contorsion. On the contrary, its letter may take a new 
and subversive shape, just as the creation itself has received 
the imprint of the Fall, and, in the majority of its subjects, 
reflects the social and individual depravation of its secondary 
Master. The harshness of the Jewish Word, and the hid- 
denness of much of the Christian, is, then, no more against 
the indwelling of the Divine Love in these difficult forms, 
than the savagery and hostility of the creation is against the 
fact of a beneficent Creator. It is finite man to whom all 
things ultimately correspond ; and it is even for his benefit 

Correspondence. 133 

that all things, good and evil, were and are created. By 
virtue of the science of correspondences, this will become 
clear as heaven s light, and the meaning: of evil will be seen 

O O 

to be good, even Divine Goodness itself. 

It has been said already, that the first and most intelligible 
of correspondences is that of the body with the soul, and that 
the specific uses of the body demonstrate the parts of the 
soul. Now branching out from the human body, we find 
two great series of subsidiary or remote correspondences : 
viz. on the one part, all the works of the hands, the whole 
world of art and society ; on the other part, the forms of the 
three kingdoms of nature. The first of these spheres is noto 
riously the prolongation of the powers of man ; the second is 
admitted even by naturalists to be the prolongation of his 
interior powers, or organization. The first is his own world 
of finite creation ; the second, his divinely co-ordinated 
world, where he can modify, but not create ; or where he is 
the medium, but not the rational origin, of forms. Herein 
lie the origin and currency of the law of series ; of series 
which work for each other, and reciprocally gratify each 
other, through the ample range of the universe. The arts of 
outward life are to man what the three kingdoms of nature 
are to the human body : each ensures the secondary omni 
presence of its principle in its own arena. Thus, each vege 
table, animal, and plant is referable to some province of the 
human body, and thereby to a corresponding province of 
the soul, as each invention belongs to some province of human 
arms, and human wants or wills. For the series runs inwards 
by many moments, and triple graduations, to the central 
complex or unit, which corresponds, and offers the series, to 
the form and mechanism immediately above it, or the unseen 
soul of the centre, and sun of the extended system. In this 
way there is a primary correspondence between souls and 
bodies ; between ends, causes and effects ; between the spir 
itual world and the natural ; between the centres of life and 
the centres of intelligence and movement ; and a secondary 
correspondence between the primordial centres and the cir 
cumferences of the movement, in so far as the circumferences 
advance the ends of the centres. So the very stones, or the 

134 Correspondence. 


horny nails and terminations of the earth, return by mutuality 

of services to God, and the creation respires its existence on 
the perpetual condition of spending alike its worlds and par 
ticles, or its days and its very seconds, upon humanity. 

This is an analytic view of correspondence : there is also 
a synthetic view, and the difference between the two may be 
perhaps thus illustrated. The analytic form traces the series 
of nature to the living body, and the correspondence of the 
body to the states of the mind or soul, according to the divi 
sion which is adopted of those states. As an example of 
this view, birds are said to correspond to rational thought ; 
for they fly in the aerial series Avhich terminates in the lungs, 
and the lungs correspond to the understanding. The syfc- 
thetic form, however, is different : it deals, not with the roots 
of man, but with his fruits ; not with his principles, but with 
his actions or ends ; not with individuals, but with that which 
is the necessary sphere for individuals, viz. societies ; not 
with the fractions of units, but with the powers of numbers ; 
not with thoughts, but with dramas and representations. 
Thus it takes the life, arts, and manners of the social man as 
the one term ; and the forms of nature as the other. And 
although it traces these to ultimate psychological grounds in 
each individual, yet its method consists in regarding nothing 
that is more minute than the actions of societies, as parallel 
to the developments of the creation. This is a very noble 
form of the study of universal analogy, in no way contrary 
to the analytic form, though much more concrete, and deal 
ing with masses of thought, and expressing its results in new 
terms ; also criticising man for his politics and social laws, 
rather than for his religious principles ; in a word, judging 
of ages by their fruits, both in action, and in the representa 
tions or tableaux of the universe. The first of these methods 
is represented in the writings of the penetrating, celestial 
Swedenborg ; the latter, in those of the gigantic and earth- 
born Fourier. They are the arms and legs of spiritual sci 
ence, and the five toes of the one are as indispensable as the 
five jewelled fingers of the other. The first without the last 
may be part of a dandy bust, but not of a locomotive being. 

The analogies of this synthetic method, which, like the 

Correspondence. 135 

analytic, has its own limits and advantages, lie between hu 
man characters, as wholes, and the objects of nature : thus 
between the concrete terms of friendship, love, obedience, 
constancy, inconstancy, pride, vanity, coquetry, or any of 
the other phrases which express the practical shades of dif 
ference observable in private life : also between the various 
systems, political, social, commercial, with their numberless 
details, and the same objects of nature ; for these systems are 
but the mechanized aggregates of human characters, gravi 
tating into masses which have such inevitable properties. 
"This species of symbolism is doubtless very ancient ; but, as 
we said before, it has acquired new importance and precision 
fr")m the labors of the noble-minded Fourier. 

Where the powers of inward contemplation or psycholo 
gical analysis are feeble, this Science of Universal Analogy - 
will be an invaluable substitute for the Science of Corre 
spondences ; and it may serve to educate many minds, and 
even many nations, in the laws of unity, where the material 
faculties and interests are more developed than the spiritual. 
In short, it may prove a mighty lever in the hands of a living 
doctrine of creation and correspondences, co-ordinating the 
truths of nature for truths of life which are yet to come. 

There is, however, one caution w^hich cannot be too often 
enforced in the prosecution of analogies and corresponden 
ces. It is, that both terms of the intellectual equation must lie 
within some sphere of experience, or no conclusion will be 
valid from the one to the other. Where the upper term is 
intangible, there may indeed be "analogical conjectures" 
respecting it ; yet the fact that the lower corresponds to it, 
will not indicate what the higher is, but rather what it is not ; 
for correspondence subsists where different forms extend the 
same principles to different spheres. To infer from the lower 
to the higher, without also having experimental knowledge 
of the higher, would be like concluding from a staff or walk 
ing stick, to the hand and arm, or to the limbs ; concluding, 
in fact, that the arms and legs are superior specimens of 
wooden manufacture. But this would be to miss out all the 
difference of the higher correspondent, or to mistake corres 
pondence for useless identity. Experience, therefore, is in- 

136 Correspondence. 

dispensable in both spheres ; and, if there were no actual 
experience of the spiritual world, there could be no safe con 
clusion, except a negative one, from the natural world to the 
spiritual. Therefore correspondence does not engender, but 
simply follows experience ; and analogies illustrate, but do 
not demonstrate. As an intellectual fact, correspondence 
subsists between the known and the known, and not between 
the known and the unknown. And the notion of sameness 
excludes that of correspondence. 

Correspondence, moreover, is a science to be worked ; not 
a bare general intuition to be speculatively particularized. 
It cannot be drawn out of ignorance by any fineness of 
deduction. The philosophy that pursues it must be content 
to study it in the school of facts, with industry, or, what is 
the same thing, with induction. Even its true results, with the 
exception of a very few general cases, cannot be confirmed 
by an appeal to self-evidence ; so little attestation of the ma 
jority of truths does "the self" at present carry with it. 
When we are told by a writer like Swedenborg, that a horse 
corresponds to intellectual truth, an ass to scientific truth, a 
camel to general scientifics, the mind makes almost no re 
sponse to so bizarre a statement, and we even doubt the 
very existence of the principle which forces us into any such 
details. And why ? Only because we expect to arrive at 
the truth of these matters by the force of our inexperience ; 
because philosophy is too proud to submit to induction. 
Otherwise we should suspend our judgment absolutely, until 
either the assertion were confirmed or denied by numerous 
true or false results, or by our repetition of the process by 
which it was arrived at. For, in contradicting it, we are 
supplanting something by nothing, and arguing that the first 
appearance of unlikeliness is justly condemnatory of all as 
sertions ; than which nothing can be more contrary to fact ; 
for truth is stranger than fiction, and spirit and nature are 
more exquisitely modish and formal than human artificiality. 
And what is the way to extend the science of correspon 
dences, or rather to develope the general idea into a science ? 
Undoubtedly, by studying the uses of all things to whatever 
is around and above them, and so pressing inwards from 

Correspondence. 137 

every side to humanity, whose nature is spirit, and whose 
light is life ; also by studying the evolutions of humanity, as 
it goes out to meet the uses of the creation, and to marry 
them by correspondence. But it is in the Word of God 
especially that the study of correspondence may begin, and 
has bes un. For the material elements of the Word are 


the central symbols of nature ; the object of the Word is the 
universal being, even mankind ; and the life of the Word is 
God. Here, then, is the concentration of things, the divinely 
selected field of the principles of science. For this reason, 
perhaps, the objects mentioned in the Word may have a car 
dinal and representative peculiarity in themselves, so as to 
constitute them a just abridgment of nature ; and the science 
of correspondences, without ignoring other objects, may at 
least begin with them ; especially as the Father of our spirits 
uses them as the immediate vehicles of His instructions, which 
nature in itself is not, save by reflection, and through long 
sciences. But, however this may be, probably the first attempt 
should consist in the verification of those correspondences 
which are already alleged in worthy writers ; also a gather 
ing up of those which are implied in human discourse, and 
in the very texture of many languages. This verification may 
be attempted by the construction of new tables, representing 
in series THE USES of each object, and dividing these series 
into degrees ; by which means the connections of nature with 
nature will be wonderfully opened to the mind, and things 
will be brought together which never shook hands in human 
sight before. Also the upper term must be similarly tabled 
with reference to the mind. And then the correspondence 
may be tried, as the spiritual die and the natural cast are per 
fected. By such tables, not one of which, to my knowledge, 
has ever been framed, for the corn of nature has had no 
granary, though the straw has been carefully stacked, the 
mind will be led from sphere to sphere, through regions more 
wide even on this earth than all our present conceptions of 
universal existence, and will prove the truth of the adage, 
that any road duly followed up will lead to the end of the 
world, and that there is a love in all things which enlarges 
the least spaces to infinity, and that uses are the vessels or 

138 Correspondence. 

channels whereby it circulates humanely through all things. 
I believe that the construction of only six such tables would 
be such a wide gate of knowledge, such an oil of flexibility, 
such a clue to more than Cretan labyrinths, such a highway 
to the acknowledgment of God, that it. would open an age of 
new intellectual power, and form indeed the veritable begin 
ning of the inductive study of the spiritual sciences. 

We said before, that it requires experience of both the 
terms, in order to perceive their reciprocal correspondence : 
we may now add, that it will also require genius, according 
to the express declaration of Swedenborg, that great induc 
tive student of correspondences. Both these assertions are 
indeed but truisms ; for where is the science, or where the 
part of any science, how physical soever it matters not, which 
has not had to wait for the celestial gifts of experience and 
genius, before it could take its seat in the Congress of Know 
ledge ? 

Genius, in the sense of mental fitness for this study, im 
plies especially a harmony of mind with the ends of creation, 
and an entrance thereby into the streams of causative wis 
dom ; and as correspondence is the connection of things, so also 
it is their delight and love, and delight and tranquillity and 
sweet opportunity are the conditions of the soul which are 
the most generative of the perceptions of correspondence. 
Therefore the poets hitherto have dwelt in this bond more 
than others, because they have been resigned and childlike, 
and have walked with God in liberty, and been content to 
drink of the river of his pleasures. 

Correspondence, we said, is the nexus of creation, and it 
will therefore be especially manifest in what Lord Bacon 
calls transitive instances, when, in point of fact, creation is 
taking place. For example, if, when thoughts were arising 
in the mind, birds of various kinds were invariably to arise in 
the heavens or upon the earth, the mind would be at no 
difficulty to assign the minute correspondence between the 
two things thus emerging piecemeal into visibility together. 
Such new creations would be startling evidences to common- 
sense perception. It is, however, clear that nature upon this 
planet is far less active now than in earlier ages, when the 

Correspondence. 139 

scenery of existence, and the living souls of the drama, were 
entirely changed from age to age, and new species and gen 
era arose in myriads out of the womb of the universal mother. 
Also the activity of the human mind is similarly in abeyance. 
Scores of sacred books, of influential religions, whose fossils 
are now extant in Asia and in the traditions of Northern 
Europe, originated from the powers of man in remoter 
periods, and were as collateral growths in the great banyan 
tree of primitive Revelation. These religions were at that 
time spiritual, and full of correspondences. Given out by 
particular men, they yet manifestly wore the impress of the 
spirit-land, and were genuine powers in nature. They held 
commissions from heaven, and kept the consciences of na 
tions. Modern ages, however, until of late, have not pro 
duced one such hieroglyphic, with the exception of the 
Revelations of Mahomet and Swedenborg. The jigejMof 
metaphysical philosophy are not ages of spiritual productive 
ness, but of doubt, fear, and inaction. They cudgel nature 
for what they gain, and fail of her co-operation. The world 
is as stubborn as an ass to their elaborate sciences. It is not 
remarkable that impuissant ages should know nothing of 
creation, and nothing of correspondence, since they are not 
themselves creative ; and nature reflects, by correspondence, 
their own barrenness and hypocrisy, and appears therefore 
to be callous and dead to humanity and the soul. 

Hypocrisy I say, because hypocrisy is a superior term of 
non-correspondence. And this hypocrisy lies in the real 
sensuality and theoretical Puritanism of metaphysical philo 
sophy, which, recognizing the immense perceptions and pos 
sessions of the senses, makes of the mind only the sharp 
point of the pyramid, of which sense is the broad basis ; and 
consequently gives the senses all power ; or power as posses 
sors of all within the horizon, while the mind is limited to a V 
pin s point in space ; for the conception of a mind absolutely 
sundered from space is a mere pretence, which words neces 
sarily repudiate. 

However, under the expansive influence of a doctrine and 
progressive science of correspondences, this pyramidal mode 
of thought, in which like a wasting flame the mind rises 

140 Correspondence. 

upwards, and the point of perfection is the point of cessation, 
must give place to columnar progress, in which the length 
and breadth of the spiritual world will be recognized as the 
top of worldly knowledge, and the solidity of all things in 
and from their first principles will be guaranteed by our dis 
tinct perception of the inalienable spaces that are occupied 
by their spiritual beginnings. Then will idealism and mate 
rialism be shouldered over the verge of the world by the 
exceeding fulness thereof; and the fitness of things for their 
perceived Divine ends will again engender, as at first, the 
profound study of correspondence, as the beginning and end 
of knowledge, or the Science of sciences. 

For, properly speaking, the uses of things are the princi 
pal knowledges, or the principles of knowledge, and the uses 
of things are the reasons of usage, or the grounds of corre 
spondency ; and as all things, whether ends, causes or effects, 
also have specific uses, so all things are made into ends by 
the first end, and are the subjects of correspondence. Thus 
correspondence is transferred outwards, with ends, from 
sphere to sphere, and is omnipresent in the great circle of 
the universe. Its science is thus the crown of those sciences 
which show the adaptation of nature to the developments of 
humanity ; and the analytic investigation of uses or ends is 
the point of union between the ancient and the modern 
worlds, between the physical sciences as now studied, and 
the ancient science of correspondence. 

The doctrine of correspondence teaches the value and the 
limits of circumstances in affecting our rninds and actions, 
and shows in what powerful spiritual streams outward situa 
tions and events may place us. Without in the slightest 
degree perilling the doctrine of free-will, it rather makes the 
strength of that freedom an object of statistic and experi 
mental, than of a priori knowledge. It shows that circum 
stances are the nidus of both heaven and hell ; and that the 
presence of the innermost good depends upon the presence 
of an order corresponding to it, in the disposition of society, 
and the distribution of the world ; for every corporeal being, 
of whatever kind, is used or animated by the spiritual world 
according to its form, and its form is the essence which pro- 

Correspondence. 141 

ceeds from without, even as the essence is the form proceed 
ing from within. In short, outward nature, hereditary nature, 
the influences of the age, the instructions of the parent and 
the teacher, the light of truth and revelation, are all circum 
stances ; and will is the organ which acts according to them, 
or not at all ; and freedom is the state of preparation, before 
the will is fully made up to act. Thus man is the conductor 
of correspondences, and also the modifier ; for, in making 
what use of things he pleases, man draws down new and 
different influences from the spiritual sphere, which give rise 
to new and appropriate extensions of the creation. 

In fine, the science of correspondence is the most mathe 
matical, mechanical, or intellectual of the sciences. The 
foundation of it is justice or equation, and the working of the 
law ensures permanent equilibrium in the world. Grounded 
primarily for human knowledge upon the felt correspondence 
of the soul with the body, and the connection between the 
two, it first infers, and then scientifically demonstrates, the 
pervading fact of correspondence and connection in all other 
relations. Correspondence of the individual with the society, 
of both with the world, of all with the Word, and of the 
Word with Divine Truth in the heavens, is in reality the bond 
wherewith God has bound in one the sheaves of his great 
universe. It is the system of the world. The perception of 
this, or of the uses of things, is one important phasis of the un 
derstanding of universals. When this understanding comes, 
the main study will be to put things through all their uses, 
or to bring nature into generative conditions with spirit. 
From the bed of this state, new creations must arise in all 
the kingdoms of nature, so as to gratify the heavens with 
many and desirable children ; and the earth, even as Sarah, 
will smile, in her apparent old age, at the fertility of the 
regenerate creation. " The barren woman shall rejoice, and 
be a fruitful mother of children." Then the doctrine will be 
exemplified, not in schools or dry diagrams, but in garden 
and in grove, in arts like nature, and in growths like art, in 
new messengers of truth and instruction, growing in the 
night from the sportive soil, from no seed but heaven, yet 
with no mystery, because in the fulness of time, and in the 

142 Correspondence. 

attraction of requirement ; and, even in the physical world, 
the use and beauty and completing series of all things will 
be as an advancing testimony of the correspondence of God 
with nature, and of that supreme correspondence which con 
stitutes the Marriage of the Lamb. 


From what has been said we may infer, that the relation 
of cause and effect, as of end and cause, is no other than 
the relation of correspondence ; and that the perception of 
causation depends primarily upon our perception of the uses 
of effects as carrying out causes. This applies to that which 
is strictly causation. The continuity of the principle reaches, 
however, to the relation of prior and superior to posterior 
and inferior effects. Thus there is the evolution of actual 
will into forcible motion, in which production the will passes 
as motion into the dead sphere, or will is the cause and soul 
of motion, as motion is the effect and body of will. This is 
a case of genuine correspondence ; for will and motion are 
each the other, or the others. Will is spiritual force, or force 
raised into the spiritual world ; force, or active motion, is 
will dropped down into the lower world : the difference of 
cause and effect being therefore only the difference between 
the two spheres into which one single principle introduces 
itself. Besides the alteration or qualification of will into 
motion, there is also the expansion and vibration of motion 
into widening natural spheres, or the transference and trans 
mission of motion from one subject to another. This is the 
only kind of cause and effect recognized by one class of 
metaphysicians. It also is, however, only the continuity of a 
single principle through different circumstances ; and that 
principle is force, and that force is will, the unimpaired 
transference and account of which fall under the head of 
the mechanical and dynamical, and not of so-called meta 
physical sciences. If any one asks what is power, we say 
therefore that it is originally will, and no abstraction, but 
embodied in the human arm ; and that from this central body 
.and symbol it is transferred to all machineries, and extends 

Correspondence. 143 

through the world as a Divine arm, or Almighty power. 
For the arts are the comparative anatomy of the will and 
understanding, the three kingdoms of mind, as the three 
kingdoms of nature are the comparative anatomy of the soul. 
And there might with profit be a parallel distribution of the 
two into mineral, vegetable, and animal ; the body, in both 
cases, being, though in different departments, a fourth, or 
what Fourier denominates, the nominal kingdom. 

Besides justifying the common-sense perceptions of cause 
and effect, correspondence also justifies the usage of analo 
gies, metaphors, and similitudes, so frequent by the human 
mind, and so attractive in discourse when fitly used. For 
the one infinitely manifold principle of creation passes down 
into the worlds by indefinite streams or series, and yet is but 
one principle, realizing many uses, tending all to the return 
to unity. For example, all things in our houses are for the 
one end of enfranchising man from the wants and forces of 
nature ; and therefore they all carry one principle, but sub 
divide or anatomize it into different parts. Thus are they 
all images of one principle, and all, therefore, images also of 
one another ; for things that are equal to the same are equal 
to each other. Hence there is nothing but resembles, if we 
catch the right point of view, all other things in all worlds. 
The human body is an image of the cosmical body ; the 
house, of both ; the room, of all three ; the trades and com 
merces also, of all ; and so forth. So the creation may, in 
considering its analogies, be regarded as a globe, on which 
the poles are the generative centres, from which radiate, and 
to which converge, the lines of longitude. These lines each 
correspond in its whole length ; the frigid to the temperate, 
the temperate to the torrid. The first part of the line engen 
ders the second, and the second the third. This generation 
is, and is by, correspondence. Analogy may be represented 
by the lines of latitude, which intersect the former, and bring 
them all into relation, making of the whole a solid coherent 
sphere. The lines of analogy are not, moreover, merely 
straight, but run in all curves and declinations, and make 
the coherence of all things most multiple and safe. These 
lines are to be studied by the constitution of a science of uni- 

144 Correspondence. 

versal analogies, whose home shall be the entire globe of 
knowledge. It is the most superficial in contact with the 
most deep of the sciences ; Analogy in contact with Corre 
spondency ; Poetry and Imagination in contact with Divine, 
Creative Truth ; human fancies justified and accepted by 
God himself: for it is impossible for the most vagrant fancy 
to fancy half the odd analogies which science reveals ; and 
hence fancy will become but the useful matter of fact, incom- 
prehensive scullery-maid of science. As instances of these 
analogies, we may cite many things from the superficial parts 
of the animal kingdom. Thus, for instance, not to mention 
man, who is like all the animals, which similitude occasionally 
blazes out with striking splendor, as in the pig-faced lady, 
the Ox tribe, in the buffalo, the bison, the aurochs, &c., by 
its mane and contour, evidently touches upon the lion, the 
fountain of the feline ; by the Brahmin bull, and other species 
with humps, it touches upon the camel tribe ; by other 
characteristics, with the deer tribe ; and so forth. The ass, 
by the zebra, touches upon the tiger ; and the tiger, and the 
cats, by their marks, as well as their flexibility, upon the 
snakes. The camel, very evidently, as Fourier has said, upon 
the slave ; the toad upon the pauper ; and so forth. The 
blushing rose upon the maiden s cheek ; the fragrance upon 
her modesty. Flowers upon sexual characteristics and de 
lights ; and so forth. All these analogies, which extend 
causation laterally, or give breadth to correspondency, are, in 
our view, as much running lines of the creation as the lines 
of correspondency, and are not fanciful, unless fancy be ad 
mitted as a poor caterer for science. In a word, in the orb 
of thought, they are, as we said before, the Divine or real 
lines of latitude ; the relation and friendliness of truth sub 
sisting between all things. 

It is not going too far to say, that Analogy is the breadth 
or the truth of truth. It is the intersection of the mountains 
and rivers and hedgerows of analogy that makes the field of 
truth to be, not a blank arena with a mathematical diagram, 
but a living landscape. It is analogy which gives flowing 
imagery to all ideas ; for that which is not the body of a truth, 
which is not in its immediate sphere, becomes its clothing. 

Main-street. 145 

Thus all things are indifferently bodies or clothes, and these 
clothes are themselves created and living. Analogy is indeed 
the breadth of truth, because it shows how the true is true 
diversely in many things or parallel fields ; and, in continuity 
with that analogy which consists in the relation between 
parallel streams of existence, there is that mere likeness which 
appears every now and then on the very surface of nature, 
and proclaims a connection where its reason and principle 
are at present inscrutable. By such points of likeness every 
thing is surrounded, arid becomes a plenary mean even in 
visible appearance to other things all around it : as between 
the stag s antlers and forest-trees ; between flowers and in 
sects, butterflies and papilionaceee, &c. &c. Thus, at the 
very bottom of the vegetable kingdom, a substance, the mush 
room, fungi, &c. blazes out precisely like animal substance. 


A RESPECTABLE -looking individual makes his bow, and ad 
dresses the public. In my daily walks along the principal 
street of my native town, it has often occurred to me, that, 
if its growth from infancy upward, and the vicissitude of 
characteristic scenes that have passed along this thorough 
fare, during the more than two centuries of its existence, 
could be presented to the eye in a shifting panorama, 4 it 
would be an exceedingly effective method of illustrating the 
march of time. Acting on this idea, I have contrived a 
certain pictorial exhibition, somewhat in the nature of a 
puppet-show, by means of which I propose to call up the 
multiform and many-colored Past before the spectator, and 
show him the ghosts of his forefathers, amid a succession of 
historic incidents, with no greater trouble than the turning 
of a crank. Be pleased, therefore, my indulgent patrons, to 
walk into the show-room, and take your seats before yonder 
mysterious curtain. The little wheels and springs of my 
machinery have been well oiled ; a multitude of puppets are 

146 Main-street. 

dressed in character, representing all varieties of fashion, 
from the Puritan cloak and jerkin to the latest Oak Hall 
coat ; the lamps are trimmed, and shall brighten into noon 
tide sunshine, or fade away in moonlight, or muffle their 
brilliancy in a November cloud, as the nature of the scene 
may require ; and, in short, the exhibition is just ready to 
commence. Unless something should go wrong, as, for 
instance, the misplacing of a picture, whereby the people and 
events of one century might be thrust into the middle of 
another ; or the breaking of a wire, which would bring the 
course of time to a sudden period, barring, I say, the casu 
alties to which such a complicated piece of mechanism is 
liable, I flatter myself, ladies and gentlemen, that the per 
formance Avill elicit your generous approbation. 

Ting-a-ting-ting ! goes the bell ; the curtain rises ; and we 
behold not, indeed, the Main-street but the tract of leaf- 
strewn forest-land, over which its dusty pavement is hereafter 
to extend. 

You perceive, at a glance, that this is the ancient and 
x / primitive wood, the ever-youthful and venerably old, 
verdant with new twigs, yet hoary, as it were, with the snow 
fall of innumerable years, that have accumulated upon its 
intermingled branches. The white man s axe has never 
smitten a single tree ; his footstep has never crumpled a 
single one of the withered leaves, Avhich all the autumns 
since the flood have been harvesting beneath. Yet, see ! along 
through the vista of impending boughs, there is already a 
faintly-traced path, running nearly east and west, as if a pro 
phecy or foreboding of the future street had stolen into the 
heart of the solemn old wood. Onward goes this hardly 
perceptible track, now ascending over a natural swell of 
land, now subsiding gently into a hollow ; traversed here by 
a little streamlet, which glitters like a snake through the 
gleam of sunshine, and quickly hides itself among the under 
brush, in its quest for the neighboring cove ; and impeded 
there by the massy corpse of a giant of the forest, which had 
lived out its incalculable term of life, and been overthrown 
by mere old age, and lies buried in the new vegetation that 
is born of its decay. What footsteps can have worn this half- 

Main-street. 147 

seen path ? Hark ! Do we not hear them now rustling 
softly over the leaves ? We discern an Indian woman a 
majestic and queenly woman, or else her spectral image does 
not represent her truly for this is the great Squaw Sachem, 
whose rule, with that of her sons, extends from Mystic to 
Agawam. That red chief, who stalks by her side, is Wap- 
pacowet, her second husband, the priest and magician, whose 
incantations shall hereafter affright the pale-faced settlers 
with grisly phantoms, dancing and shrieking in the woods, 
at midnight. But greater would be the affright of the Indian 
necromancer, if, mirrored in the pool of water at his feet, he 
could catch a prophetic glimpse of the noon-day marvels 
which the white man is destined to achieve ; if he could see, 
as in a dream, the stone-front of the stately hall, which will 
cast its shadow over this very spot ; if he could be aware 
that the future edifice will contain a noble Museum, where, 
among countless curiosities of earth and sea, a few Indian 
arrow-heads shall be treasured up as memorials of a vanished 
race ! 

No such forebodings disturb the Squaw Sachem and Wap- 
pacowet. They pass on, beneath the tangled shade, holding 
high talk on matters of state and religion, and imagine, 
doubtless, that their own system of affairs will endure for 
ever. Meanwhile, how full of its own proper life is the 
scene that lies around them ! The gray squirrel runs up the 
trees, and rustles among the upper branches. Was not that 
the leap of a deer ? And there is the whirr of a partridge ! 
Methinks, too, I catch the cruel and stealthy eye of a wolf, 
as he draws back into yonder impervious density of under 
brush. So, there, amid the murmur of boughs, go the Indian 
queen and the Indian priest ; while the gloom of the broad 
wilderness impends over them, and its sombre mystery in 
vests them as Avith something preternatural ; and only mo 
mentary streaks of quivering sunlight, once in a great while, 
find their way down, and glimmer among the feathers in 
their dusky hair. Can it be that the thronged street of a 
city will ever pass into this twilight solitude, over those 
soft heaps of the decaying tree-trunks, and through the 
swampy places, green with water-moss, and penetrate 

148 Main-street. 

that hopeless entanglement of great trees, which have been 
uprooted and tossed together by a whirlwind ! It has been 
a wilderness from the creation. Must it not be a wilderness 
for ever ? 

Here an acidulous-looking gentleman in blue glasses, with 
bows of Berlin steel, who has taken a seat at the extremity 
of the front row, begins, at this early stage of the exhibition, 
to criticise. 

" The whole affair is a manifest catch-penny," observes 
he, scarcely under his breath. " The trees look more like 
weeds in a garden, than a primitive forest ; the Squaw 
Sachem and WappacoAvet are stiff in their pasteboard joints ; 
and the squirrels, the deer, and the wolf, move with all the 
grace of a child s wooden monkey, sliding up and down a 

( " I am obliged to you, sir, for the candor of your remarks," 
replies the showman, with a bow. " Perhaps they are just. 
Human art has its limits, and we must now and then ask a 
little aid from the spectator s imagination." 

" You will get no such aid from mine," responds the 
critic. " I make it a point to see things precisely as they 
are. But come ! go ahead ! the stage is waiting ! " 

The showman proceeds. 

Casting our eyes again over the scene, we perceive that 
strangers have found their way into the solitary place. In 
more than one spot, among the trees, an upheaved axe is 
glittering in the sunshine. Roger Conant, the first settler in 
Naumkeag, has built his dwelling, months ago, on the border 
of the forest-path ; and at this moment he comes eastward 
through the vista of woods, with his gun over his shoulder, 
bringing home the choice portions of a deer. His stalwart 
figure, clad in a leathern jerkin and breeches of the same, 
strides sturdily onward, with such an air of physical force and 
/[energy, that we might almost expect the very trees to stand 
\side, and give him room to pass. And so, indeed, they 
must ; for, humble as is his name in history, Roger Conant 
still is of that class of men who do not merely find, but make, 
their place in the system of human affairs^ a man of thought 
ful strength, he has planted the germ of a city. There stands 

Main-street. 149 

his habitation, showing in its rough architecture some features 
of the Indian wigwam, and some of the log-cabin, and some 
what, too, of the straw-thatched cottage in Old England, 
where this good yeoman had his birth and breeding. The 
dwelling is surrounded by a cleared space of a few acres, 
where Indian corn grows thrivingly among the stumps of the 
trees ; while the dark forest hems it in, and seems to gaze 
silently and solemnly, as if wondering at the breadth of sun 
shine which the white man spreads around him. An Indian, 
half hidden in the dusky shade, is gazing and wondering 

Within the door of the cottage, you discern the wife, with 
her ruddy English cheek. She is singing, doubtless, a psalm- 
tune, at her household work ; or perhaps she sighs at the 
remembrance of the cheerful gossip, arid all the merry social 
life, of her native village beyond the vast and melancholy 
sea. Yet the next moment she laughs, with sympathetic glee, 
at the sports of her little tribe of children, and soon turns 
round, with the home-look in her face, as her husband s foot 
is heard approaching the rough-hewn threshold. How sw^eet 
must it be for those who have an Eden in their hearts, like 
Roger Conant and his wife, to find a new world to project it 
into, as they have ; instead of dwelling among old haunts of 
men, w r here so many household fires have been kindled and 
burnt out, that the very glow of happiness has something 
dreary in it ! Not that this pair are alone in their wild Eden ; 
for here comes Goodwife Massey, the young spouse of Jeff 
rey Massey, from her home hard by, with an infant at her 
breast. Dame Conant has another of like age ; and it shall 
hereafter be one of the disputed points of history, which of 
these two babies was the first town-born child. 

But see ! Roger Conant has other neighbors within view. 
Peter Palfrey likewise has built himself a house, and so has 
Balch and Norman and Woodbury. Their dwellings, indeed, 
such is the ingenious contrivance of this piece of pictorial 
mechanism, seem to have arisen, at various points of the 
scene, even while we have been looking at it. The forest- 
track, trodden more and more by the hob-nailed shoes of these 
sturdy and ponderous Englishmen, has now a distinctness 

150 Main-street. 

which it never could have acquired from the light tread of a 
hundred times as many Indian moccasins. It will be a street, 
anon. As we observe it now, it goes onward from one 
clearing to another, here plunging into a shadowy strip of 
woods, there open to the sunshine, but everywhere showing 
a decided line, along which human interests have begun to 
hold their career. Over yonder swampy spot, two trees have 
been felled, and laid side by side, to make a causeway. In 
another place, the axe has cleared away a confused intricacy 
of fallen trees and clustered boughs, which had been tossed 
together by a hurricane. So, now, the little children, just 
beginning to run alone, may trip along the path, and not often 
stumble over an impediment, unless they stray from it to 
gather wood-berries beneath the trees. And, besides the feet 
of grown people and children, there are the cloven hoofs of 
a small herd of cows, who seek their subsistence from the 
native grasses, and help to deepen the track of the future 
thoroughfare. Goats also browse along it, and nibble at the 
twigs that thrust themselves across the way. Not seldom, 
in its more secluded portions, where the black shadow of the 
forest strives to hide the trace of human footsteps, stalks a 
gaunt wolf, on the watch for a kid or a young calf; or fixes 
his hungry gaze on the group of children gathering berries, 
and can hardly forbear to rush upon them. And the Indians, 
coming from their distant wigwams to view the white man s 
settlement, marvel at the deep track which he makes, and 
perhaps are saddened by a Hitting presentiment, that this 
heavy tread will find its way over all the land; and that 
the wild woods, the wild wolf, and the wild Indian, will alike 
be trampled beneath it. Even so shall it be. The pave 
ments of the Main-street must be laid over the red man s 

Behold ! here is a spectacle which should be ushered in 
by the peal of trumpets, if Naumkeag had ever yet heard 
that cheery music, and by the roar of cannon, echoing among 
the woods. A procession for, by its dignity, as marking 
an epoch in the history of the street, it deserves that name, 
a procession advances along the pathway. The good ship 
Abigail has arrived from England, bringing wares and rncr- 

Main-street. 151 

chandise, for the comfort of the inhabitants, and traffic with 
the Indians ; bringing passengers too, and, more important 
than all, a Governor for the new settlement. Roger Conant 
and Peter Palfrey, with their companions, have been to the 
shore to welcome him ; and now, with such honor and tri 
umph as their rude way of life permits, are escorting the 
sea-flushed voyagers to their habitations. At Jh 12 point where 
7 Endicott enters. .upon the scene,, two ..venerable trees unite 
Their branches high above his head ; thus forming a triumphal 
arch of living verdure, beneath which he pauses, with his 
wife leaning on his arm, to catch the first impression of their 
new-found home. The old settlers gaze not less earnestly 
at him, than he at the hoary woods and the rough surface of 
the clearings. They like his bearded face, under the shadoAV 
of the broad-brimmed and steeple-crowned Puritan hat ; 
a visage, resolute, grave, and thoughtful, yet apt to kindle 
with that glow of a cheerful spirit, by which men of strong 
character are enabled to go joyfully on their proper tasks. 
His form, too, as you see it, in a doublet and hose of sad- 
colored cloth, is of a manly make, fit for toil and hardship, 
and fit to wield the heavy sword that hangs from his leathern 
belt. His aspect is a better warrant for the ruler s office, 
than the parchment commission which he bears, however 
fortified it may be with the broad seal of the London council. 
Peter Palfrey nods to Roger Conant. " The worshipful 
Court of Assistants have done wisely," say they between 
themselves. " They have chosen for our governor a man 
out of a thousand." Then they toss up their hats, they, 
and all the uncouth figures of their company, most of whom 
are clad in skins, inasmuch as their old kersey and linsey- 
woolsey garments have been torn and tattered by many a 
long month s wear, they all toss up their hats, and salute 
their new governor and captain with a hearty English shout 
of welcome. We seem to hear it with our own ears ; so 
perfectly is the action represented in this life-like, this almost 
magic picture ! 

But have you observed the lady who leans upon the arm 
of Endicott? arose of beauty from an English garden, 
now to be transplanted to a fresher soil. It may be, that, 

1-52 Main-street. 

long years centuries indeed after this fair flower shall 
have decayed, other flowers of the same race will appear in 
the same soil, and gladden other generations with hereditary 
beauty. Does not the vision haunt us yet ? Has not Na 
ture kept the mould unbroken, deeming it a pity that the 
idea should vanish from mortal sight for ever, after only once 
assuming earthly substance ? Do we not recognize, in that 
fair woman s face, the model of features which still beam, at 
happy moments, on Avhat was then the woodland pathway, 
but has long since grown into a busy street ? 

" This is too ridiculous ! positively insufferable ! " mut 
ters the same critic who had before expressed his disapproba 
tion. " Here is a pasteboard figure, such as a child would 
cut out of a card, with a pair of very dull scissors ; and the 
fellow modestly requests us to see in it the prototype of 
hereditary beauty ! " 

" But, sir, " you have not the proper point of view," re 
marks the showman. " You sit altogether too near to get 
the best effect of my pictorial exhibition. Pray, oblige me 
by removing to this other bench ; and, I venture to assure 
you, the proper light and shadow will transform the spectacle 
into quite another thing." 

" Pshaw ! " replies the critic : "I want no other light and 
shade. I have already told you, that it is my business to 
see things just as they are." 

" I would suggest to the author of this ingenious exhibi 
tion," observes a gentlemanly person, who has shown signs 
of being much interested, "I would suggest, that Anna 
Gower, the first wife of Governor Endicott, and who came 
with him from England, left no posterity ; and that, conse 
quently, we cannot be indebted to that honorable lady for any 
specimens of feminine loveliness, now extant among us." 

Having nothing to allege against this genealogical objec 
tion, the showman points again to the scene. 

During this little interruption, you perceive that the Anglo- 
Saxon energy as the phrase now goes has been at work 
in the spectacle before us. So many chimneys now send up 
their smoke, that it begins to have the aspect of a village 
street ; although every thing is so inartificial and inceptive, 

Main-street. 153 

that it seems as if one returning wave of the wild nature 
might overwhelm it all. But the one edifice, which gives 
the pledge of permanence to this bold enterprise, is seen 
at the central point of the picture. There stands the meet 
ing-house, a small structure, low-roofed, without aspire, and 
built of rough timber, newly hewn, with the sap still in the /^ 
logs, and here and there a strip of bark adhering to them. 
A meaner temple was never consecrated to the worship of 
the Deity. "With the alternative of kneeling beneath the 
awful vault of the firmament, it is strange that men should jt) 
creep into this pent-up nook, and expect God s presence 
there. Such, at least, one would imagine, might be the feel 
ing of these forest-settlers, accustomed, as they had been, to 
stand under the dim arches of vast cathedrals, and to offer 
up their hereditary worship in the old, ivy-covered churches 
of rural England, around which lay the bones of many gen 
erations of their forefathers. How could they dispense with 
the carved altar-work ? how, with the pictured windows, 
where the light of common day was hallowed by being trans 
mitted through the glorified figures of saints ? how, with 
the lofty roof, imbued, as it must have been, with the prayers 
that had gone upward for centuries ? how, with the rich 
peal of the solemn organ, rolling along the aisles, pervading 
the whole church, and sweeping the soul away on a flood of 
audible religion ? They needed nothing of all this. Their 
house of worship, like their ceremonial, was naked, simple, 
and severe. But the zeal of a recovered faith burned like a 
lamp within their hearts, enriching every thing around them 
with its radiance ; making of these new walls, and this nar 
row compass, its own cathedral ; and being, in itself, that ; 
spiritual mystery and experience, of which sacred architec 
ture, pictured windows, and the organ s grand solemnity, \ 
are remote and imperfect symbols. All was well, so long as 
their lamps were freshly kindled at the heavenly flame. 
After a while, however, whether in their time or their chil 
dren s, ihese lamps began to burn more dimly, or with a less &* 
genuine~Tustre ; and then it might be seen, how hard, cold, 
and confined, was their system, how like an iron cage was 
that which they called Liberty ! 

154 Main-street. 

Too much of this. Look again at the picture, and observe 
how the aforesaid Anglo-Saxon energy is now trampling 
along the street, and raising a positive cloud of dust beneath 
its sturdy footsteps. For there the carpenters are building a 
new house, the frame of which was hewn and fitted in Eng 
land, of English oak, and sent hither on shipboard ; and here 
a blacksmith makes huge clang and clatter on his anvil, shap 
ing out tools and weapons ; and yonder a wheelwright, who 
boasts himself a London workman, regularly bred to his hand 
icraft, is fashioning a set of wagon- wheels, the track of which 
shall soon be visible. The wild forest is shrinking back; 
the street has lost the aromatic odor of the pine-trees, and of the 
sweet fern that grew beneath them. The tender and modest 
wild-flowers, those gentle children of savage nature that grew 
pale beneath the ever-brooding shade, have shrunk away and 
disappeared, like stars that vanish in the breadth of light. 
Gardens are fenced in, and display pumpkin-beds and rows 
of cabbages and beans ; and, though the governor and the 
minister both view them with a disapproving eye, plants of 
broad-leaved tobacco, which the cultivators are enjoined to 
use privily, or not at all. No wolf, for a year past, has been 
heard to bark, or knoAvn to range among the dwellings, 
except that single one whose grisly head, with a plash of 
blood beneath it, is now affixed to the portal of the meeting 
house. The partridge has ceased to run across the too- 
frequented path. Of all the wild life that used to throng here, 
only the Indians still come into the settlement, bringing the 
skins of beaver and otter, bear and elk, which they sell to 
Endicott for the wares of England. And there is little John 
Massey, the son of Jeffrey Massey and first-born of Naum- 
keag, playing beside his father s threshold, a child of six or 
seven years old. Which is the better-grown infant, the 
town or the boy ? 

The red men have become aware, that the street is no lon 
ger free to them, save by the sufferance and permission of the 
settlers. Often, to impress them with an awe of English 
power, there is a muster and training of the town-forces, 
and a stately march of the mail-clad band, like this which 
we now see advancing up the street. There they come, fifty 

Main-street. 155 

of them, or more ; all with their iron breastplates and steel- 
caps well burnished, and glimmering bravely against the sun ; 
their ponderous muskets on their shoulders, their bandaliers 
about their waists, their lighted matches in their hands, and 
the drum and fife playing cheerily before them. See ! do 
they not step like martial men ? Do they not manoeuvre like 
soldiers who have seen stricken fields ? And well they may ; 
for this band is composed of precisely such materials as those 
with which Cromwell is preparing to beat down the strength 
of a kingdom ; and his famous regiment of Ironsides might 
be recruited from just such men. In every thing, at this 
period, New England was the essential spirit and flower of 
that which was about to become uppermost in the mother- 
country. Many a bold and wise man lost the fame which 
would have accrued to him in English history, by crossing 
the Atlantic with our forefathers. Many a valiant captain, 
who might have been foremost at Marston Moor or Naseby, 
exhausted his martial ardor in the command of a log-built 
fortress, like that which you observe on the gently rising 
ground at the right of the pathway, its banner fluttering in 
the breeze, and the culverins and sakers showing their deadly 
muzzles over the rampart. 

A multitude of people were now thronging to New Eng 
land ; some, because the ancient and ponderous frame- work 
of Church and State threatened to crumble down upon their 
heads ; others, because they despaired of such a downfall. 
Among those who came to Naumkeag were men of history 
and legend, whose feet leave a track of brightness along any 
pathway which they have trodden. You shall behold their 
life-like images, their spectres, if you choose so to call 
them, passing, encountering with a familiar nod, stopping 
to converse together, praying, bearing weapons, laboring or 
resting from their labors, in the Main-street. Here, now, 
comes Hugh Peters, an earnest, restless man, walking swiftly, 
as being impelled by that fiery activity of nature which shall 
hereafter thrust him into the conflict of dangerous affairs, 
make him the chaplain and counsellor of Cromwell, and 
finally bring him to a bloody end. He pauses, by the meeting 
house, to exchange a greeting with Roger Williams, whose 


face indicates, methiiiks, a gentler spirit, kinder and more 
expansive, than that of Peters ; yet not less active for what 
he discerns to be the will of God, or the Avelfare of mankind. 
And look ! here is a guest for Endicott, coming forth out of 
the forest, through which he has been journeying from Boston, 
and which, with its rude branches, has caught hold of his 
attire, and has wet his feet with its swamps and streams. Still 
there is something in his mild and venerable, though not aged 
presence, a propriety, an equilibrium in Governor Win- 
throp s nature, that causes the disarray of his costume to be 
unnoticed, and gives us the same impression as if he were 
clad in such grave and rich attire as we may suppose him to 
have worn in the Council Chamber of the colony. Is riot this 
characteristic wonderfully perceptible in our spectral repre 
sentative of his person ? But what dignitary is this crossing 
from the other side to greet the governor ? A stately per 
sonage, in a dark velvet cloak, with a hoary beard, and a gold 
chain across his breast : he has the authoritative port of one 
who has filled the highest civic station in the first of cities. 
Of all men in the world, we should least expect to meet the 
Lord Mayor of London as Sir Richard Saltonstall has 
been, once and again in a forest-bordered settlement of the 
western wilderness. 

Farther down the street, we see Emanuel Downing, a grave 
and worthy citizen, with his son George, a stripling who has a 
career before him : his shrewd and quick capacity and pliant 
conscience shall not only exalt him high, but secure him from 
a downfall. Here is another figure, on whose characteristic 
make and expressive action I will stake the credit of my pic 
torial puppet-show. Have you not already detected a quaint, 
sly humor in that face, an eccentricity in the manner, a 
certain indescribable waywardness, all the marks, in short, 
of an original man, unmistakeably impressed, yet kept down 
by a sense of clerical restraint ? That is Nathaniel Ward, the 
minister of Ipswich, but better remembered as the simple 
cobbler of Agawarn. He hammered his sole so faithfully, 
and stitched his upper-leather so well, that the shoe is hardly 
yet worn out, though thrown aside for some two centuries 
past. And next, among these Puritans and Roundheads, we 

Main-street. 157 

observe the very model of a Cavalier, with the curling love 
lock, the fantastically trimmed beard, the embroidery, the orna 
mented rapier, the gilded dagger, and all other foppishnesses 
that distinguished the wild gallants who rode headlong to their 
overthrow in the cause of King Charles. This is Morton of 
Merry Mount, who has come hither to hold a council with Endi- 
cott, but will shortly be his prisoner. Yonder pale, decaying 
figure of a white-robed woman who glides slowly along the 
street, is the Lady Arabella, looking for her own grave in 
the virgin soil.__That other female form, who seems to be talk 
ing we might almost say preaching or expounding in the 
centre of a group of profoundly attentive auditors, is Ann 
Hutchinson. And here comes Vane. 

" But, my dear sir," interrupts the same gentleman who 
before questioned the showman s genealogical accuracy, 
" allow me to observe, that these historical personages could 
not possibly have met together in the Main-street. They 
might, and probably did, all visit our old town, at one time 
or another, but not simultaneously ; and you have fallen into 
anachronisms that I positively shudder to think of ! " 

" The fellow," adds the scarcely civil critic, " has learned 
a bead-roll of historic names, whom he lugs into his pictorial 
puppet-show, as he calls it, helter-skelter, without caring 
whether they were contemporaries or not, and sets them 
all by the ears together. But was there ever such a fund of 
impudence ! To hear his running commentary, you would 
suppose that these miserable slips of painted pasteboard, with 
hardly the remotest outlines of the human figure, had all the 
character and expression of Michael Angelo s pictures. 
Well! goon, sir!" 

" Sir, you break the illusion of the scene," mildly remon 
strates the showman. 

" Illusion ! What illusion ? " rejoins the critic, with a con 
temptuous snort. " On the word of a gentleman, I see 
nothing illusive in the wretchedly bedaubed sheet of canvass 
that forms your back-ground, or in these pasteboard slips 
that hitch and jerk along the front. The only illusion, permit 
me to say, is in the puppet-showman s tongue, and that 
but a wretched one, into the bargain ! " 

158 Main-street. 

" We public men," replies the showman, meekly, " must 
lay our account, sometimes, to meet an uncandid severity of 
criticism. But merely for your own pleasure, sir let 
me entreat you to take another point of view. Sit further 
back, by that young lady, in whose face I have watched the 
reflection of every changing scene ; only oblige me by sitting 
there ; and, take my word for it, the slips of pasteboard shall 
assume spiritual life, and the bedaubed canvass become an 
airy and changeable reflex of what it purports to represent." 

" I know better," retorts the critic, settling himself in his 
seat, with sullen, but self-complacent immovableness. " And, 
as for my own pleasure, I shall best consult it by remaining 
precisely where I am." 

The showman bows, and waves his hand ; and, at the 
signal, as if time and vicissitude had been awaiting his per 
mission to move onward, the mimic street becomes alive 

Years have rolled over our scene, and converted the forest- 
track into a dusty thoroughfare, which, being intersected with 
lanes and cross-paths, may fairly be designated as the Main- 
street. On the ground-sites of many of the log- built sheds, 
into which the first settlers crept for shelter, houses of quaint 
architecture have now risen. These later edifices are built, 
as you see, in one generally accordant style, though with such 
subordinate variety as keeps the beholder s curiosity excited, 
and causes each structure, like its owner s character, to pro 
duce its own peculiar impression. Most of them have one 
huge chimney in the centre, with flues so vast that it must 
have been easy for the witches to fly out of them, as they 
were wont to do, when bound on an aerial visit to the Black 
Man in the forest. Around this great chimney the wooden 
house clusters itself, in a whole community of gable-ends, 
each ascending into its own separate peak ; the second story, 
with its lattice-windows, projecting over the first ; and the 
door, which is perhaps arched, provided on the outside with 
an iron hammer, wherewith the visitor s hand may give a 
thundering rat-a-tat . The timber frame- work of these houses, 
as compared with those of recent date, is like the skeleton 
of an old giant, beside the frail bones of a modern man of 

Main-street. 159 

fashion. Many of them, by the vast strength and soundness 
of their oaken substance, have been preserved through a 
length of time which would have tried the stability of brick 
and stone ; so that, in all the progressive decay and con 
tinual reconstruction of the street, down to our own days, 
we shall still behold these old edifices occupying their long- 
accustomed sites. For instance, on the upper corner of 
that green lane which shall hereafter be North-street, we see 
the Cur wen House, newly built, with the carpenters still at 
work on the roof, nailing down the last sheaf of shingles. 
On the lower corner stands another dwelling, destined, at 
some period of its existence, to be the abode of an unsuc 
cessful alchymist, which shall likewise survive to our own 
generation, and perhaps long outlive it. Thus, through the 
medium of these patriarchal edifices, we have noAV estab 
lished a sort of kindred and hereditary acquaintance with the 

Great as is the transformation produced by a short term of 
years, each single day creeps through the Puritan settlement 
sluggishly enough. It shall pass before your eyes, con 
densed into the space of a few moments. The grey light of 
early morning is slowly diffusing itself over the scene ; and 
the bellman, whose office it is to cry the hour at the street- 
corners, rings the last peal upon his hand-bell, and goes 
wearily homewards, with the owls, the bats, and other crea 
tures of the night. Lattices are thrust back on their hinges, 
as if the town were opening its eyes, in the summer morning. 
Forth stumbles the still drowsy cow-herd, with his horn ; 
putting which to his lips, it emits a bellowing bray, impos 
sible to be represented in the picture, but which reaches the 
pricked-up ears of every cow in the settlement, and tells her 
that the dewy pasture-hour is come. House after house 
awakes, and sends the smoke up curling from its chimney, 
like frosty breath from living nostrils ; and as those white 
Avreaths of smoke, though impregnated with earthy admix- \ 
tures, climb skyward, so, from each dwelling, does the morn 
ing worship its spiritual essence bearing up its human 
imperfection find its way to the heavenly Father s throne. 

The breakfast-hour being past, the inhabitants do not, as 

160 Main-street. 

usual, go to their fields or workshops, but remain within 
doors; or perhaps walk the street, with a grave sobriety, 
yet a disengaged and unburthened aspect, that belongs 
neither to a holiday nor a Sabbath. And, indeed, this pass 
ing day is neither, nor is it a common week-day, although 
partaking of all the three. It is the Thursday Lecture ; an 
institution which New England has long ago relinquished, 
and almost forgotten, yet which it would have been better to 
retain, as bearing relations to both the spiritual and ordinary 
life, and bringing each acquainted with the other. The 
tokens of its observance, however, which here meet our eyes, 
are of rather a questionable cast. It is, in one sense, a day 
of public shame ; the day on which transgressors, who have 
made themselves liable to the minor severities of the Puritan 
law, receive their reward of ignominy. At this very moment, 
the constable has bound an idle fellow to the whipping-post, 
and is giving him his deserts with a cat-o -nine-tails. Ever 
since sunrise, Daniel Fairfield has been standing on the steps 
of the meeting-house, with a halter about his neck, which he 
is condemned to wear visibly throughout his lifetime ; Doro 
thy Talby is chained to a post at the corner of Prison Lane, 
with the hot sun blazing on her matronly face, and all for no 
other offence than lifting her hand against her husband ; 
while, through the bars of that great wooden cage, in the 
centre of the scene, we discern either a human being or a 
wild beast, or both in one, whom this public infamy causes 
to roar, and gnash his teeth, and shake the strong oaken 
bars, as if he would break forth, and tear in pieces the little 
children who have been peeping at him. Such are the pro 
fitable sights that serve the good people to while away the 
earlier part of lecture-day. Betimes in the forenoon, a 
traveller the first traveller that has come hitherward this 
morning rides slowly into the street, on his patient steed. 
He seems a clergyman ; and, as he draws near, we recognize 
the minister of Lynn, who was pre-engaged to lecture here, 
and has been revolving his discourse, as he rode through the 
hoary wilderness. Behold, now. the whole town thronging 
into the meeting-house, mostly with such sombre visages, that 
the sunshine becomes little better than a shadow, when it falls 

Main-street. 161 

upon them. There go the Thirteen Men, grim rulers of a 
grim community ! There goes John Massey, the first town- 
born child, now a youth of twenty, whose eye wanders with 
peculiar interest towards that buxom damsel who comes up 
the steps at the same instant. There hobbles Goody Foster, 
a sour and bitter old beldam, looking as if she went to curse, 
and not to pray, and whom many of her neighbors suspect 
of taking an occasional airing on a broomstick. There, too, 
slinking shamefacedly in, you observe that same poor do- 
nothing and good-for-nothing, whom we saw castigated just 
now at the whipping-post. Last of all, there, goes the tithing- 
man, lugging in a couple of small boys, whom he has caught 
at play beneath God s blessed sunshine, in a back lane. 
What native of Naumkeag, whose recollections go back 
more than thirty years, does not still shudder at that dark 
ogre of his infancy, who perhaps had long ceased to have an 
actual existence, but still lived in his childish belief, in a hor 
rible idea, and in the nurse s threat, as the Tidy Man ! 

It will be hardly worth our while to wait two, or it may 
be three, turnings of the hour-glass, for the conclusion of the 
lecture. Therefore, by my control over light and darkness, 
I cause the dusk, and then the starless night, to brood over 
the street; and summon forth again the bellman, with his 
lantern casting a gleam about his footsteps, to pace wearily 
from corner to corner, and shout drowsily the hour to drowsy 
or dreaming ears. Happy are we, if for nothing else, 
because we did not live in those days. In truth, when the 
first novelty and stir of spirit had subsided, when the new 
settlement, between the forest-border and the sea. had become 
actually a little town, its daily life must have trudged on 
ward with hardly any thing to diversify and enliven it, while 
also its rigidity could, not fail to cause miserable distortions 
of the moral nature. Such a life was sinister to the intellect, 
and sinister to the heart ; especially when one generation 
had bequeathed its religious gloom, and the counterfeit of its 
religious ardor, to the next : for these characteristics, as was 
inevitable, assumed the fornV both of hypocrisy and exagge 
ration, by being inherited from the example and precept of 
other human beings, and riot from an original and spiritual 

162 Main-street. 

source. The sons and grandchildren of the first settlers were 
a race of lower and narrower souls than their progenitors 
had been. The latter were stern, severe, intolerant, but not 
superstitious, not even fanatical ; and endowed, if any men 
of that age were, with a far-seeing worldly sagacity. But 
it was impossible for the succeeding race to grow up, in 
Heaven s freedom, beneath the discipline which their gloomy 
energy of character had established ; nor, it may be, have 
we even yet thrown off all the unfavorable influences which, 
among many good ones, were bequeathed to us by our 
Puritan forefathers. Let us thank God for having given us 
such ancestors ; and let each successive generation thank 
him, not less fervently, for being one step further from them 
in the march of ages. 

" What is all this ? " cries the critic. " A sermon ? If so, 
it is not in the bill." 

" Very true," replies the showman ; " and I ask pardon of 
the audience." 

Look now at the street, and observe a strange people 
entering it. Their garments are torn arid disordered, their 
faces haggard, their figures emaciated ; for they have made 
their way hither through pathless deserts, suffering hunger 
and hardship, with no other shelter than a hollow tree, the 
lair of a wild beast, or an Indian wigwam. Nor, in the most 
inhospitable and dangerous of such lodging-places, was there 
half the peril that awaits them in this thoroughfare of Chris 
tian men, with those secure dwellings and warm hearths on 
either side of it, and yonder meeting-house as the central 
object of the scene. These wanderers have received from 
Heaven a gift that, in all epochs of the world, has brought 
with it the penalties of mortal suffering and persecution, scorn, 
enmity, and death itself; a gift that, thus terrible to its pos 
sessors, has ever been most hateful to all other men, since its 
very existence seems to threaten the overthrow of whatever 
else the toilsome ages have built up ; the gift of a new idea. 
You can discern it in them, illuminating their faces their 
whole persons, indeed, however earthly and cloddish with 
a light that inevitably shines through, and makes the startled 
community aware that, these men are not as they themselves 

Main-street. 163 

are ; not brethren nor neighbors of their thought. Forthwith, 
it is as if an earthquake rumbled through the town, making 
its vibrations felt at every hearthstone, and especially caus 
ing the spire of the meeting-house to totter. The Quakers 
have come ! We are in peril ! See ! they trample upon 
our wise and well-established laws in the person of our chief 
magistrate ; for Governor Endicott is passing, now an aged 
man, and dignified with long habits of authority, and not 
one of the irreverent vagabonds has moved his hat ! Did 
you note the ominous frown of the white-bearded Puritan 
governor, as he turned himself about, and, in his anger, half 
uplifted the staff that has become a needful support to his 
old age ? Here comes old Mr. Norris, our venerable mini 
ster. Will they doff their hats, and pay reverence to him ? 
No : their hats stick fast to their ungracious heads, as if they 
grew there ; and impious vaiiets that they are, and worse 
than the heathen Indians ! they eye our reverend pastor 
with a peculiar scorn, distrust, unbelief, and utter denial of his 
sanctified pretensions, of which he himself immediately be 
comes conscious ; the more bitterly conscious, as he never 
knew nor dreamed of the like before. 

But look yonder ! Can we believe our eyes ? A Quaker 
woman, clad in sackcloth, and with ashes on her head, has 
mounted the steps of the meeting-house. She addresses the 
people in a wild, shrill voice, wild and shrill it must be, to 
suit such a figure, which makes them tremble and turn 
pale, although they crowd open-mouthed to hear her. She 
is bold against established authority ; she denounces the 
priest and his steeple-house. Many of her hearers are ap 
palled ; some weep ; and others listen with a rapt attention, 
as if a living truth had now, for the first time, forced its way 
through the crust of habit, reached their hea.rts, and awa 
kened them to life. This matter must be looked to ; else we 
have brought our faith across the seas with us in vain ; and 
it had been better that the old forest were still standing here, 
waving its tangled boughs, and murmuring to the sky out 
of its desolate recesses, instead of this goodly street, if such 
blasphemies be spoken in it. 

So thought the old Puritans. What was their mode of 

164 Main-street. 

action may be partly judged from the spectacles which now 
pass before your eyes. Joshua Buffum is standing in the 
pillory. Cassandra Southwick is led to prison. And there 
a woman, it is Ann Coleman, naked from the waist up 
ward, and bound to the tail of a cart, is dragged through 
the Main-street at the pace of a brisk walk, while the con 
stable follows with a whip of knotted cords. A strong-armed 
fellow is that constable ; and each time that he flourishes his 
lash in the air, you see a frown wrinkling and twisting his 
brow, and, at the same instant, a smile upon his lips. He 
loves his business, faithful officer that he is, and puts his 
soul into every stroke, zealous to fulfil the injunction of Major 
Hawthorne s warrant, in the spirit and to the letter. There 
came down a stroke that has drawn blood ! Ten such 
stripes are to be given in Salem, ten in Boston, and ten in 
Dedham ; and, with those thirty stripes of blood upon her, 
she is to be driven into the forest. The crimson trail goes 
wavering along the Main-street ; but Heaven grant, that, as 
the rain of so many years has wept upon it, time after time, 
and washed it all away, so there may have been a dew of 
mercy, to clease this cruel blood-stain out of the record of 
the persecutor s life ! 

Pass on, thou spectral constable, and betake thee to thine 
own place of torment ! Meanwhile, by the silent operation 
of the mechanism behind the scenes, a considerable space of 
time would seem to have lapsed over the street. The older 
dwellings now begin to look weather-beaten, through the 
effect of the many eastern storms that have moistened their 
unpainted shingles and clapboards, for not less than forty 
years. Such is the age we would assign to the town, judg 
ing by the aspect of John Massey, the first town-born child, 
whom his neighbours now call Goodman Massey, and whom 
we see yonder, a grave, almost autumnal-looking man, with 
children bf his own about him. To the patriarchs of the 
settlement, no doubt, the Main-street is still but an affair 
of yesterday, hardly more antique, even if destined to be 
more permanent, than a path shovelled through the snow. 
But to the middle-aged and elderly men who came hither 
in childhood or early youth, it presents the aspect of a long 

Main-street. 165 

and well-established work, on which they have expended the 
strength and ardor of their life. And the younger people, 
native to the street, whose earliest recollections are of creep 
ing over the paternal threshold, and rolling on the grassy 
margin of the track, look at it as one of the perdurable things 
of our mortal state, as old as the hills of the great pasture, 
or the headland at the harbor s mouth. Their fathers and 
grandsires tell them, how, Avithin a few years past, the forest 
stood here Avith but a lonely track beneath its tangled shade. 
Vain legend ! They cannot make it true and real to their 
conceptions. With them, moreover, the Main-street is a 
street indeed, worthy to hold its way with the thronged and 
stately avenues of cities beyond the sea. The old Puritans 
tell them of the crow r ds that hurry along Cheapside and 
Fleet-street and the Strand, and of the rush of tumultuous 
life at Temple Bar. . , They describe London Bridge, itself 
a street, with a row of houses on each side. They speak of 
the vast structure of the Tower, and the solemn grandeur of 
Westminster Abbey. The children listen, and still inquire 
if the streets of London are longer and broader than the one 
before their father s door ; if the Tower is bigger than the 
jail in Prison Lane ; if the old Abbey will hold a larger con 
gregation than our meeting-house. Nothing impresses them, 
except their own experience. 

It seems all a fable, too, that wolves have ever prowled 
here ; and not less so, that the Squaw Sachem, and the 
Sagamore her son, once ruled over this region, and treated 
as sovereign potentates with the English settlers, then so few 
and storm-beaten, now so powerful. There stand some 
school-boys, you observe, in a little group around a drunken 
Indian, himself a prince of the Squaw Sachem s lineage. 
He brought hither some beaver-skins for sale, and has al 
ready swallowed the larger portion of their price, in deadly 
draughts of fire-water. Is there not a touch of pathos in that 
picture ? and does it not go far towards telling the whole 
story of the vast growth and prosperity of one race, and the 
fated decay of another ? the children of the stranger mak 
ing game of the great Squaw Sachem s grandson ! 

But the whole race of red men have not vanished with that 

166 Main-street. 

wild princess and her posterity. This march of soldiers along 
the street betokens the breaking-out of King Phillip s war ; 
and these young men, the flower of Essex, are on their way 
to defend the villages on the Connecticut ; where, at Bloody 
Brook, a terrible blow shall be smitten, and hardly one of that 
gallant band be left alive. And there, at that stately mansion, 
with its three peaks in front, and its two little peaked towers, 
one on either side of the door, we see brave Captain Gardner 
issuing forth, clad in his embroidered buff-coat, and his 
plumed cap upon his head. His trusty sword, in its steel 
scabbard, strikes clanking on the door-step. See how the 
people throng to their doors and windows, as the cavalier 
rides past, reining his mettled steed so gallantly, and looking 
so like the very soul and emblem of martial achievement, 
destined, too, to meet a warrior s fate, at the desperate assault 
on the fortress of the Narragansetts ! 

" The mettled steed looks like a pig," interrupts the critic, 
" and Captain Gardner himself like the devil, though a very 
tame one, and on a most diminutive scale." 

" Sir, sir ! " cries the persecuted showman, losing all 
patience, for, indeed, he had particularly prided himself on 
these figures of Captain Gardner and his horse, " I see 
that there is no hope of pleasing you. Pray, sir, do me the 
favor to take back your money, and withdraw ! " 

" Not I ! " answers the unconscionable critic. " I am just 
beginning to get interested in the matter. Come ! turn your 
crank, and grind out a few more of these fooleries." 

The showman rubs his brow impulsively, whisks the little 
rod with which he points out the notabilities of the scene, 
but, finally, with the inevitable acquiescence of all public 
servants, resumes his composure, and goes on. 

Pass onward, onward, Time ! Build up new houses here, 
and tear down thy works of yesterday, that have already 
the rusty moss upon them ! Summon forth the minister to the 
abode of the young maiden, and bid him unite her to 
the joyful bridegroom ! Let the youthful parents carry their 
first-born to the meeting-house, to receive the baptismal rite ! 
Knock at the door, whence the sable line of the funeral is 
next to issue ! Provide; other successive generations of men, 

Main-street. 167 

to trade, talk, quarrel, or walk in friendly intercourse along 
the street, as their fathers did before them ! Do all thy daily 
and accustomed business, Father Time, in this thoroughfare, 
which thy footsteps, for so many years, have now made dusty ! 
But here, at last, thou leadest along a procession which, once 
witnessed, shall appear no more, and be remembered only as 
a hideous dream of thine, or a frenzy of thy old brain. 

" Turn your crank, I say," bellows the remorseless critic, 
" and grind it out, whatever it be, without further preface ! " 

The showman deems it best to comply. 

Then, here comes the worshipful Capt. Curwen, Sheriff of 
Essex, on horseback, at the head of an armed guard, escort 
ing a company of condemned prisoners from the jail to their 
place of execution on Gallows Hill. IHje^^wiLclies 1 There ^ 
is no mistaking them ! The witches ! As they approach up 
Prison Lane, and turn into the Main-street, let us watch their 
faces, as if we made a part of the pale crowd that presses so 
eagerly about them, yet shrinks back with such shuddering 
dread, leaving an open passage betwixt a dense throng on 
either side. Listen to what the people say. 

There is old George Jacobs, known hereabouts, these sixty 
years, as a man whom we thought upright in all his way of 
life, quiet, blameless, a good husband before his pious wife 
was summoned from the evil to come, and a good father to 
the children whom she left him. Ah ! but when that blessed 
woman went to heaven, George Jacob s heart was empty, 
his hearth lonely, his life broken up ; his children were mar 
ried, and betook themselves to habitations of their own ; and 
Satan, in his wanderings up and down, beheld this forlorn 
old man, to whom life was a sameness and a weariness, and 
found the way to tempt him. So the miserable sinner was 
prevailed with to mount into the air, and career among the 
clouds ; and he is proved to have been present at a witch- 
meeting as far off as Falmouth, on the very same night that 
his next neighbors saw him, with his rheumatic stoop, going 
in at his own door. There is John Willard too ; an honest 
man we thought him, and so shrewd and active in his busi 
ness, so practical, so intent on every-day affairs, so constant 
at his little place of trade, where he bartered English goods 

168 Main-street. 

for Indian corn and all kinds of country produce ! How 
could such a man find time, or what could put it into his 
mind, to leave his proper calling, and become a wizard ? It 
is a mystery, unless the Black Man tempted him with great 
heaps of gold. See that aged couple, a sad sight truly, 
John Proctor, and his wife Elizabeth. If there were two old 
people in all the county of Essex who seemed to have led a 
true Christian life, and to be treading hopefully the little 
remnant of their earthly path, it was this very pair. Yet 
have we heard it sworn, to the satisfaction of the worshipful 
Chief Justice Sewell, and all the Court and Jury, that Proc 
tor and his wife have shown their withered faces at children s 
bedsides, mocking, making mouths, and affrighting the poor 
little innocents in the night-time. They, or their spectral 
appearances, have stuck pins into the Afflicted Ones, and 
thrown them into deadly fainting-fits with a touch, or but a 
look. And, while we supposed the old man to be reading 
the Bible to his old wife, she meanwhile knitting in the 
chimney-corner, the pair of hoary reprobates have whisked 
up the chimney, both on one broomstick, and flown away to 
a witch-communion, far into the depths of the chill, dark 
forest. How foolish ! Were it only for fear of rheumatic pains 
in their old bones, they had better have stayed at home. But 
away they went ; and the laughter of their decayed, cackling 
voices has been heard at midnight, aloft in the air. Now, in 
the sunny noontide, as they go tottering to the gallows, it is the 
devil s turn to laugh. 

Behind these two, who help another along, and seem to 
be comforting and encouraging each other, in a manner 
truly pitiful, if it were not a sin to pity the old witch and 
wizard, behind them comes a woman, with a dark, proud 
face that has been beautiful, and a figure that is still majestic. 
Do yon know her ? It is Martha Carrier, whom the devil 
found in a humble cottage, and looked into her discontented 
heart, and saw pride there, and tempted her with his promise 
that she should be Queen of Hell. And now, with that lofty 
demeanor, she is passing to her kingdom, and, by her 
unquenchable pride, transforms this escort of shame into a 
triumphal procession, that shall attend her to the gates of her 

Main-street. 169 

infernal palace, and seat her upon the fiery throne. Within 
this hour, she shall assume her royal dignity. 

Last of the miserable train comes a man clad in black, of 
small stature and a dark complexion, with a clerical band 
about his neck. Many a time, in the years gone by, that 
face has been uplifted heavenward from the pulpit of the 
East Meeting-house, when the Rev. Mr. Burroughs seemed 
to Avorship God. What ! he ? The holy man ! the 
learned ! the wise ! How has the devil tempted him ? 
His fellow-criminals, for the most part, are obtuse, unculti 
vated creatures, some of them scarcely half-witted by nature, 
and others greatly decayed in their intellects through age. 
They were an easy prey for the destroyer. Not so with this 
George Burroughs, as we judge by the inward light which 
glows through his dark countenance, and, we might almost 
say, glorifies his figure, in spite of the soil and haggardness [_.; 
of long imprisonment, in spite of the heavy shadow that 
must fall on him, while Death is walking by his side. What 
bribe could Satan offer, rich enough to tempt and overcome 
this man ? ^Alas ! it may have been in the very strength of 
his high and searching intellect, that the Tempter found the 
weakness which betrayed him. He yearned for knowledge ; 
he went groping onward into a world of mystery ; at first, 
as the witnesses have sworn, he summoned up the ghosts of 
his two dead wives, and talked with them of matters beyond 
the grave ; and, when their responses failed to satisfy the 
intense and sinful craving of his spirit, he called on Satan, 
and was heard. Yet to look at him who, that had 
not known the proof, could believe him guilty ? Who would 
not say, while we see him offering comfort to the weak and 
aged partners of his horrible crime, while we hear his 
ejaculations of prayer, that seem to bubble up out of the 
depths of his heart, and fly heavenward, unawares, while 
we behold a radiance brightening on his features as from the 
other world, which is but a few steps off, who would not 
say, that, over the dusty track of the Main-street, a Christian 
saint is now going to a martyr s death ? May not the Arch 
Fiend have been too subtle for the court and jury, and 
betrayed them laughing in his sleeve the while into the 

170 Main-street. 

awful error of pouring out sanctified blood as an acceptable 
sacrifice upon God s altar ? Ah ! no ; for listen to wise 
Cotton Mather, who, as he sits there on his horse, speaks 
comfortably to the perplexed multitude, and tells them that all 
has been religiously and justly done, and that Satan s power 
shall this day receive its death-blow in New England. 

Heaven grant it be so ! the great scholar must be right ! 
so, lead the poor creatures to their death ! Do you see 
that group of children and half-grown girls, and, among 
them, an old, hag-like Indian woman, Tituba by name ? 
Those are the Afflicted Ones. Behold, at this very instant, 
a proof of Satan s power and malice ! Mercy Parris, the 
minister s daughter, has been smitten by a flash of Martha 
Carrier s eye, and falls down in the street, writhing with 
horrible spasms and foaming at the mouth, like the possessed 
ones spoken of in Scripture. Hurry on the accursed witches 
to the gallows, ere they do more mischief! ere they fling 
out their withered arms, and scatter pestilence by handfuls 
among the crowd ! ere, as their parting legacy, they cast 
a blight over the land, so that henceforth it may bear no fruit 
nor blade of grass, and be fit for nothing but a sepulchre 
for their unhallowed carcasses ! So, on they go ; and old 
George Jacobs has stumbled by reason of his infirmity : but 
Goodman Proctor and his wife lean on one another, and 
walk at a reasonably steady pace, considering their age. 
Mr. Burroughs seems to administer counsel to Martha Car 
rier, whose face and mien, methinks, are milder and humbler 
than they were. Among the multitude, meanwhile, there is 
horror, fear, and distrust ; and friend looks askance at friend, 
and the husband at his wife, and the wife at him, and even 
the mother at her little child ; as if, in every creature that 
God has made, they suspected a witch, or dreaded an ac 
cuser. Never, never again, whether in this or any other 
shape, may Universal Madness riot in the Main-street ! 

I perceive in your eyes, my indulgent spectators, the criti 
cism which you are too kind to utter. These scenes, you 
think, are all too sombre. So, indeed, they are ; but the 
blame must rest on the sombre spirit of our forefathers, who 
wove their web of life with hardly a single thread of rose- 

Main-street. 171 

color or gold, and not on me, who have a tropic love of sun- 
shine, and would gladly gild all the world with it, if I knew 
where to find so much. That you may believe me, I will 
exhibit one of the only class of scenes, so far as my inves 
tigation has taught me, in which our ancestors were wont to 
steep their tough old hearts in wine and strong drink, and 
indulge an outbreak of grisly jollity. 

Here it comes, out of the same house whence we saw 
brave Captain Gardner go forth to the wars. What ! A 
coffin, borne on men s shoulders, and six aged gentlemen 
as pall-bearers, and a long train of mourners, with black 
gloves and black hat-bands, and every thing black, save a 
white handkerchief in each mourner s hand, to wipe away 
his tears withal. Now, my kind patrons, you are angry 
with me. You were bidden to a bridal-dance, and find your 
selves walking in a funeral procession. Even so ; but look 
back through all the social customs of New England, in the 
first century of her existence, and read all her traits of char 
acter ; and if you find one occasion, other than a funeral-feast, 
where jollity was sanctioned by universal practice, I will set 
fire to my puppet-show without another word. These are 
the obsequies of old Governor Bradstreet, the patriarch and 
survivor of the first settlers, who, having intermarried with 
the Widow Gardner, is now resting from his labors, at the 
great age of ninety-four. The white-bearded corpse, which 
was his spirit s earthly garniture, now lies beneath yonder 
coffin-lid. Many a cask of ale and cider is on tap, and many 
a draught of spiced wine and aquavitse has been quaffed. 
Else why should the bearers stagger, as they tremulously 
uphold the coffin ? and the aged pall-bearers, too, as they 
strive to walk solemnly beside it ? and wherefore do the 
mourners tread on one another s heels ? and why, if we 
may ask without offence, should the nose of the Reverend 
Mr. Noyes, through which he has just been delivering the 
funeral discourse, glow like a ruddy coal of fire ? Well, 
well, old friends ! Pass on, with your burthen of mortality, 
and lay it in the tomb with jolly hearts. People should be 
permitted to enjoy themselves in their own fashion ; every 
man to his taste ; but New England must have been a dis- 

172 Main-street. 

rnal abode for the man of pleasure, when the only boon-com 
panion was Death ! 

Under cover of a mist that has settled over the scene, a few 
years flit by, and escape our notice. As the atmosphere 
becomes transparent, we perceive a decrepit grandsire, hob 
bling along the street. Do you recognize him ? We saw 
him, first, as the baby in Goodwife Massey s arms, when the 
primeval trees were flinging their shadow over Roger Co- 
nant s cabin ; we have seen him, as the boy, the youth, the 
man, bearing his humble part in all the successive scenes, 
and forming the index-figure whereby to note the age of 
his coeval town. And here he is, old Goodman Massey, 
taking his last walk, often pausing, often leaning over his 
staff, and calling to mind whose dwelling stood at such 
and such a spot, and whose field or garden occupied the 
site of those more recent houses. He can render a reason 
for all the bends and deviations of the thoroughfare, which, 
in its flexible and plastic infancy, was made to swerve aside 
from a straight line, in order to visit every settler s door. 
The Main-street is still youthful ; the coeval Man is in his 
latest age. Soon he will be gone, a patriarch of fourscore, 
yet shall retain a sort of infantine life in our local history, as 
the first town-born child. 

Behold here a change, wrought in the twinkling of an eye, 
like an incident in a tale of magic, even while your obser 
vation has been fixed upon the scene. The Main-street has 
vanished out of sight. In its stead appears a wintry waste 
of snow, with the sun just peeping over it, cold arid bright, 
and tinging the white expanse with the faintest and most 
ethereal rose-color. This is the Great Snow of 1717, famous 
for the mountain-drifts in which it buried the whole country. 
It would seem as if the street, the growth of which w T e have 
noted so attentively, following it from its first phase, as 
an Indian track, until it reached the dignity of side-walks, 
were all at once obliterated, and resolved into a drearier 
pathlessness than when the forest covered it. The gigantic 
swells and billows of the snow have swept over each man s 
metes and bounds, arid annihilated all the visible distinctions 
of human property. So that now, the traces of former times 

Main-street. 173 

and hitherto accomplished deeds being done away, mankind 
should be at liberty to enter on new paths, and guide them 
selves by other laws than heretofore; if, indeed, the race be 
not extinct, and it be worth our while to go on with the march 
of life, over the cold and desolate expanse that lies before us. 
It may be, however, that matters are not so desperate as they 
appear. That vast icicle, glittering so cheerlessly in the 
sunshine, must be the spire of the meeting-house, incrusted 
with frozen sleet. Those great heaps, too, which we mistook 
for drifts, are houses, buried up to their eaves, and with their 
peaked roofs rounded by the depth of snow upon them. 
There, now, comes a gush of smoke from what I judge to be 
the chimney of the Ship Tavern and another another 
and another from the chimneys of other dwellings, where 
fireside comfort, domestic peace, the sports of children, and 
the quietude of age, are living yet, in spite of the frozen crust 
above them. 

But it is time to change the scene. Its dreary monotony 
shall not test your fortitude like one of our actual New Eng 
land winters, which leave so large a blank so melancholy 
a death-spot in lives so brief that they ought to be all sum 
mer-time. Here, at least, I may claim to be ruler of the 
seasons. One turn of the crank shall melt away the snow 
from the Main-street, and show the trees in their full foliage, 
the rose-bushes in bloom, and a border of green grass along .. 
the side-walk. There ! But what ! How ! The scene \ 
will not move. A wire is broken. The street continues ) 
buried beneath the snow, and the fate of Herculaneum and/ 
Pompeii has its parallel in this catastrophe. 

Alas ! my kind and gentle audience, you know not the 
extent of your misfortune. The scenes to come were far 
better than the past. The street itself would have been more 
Avorthy of pictorial exhibition ; the deeds of its inhabitants, 
not less so. And how would your interest have deepened, 
as, passing out of the cold shadow of antiquity, in my long 
and weary course, I should arrive within the limits of man s 
memory, and, leading you at last into the sunshine of the 
present, should give a reflex of the very life that is flitting 
past us ! Your own beauty, my fair townswomen, would 

174 Abuse of Representative Government. 

have beamed upon you, out of my scene. Not a gentleman 
that walks the street but should have beheld his own face 
and figure, his gait, the peculiar swing of his arm, and the 
coat that he put on yesterday. Then, too, and it is what 
I chiefly regret, I had expended a vast deal of light and 
brilliancy on a representation of the street in its whole length, 
from BufFum s Corner downward, on the night of the grand 
illumination for General Taylor s triumph. Lastly, I should 
have given the crank one other turn, and have brought out 
the future, showing you who shall walk the Main-street to 
morrow, and, perchance, whose funeral shall pass through it ! 

But these, like most other human purposes, lie unaccom 
plished ; and I have only further to say, that any lady or 
gentleman, who may feel dissatisfied with the evening s enter 
tainment, shall receive back the admission fee at the door. 

" Then give me mine," cries the critic, stretching out his 
palm. " I said that your exhibition would prove a humbug, 
and so it has turned out. So hand over my quarter ! " 


IT seems to be very generally felt, that the morals of politics 
in the United States have declined gradually, since the esta 
blishment of our constitution ; and yet there is no agreement 
in the opinions of men, as to the cause of the decline. 

It can, we think, hardly be attributed to any general de 
cline of morals in the nation ; for careful observation shows 
us, that, while certain classes in our cities have been depart 
ing further and further from the true idea of a republican 
society, the people of the country at large, and especially the 
farming population, have been approaching nearer to it, and 
have thus more than compensated for the loss. The votaries 
of fashion and of pleasure have done something, certainly, 
to ingraft the vices and follies of Europe upon our native 
stock ; and the debris of the immense flood of emigration 
which accumulates along our shores cannot but increase the 

Abuse of Representative Government. 175 

grinding competition which is so rapidly swelling the lists of 
criminals and paupers in our great cities. But, meanwhile, 
our common school systems, our Lyceum lectures and li 
braries, our newspapers and pamphlets, and especially the 
great Temperance Reform, have rendered an immense ser 
vice in opening the intellectual and moral views of the far 
mers, and rural population of all classes. Our factories, too, 
have added to their intelligence and property, without, thus 
far, having injured their morals. On the whole, we think it 
may be safely affirmed, that the entire population of the non- 
slaveholding states is better fitted now for the exercise of 
universal suffrage, than it was when the Constitution was 
proclaimed. We are aware, that, in the opinion of many 
persons, the undeniable growth of our farming population in 
intelligence and external morality has been accompanied by 
a loss of reverence and loyalty which fully counteracts the 
gain. We are not, however, of this opinion. The loss of 
reverence complained of has been, we think, rather the 
growth of a spirit of analysis and inquiry, and a separation 
of hollow forms from those which still symbolize or express 
a sentiment, than a real loss of reverence for religion or vir 
tue ; and this is best proved by the fact of the moral reform 
everywhere visible throughout the country, in the greater 
sobriety, industry, and refinement of the people, and in the 
growing disposition to look into the moral and religious basis 
of our laws and social habits. 

As for the slaveholding states, it may be true that they 
have suffered a general moral decline. We are by no means 
sure that such is the fact, however ; but, in relation to ques 
tions of slavery, their legislation seems to indicate it. At the 
same time, we cannot at all agree with those who are dis 
posed to trace all our national sins to the one foul blot of 
slavery ; nor can we believe that our Constitution, in recog 
nizing and permitting slavery, and providing for the restora 
tion of fugitive slaves, has admitted a poison which can be 
cast out only by breaking up the whole organism. This 
seems to us a hopeless and a faithless doctrine, and is tanta 
mount to an assertion that the Constitution not only has one 
great evil in it, but that it has little or no good in it. If it 

176 Abuse of Representative Government. 

has, on the whole, a healthy principle of life in it, which is 
worth preserving, may it not be made to throw off the poi 
son, without sacrificing its existence ? Does not analogy 
teach us this mode of treatment ? We do not cut down the 
tree because the worm has tapped it, nor kill the animal 
stricken by disease, at least, not until well assured that the 
recuperative powers of life are completely exhausted ; and 
who shall say that the Constitution of these United States 
has reached that point of prostration ? That slavery has 
done much, and is still doing much, to retard the moral ad 
vance of our Northern people, we are riot disposed to deny ; 
and that it has had hitherto an undue influence in our na 
tional councils, to which many disgraceful acts of the legisla 
ture and the executive are entirely due, is beyond question. 
But why has it possessed this power ? Not, we apprehend, 
from any sympathy felt by the people of the North with slave 
holders, as such, not because these Northern people had 
become demoralized by slave-legislation, not because the 
members of Congress had sworn to support the Constitution ; 
but because these Northern voters and their representatives 
were selfish and ignorant and passionate men, more de 
sirous to gain their private and their party ends, by allying 
themselves with the slaveholding power, than they were to 
eradicate a moral blot from our national system, at a sacrifice 
of, what they supposed to be, their interests. This barrier to 
improvement is, however, giving way. The voters are be 
coming more enlightened upon the true merits of the case ; 
their consciences are getting awakened ; and, besides, the 
conduct of the South is driving them to action, and their very 
selfishness will prompt them to prevent further extension of 
slavery and slaveholding influence. Let us now suppose this 
to liave been done ; the party tactics and selfish passions of the 
North to have been turned fully and successfully against 
the slave-power ; would there not still remain a vice in our 
political condition, which would continue to degrade the 
morals of politics, and warp a fundamental idea of our Re 
public from its original and only true basis ? We appre 
hend, that, unless other changes than any we have hitherto 
adverted to were made, there would be such a vice in full 


Abuse of Representative Government. 177 

activity, and that we should still be left in the extraordinary 
situation of a people who, under a popular form of govern 
ment, is improving in its social life, while it is degrading in 
its political life. The vice we allude to, and which appears 
to us so fatal, is the perversion of the character of the represen 
tative, and, of course, of the representative government. 

If there was any one point upon which the founders of our 
Republic especially depended as a security against the mis 
fortunes which have overtaken all the earlier democratic 
states, it was doubtless our representative system, by means of 
which they hoped to avoid the introduction of the passions 
of the multitude into the councils of the nation. Mr. Madi 
son, in one of his articles in the " Federalist," says, speak 
ing of the delegation of government to persons elected, the 
effect is " to refine and enlarge the public views, by passing 
them through the medium of a chosen body of citizens, \vhose 
wisdom may best discern the true interests of their country, 
and whose patriotism and love of justice will be least likely 
to sacrifice it to partial and temporary considerations. Under 
such a regulation, it may well happen, that the public voice, 
pronounced by representatives of the people, will be more 
consonant to the public good, than if pronounced by the peo 
ple themselves convened for the purpose." 

Again, in the same letter, he says, that the representation 
of the Union will present the advantage of a body " whose 
enlightened views and virtuous sentiments render them supe 
rior to local prejudices, and to schemes of injustice." 

This doctrine sounds strangely to us now, with our party 
pledges and instructing legislatures. It is because we have 
lost the true idea of a representative, and have substituted for 
it one of an attorney or agent, a mouthpiece of a certain 
number of voters in some obscure district. Instead of select 
ing the wisest and the best man, and allowing him to go, 
entirely unshackled, to investigate and decide for us, we 
have come to choosing the man who will make the most 
ready professions and promises ; the object not being to 
select a representative of the wisdom and conscience, that is, 
of the highest character, of the district, but to select an able 
or a noisy expounder of the preconceived notions and opi- 

178 Abuse of Representative Government. 

nions of the district, so as to place the Legislature as nearly 
as possible in the position in which it would be, were the 
voters of the district personally present, with all their ignorance, 
prejudice, and passion. But this is precisely what the found 
ers of the Constitution wished to avoid, in establishing a re 
presentative republic, since, they argued, that it would be 
more stable and sound than a pure democracy, because the 
government would not be administered by the people them 
selves, who are so easily misled by the ruling passions of the 
hour, but by the choicest spirits, whose wisdom and patriot 
ism would secure them against local and temporary influen 
ces, and whose voice would therefore " be more consonant 
with the public good, than the voice of the people themselves, 
convened for the purpose." 

It is not our intention here to inquire how the perversion 
of the representative character has gradually been brought 
about ; but merely to call attention to the fact, that it is now 
complete, and that, without an amendment in this particular, 
it is in vain to look for a return to the purity of our institu 
tions. If senators feel that they must either resign or vote as 
instructed by a majority of their State Legislature, whatever 
may be their own views ; if they forget that they are chosen 
by the State, not merely to do its bidding, to represent its will 
at any given moment, like an attorney, but to act under the 
Constitution for their State, but in the interests of truth and 
justice as applied to the Union and the world, and with a direct 
responsibility to their Maker only ; if they lose sight of this 
high duty and this high responsibility, how can they preserve 
the dignity of the Senate ? how can they retain the character 
of authority, without which government becomes contempti 
ble ? It was clearly not the intention of the founders of our 
Constitution to make senators and representatives directly 
responsible to the bodies choosing them, as principals whose 
wishes alone they were to consult ; for such a responsibility 
takes away all character of freedom, whether of thought or 
act. It degrades the representative, not only morally, but 
also intellectually ; for, if all he has to think of is the opinion 
and will of his constituents, the newspapers will be his chief 
study, and the caucus his arbiter of political science. Pie is 

Abuse of Representative Government. 179 

degraded from the proper position of a true man, as much 
so as a lawyer who is arguing, for money, a case which he 
does not believe in ; and the most that can be expected of 
senators or representatives, under such a system, is, that they 
should become keen and unscrupulous. How, then, can we 
expect men of the highest moral stamp to come forward, or, if 
they do come forward, to retain their places and their honesty 
both ? As mere agents, they would be morally bound to re 
sign, when required to act contrary to their sense of right ; and, 
with the changing majorities, this would be very likely, in the 
natural course of things, to happen during the term for which 
they are chosen.* Can any one believe that it was intended 
by the fathers of our country to place senators in such a posi 
tion as this, to make them the mere puppets of popular 
changes ? The idea, as applied to a Senate, is ridiculous ; 
and whether applied to the Senate, the House of Represen 
tatives, or the Executive, it is destructive of the element of 
stability, which was chiefly sought in the establishment of a 
representative form of government, as well as to all true liberty, 
which can exist only as connected with stability.! 

* It follows that, in this view, the chances would be in favor of the 
senators being forced either to violate their consciences, or to resign very 
frequently in the ordinary working of the government. 

f We are aware, that there is supposed to be a difference in the position 
of the senator and of the representative in this respect. The latter has more 
liberty than the former. He is merely " requested," while the senator is 
" instructed," to change his vote, by those who have chosen him, and who 
may, or may not, choose him again, that is, by his masters. The represen 
tatives, it seems, are not so completely mastered yet as the senators. This 
strikes us an extraordinary perversion of the intention of the framers of our 
Constitution, by which what they intended as the conservative branch of the 
Legislature has become gradually the most partisan and pliant. It could not 
be otherwise under the doctrine of " instruction," the most direct and strik 
ing effect of which is to destroy the unity of the Senate, leaving two or three 
struggling fractions, ruled principally by partisan or sectional prejudice. 

During the last session, the sectional tyranny in the Senate counteracted 
the endeavors of the House to do common justice. 

We look in vain in the Constitution, or in the writings of its founders, 
for any distinction in the liberty of the senator and representative to follow 
his conscience, during the term for which he is chosen. On the other hand, 
all the arguments in the " Federalist," in chap. 62, 63, and 64, show that 
more stability was looked for in the Senate than in the House, because the 
members were to be chosen for a longer term. But what security could this be, 

180 Abuse of Representative Government. 

The truth is, that the whole notion of a government respon 
sible to the people, in the sense usually understood, is absurd. 
It may be best, in certain stages of social progress, to have 
an elective government, and one chosen, like our own, by 
universal suffrage ; but this can be true only on the suppo 
sition, that the nation will, on the whole, choose better men to 
govern, than would be chosen under an oligarchy or a 
despotism ; and this can happen only if the men so chosen 
feel their responsibility to God more directly and intimately 
than if placed in power by an aristocracy, or the chances of 
birth or of war. 

The difference in the mode of selecting the government is 
of little importance, excepting- so far as it produces this effect ; 
and, when once the choice is made, in one form of govern 
ment or another, the governing power remains responsible 
only to God. It has the proper character of government, 
only so far as it embodies the eternal principles of God ; 
and its only right, therefore, is the divine right. There may 
be a great choice in forms of appointing and changing the 
rulers, as tending to increase or diminish the temptations to 
depart from uprightness in the administration ; arid we are 
well convinced, that our own Constitution, as understood by 
those who made it, is better suited to our state of society than 
any which has yet appeared in the world ; but there can be 
no difference in the nature of the responsibility of the govern 
ment, when established. In no case can the parties, chosen 
to administer it, look to the human appointing power as the 
guide to right government : here, indeed, they may meet 
with an exhibition of might, which may support it or over 
turn it ; but, to find the right, they must look higher. On the 
other hand, a delegated government should be looked up to 

if, with each change in the party majorities of his State, the senator were 
expected to change his argument and his vote, or to resign ? The truth is, 
that, if the senator were a mere State officer, he would be perfectly free 
during his term : how much more important is it when he forms a part of 
the Government of the 1 nion ? Once chosen, he is no more under the con 
trol of his State, during his term, than of any other State. His duty is to 
the Union and the world, under his responsibility to his Maker ; and, if he 
fails in his duty, he may be impeached, or the Legislature of his State has 
power, when his term expires, to choose another in his place, and that is all. 

Abuse of Representative Government. 181 

by the citizens, during its existence, with all the respect which 
can be shown to any government. If it is not more worthy 
of respect than any other, it should be abandoned, as not the 
best form of government. It deserves respect as embodying 
the collective wisdom and virtue of the country, which it is 
supposed to do, and ought to do ; and, if it does not, it is the 
fault of the people, and may be remedied at the next election. 
During its existence, however, it cannot lose its freedom, 
without losing its character of a government ; it cannot be, 
at once, the servant and the ruler of the nation. The term 
" public servants" seems to have added to the confusion of 
ideas, if it did not arise from them. How can the persons, 
to whom we have given authority over us, be our servants ? 
The servile character destroys all authority. 

There can be no doubt, that the successful candidates for 
office will be found among those who are content to look no 
further than to their constituents, so long as the public de 
mands nothing better. If it wishes its deliberative assemblies 
to resemble collections of sharp attorneys, squabbling for the 
so-called interests of their principals, it will find no lack of 
men well qualified and ready to squabble ; but if it wants 
men fitted to be legislators in a great nation, which ought to 
lead the movements of true liberty in the world, and every 
part of whose political structures is destined to be studied in 
the old world, and to exert some influence either for good or 
for evil, it must adhere to the original theory of the Con 
stitution, which is based upon true patriotism and toleration. 
Without these, its machinery will not work. No clever pre 
tences, no balancing of selfish interests, will prevent its run 
ning down. The latter may do to keep the wheels going in 
some Constitutions, of a lower order ; but ours was intended 
for, and can only be worked by, men of honesty and intel 
ligence, " whose enlightened views and virtuous sentiments 
render them superior to local prejudices, and to schemes of 
injustice." How far pledges arid instruction will conduce 
to this latter end, can be seen without much elucidation. 

This brings us back to the apparent contradiction adverted 
to in the beginning of these remarks, namely, that the morals 
of the nation have been and are actually improving, while the 

182 Abuse of Representative Government. 

morals of politics are sinking. We have ascribed this ano 
malous state of things principally to the perversion of the idea 
of a representative government ; but it may be asked, why, 
if the people have advanced in knowledge and character, 
have they allowed this abuse to creep in ? The answer is r 
that, although the people have improved, they are still far short 
of the standard which the fathers of our country set before 
themselves, and had in view for the nation ; and, meanwhile, 
time has developed the temptation and the opportunities to- 
abuse. The people, instead of being above the Constitution,. 
as we hear frequently said, are, in our opinion, still far below 
it, morally and intellectually, and especially in one grand 
characteristic, that of toleration. 

The obstacles which have constantly retarded the advance 
of true liberty in the world, in all countries and at all times, 
may be divided into two classes : those which have been 
wilfully raised and maintained by gross, barefaced selfish 
ness, cruelty, love of conquest, and the like ; and those which 
men have unconsciously interposed in the path of freedom, 
blinded by various forms of self-love and ignorance. Among 
the latter, intolerance has played, and still plays, a most 
prominent part, and no less in this Republic, which boasts of 
its freedom, than in the older countries, where its baneful 
effects are known and confessed. By means of this bigotry 
or intolerance, the great body of honest voters (and we pre 
sume that the majority of voters, of all parties, act with honest 
intentions) are prevented from looking on more than one side 
of the questions submitted to them, without being at all aware 
of it themselves. With the best intentions in the world, they 
may thus conduce to the moral debasement of their represen 
tatives. Having themselves what they conceive to be a full 
understanding of important social and political questions, in 
which they are supported by those with whom they princi 
pally associate and sympathize, they are equally unable and 
unwilling to look fairly on the other side ; and they naturally, 
under the circumstances, conclude that, as the other party 
cannot have any right on its side, they are bound to take all 
steps in their power to secure the adoption of their own 
views. Here the evil of the thing begins to show itself, 

Abuse of Representative Government. 183 

when they are induced to overlook the moral character of 
the means employed to produce conformity with their views. 
The first and most obvious means is to secure a candidate 
who will promise, first of all, to be guided by their opinions, 
or, what is the same thing, to make his own coincide with 
theirs. The first point, therefore, is to make sure of your 
candidate s views : if he be a good man and intelligent besides, 
why, so much the better, but first make sure of his views ! 
This is the feeling, and it may exist among men of zealous, 
honest, and improving character ; but it cannot be applied to 
the representative without curtailing his liberty, and reducing 
his moral status : for making sure of his views means mak 
ing sure of your man ; he becomes your man, loses property 
in himself, and feels that he must either do what you expect 
of him, or betray a trust. Is this man fitted to be a leader, 
a ruler, for ever so short a time ? Is he not rather, from the 
day of his election, tempted to be a follower, an anxious 
watcher of the tides of popular feeling ? 

The earnestness which makes men insist on what they 
believe to be the right qualification in their candidate is a 
virtue ; but the ignorance which makes them think that none 
but their own view can possibly be right, and that they can 
add to a man s fitness to take a part in the important work of 
government (which must be, either to his intelligence, know 
ledge, or honesty), by depriving him of his liberty, if not a 
positive vice, is certainly a deplorable fault. We could 
hardly believe, if we did not see it done on all sides, that 
men of intelligence and of the purest intentions would be 
disposed to adopt such a course. That corrupt party leaders 
should seek to bind and direct their tools, we can readily 
understand ; but that men of conscience, of all parties, the 
" conscience party " no less than others, should make haste 
to reduce their candidates, as quickly as possible, to mere 
partisans, should wish to curtail them of their full pro 
portions as men, to take from them, in fact, that which con 
stitutes them especially men, which is their freedom of 
thought and action, is one of the strangest things under 
the sun. 

There may be a confusion in some minds between the 

184 Abuse of Representative Government. 

limitations to powers conferred by the Constitution on dif 
ferent members of government, and the abridgment of the 
liberty of the party acting within the range of those powers. 
Such persons may argue, that, as there is a limit to the legal 
action of each member of the government, the liberty of each 
is curtailed ; and hence that there is no liberty in the repre 
sentative but to do the will of his constituents. The two 
things, however, are entirely distinct. The Constitution 
establishes checks and limitations of power, in order to pre 
vent the abuse of liberty. The establishment of the limita 
tions shows of itself, that, within the range of the powers 
granted, liberty should remain unimpaired ; otherwise no 
limitation would be needed. The limitation relates entirely 
to the nature of the powers to be exercised, not at all to the 
freedom of mind and will in the exercise of the powers 
granted, whereas all party pledges strike at the latter ; 
and they cannot do this under the pretence that it is to pre 
vent the abuse of liberty, for two reasons ; first, because the 
Constitution, in the limitations referred to, has already estab 
lished the necessary check ; and, secondly, because liberty, 
to be abused, must be exercised ; whereas they destroy 

Republicans, who wish to retain the purity of their institu 
tions, must beware lest they allow their zeal to outstrip their 
liberality. They must remember that the same reasons, which 
make it their duty to spread their views of good government 
by all proper means, make it equally incumbent upon those 
who differ from them to do likewise ; and that invading the 
liberty of a citizen, and, above all, of one who is to assume 
the responsibilities of office, is a highly improper means. It is 
all-important for the zealous to be liberal and tolerant ; for 
the salvation of the Republic rests with them. The indolent 
and the selfish will certainly never raise our national stand 
ard of right ; the work must be done by the zealous. They 
are the salt ; but, if their saltness be neutralized by the ashes 
of intolerance, where shall we look for help ? 

If now we glance at the actual state of things, as compared 
to what we have said it should be, the contrast, if it Avere not 
loo important in its consequences, would be absolutely ridicu- 

Abuse of Representative Government. 185 

lous. Hardly a candidate for any office is put up, that he 
is not assailed by a dozen zealous party leaders, who urge 
him to pledge himself to something. Temperance men, 
tariff men, free-trade men, native Americans, free-soilers, 
abolitionists, all push forward their sine qua non, and say, 
" Agree to our terms first, or we will not vote for you, however 
otherwise qualified" It is in vain for the candidate to point 
to his past course and his general character, and beg to be 
allowed to go to his duties entirely free ; to decide all prac 
tical questions upon their merits, when they shall arise. 
This satisfies no one ; and, after being bandied about by his 
tormenters for a time, he makes a bargain, and agrees to be 
a sound politician, as party A understands it, if party A 
will support him, or as party B understands it, if party B will 
support him ; or sometimes, when the claims are not abso 
lutely contradictory, he buys the votes of several squads of 
voters with his ready-coined promises, and so makes up 
a bundle of political virtues, at what he perhaps considers a 
low price. But he is mistaken. The price he has paid is 
exorbitant beyond reckoning. He has exchanged all that 
is real in political virtue for a bundle of shams ! 

The history of our Congress, of late years, is the history of 
this school of politics. The scholars have made rapid pro 
gress, and in their annual exhibitions have given the world 
ample proof of it ; so that the electors who have chosen them 
have often become ashamed of their choice, and have come 
to feel that their representatives, instead of being, as they 
should be, above the level of the nation, are actually below 
it ; and yet they express astonishment that this should be so. 
Do they not remember that they chose these men to be their 
" servants," and that the master is greater than the man ? 
Have they forgotten that they chose them without faith, 
depending not on their virtue and character, but on their 
promises and supposed interests ; that they did not expect 
to bind these representatives to them by their independence 
and courage, but rather by their selfishness and their fears ; 
and that there is nothing ennobling in this connection, but, 
on the contrary, every thing degrading ? How can they 
expect, then, that men so chosen should be leaders of the 

186 Abuse of Representative Government. 

people ? There may be a few bright examples among them, 
but the great body must be time-servers. There is no getting 
the results of virtue and high-mindedness out of selfish calcu 
lations and fears. Arrange it as you will, it always comes 
back to the hopeless problem, which Carlyle says modern 
shrewdness is wasting time on, namely, " Given a world 
of knaves, to educe an honesty from their joint action." 

It may be thought, and perhaps justly, that the election of 
General Taylor by so large a majority, in the face of his 
refusals to make himself a party man, indicates some re-action 
in the feelings of the people in regard to pledged candidates. 
There is no doubt an instinctive admiration felt for one who 
exhibits an independence of this kind ; and when, as in the 
case of General Taylor, it happens to be supported by other 
qualities which strike the imagination of the people, it may 
be triumphantly carried through. But the difficulty is, that 
it is merely an instinctive feeling, and not an intelligent 
opinion, in favor of this independence, and that only with 
a portion of the people. Many feel, on the contrary, as if 
it were a kind of underhand proceeding in a candidate to 
refuse to " support" the party which is about to " support" 
him. They look upon it as a species of fraudulent reserve in 
a bargain, by which they may be entrapped into giving their 
price, without receiving their equivalent. Even those who 
have an admiration of the kind of mind Avhich disdains to 
bind itself, are afraid to give way to the feeling. The " sober 
second thoughts," so much lauded, come in and spoil their 
better instincts. They think they must bind a man by his 
ambition or his interests to agree with and act for them, lest 
his intelligence or his conscience should lead him to take 
some other course. Here is exactly the difficulty. 

The representative is regarded as the agent of his consti 
tuents, chosen to do their bidding. They would like to have 
a noble and a free agent, provided always he will do their 
bidding : in short, they wish to secure the aid and guidance 
of virtue, by means which can command the services only of 
selfishness. Even in General Taylor s case, we fear that his 
sound views, shown in refusing to hold out any hopes to 
any class of partisans, was but little appreciated in fact, 

Abuse of Representative Government. 187 

although it was much talked of, by his supporters. His suc 
cesses as a soldier, together with his general manliness and 
humanity of character, were universally acknowledged, and 
probably obtained him nine-tenths of the votes which were 
cast for him. 

If the views we have presented be sound ; if it be true that 
our political character has been degrading, since the first few 
years of our national existence, without any corresponding 
decline in the intelligence and morals of the people, and even 
in the face of an improvement in those qualities, mainly in 
consequence of a perversion of the representative character, 
which has assimilated our Republic too closely to a pure 
democracy, the question becomes interesting, Can this 
democratic usurpation, which threatens to sweep all before it, 
be arrested ? In considering this question, we think it must 
be admitted by all, that the mere fact of a constant improve 
ment in the character of the people is of itself a very hopeful 
symptom. If the people have improved under all the degrad 
ing influences of party warfare, they may improve still more ; 
they may improve until they see the evil clearly, and have 
virtue enough to overcome it. It is evident that the only 
check to the license of democracy in this country is to be 
found in the character of the people themselves ; and fortu 
nately our most enlightened men are no longer weighed 
down by the hopeless theory which still blots out the light of 
the future from the eyes of many a sincere patriot and 
worldly-wise legislator of Europe. There the opinion has 
always prevailed, and still prevails with those who have the 
power, that, when democracy has once begun to feel its 
influence increasing, nothing can prevent its finally degene 
rating into license and anarchy, excepting an opposing in 
terest of some kind, as a counterpoise, such as a wealthy 
privileged class, or a ruler supported by a powerful army. 
They do not admit, that any check to the headlong course 
of democracy can be found in the morality and intelligence 
of the people, whom they consider as necessarily too blind 
and passionate to put any restraints upon themselves; or 
rather to keep any. 

This view may be true enough as applied to the present 

188 Abuse of Representative Government. 

condition of the people of Europe, and we fear not altogether 
inapplicable to the present condition of this country ; but, ad 
mitting this, does it follow that, because the democracy has 
never yet been sufficiently enlightened to see its errors, and 
curb its overbearing tendency, it can never become so ? Cer 
tainly it does not follow ; but, on the other hand, if the fact 
be that the people have improved, with full liberty in their 
hands, and a tendency to license in political matters gaining 
ground, it is a fair inference that they can go on advancing 
until a majority shall see clearly, that, in order to attain the 
highest results, they must be governed; and that, in order to 
have a conscientious and efficient government, they must bind 
themselves to it, in a spirit of loyalty, during its term of 
existence ; surrendering frankly into the hands of their dele 
gates the powers apportioned to them by the Constitution, to 
be used, in all freedom, under the best lights which this 
representative government can command. 

The people, however, cannot learn this self-restraint, with 
out a most efficient and extended system of education. As 
the population increases, with such immense recruits, too, 
from the ignorant and shiftless of other lands, it will be im 
possible even to maintain our present relative degree of 
virtue and wisdom, without constant effort. 

This subject has been most ably and fully handled by the 
late Secretary of the Massachusetts Board of Education in 
his various Reports, in which, we think, he has made it ap 
parent, that, if the Common School system is extended and 
improved as it ought to be, and especially if in their manage 
ment the utilitarian views are kept subordinate to those of an 
elevated morality, the people may be educated to a point 
which will enable them to carry out fully the highest theory 
of our Constitution, and perhaps eventually to devise a better 

Resistance to Civil Government. 189 


I HEARTILY accept the motto, " That government is best 
which governs least ; " and I should like to see it acted up to 
more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally 
amounts to this, which also I believe, " That government is 
best which governs not at all ; " and when men are prepared 
for it, that will be the kind of government which they will 
have. Government is at best but an expedient ; but most 
governments are usually, and all governments are sometimes, 
inexpedient. The objections which have been brought 
against a standing army, and they are many and weighty, 
and deserve to prevail, may also at last be brought against 
a standing government. The standing army is only an arm 
of the standing government. The government itself, which 
is only the mode which the people have chosen to execute 
their will, is equally liable to be abused and perverted before 
the people can act through it. Witness the present Mexican 
war, the work of comparatively a few individuals using the 
standing government as their tool; for, in the outset, the 
people would not have consented to this measure. 

This American government, what is it but a tradition, 
though a recent one, endeavoring to transmit itself unimpair 
ed to posterity, but each instant losing some of its integrity ? 
It has not the vitality and force of a single living man ; for a 
single man can bend it to his will. It is a sort of wooden 
gun to the people themselves ; and, if ever they should use it 
in earnest as a real one against each other, it will surely 
split. But it is not the less necessary for this ; for the people 
must have some complicated machinery or other, and hear 
its din, to satisfy that idea of government which they have. 
Governments show thus how successfully men can be imposed 
on, even impose on themselves, for their own advantage. It 
is excellent, we must all allow ; yet this government never 
of itself furthered any enterprise, but by the alacrity with 
which it got out of its way. It does not keep the country 
free. It does not settle the West. It does not educate. The 

190 Resistance to Civil Government. 

character inherent in the American people has done all that 
has been accomplished ; and it would have done somewhat 
more, if the government had not sometimes got in its way. 
For government is an expedient by which men would fain 
succeed in letting one another alone ; and, as has been said, 
when it is most expedient, the governed are most let alone 
by it. -Trade and commerce, if they Avere not made of India 
rubber, would never manage to bounce over the obstacles 
which legislators are continually putting in their way ; and, if 
one were to judge these men wholly by the effects of their 
actions, and not partly by their intentions, they would 
deserve to be classed and punished with those mischievous 
persons who put obstructions on the railroads. 

But, to speak practically and as a citizen, unlike those 
who call themselves no-government men, I ask for, not at 
once no government, but at once a better goverment. Let 
every man make known what kind of government would 
command his respect, and that will be one step toward ob 
taining it. 

After all, the practical reason why, when the power is 
once in the hands of the people, a majority are permitted, 
and for a long period continue, to rule, is not because they 
are most likely to be in the right, nor because this seems 
fairest to the minority, but because they are physically the 
strongest. But a government in which the majority rule in 
all cases cannot be based on justice, even as far as men 
understand it. Can there not be a government in which 
majorities do not virtually decide right and wrong, but con 
science ? in which majorities decide only those questions 
to which the rule of expediency is applicable ? Must the 
citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his 
conscience to the legislator ? Why has every man a con 
science, then ? I think that we should be men first, and 
subjects afterward. It is not desirable to cultivate a respect 
for the law, so much as for the right. The only obligation 
which I have a right to assume, is to do at any time what I 
think right. It is truly enough said, that a corporation has 
no conscience ; but a corporation of conscientious men is 
a corporation with a conscience. Law never made men a 

Resistance to Civil Government. 191 

whit more just ; and, by means of their respect for it, even 
the well-disposed are daily made the agents of injustice. A 
common and natural result of an undue respect for law is, 
that you may see a file of soldiers, colonel, captain, corporal, 
privates, powder-monkeys and all, marching in admirable 
order over hill and dale to the wars, against their wills, aye, 
against their common sense and consciences, which makes it 
very steep marching indeed, and produces a palpitation of the 
heart. They have no doubt that it is a damnable business 
in which they are concerned ; they are all peaceably inclined. 
Now, what are they ? Men at all ? or small moveable forts 
and magazines, at the service of some unscrupulous man in 
power ? Visit the Navy Yard, and behold a marine, such a 
man as an American government can make, or such as it 
can make a man with its black arts, a mere shadow and 
reminiscence of humanity, a man laid out alive and standing, 
and already, as one may say, buried under arms with funeral 
accompaniments, though it may be 

" Not a drum was heard, nor a funeral note, 
As his corse to the ramparts we hurried ; 
Not a soldier discharged his farewell shot 
O er the grave where our hero we buried." 

The mass of men serve the State thus, not as men mainly, 
but as machines, with their bodies. They are the standing 
army, and the militia, jailers, constables, posse comitatus, &c. 
In most cases there is no free exercise Avhatever of the judg 
ment or of the moral sense ; but they put themselves on a 
level with wood and earth and stones ; and wooden men can 
perhaps be manufactured that will serve the purpose as well. 
Such command no more respect than men of straw, or a lump 
of dirt. They have the same sort of worth only as horses 
and dogs. Yet such as these even are commonly esteemed 
good citizens. Others, as most legislators, politicians, law 
yers, ministers, and office-holders, serve the State chiefly with 
their heads ; and, as they rarely make any moral distinc 
tions, they are as likely to serve the devil, without intend 
ing it, as God. A very few, as heroes, patriots, martyrs, 
reformers in the great sense, and men, serve the State with 
their consciences also, and so necessarily resist it for the most 

192 Resistance to Civil Government. 

part ; and they are commonly treated by it as enemies. A 
wise man will only be useful as a man, and will not submit 
to be " clay," and " stop a hole to keep the wind away," but 
leave that office to his dust at least : 

" I am too high-born to be propertied, 
To be a secondary at control, 
Or useful serving-man and instrument 
To any sovereign state throughout the world." 

He who gives himself entirely to his fellow-men appears to 
them useless and selfish ; but he who gives himself partially 
to them is pronounced a benefactor and philanthropist. 

How does it become a man to behave toward this Ameri 
can government to-day ? I answer that he cannot without 
disgrace be associated with it. I cannot for an instant recog 
nize that political organization as my government which is 
the slave s government also. 

All men recognize the right of revolution ; that is, the right 
to refuse allegiance to and to resist the government, when its 
tyranny or its inefficiency are great and unendurable. But 
almost all say that such is not the case now. But such was 
the case, they think, in the Revolution of 75. If one were 
to tell me that this was a bad government because it taxed 
certain foreign commodities brought to its ports, it is most 
probable that I should not make an ado about it, for I can 
do without them : all machines have their friction ; and pos 
sibly this does enough good to counterbalance the evil. At 
any rate, it is a great evil to make a stir about it. But when 
the friction comes to have its machine, and oppression and 
robbery are organized, I say, let us not have such a machine 
any longer. In other words, when a sixth of the population 
of a nation which has undertaken to be the refuge of liberty 
are slaves, and a whole country is unjustly overrun and con 
quered by a foreign army, and subjected to military law, I 
think that it is not too soon for honest men to rebel and revo 
lutionize. What makes this duty the more urgent is the fact, 
that the country so overrun is not our own, but ours is the 
invading army. 

Paley, a common authority with many on moral questions, 
in his chapter on the " Duty of Submission to Civil Govern- 

Resistance to Civil Government. 193 

ment," resolves all civil obligation into expediency ; and he 
proceeds to say, " that so long as the interest of the whole 
society requires it, that is, so long as the established govern 
ment cannot be resisted or changed without public incon- 
veniency, it is the will of God that the established government 
be obeyed, and no longer." "This principle being ad 
mitted, the justice of every particular case of resistance is 
reduced to a computation of the quantity of the danger and 
grievance on the one side, and of the probability and expense 
of redressing it on the other." Of this, he says, every man 
shall judge for himself. But Paley appears never to have 
contemplated those cases to which the rule of expediency 
does not apply, in which a people, as well as an individual, 
must do justice, cost what it may. If I have unjustly wrested 
a plank from a drowning man, I must restore it to him though 
I drown myself. This, according to Paley, would be incon 
venient. But he that would save his life, in such a case, 
shall lose it. This people must cease to hold slaves, and to 
make war on Mexico, though it cost them their existence as 
a people. 

In their practice, nations agree with Paley ; but does any 
one think that Massachusetts does exactly what is right at the 
present crisis ? 

" A drab of state, a cloth.- o - silver slut, 
To have her train borne up, and her soul trail in the dirt." 

Practically speaking, the opponents to a reform in Massa 
chusetts are not a hundred thousand politicians at the South, 
but a hundred thousand merchants and farmers here, who 
are more interested in commerce and agriculture than they are 
in humanity, and are not prepared to do justice to the slave 
and to Mexico, cost what it may. I quarrel not with far-off 
foes, but with those who, near at home, co-operate with, and 
do the bidding of those far away, and without whom the lat 
ter would be harmless. We are accustomed to say, that the 
mass of men are unprepared ; but improvement is slow, be 
cause the few are not materially wiser or better than the 
many. It is not so important that many should be as good 
as you, as that there be some absolute goodness somewhere ; 

1 94 Resistance to Civil Government. 

for that will leaven the whole lump. There are thousands 
who are in opinion opposed to slavery and to the war, who 
yet in effect, do nothing to put an end to them ; who, esteem 
ing themselves children of Washington and Franklin, sit down 
with their hands in their pockets, and say that they know not 
what to do, and do nothing ; who even postpone the question 
of freedom to the question of free-trade, and quietly read the 
prices-current along with the latest advices from Mexico, 
after dinner, and, it may be, fall asleep over them both. 
What is the price-current of an honest man and patriot to 
day ? They hesitate, and they regret, and sometimes they 
petition ; but they do nothing in earnest and with effect. 
They will wait, well disposed, for others to remedy the evil, 
that they may no longer have it to regret. At most, they 
give only a cheap vote, and a feeble countenance and God 
speed, to the right, as it goes by them. There are nine hun 
dred and ninety-nine patrons of virtue to one virtuous man ; 
but it is easier to deal with the real possessor of a thing than 
with the temporary guardian of it. 

All voting is a sort of gaming, like chequers or back 
gammon, with a slight moral tinge to it, a playing with right 
and wrong, with moral questions ; and betting naturally 
accompanies it. The character of the voters is not staked. I 
cast my vote, perchance, as I think right ; but I am not vitally 
concerned that that right should prevail. I am willing to 
leave it to the majority. Its obligation, therefore, never 
exceeds that of expediency. Even voting for the right is 
doing nothing for it. It is only expressing to men feebly 
your desire that it should prevail. A wise man will not 
leave the right to the mercy of chance, nor wish it to prevail 
through the power of the majority. There is but little virtue 
in the action of masses of men. When the majority shall 
at length vote for the abolition of slavery, it will be because 
they are indifferent to slavery, or because there is but little sla 
very left to be abolished by their vote. They will then be 
the only slaves. Only his vote can hasten the abolition 
of slavery who asserts his own freedom by his vote. 

I hear of a convention to be held at Baltimore, or else 
where, for the selection of a candidate for the Presidency, 

Resistance to Civil Government. 195 

made up chiefly of editors, and men who are politicians by 
profession ; but I think, what is it to any independent, intelli 
gent, and respectable man what decision they may come to, 
shall we not have the advantage of his wisdom and honesty, 
nevertheless ? Can we not count upon some independent 
votes ? Are there not many individuals in the country who 
do not attend conventions ? But no : I find that the respec 
table man, so called, has immediately drifted from his posi 
tion, and despairs of his country, when his country has more 
reason to despair of him. He forthwith adopts one of the 
candidates thus selected as the only available one, thus 
proving that he is himself available for any purposes of the 
demagogue. His vote is of no more worth than that of any 
unprincipled foreigner or hireling native, who may have been 
bought. Oh for a man who is a man, and, as my neighbor 
says, has a bone in his back which you cannot pass your hand 
through ! Our statistics are at fault : the population has 
been returned too large. How many men are there to a 
square thousand miles in this country ? Hardly one. Does 
not America offer any inducement for men to settle here ? 
The American has dwindled into an Odd Fellow, one 
who may be known by the development of his organ of 
gregariousness, and a manifest lack of intellect and cheerful 
self-reliance ; whose first and chief concern, on coming into 
the world, is to see that the alms-houses are in good repair ; 
and, before yet he has lawfully donned the virile garb, to 
collect a fund for the support of the widows and orphans that 
may be ; who, in short, ventures to live only by the aid of 
the mutual insurance company, which has promised to bury 
him decently. 

It is not a man s duty, as a matter of course, to devote 
himself to the eradication of any, even the most enormous 
wrong ; he may still properly have other concerns to engage 
him ; but it is his duty, at least, to wash his hands of it, and, 
if he gives it no thought longer, not to give it practically his 
support. If I devote myself to other pursuits and contem 
plations, I must first see, at least, that I do not pursue them 
sitting upon another man s shoulders. I must get off him 
first, that he may pursue his contemplations too. See what 

196 Resistance to Civil Government. 

gross inconsistency is tolerated. I have heard some of my 
townsmen say, " I should like to have them order me out to 
help put down an insurrection of the slaves, or to march to 
Mexico, see if I would go;" and yet these very men 
have each, directly by their allegiance, and so indirectly, at 
least, by their money, furnished a substitute. The soldier 
is applauded who refuses to serve in an unjust war by those 
who do not refuse to sustain the unjust government which 
makes the Avar ; is applauded by those whose own act and 
authority he disregards and sets at nought ; as if the State 
were penitent to that degree that it hired one to scourge it 
while it sinned, but not to that degree that it left off sinning 
for a moment. Thus, under the name of order and civil 
government, we are all made at last to pay homage to and 
support our own meanness. After the first blush of sin, 
comes its indifference ; and from immoral it becomes, as it 
were, immoral, and not quite unnecessary to that life which 
we have made. 

The broadest and most prevalent error requires the most 
disinterested virtue to sustain it. The slight reproach to 
which the virtue of patriotism is commonly liable, the noble 
are most likely to incur. Those who, while they disapprove 
of the character and measures of a government, yield to it 
their allegiance and support, are undoubtedly its most con 
scientious supporters, and so frequently the most serious 
obstacles to reform. Some are petitioning the State to 
dissolve the Union, to disregard the requisitions of the Pre 
sident. Why do they not dissolve it themselves, the union 
between themselves and the State, and refuse to pay their 
quota into its treasury ? Do not they stand in the same 
relation to the State, that the State does to the Union ? And 
have not the same reasons prevented the State from resisting 
the Union, which have prevented them from resisting the 
State ? 

How can a man be satisfied to entertain an opinion merely, 
and enjoy it ? Is there any enjoyment in it, if his opinion is 
that he is aggrieved ? If you are cheated out of a single 
dollar by your neighbor, you do not rest satisfied with 
knowing that you are cheated, or with saying that you are 

Resistance to Civil Government. 197 

cheated, or even with petitioning him to pay you your due ; 
but you take effectual steps at once to obtain the full amount, 
and see that you are never cheated again. Action from 
principle, the perception and the performance of right, 
changes things and relations ; it is essentially revolutionary, 
and does not consist wholly with any thing which was. It 
not only divides states and churches, it divides families; 
aye, it divides the individual, separating the diabolical in 
him from the divine. 

Unjust laws exist : shall we be content to obey them, or 
shall we endeavor to amend them, and obey them until we 
have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once ? Men 
generally, under such a government as this, think that they 
ought to wait until they have persuaded the majority to alter 
them. They think that, if they should resist, the remedy 
would be worse than the evil. But it is the fault of the 
government itself that the remedy is worse than the evil. It 
makes it worse. Why is it not more apt to anticipate and 
provide for reform ? Why does it not cherish its wise 
minority ? Why does it cry and resist before it is hurt ? 
Why does it not encourage its citizens to be on the alert to 
point out its faults, and do better than it would have them ? 
Why does it always crucify Christ, and excommunicate 
Copernicus and Luther, and pronounce Washington and 
Franklin rebels ? 

One would think, that a deliberate and practical denial 
of its authority was the only offence never contemplated 
by government ; else, why has it not assigned its definite, its 
suitable and proportionate penalty ? If a man who has no 
property refuses but once to earn nine shillings for the State, 
he is put in prison for a period unlimited by any law that I 
know, and determined only by the discretion of those who 
placed him there ; but if he should steal ninety times nine 
shillings from the State, he is soon permitted to go at large 

If the injustice is part of the necessary friction of the 
machine of government, let it go, let it go : perchance it will 
wear smooth, certainly the machine will wear out. If the 
injustice has a spring, or a pulley, or a rope, or a crank, ex- 

198 Resistance to Civil Government. 

clusively for itself, then perhaps you may consider whether 
the remedy will not be worse than the evil ; but if it is of 
such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice 
to another, then, I say, break the law. Let your life be a 
counter friction to stop the machine. What I have to do is 
to see, at any rate, that I do not lend myself to the wrong 
which I condemn. 

As for adopting the \vays which the State has provided for 
remedying the evil, I know not of such ways. They take 
too much time, and a man s life will be gone. I have other 
affairs to attend to. I came into this world, not chiefly to 
make this a good place to live in, but to live in it, be it good 
or bad. A man has not every thing to do, but something ; 
and because be cannot do every thing, it is not necessary that 
he should do something wrong. It is not my business to 
be petitioning the governor or the legislature any more 
than it is theirs to petition me ; and, if they should not hear 
my petition, what should I do then ? But in this case the 
State has provided no way : its very Constitution is the evil. 
This may seem to be harsh and stubborn and unconciliatory ; 
but it is to treat with the utmost kindness and consideration 
the only spirit that can appreciate or deserves it. So is all 
change for the better, like birth and death which convulse 
the body. 

I do not hesitate to say, that those who call themselves 
abolitionists should at once effectually withdraw their support, 
both in person and property, from the government of Massa 
chusetts, and not wait till they constitute a majority of one y , 
before they suffer the right to prevail through them. I think 
that it is enough if they have God on their side, without 
waiting for that other one. Moreover, any man more right 
than his neighbors, constitutes a majority of one already. 

I meet this American government, or its representative the 
State government, directly, and face to face, once a year, no 
more, in the person of its tax-gatherer ; this is the only mode 
in which a man situated as I am necessarily meets it ; and it 
then says distinctly, Recognize me ; and the simplest, the most 
effectual, and, in the present posture of affairs, the indispen- 
sablest mode of treating with it on this head, of expressing 

Resistance to Civil Government. 199 

your little satisfaction with and love for it, is to deny it then. 
My civil neighbor, the tax-gatherer, is the very man I have to 
deal with, for it is, after all, with men and not with parch 
ment that I quarrel, and he has voluntarily chosen to 
be an agent of the government. How shall he ever know 
well what he is and does as an officer of the government, or 
as a man, until he is obliged to consider whether he shall treat 
me, his neighbor, for whom he has respect, as a neighbor 
and well-disposed man, or as a maniac and disturber of the 
peace, and see if he can get over this obstruction to his 
neighborliness without a ruder and more impetuous thought 
or speech corresponding with his action ? I know this well, 
that if one thousand, if one hundred, if ten men whom I 
could name, if ten honest men only, aye, if one HONEST 
man, in this State of Massachusetts, ceasing 1 to hold slaves, 
were actually to withdraw from this copartnership, and be 
locked up in the county jail therefor, it would be the abolition 
of slavery in America. For it matters not how small the 
beginning may seem to be : what is once well done is done 
for ever. But we love better to talk about it: that we 
say is our mission. Reform keeps many scores of news 
papers in its service, but not one man. If my esteemed 
neighbor, the State s ambassador, who will devote his days to 
the settlement of the question of human rights in the Council 
Chamber, instead of being threatened with the prisons of 
Carolina, were to sit down the prisoner of Massachusetts, 
that State which is so anxious to foist the sin of slavery upon 
her sister, though at present she can discover only an act 
of inhospitality to be the ground of a quarrel with her, the 
Legislature would not wholly waive the subject the following 

Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the 
true place for a just man is also a prison. The proper place 
to-day, the only place which Massachusetts has provided for 
her freer and less desponding spirits, is in her prisons, to be 
put out and locked out of the State by her own act, as they 
have already put themselves out by their principles. It is 
there that the fugitive slave, and the Mexican prisoner on pa 
role, and the Indian come to plead the wrongs of his race, 

200 Resistance to Civil Government. 

should find them ; on that separate, but more free and hono 
rable ground, where the State places those who are not with 
her but against her, the only house in a slave-state in 
which a free man can abide with honor. If any think that 
their influence would be lost there> and their voices no longer 
afflict the ear of the State, that they would not be as an 
enemy within its walls, they do not know by how much 
truth is stronger than error, nor how much more eloquently 
and effectively he can combat injustice who has experienced 
a little in his own person. Cast your whole vote, not a strip 
of paper merely, but your whole influence. A minority is 
powerless while it conforms to the majority ; it is not even a 
minority then ; but it is irresistible when it clogs by its whole 
weight. If the alternative is to keep all just men in prison, 
or give up war and slavery, the State will riot hesitate which 
to choose. If a thousand men were not to pay their tax-bills 
this year, that would not be a violent and bloody measure, as 
it would be to pay them, and enable the State to commit vio 
lence and shed innocent blood. This is, in fact, the defi 
nition of a peaceable revolution, if any such is possible. If 
the tax-gatherer, or any other public officer, asks me, as one 
has done, " But what shall I do ? " my answer is, " If you 
really wish to do any thing, resign your office." When the 
subject has refused allegiance, and the officer has resigned 
his office, then the revolution is accomplished. But even sup 
pose blood should flow. Is there not a sort of blood shed 
when the conscience is wounded ? Through this wound a 
man s real manhood and immortality flow out, and he bleeds 
to an everlasting death. I see this blood flowing now. 

I have contemplated the imprisonment of the offender, ra 
ther than the seizure of his goods, though both will serve 
the same purpose, because they who assert the purest right, 
and consequently are most dangerous to a corrupt State, com 
monly have not spent much time in accumulating property. 
To such the State renders comparatively small service, and 
a slight tax is wont to appear exorbitant, particularly if 
they are obliged to earn it by special labor with their hands. 
If there were one who lived wholly without the use of money, 
the State itself would hesitate to demand it of him. But the 

Resistance to Civil Government. 201 

rich man not to make any invidious comparison is al 
ways sold to the institution which makes him rich. Abso 
lutely speaking, the more money, the less virtue ; for money 
comes between a man and his objects, and obtains them for 
him ; and it was certainly no great virtue to obtain it. It 
puts to rest many questions which he would otherwise be 
taxed to answer ; while the only new question which it puts 
is the hard but superfluous one, how to spend it. Thus his 
moral ground is taken from under his feet. The opportuni 
ties of living are diminished in proportion as what are called 
the "means" are increased. The best thing a man can do 
for his culture when he is rich is to endeavour to carry out 
those schemes which he entertained when he was poor. 
Christ answered the Herodians according to their condition. 
" Show me the tribute-money," said he ; and one took a 
penny out of his pocket ; If you use money which has the 
image of Csesar on it, and which he has made current and 
valuable, that is, if you are men of the State, and gladly enjoy 
the advantages of Caesar s government, then pay him back 
some of his own when he demands it ; " Render therefore to 
Csesar that which is Caesar s, arid to God those things which 
are God s," leaving them no wiser than before as to which 
was which ; for they did not wish to know. 

When I converse with the freest of my neighbors, I per 
ceive that, whatever they may say about the magnitude and 
seriousness of the question, and their regard for the public 
tranquillity, the long arid the short of the matter is, that they 
cannot spare the protection of the existing government, and 
they dread the consequences of disobedience to it to their 
property and families. For my own part, I should not like 
to think that I ever rely on the protection of the State. But, 
if I deny the authority of the State when it presents its tax- 
bill, it will soon take and waste all my property, and so harass 
me and my children without end. This is hard. This makes 
it impossible for a man to live honestly and at the same time 
comfortably in outward respects. It will not be worth the 
while to accumulate property ; that would be sure to go again. 
You must hire or squat somewhere, and raise but a small 
crop, and eat that soon. You must live within yourself, 

202 Resistance to Civil Government. 

and depend upon yourself, always tucked up and ready 
for a start, and not have many affairs. A man may grow 
rich in Turkey even, if he will be in all respects a good 
subject of the Turkish government. Confucius said, "If 
a State is governed by the principles of reason, poverty and 
misery are subjects of shame ; if a State is not governed 
by the principles of reason, riches and honors are the subjects 
of shame." No : until I want the protection of Massachusetts 
to be extended to me in some distant southern port, where 
my liberty is endangered, or until I am bent solely on build 
ing up an estate at home by peaceful enterprise, I can afford 
to refuse allegiance to Massachusetts, and her right to my 
property and life. It costs me less in every sense to 
incur the penalty of disobedience to the State, than it would 
to obey. I should feel as if I were worth less in that 

Some years ago, the State met me in behalf of the church, 
and commanded me to pay a certain sum toward the support 
of a clergyman whose preaching my father attended, but 
never I myself. " Pay it," it said, " or be locked up in the 
jail." I declined to pay. But, unfortunately, another man 
saw fit to pay it. I did not see why the schoolmaster should 
be taxed to support the priest, and not the priest the school 
master ; for I was not the State s schoolmaster, but I sup 
ported myself by voluntary subscription. I did not see why 
the lyceum should not present its tax-bill, and have the State 
to back its demand, as well as the church. However, at the 
request of the selectmen, I condescended to make some such 
statement as this in writing : " Know all men by these pre 
sents, that I, Henry Thoreau, do not wish to be regarded as a 
member of any incorporated society which I have not joined." 
This I gave to the town-clerk ; and he has it. The State, 
having thus learned that I did not wish to be regarded as a 
member of that church, has never made a like demand on 
me since ; though it said that it must adhere to its original 
presumption that time. If I had known how to name them, 
I should then have signed off in detail from all the societies 
which I never signed on to ; but I did not know where to 
find a complete list. 

Resistance to Civil Government. 203 

I have paid no poll-tax for six years. I was put into 
a jail once on this account, for one night ; and, as I stood con 
sidering the walls of solid stone, two or three feet thick, the 
door of wood and iron, a foot thick, and the iron grating 
which strained the light, I could not help being struck 
with the foolishness of that institution which treated me as if 
I were mere flesh and blood and bones, to be locked up. I 
wondered that it should have concluded at length that this 
was the best use it could put me to, and had never thought 
to avail itself of my services in some way. I saw that, if 
there was a wall of stone between me and my townsmen, 
there was a still more difficult one to climb or break through, 
before they could get to be as free as I was. I did not for a 
moment feel confined, and the walls seemed a great waste of 
stone and mortar. I felt as if I alone of all my townsmen 
had paid my tax. They plainly did not know how to treat 
me, but behaved like persons who are underbred. In every 
threat and in every compliment there was a blunder ; for they 
thought that my chief desire was to stand the other side of 
that stone wall. I could not but smile to see how indus 
triously they locked the door on my meditations, which 
followed them out again without let or hinderance, and they 
were really all that was dangerous. As they could not reach 
me, they had resolved to punish my body; just as boys, if 
they cannot come at some person against whom they have a 
spite, will abuse his dog. I saw that the State was half 
witted, that it was timid as a lone woman with her silver 
spoons, and that it did not know its friends from its foes, and 
I lost all my remaining respect for it, and pitied it. 

Thus the State never intentionally confronts a man s 
sense, intellectual or moral, but only his body, his senses. 
It is not armed with superior wit or honesty, but with superior 
physical strength. I was not born to be forced. I will 
breathe after my own fashion. Let us see who is the strong 
est. What force has a multitude ? They only can force me 
who obey a higher law than I. They force me to become 
like themselves. I do not hear of men being forced to live 
this way or that by masses of men. What sort of life were 
that to live ? When I meet a government which says to me, 

204 Resistance to Civil Government. 

" Your money or your life," why should I be in haste to give 
it my money ? It may be in a great strait, and not know 
what to do: I cannot help that. It must help itself; do as 
I do. It is not worth the while to snivel about it. I am not 
responsible for the successful working of the machinery of 
society. I am not the son of the engineer. I perceive that, 
when an acorn and a chestnut fall side by side, the one does 
not remain inert to make way for the other, but both obey 
their own laws, and spring and grow and flourish as best 
they can, till one, perchance, overshadows and destroys the 
other. If a plant cannot live according to its nature, it dies ; 
and so a man. 

The night in prison was novel and interesting enough. The 
prisoners in their shirt-sleeves were enjoying a chat and the even 
ing air in the door- way, when I entered. But the jailer said, 
" Come, boys, it is time to lock up ; " and so they dispersed, and 
I heard the sound of their steps returning into the hollow apart 
ments. My room-mate was introduced to me by the jailer, as " a 
first-rate fellow and a clever man." When the door was locked, he 
showed me where to hang my hat, and how he managed matters 
there. The rooms were whitewashed once a month ; and this one, 
at least, was the whitest, most simply furnished, and probably the 
neatest apartment in the town. He naturally wanted to know 
where I came from, and what brought me there ; and, when I had 
told him, I asked him in my turn how he came there, presuming 
him to be an honest man, of course ; and, as the world goes, I 
believe he was. " Why," said he, " they accuse me of burning a 
barn ; but I never did it." As near as I could discover, he had 
probably gone to bed in a barn when drunk, and smoked his pipe 
there ; and so a barn was burnt. He had the reputation of being 
a clever man, had been there some three months waiting for his 
trial to come on, and would have to wait as much longer ; but he 
was quite domesticated and contented, since he got his board for 
nothing, and thought that he was well treated. 

He occupied one window, and I the other ; and I saw, that, if 
one stayed there long, his principal business would be to look out 
the window. I had soon read all the tracts that were left there, 
and examined where former prisoners had broken out, and where 
a grate had been sawed off, and heard the history of the various 

Resistance to Civil Government. 205 

occupants of that room ; for I found that even here there was a 
history and a gossip which never circulated beyond the walls of 
the jail. Probably this is the only house in the town where verses 
are composed, which are afterward printed in a circular form, but 
not published. I was shown quite a long list of verses which were 
composed by some young men who had been detected in an attempt 
to escape, who avenged themselves by singing them. 

I pumped my fellow-prisoner as dry as I could, for fear I should 
never see him again ; but at length he showed me which was my 
bed, and left me to blow out the lamp. 

It was like travelling into a far country, such as I had never 
expected to behold, to lie there for one night. It seemed to me 
that I never had heard the town-clock strike before, nor the even 
ing sounds of the village ; for we slept with the windows open, 
which were inside the grating. It was to see my native village in 
the light of the middle ages, and our Concord was turned into a 
Rhine stream, and visions of knights and castles passed before me. 
They were the voices of old burghers that I heard in the streets. 
I was an involuntary spectator and auditor of whatever was done 
and said in the kitchen of the adjacent village-inn, a wholly 
new and rare experience to me. It was a closer view of my native 
town. I was fairly inside of it. I never had seen its institutions 
before. This is one of its peculiar institutions ; for it is a shire 
town. I began to comprehend what its inhabitants were about. 

In the morning, our breakfasts were put through the hole in the 
door, in small oblong-square tin pans, made to fit, and holding a 
pint of chocolate, with brown bread, and an iron spoon. When they 
called for the vessels again, I was green enough to return what 
bread I had left ; but my comrade seized it, and said that I should 
lay that up for lunch or dinner. Soon after, he was let out to 
work at haying in a neighboring field, whither he went every day, 
and would not be back till noon ; so he bade me good-day, saying 
that he doubted if he should see me again. 

When I came out of prison, for some one interfered, and paid 
the tax, I did not perceive that great changes had taken place 
on the common, such as he observed who went in a youth, and 
emerged a tottering and gray-headed man ; and yet a change had 
to my eyes come over the scene, the town, and State, and country, 
greater than any that mere time could effect. I saw yet more 
distinctly the State in which I lived. I saw to what extent the 
people among whom I lived could be trusted as good neighbors and 

206 Resistance to Civil Government. 

friends ; that their friendship was for summer weather only ; that 
they did not greatly purpose to do right ; that they were a distinct 
race from me by their prejudices and superstitions, as the China 
men and Malays are ; that, in their sacrifices to humanity, they ran 
no risks, not even to their property ; that, after all, they were not 
so noble but they treated the thief as he had treated them, and 
hoped, by a certain outward observance and a few prayers, and by 
walking in a particular straight though useless path from time to 
time, to save their souls. This may be to judge my neighbors 
harshly ; for I believe that most of them are not aware that they 
have such an institution as the jail in their village. 

It was formerly the custom in our village, when a poor debtor 
came out of jail, for his acquaintances to salute him, looking 
through their fingers, which were crossed to represent the grating 
of a jail window, " How do ye do ? " My neighbors did not thus 
salute me, but first looked at me, and then at one another, as if I 
had returned from a long journey. I was put into jail as I was 
going to the shoemaker s to get a shoe which was mended. When 
I was let out the next morning, I proceeded to finish my errand, 
and, having put on my mended shoe, joined a huckleberry party, 
who were impatient to put themselves under my conduct ; and in 
half an hour, for the horse was soon tackled, was in the midst 
of a huckleberry field, on one of our highest hills, two miles off; 
and then the State was nowhere to be seen. 

This is the whole history of " My Prisons." 

I have never declined paying the highway tax, because I 
am as desirous of being a good neighbor as I am of being a 
bad subject; and, as for supporting schools, I am doing my 
part to educate my fellow-countrymen now. It is for no 
particular item in the tax-bill that I refuse to pay it. I simply 
wish to refuse allegiance to the State, to withdraw and stand 
aloof from it effectually. I do not care to trace the course 
of my dollar, if I could, till it buys a man, or a musket to 
shoot one with, the dollar is innocent, but I am con 
cerned to trace the effects of my allegiance. In fact, I 
quietly declare war with the State, after rny fashion, though 
I will still make what use and get what, advantage of her I 
can, as is usual in such cases. 

Resistance to Civil Government. 207 

If others pay the tax which is demanded of me, from a 
sympathy with the State, they do but what they have already 
done in their own case, or rather they abet injustice to a 
greater extent than the State requires. If they pay the tax 
from a mistaken interest in the individual taxed, to save his 
property or prevent his going to jail, it is because they have 
not considered wisely how far they let their private feelings 
interfere with the public good. 

This, then, is my position at present. But one cannot be 
too much on his guard in such a case, lest his action be 
biassed by obstinacy, or an undue regard for the opinions of 
men. Let him see that he does only what belongs to himself 
and to the hour. 

I think sometimes, Why, this people mean well ; they are 
only ignorant ; they would do better if they knew how : 
why give your neighbors this pain to treat you as they are 
not inclined to ? But I think, again, this is no reason why I 
should do as they do, or permit others to suffer much greater 
pain of a different kind. Again, I sometimes say to myself, 
When many millions of men, without heat, without ill-will, 
without personal feeling of any kind, demand of you a few 
shillings only, without the possibility, such is their constitu 
tion, of retracting or altering their present demand, and with 
out the possibility, on your side, of appeal to any other 
millions, why expose yourself to this overwhelming brute 
force ? You do not resist cold and hunger, the winds and 
the waves, thus obstinately ; you quietly submit to a thousand 
similar necessities. You do not put your head into the fire. 
But just in proportion as I regard this as not wholly a brute 
force, but partly a human force, and consider that I have 
relations to those millions as to so many millions of men, and 
not of mere brute or inanimate things, I see that appeal is 
possible, first and instantaneously, from them to the Maker of 
them, and, secondly, from them to themselves. But, if I 
put my head deliberately into the fire, there is no appeal to 
fire or to the Maker of fire, and I have only myself to blame. 
If I could convince myself that I have any right to be satisfied 
with men as they are, and to treat them accordingly, and not 
according, in some respects, to my requisitions and expec- 

208 Resistance to Civil Government. 

tations of what they and I ought to be, then, like a good 
Mussulman and fatalist, I should endeavor to be satisfied 
with things as they are, and say it is the will of God. And, 
above all, there is this difference between resisting this and a 
purely brute or natural force, that I can resist this with some 
effect ; but I cannot expect, like Orpheus, to change the 
nature of the rocks and trees and beasts. 

I do not wish to quarrel with any man or nation. I do 
not wish to split hairs, to make fine distinctions, or set myself 
up as better than my neighbors. I seek rather, I may say, 
even an excuse for conforming to the laws of the land. I 
am but too ready to conform to them. Indeed I have reason 
to suspect myself on this head ; and each year, as the tax- 
gatherer comes round, I find myself disposed to review the 
acts and position of the general and state governments, and 
the spirit of the people, to discover a pretext for conformity. 
I believe that the State will soon be able to take all my work 
of this sort out of my hands, and then I shall be no better a 
patriot than my fellow-countrymen. Seen from a lower 
point of view, the Constitution, with all its faults, is very 
good ; the law and the courts are very respectable ; even this 
State and this American government are, in many respects, 
very admirable and rare things, to be thankful for, such as a 
great many have described them ; but seen from a point of 
view a little higher, they are what I have described them ; 
seen from a higher still, and the highest, who shall say what 
they are, or that they are worth looking at or thinking of 
at all ? 

However, the government does not concern me much, and 
I shall bestow the fewest possible thoughts on it. It is 
not many moments that I live under a government, even in 
this world. If a man is thought-free, fancy-free, imagination- 
free, that which is not never for a long time appearing to be 
to him, unwise rulers or reformers cannot fatally interrupt 

I know that most men think differently from myself; but 
those whose lives are by profession devoted to the study of 
these or kindred subjects, content me as little as any. States 
men and legislators, standing so completely within the insti- 

Resistance to Civil Government. 209 

tution, never distinctly and nakedly behold it. They speak 
of moving society, but have no resting-place without it. 
They may be men of a certain experience and discrimination, 
and have no doubt invented ingenious and even useful sys 
tems, for which we sincerely thank them ; but all their wit 
and usefulness lie within certain not very wide limits. They 
are wont to forget that the world is not governed by policy 
and expediency. Webster never goes behind government, 
and so cannot speak with authority about it. His words 
are wisdom to those legislators who contemplate no essen 
tial reform in the existing government ; but for thinkers, and 
those who legislate for all time, he never once glances at the 
subject. I know of those whose serene and wise speculations 
on this theme would soon reveal the limits of his mind s range 
and hospitality. Yet, compared with the cheap professions of 
most reformers, and the still cheaper wisdom and eloquence 
of politicians in general, his are almost the only sensible and 
valuable Avords, and we thank Heaven for him. Compara 
tively, he is always strong, original, and, above all, practical. 
Still his quality is not wisdom, but prudence. The lawyer s 
truth is not Truth, but consistency, or a consistent expe 
diency. Truth is always in harmony with herself, and is 
not concerned chiefly to reveal the justice that may consist 
with wrong-doing. He well deserves to be called, as he has 
been called, the Defender of the Constitution. There are 
really no blows to be given by him but defensive ones. He 
is not a leader, but a follower. His leaders are the men of 
87. " I have never made an effort," he says, " and never 
propose to make an effort ; I have never countenanced an 
effort, and never mean to countenance an effort, to disturb 
the arrangement as originally made, by which the various 
States came into the Union." Still thinking of the sanction 
which the Constitution gives to slavery, he says, " Because 
it was a part of the original compact, let it stand." Not 
withstanding his special acuteness and ability, he is unable 
to take a fact out of its merely political relations, and behold 
it as it lies absolutely to be disposed of by the intellect, 
what, for instance, it behoves a man to do here in America 
to-day with regard to slavery, but ventures, or is driven, to 

210 Resistance to Civil Government. 

make some such desperate answer as the following, while 
professing to speak absolutely, and as a private man, from 
which what neiv and singular code of social duties might be 
inferred ? " The manner," says he, " in which the govern 
ment of those States where slavery exists are to regulate it, 
is for their own consideration, under their responsibility to 
their constituents, to the general laws of propriety, humanity, 
and justice, and to God. Associations formed elsewhere, 
springing from a feeling of humanity, or any other cause, 
have nothing whatever to do with it. They have never re 
ceived any encouragement from me, and they never will."* 

They who know of no purer sources of truth, who have 
traced up its stream no higher, stand, and wisely stand, by the 
Bible and the Constitution, and drink at it there with reve 
rence and humility ; but they who behold where it comes 
trickling into this lake or that pool, gird up their loins once 
more, and continue their pilgrimage toward its fountain-head. 

No man with a genius for legislation has appeared in 
America. They are rare in the history of the world. There 
are orators, politicians, and eloquent men, by the thousand ; 
but the speaker has not yet opened his mouth to speak, who is 
capable of settling the much-vexed questions of the day. We 
love eloquence for its own sake, and not for any truth which 
it may utter, or any heroism it may inspire. Our legislators 
have not yet learned the comparative value of free-trade and 
of freedom, of union, and of rectitude, to a nation. They 
have no genius or talent for comparatively humble questions 
of taxation and finance, commerce and manufactures and 
agriculture. If we were left solely to the w ordy wit of legis 
lators in Congress for our guidance, uncorrected by the 
seasonable experience and the effectual complaints of the 
people, America would not long retain her rank among the 
nations. For eighteen hundred years, though perchance I 
have no right to say it, the New Testament has been written ; 
yet where is the legislator who has wisdom and practical 
talent enough to avail himself of the light which it sheds on 
the science of legislation ? 

* These extracts have been inserted since the Lecture was read. 

Resistance to Civil Government. 211 

The authority of government, even such as I am Avilling 
to submit to, for I will cheerfully obey those who know and 
can do better than I, and in many things even those who 
neither know nor can do so well, is still an impure one : 
to be strictly just, it must have the sanction and consent of 
the governed. It can have no pure right over my person and 
property but what I concede to it. The progress from an 
absolute to a limited monarchy, from a limited monarchy to 
a democracy, is a progress toward a true respect for the 
individual. Is a democracy, such as we know it, the last 
improvement possible in government ? Is it not possible to 
take a step further towards recognizing and organizing the 
rights of man ? There will never be a really free and 
enlightened State, until the State comes to recognize the 
individual as a higher and independent power, from which 
all its own power and authority are derived, and treats him 
accordingly. I please myself with imagining a State at last 
which can afford to be just to all men, and to treat the 
individual with respect as a neighbor ; which even would 
not think it inconsistent with its own repose, if a few were to 
live aloof from it, not meddling with it, nor embraced by it, 
who fulfilled all the duties of neighbors and fellow-men. A 
State which bore this kind of fruit, and suffered it to drop off 
as fast as it ripened, would prepare the way for a still more 
perfect and glorious State, which also I have imagined, but 
not yet anywhere seen. 


O GOD ! who, in thy dear still heaven, 

Dost sit, and wait to see 
The errors, sufferings, and crimes 

Of our humanity, 
How deep must be thy Causal love ! 

How whole thy final Care ! 
Since Thou, who rulest over all, 

Canst see, and yet canst bear. 

212 Meditations of a Widow. 


I. AUGUST, 18. 

SPRINGTIME, it surely came, its roundelays ! 
Wherefore these full, rich notes and Summer tone ? 
I only knew it was thy Spring to Life, 
Above the life of seasons and decay, 
True Life, not knowing stint, nor blight, nor check, 
One everlasting growth in incorruption ! 

Now joyous SUMMER passeth in her wealth. 

She filleth clusters ; hangeth gold on boughs ; 

Prepare th the full sheaf, the luscious sweets, 

Gorgeous apparel ; dresses for lilies, 

And for daisies too ; soft hues for Even 

And for Morn ; Music, the livelong day ; 

And Fountains cool, to freshen all. 

I only know that heat and taint and toil 

Can never come to thee ! Thou st found thy wealth, 

Where thine affections reached, in thy mock-life ; 

Hast found that River (either side the Tree 

Whose leaves oh thou art rich ! unfolded to thee 

Fadeless), for the people, past and coming ; 

The fount of freshness, overflowing all : 

And thou hast learned the rich undying strain, 

Trumphant, glorious Alleluia ! 


AUTUMN, I know thee well, thy cool all-hail ! 
Thou introducest change : Beauty is pale : 
Those flashes but proclaim " passing away." 
Why art thou stern upon our lingering love ? 
Why dost deride and blow upon our joys? 
Why spend thyself to strew our seeming wealth, 
And give our very comforts to the wind ? 
Thine awful whisperings are of Grandeur come, 
And we must hear acclaim of Majesty, 
Till, half congealed with awe, we breathe " Amen ! 
Let Beauty die ; our homage is to Thee." 

Meditations of a Widow. 213 

All change is God ; immutably the same 
In form of Beauty and sublime display ; 
In most dread hours, His glory beameth out 
To light up glory in the human soul. 

Thou, thou hast passed all change of human life, 

And not again to thee shall Beauty die, 

Or Greatness in his robe of terror come. 

No devastation passeth o er those fields ; 

The fruits abide, and who partake abide 

Their high communings. Life and Death is not. 


WINTER, dread Undertaker, thou art come ! 
And how unique are thy official deeds ! 
The living and the dead, uncoffined, both 
Live in our meanest traversings concealed. 

The heralds of thy coming scattered truths ; 
And, gorgeously arrayed, they looked so gay, 
Admiring them, we lost the lesson quite. 

Then those Old Priests, with withered arms, stood up 

And read a service : requiems were pealed, 

And under-tones of death ; long deep-drawn sighs 

Passed o er the living at their tasks and plays. 

And what a burial ! Sexton nor grave 

The buried bound about, and palled all one 

And thou dost bury o er the safe-interred, 

As thou had st power to shut them deeper down 

Into the cold dark trophy-room of Death. 

As well might boast of hulls and husks and shells, 

And other old investments dropped by life, 

In passage up to higher, purer life. 

Oh ! there is Life so pure, commingles nought 

To satiate the greedy maw of Death ; 

All unincumbered, incorrupt, and free ! 

Those dear remains can feel no adverse power, 

The Life that laid them down is free from stain, 

And never shall put off its robe of light ! 



No man was ever deeply and intensely fired with a convic 
tion of a truth which he knew to be of vital importance to his 
fellow-men, that he did not bum to communicate it. And 
no man ever felt the full force of this desire of communica 
tion, who has not brooded at times over the fact of language, 
and its want of effectiveness ; while at the same time it has 
seemed to him, that the difficulty was not altogether in the 
vagueness and inexpressiveness of language itself; for that 
the words often unfolded a mysterious power of acting on his 
own mind, whenever it was raised to a certain pitch of exal 
tation, assuring him that, if they should find other minds 
equally in earnest, they would burn and breathe into them 


Dr. Bushneft could not have evinced so conclusively in any 
other way, that he was full of a truth it behoved other men 
to know, than- by falling upon Language itself, and calling 
his readers to consider its nature, introductory to the treat 
ment of a great subject.* But, though his general view is 
great, and many of his observations upon language are pro 
found, we take leave to say that he has stopped, in his 
analysis, short of a truth which might be unfolded, and has 
admitted to his investigation a boundary which does not ex 
ist. He has seen and said, that the Avorld which meets the 
senses has for its final cause to unfold the intelligence of man 
into consciousness, and to bring about that communion of the 
finite, with the infinite intelligence which is life. He has seen 
also, that men live within one another s sight and hearing, 
and in communion with each other, not only for lower ends, 
but ulteriorly for that higher end. In fine, he sees that all 
nature and human life have a representative, as their highest 
character, and that it is this Avhich it most behoves men to 

/ * See Introductory Essay to " God in Christ," published in Hartford, 
Conn, by Brown & Parsons, 1849. 

Language. 215 

Still more, he has seen that men are linguistic, as truly, 
naturally, inevitably, as that they are locomotive or intellec 
tual ; and therefore there is a priori reason to believe, that 
language is not arbitrary or accidental, but springs out of 
nature, with which it has vital connection. He says, that man 
is a speaking, as he is a seeing creature ; that the parable 
of God s bringing all creatures to Adam, to name, signifies, 
that men named things by a pre-established law connecting 
the mind and outward nature with each other. He even sees, 
that every word is, in the last analysis, the sign or vocal form 
of some material thing or action ; but Avhat is remarkable is, 
that while he sees all this, and farther sees that the applica 
tion of words to moral and religious subjects follows the, 
same laws of imagination that are exemplified in those sen 
tences which are called " figures of speech, " he does not 
seem to see that the same laws of imagination determined 
the elements of single words to their subjects, so that every 
word which is not an imitation of nature, like hum, buzz, 
boom, is, as it were, a poem ; in short, that there is some na 
tural and inevitable reason why every word should be what 
it is ; that there is a foregoing impossibility of lepus and 
lupus and vulpes and wolf and fox (fugax) to be tortoise 
or sloth, though words as different as hare and lepus may 
both signify the same animal, viewed according to different 
characteristics. He sees as much difference between sol and 
sun, and stella and astre, as between nubes and cloud ; and ends 
at last with a restatement of the old and superficial theory, that 
language is, after all, arbitrary, the creature of convention. 

But we have not introduced Dr. Bushnell s name to criti 
cize the shortcomings of his Essay, as philological science, 
since he does not profess to be an adept in it ; but because 
the justice he has done to the subject of language as a power 
acting and re-acting upon the mind, helping or hindering it in 
the investigation of truth, must awaken a sense of the impor 
tance of the subject, and affords a good opportunity to direct 
an intelligent attention to the philological essay, entitled the 
" Significance of the Alphabet." % 

* A pamphlet published in 1837, at 13, West-street, Boston, Mass. 

216 Language. 

When a great scientific discovery is made, and given forth 
to the world abstracted from its applications and a full deve 
lopment of its uses, it is apt to fall unobserved, and perhaps 
sleep for years. The world knows only of seeds that have 
sprouted. And yet, that a theory of language which, as 
an organic whole, and in some degree demonstrated as true, 
is certainly original, should have been passed over * so 
long, as at best but an ingenious and curious speculation, is 
somewhat strange. For, if it pretends to touch the heart of 
the matter, it must be either impertinently foolish, calling for 
animadversion and ridicule, or it is of serious import. The 
truth upon the subject has relations with every department 
of human knowledge and thought. 

For what is language ? It is the picture and vehicle of all 
that has been present to the mind of Humanity, stretching 
back beyond all histories and other literatures ; and its bear 
ings are incalculable upon the discovery and retention of 
truth, as well as upon the discipline and activity of the human 
mind which is in relation to it. The human mind is in rela 
tion to nature as the stone-cutter or the artist to the quarry ; 
and language is at once the representation and vehicle of all 
that has been quarried. 

" One man dies, and other men enter into the fruits of his 
labor." How ? Because these fruits are conserved, or ra 
ther live and move, in language. Language must therefore 
be a necessary product, and what it is, precisely because it 
could not be otherwise ; therefore within the multitude of 
languages, and beneath the confusion of tongues, there must 
be something of a universal character, Avhich gives meaning 
to the articulations of sound. This has seemed so probable, 
a priori , from the time of Socrates f to the present day, that 
again and again the idea has been broached, and sometimes 
a clue has seemed to be caught. But all experience seems 
at first sight to be against it. Dr. Bushnell brings forward 

* Since the present article has been in the hands of the printer, the atten 
tion of the writer has been called to two notices of this work, in the Jan 
uary and April numbers of the " North American Review," which are very 
important, and will doubtless lead to important consequences, 
t " Cratylus." 

Language. 217 

the argument drawn both from the existence of diverse lan 
guages and from the failure of all systems of etymology that 
have been broached, as if these were conclusive against it, 
and as a warning to future inquirers not to stumble on dark 
mountains. But always the discoveries of science seem 
impossible till they are made, and every erroneous path that 
is taken is called a conclusive experience. Let us not be 
discouraged. Euler, when announcing the formula of the 
principle of circular motion, said, " This is true, though all 
experience is against it." The mathematical student of the ce 
lestial motions understands this, however paradoxical it may 
sound. Language is another exponent of the same paradox. 
There is a universal truth with respect to language which 
contradicts those special facts of each language called idioms. 
And these exceptions also prove the rule. There is, in short, 
a view to be taken of this subject which reconciles the two 
opposite views which Dr. Bushnell speaks of, viz. the a priori 
probability of a universal language, and the a posteriori fact 
of a diversity of languages ; and this view will account for 
that strange power in the form of some words which he no 
tices, and for the pertinacity of being which characterizes 
these children of the air. 

The vast importance of nomenclature to natural science is 
exemplified in that of chemistry. This nomenclature is, in 
fact, the best instance of the invention of a language in modern 
scientific annals. There is a rational principle obvious. The 
new words explain themselves. A great deal of the time of 
students of all sciences is used up in settling the meaning 
of words, defining; that is, attempting to clear away by 
one set of words the confusion occasioned by the use of an 
other set, called scientific terms. Grammar and mathematics, 
for instance, are talked of in a mongrel of Latin and Greek 
words, whose laborious paraphrasing into equivalent English 
keeps off the mind, for a long time, from the real subject in 
hand. It is a commonly acknowledged drawback on all 
school-instruction, that the mind is employed about words, 
as counters, which prevents the faculties from being refreshed 
by those realities of nature intended to be signified by them. 
It is a common remark, that it is not until the learner has 

218 Language. 

left school, and come into relation with thing s, that his les 
sons are vivified, made to cultivate his mind, and stimulate 
his character. But the desired revolution in school-education 
would be accomplished, if words were looked at as transpa 
rent vases of realities of nature, and every department of 
science was treated in terms that, instead of hiding, revealed 
these realities clearly, as a picture reveals the objects of na 
tural history. And why is it not so ? The reason is, that 
the key to the meaning of language its secret is not in 
the common possession. 

Dr. Bushnell has seen, and verified to his mind in a suffi 
cient number of instances, that words which consist of several 
syllables elucidate complex ideas by the combination. He 
might have spoken of the word consider in English, made of 
con and sedeo. We consider a subject, when we sit down in 
cowpany with it. In German, the same act of the mind is 
expressed by ubcrlegen. The German lies over the subject 
of his consideration. To occur means to run (curro) to 
meet (ob} , and in England thoughts occur, and sometimes 
strike, while in Germany they/a// into people (einf alien}. It 
is curious enough to run through languages, and trace na 
tional characteristics evinced by words of this kind, that 
reveal operations of mind which are familiar or easily ex 
plained. But it is not necessary to stop here, as Dr. Bushnell 
has done. He says, p. 48 : 

" There is only a single class of intellectual words that can 
be said to have a perfectly determinate significance, viz. those 
which relate to what are called necessary ideas. They are 
such as time, space, cause, truth, right, arithmetical numbers, 
and geometrical figures. Here the names applied are settled 
into a perfectly determinate meaning, not by any peculiar 
virtue in them, but by reason of the absolute exactness of the 
ideas themselves. Time cannot be any thing more or less 
than time ; truth cannot, in its idea, be any thing different 
from truth ; the numbers suffer no ambiguity of count or 
measure ; a circle must be a circle, a square a square. As 
far as language, therefore, has to do with these, it is a per 
fectly exact algebra of thought, but no further." 
He, however, had already asked : 

Language. 219 

" What is the real and legitimate use of words, when 
applied to moral subjects ? for we cannot dispense with them, 
and it is uncomfortable to hold them in universal scepticism, 
as being only instruments of error." 

And this question follows a long disquisition, whose object 
is to show that "physical terms are never exact, being only \^/ 
names of genera." " Much less have we any terms in the 
spiritual department of language that are exact representatives 
of thought." He answers his own question, therefore, with this 
remark, of which he does not seem to follow out the whole 
value : 

" Words i are used as signs of thoughts to be expressed. 
They clo not literally convey, or pass over, a thought out of 
one mind into another, as we commonly speak of doing. 
They are only hints or images held up before the mind of 
another, to put him upon generating or reproducing the same 
thought, which he can do only as he has the same personal 
contents, or the generative power out of which to bring the 
thought required." Nay, we would add, he must also have 
the generative power of making the words so, and not other 
wise; that, whatever superficial difference they may have, 
yet, taken in some point of view, there is a certain identity of 
all words applied to the same thought. 

But Dr. Bushnell does not see this. He says : " Yet, in the 
languages radically distinct, we shall find that the sounds or 
names which stand for the same objects have generally no sim 
ilarity whatever ; whence it follows irresistibly, that nothing in 
the laws of voice or sound has determined the names adopted" 

This conclusion is drawn so irresistibly by means of the 
mistake that Dr. Bushnell, with many famous etymologists, 
has made, of conceiving " 110 similarity whatever " in words, 
except in their sound, i. e. their similarity of effect on the ear. 
It is very true, as he says, " No theory of sound, as connected 
with sense, in the names of things, will be found to hold ex 
tensively enough to give it any moment; " although, " when 
sounds are the objects named, they will very naturally be 
imitated, as in hoarse and hiss" 

But words should be considered not merely as sounds, but 
as articulations of sound. 

220 Language. 

The discovery and first principle of the author of the 
" Significance of the Alphabet" is, that words are to be 
considered, not merely or chiefly by their effect on the ear, 
but in the process of their formation by the organs of speech. 
Looked at in this point of view, words may be identified at 
once, although they may sound differently from each other, 
as garden and hortus and wirla and ogrod and zahrada. 
And this is the great idea in which lies a revolution not only 
for the treatment of philology itself, but for the method of 
intercommunicating the knowledge of all particular lan 
guages, and of elucidating all sciences communicable by 

Dr. Busbnell, having quoted Prof. Gibbs s theory of case, 
published in the " Christian Spectator," vol. ix. says, it is there 
shown that " as words themselves are found in space, so they 
are declined, or formed into grammar, under the relations of 
space ; " and infers " that such results in grammar do not 
take place apart from some inherent law or system pertain 
ing either to mind or to outward space, or to one as related 
to the other ; " arid adds that it Avill sometime be fully seen, 
that "the outer word is a vast menstruum of thought or 
intelligence. There is a logos in the forms of things, by 
\vhich they are prepared to serve as types or images of what, 
is inmost in our souls ; and there is a logos also of con 
struction in the relations of space, the position, qualities, 
connections, and predicates of things, by which they are 
formed into grammar. In one word, the outer world which 
envelopes our being is itself language, the power of all lan 
guage. < Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night 
showeth knowledge ; there is no speech nor language where 
their sound is not heard ; their line is gone out through all 
the earth, and their words to the end of the world. 

Let Dr. Bushnell add from Dr. Kraitsir s theory the other 
element, and see that there is a logos also in the apparatus of 
articulation ; and he will have, but not otherwise, demonstra 
ble ground for his next paragraph, which is eloquent with a 
suggestion, which, as he justly afterwards remarks, is " suffi 
cient of itself to change a man s intellectual capacities and 
destiny; for it sets him always in the presence of divine 

Language. 221 

i- * /? 

| thoughts and meanings, makes even the words he utters 

I/I luminous of Divinity, and, to the same extent, subjects of 
love and reverence. 7 

This is the passage we mean : 

" And if the outer world is the vast dictionary and gram 
mar of thought we speak of, then it is also an organ through 
out of intelligence. Whose intelligence ? By this question 
we are set directly confronting God, the universal Author ; 
no more to hunt for him by curious arguments and subtle 
deductions, if haply we may find Him ; but He stands 
EXPRESSED everywhere, so that, turn whichsoever way we 
please, we behold the outlooking of His intelligence. No 
series of Bridge water treatises, piled even to the moon, 
could give a proof of God so immediate, complete, and con 

It is not the purpose here to give an abstract of the little 
book, called the " Significance of the Alphabet." Indeed, it 
would be impossible. One peculiarity of it is, that it is so 
condensed it admits of no farther condensation. It rather 
needs a paraphrase, and it certainly ought to have a sequel 
of some practical elementary books which may make it 
possible to apply its principles for the purpose of transform 
ing the present system of language-teaching in schools. It 
is said the author is superintending the preparation of some. 
A whole series is necessary, from the a b c book to a manual 
of the Sanscrit. Indeed, from him might be expected the 
realization of that idea of a lexicon which Herder has 
sketched in his " Conversations on the Spirit of Hebrew 
Poetry." One of the interlocutors of the conversation asks, 
after having granted, with respect to the Hebrew, " the 
symbolism of the radical sounds, or the utterance of the 
feeling that was prompted, while the object itself was present 
to the senses ; the sound of the feelings in the very intuition of 
their causes : But how is it with the derivations from these 
radical terms ? What are they but an overgrown jungle of 
thorns, where no human foot has ever trod ? 


" In bad lexicons this is indeed the case, and many of the 
most learned philologists of Holland have rendered the way 

222 Language. 

still more difficult by their labors. But the time is coming 
when this jungle will become a pleasant grove of palms. 


" Your metaphor is Oriental. 


"So is the object of it. The root of the mother- word will 
stand in the centre, and around her the grove of her children. 
By influence of taste, diligence, sound sense, and the judi 
cious comparison of different dialects, lexicons will be brought 
to distinguish what is essential from what is accidental in 
the signification of words, and to trace the gradual process of 
transition ; while in the derivation of words, and the appli 
cation of metaphors, we shall behold the invention of the 
human mind in its act, and more fully understand the logic 
of ancient figurative language. I anticipate with joy the 
time, and the first lexicon, in which this shall be well accom 
plished. For the present I use the best we have. . . . - 

" It will be long yet before we shall repose ourselves 
in your palm-grove of Oriental lexicography. Pray, in 
the meantime, illustrate your ideas of derivation by an ex 


" You may find examples everywhere, even as the lexicons 
now are. Strike at the first radical form that occurs, as the 
primitive ; he is gone, and observe the easy gradation of its 
derivatives. A series of expressions signifying loss, disappear 
ance, and death, vain purposes, and fruitless toil and trouble, 
go on in soft transitions ; and, if you place yourself in the 
circumstances of the ancient herdsmen, in their wandering, 
unsettled mode of life, the most distant derivative will still 
give back in its tones something of the original sound of the 
word, and of the original feeling. It is from this cause that 
the language addresses itself so much to our senses, and the 
creations of its poetry become present to us with such stirring 
effect. The language abounds in roots of this character ; and 
our commentators, who rather go too deep than too super 
ficially, have shown enough of them. They never know 
when to quit, and, if possible, would lay bare all the roots 

Language. 223 

and fibres of every tree, even where one would wish to see 
only the flowers and fruits. 


" These are the black demons, I suppose, upon your plan 
tation of palms. 


" A very necessary and useful race. We must treat them 
with mildness ; for, if they do too much, they do it with a good 

In answer to some criticisms * that have been made upon 
the " Significance of the Alphabet," such as that it is a dark 
hint, rather than a full elucidation of the subject, the history of 
the book may be given. It was merely the enlargement by 
Dr. Kraitsir of some notes taken by a hearer of one or two 
lectures of a series which he delivered in Boston to an 
audience of about a score of persons ! This particular 
portion of the series, touching the true pronunciation of the 
Latin language, it was advised by the late John Pickering, 
should be put forth, to excite, if possible, a controversy that 
should be the means of introducing the whole subject to 
the public attention ; and he promised to further it in the 
periodicals of the day. But the day it was published was 
the very day when that eminent philologist, having finished 
correcting the last proof of his Greek dictionary, said, " This 
is the last printed page I shall read." The words were pro 
phetic : in a few days he was, in fact, no more. 

The book, however, is not so " dark a hint " as may be sup 
posed by those who have not studied it. Even the notes are 
treatises. The note on mathematical phraseology, and which 
involves the reference of the words line and circle to the true 
standard of meaning, not only serves " to elucidate the life- 
principle of philology, but of mathematical discipline." So 
the note upon grammatical terms, and the last note on the 
appropriation of words, are only " dark with excessive 
bright." In the notes, also, he has collected the authorities 
for the Latin pronunciation out of the ancient grammarians, 

* A misprint on the last line of the 17th page, of formation for pronun 
ciation^ obscures the meaning of one of its most important paragraphs. 

Vegetation about Salem. 

to whom Latin was vernacular. Yet doubtless the whole 
series of lectures was a much more adequate treatment of 
the subject ; and we will close this article, which is already 
a kind of pot-pourri, with an extract from a letter written by 
one of that small audience, and which vies well with the 
eloquent passage that Dr. Bushnell has quoted from Prof. 
Gibbs, in the 31st page of his essay : 

" Language, before apparently a mere ordinary vehicle, be 
came in his hands the chariot of Ezekiel, celestial equipage 
instinct with spirit, the fabric not behind the noble uses. 
His science is to all who have the boon of speech what ana 
tomy is to the painter. His descriptions of the structure and 
nature of vocal sounds charm like the explanations of Egyp 
tian hieroglyphics. Indeed, they display a scheme of more 
subtle symbolism, and one which, if in its own region less 
beautiful, is richer than music. 

" The common enjoyment of the study of languages, aris 
ing from their social character, their revelations of community 
of thought and sentiment, is greatly enhanced by Dr. Krait- 
sir s lively and penetrating methods. The identity of roots 
presented by him affects the imagination with a sense of the 
closest fraternity, and recalled to my mind with new force 
the words of an eloquent advocate for the study of languages, 
who, in dwelling upon the sympathies it stirred up, exclaimed 
with the prophet, Have we not all one Father ? hath not 
one God created us ? " 


THE vegetation of Salem is remarkably foreign. Two spe 
cies belonging to different families, and both of exotic origin, 
threaten to take complete possession of the soil. 

The first, the well-known wood- wax (Ginista tinctoria], 
is running rapidly over all the hills and dry pastures. This 
plant seems to occupy in this vicinity the place which the 
furze-bush occupies on the heaths and commons of England ; 
or it may resemble, in its manner of possessing the soil, the 

Vegetation about Salem. 225 

heather of the Highlands of Scotland. Not, indeed, in its 
appearance : in that particular it faintly resembles the yellow 
broom, the Spartium, so prettily celebrated by Mary Howitt 
in her juvenile sketches of natural history : 

" Oil the broom, the yellow broom ! 

The ancient poets sung it ; 
And dear it is on summer- day 
To lie at rest among it." 

The wood-wax, however, has found no favor in this vici 
nity. It is annually burned to the ground, in utter detesta 
tion ; yet, phoenix-like, it springs from its ashes ; and, by the 
height of summer, it laughs from the midst of its yellow 
flowers at all the efforts that have been made to destroy it. 
In England, this plant is useful in the arts ; it is employed 
with woad, the Isatis tinctoria, another plant, to give a green 
color to woollen cloth. The wood- wax affords a yellow dye, 
the woad a blue coloring matter ; and the admixture of the 
products of both plants produces a very fair green. The 
cheapness of indigo will always prevent the New England 
farmers from growing the Isatis for its blue color ; otherwise 
we might hope for a market for the wood-wax ; for, where 
the one is employed , the other becomes necessary. In former 
times, the Genista obtained some celebrity as a medical plant ; 
but, on this head, I suppose that we must conclude with the 
naturalist of Almondsbury, that the mild assuasives of our 
forefathers are unequal to contention with the abused consti 
tutions of these days. 

Second among obnoxious intruders stands the white- weed. 
This plant is as great a nuisance in our mowing ground as 
the wood-wax in our pastures. Some fields are so infested 
as to present at haying-time the appearance of a waving 
ocean of white blossoms. I am not aware of any remedy 
for the evil, save the application of a more vigorous agricul 

These foreigners seem to have chosen this vicinity as their 
favorite place of abode. There is a tradition, that they were 
introduced as garden ornaments, and that they have strayed 
away from the flower-border, and sought in the fields and 
pastures the wild liberty they so much love. It is somewhat 

226 Vegetation about Salwn. 

hazardous to impeach a popular tradition ; but it appears 
much more likely that they were brought over in some of the 
first grass-seed that came from England. Both plants are 
perennial, spreading rapidly from the root, and propagating 
with equal facility from the seed. These abundant powers 
of reproduction meeting with a genial soil and a loose hus 
bandry, it is no wonder that they should produce the effects 
so obvious in our neighborhood. The white-weed belongs 
to that class of plants whose seeds are often furnished with 
feathery appendages, like the dandelion, thistle, and many 
others ; a race of wanderers that traverse the earth with as 
tonishing rapidity. 

Next to the wood-wax and white-weed, the knap-weed 
( Centaurea nigra) deserves attention. This plant, of recent 
introduction from Europe, is making rapid advances in our 
neighborhood. It should be pointed out to our farmers, who 
ought by all means to resist its invasion. It is a most villan- 
ous weed, utterly unfit for fodder, whether green or dry. It 
is sometimes called the thistle without thorns ; but it will 
prove a thorn in the sides of some of our husbandmen, diffi 
cult of expulsion, if it is suffered to continue its advances. 
It. propagates by creeping roots and feathery seeds, much 
after the manner of the white-weed. 

Of all the plants that threaten the agriculturalist, perhaps 
none is more formidable than the Canada thistle ( Cnicus or- 
vensis) , which has probably reached us from the great West 
ern prairies. This plant is known to every one : it forms 
extensive beds by the road-sides, and frequently in the pas 
tures. The hard, gravelly soil of this vicinity is not very fa 
vorable to its growth. It loves a rich loam, through which it 
can send its runners with ease and facility. Mr. Curtis, an 
English gentleman, in order to test the astonishing powers of 
reproduction possessed by this plant, deposited about two 
inches of a root in his garden. In the course of one summer, 
it had thrown out, under ground, runners on every side : 
some of these runners were eight feet long ; and some of 
them had thrown up leaves eight feet from the original root. 
The whole together, when taken up and washed) weighed 
four pounds. In the spring following, it made its appearance, 

Vegetation about Salem. 227 

on or about where the small piece was originally planted. 
There were between fifty and sixty young plants which must 
have eluded the gardener s search, though he was particularly 
careful in extracting them. From these facts it may be readily 
conceived how difficult it is to extirpate this weed, when once 
it has taken possession of the soil. 

Among our introduced plants, there are some that love to 
follow the footsteps of civilized man, and whose chosen loca 
lity is always around his dwelling. Among the most pro 
minent of these, are the common shepherd s purse ( Thlaspi 
Bursa pastor is) ; the chickweed of our gardens (Stellar la 
media) ; the knot-grass (Polygonum aviculare), that fringes 
every foot-path, and seems to grow the more for being trod 
den upon; the plantain (Plantago major], that is always 
found in city, town, or village, whether on the banks of the 
Ganges, the Thames, or the Missouri. It is said that the In 
dians of New England used to call this plant " Englishman s 
foot," because it always sprung up in the footsteps of the 
first settlers. 

There is a beautiful little bluebell found between Danvers 
and Salem, the Campanula glomerata, brought, very likely, 
from the chalk hills of England, where it grows abundantly. 
It is now fairly naturalized, and appears to be as innocent as 
it is beautiful. It is yearly extending the bounds of its loca 
lity, though at present, I believe, it is riot found in any other 
spot in the United States. It is a flower well Avorthy of cul 
tivation, requiring a dry soil, approaching as much as possible 
the character of the Alpine region, of which it is a native. 

In the vicinity of this city, the English white-thorn, the 
hawthorn of the poets, of which so much has been written, is 
slowly naturalizing itself. It is certainly a useful shrub, 
forming beautiful fences, and contributing much to the gar 
den-like appearance of England. To the English it may 
well counterbalance the myrtle of more genial climes. To 
the people of this section of the United States, it can never 
become of much importance. Here there is abundance of 
stone ; and, while such an indestructible material can be 
found, live fences ought not to be adopted. A live fence 
has certainly a tendency to beautify the scenery, and to give 

228 Vegetation about Salem. 

a garden-like aspect to the land it encloses ; but it cannot 
compare in point of utility with a firm stone wall. When a 
hedge becomes gapped, it requires years to repair it ; but, if 
a stone wall falls down, it is very soon replaced. Live fences, 
however, may be used to advantage where stone is not to be 
found. Sometimes they may be introduced as ornaments, 
with very good effect. 

There is a native shrub, abundant in this vicinity, most 
admirably adapted for fences, the common cockspur-thorn 
(Cratocgus Crus galli}. In all the essentials of a fencing 
shrub it fully equals the English hawthorn, to which, indeed, 
it is closely allied. The spines of this shrub are more than 
an inch long ; so that a hedge formed of it would present an 
almost impregnable barrier, bidding defiance to all intruders, 
whether biped or quadruped. Several plants of this shrub 
have been suffered to stand near the entrance of the Forest- 
river road, till they have assumed the size of trees. In the 
spring, they are covered with a profusion of white blossoms ; 
and, in the fall, their rich scarlet fruit never fails to attract at 
tention. In these particulars, this shrub strikingly resembles 
its English congener. Indeed, the points of resemblance are 
so many and so striking that it ought to be called the Ameri 
can hawthorn. Like the English haw, its fruit requires two 
years to vegetate. 

The barberry, so very abundant in our vicinity, is sup 
posed to be an introduced shrub. It corresponds exactly 
with the Herberts vulgaris of Europe. It has only a limited 
locality on the seaboard of New England, and is riot found 
anywhere else on this continent. The vigor of its growth is 
especially note-worthy. It rises by the way-side ; it grows in 
the chinks and crevices of the rocks ; it spreads over neglected 
pastures, and looks around with a saucy confidence that seems 
to say, " All the world was made for barberry bushes." 

It is doubtless the design of nature, that plants should be 
colonized ; that there should be a change of localities ; that, 
when any part of the earth is rendered unfit for producing 
one race of plants, it shall be furnished with seeds of another. 
The husbandman does but imitate this process of nature, 
when he pursues what is called a rotation of crops. Various 

Vegetation about Salem. 229 

are the expedients to which nature resorts to produce this 
end. The seeds of lofty trees are often furnished with wings ; 
and, by the aid of the autumnal winds, they are borne to a 
great distance. Sometimes birds are employed as the car 
riers of seeds ; and they transport them with amazing rapi 
dity. Nuttall tells us that " pigeons killed near the city of 
New York have been found with their crops full of rice col 
lected in the plantations of Georgia or Carolina." The para 
sitical misletoe, the once-sacred emblem of the Druids, bears 
a small white berry of an extremely viscid pulp. The birds, 
who are fond of this fruit, are apt to encumber their bills with 
the glutinous substance ; and, to clean them, they rub them 
upon the branches of trees where they happen to alight, thus 
depositing the seeds in the very place where nature intended 
they should grow. 

It is perhaps proper to observe, that the misletoe is a para 
sitical plant that grows in Europe and the Southern States. 
It attaches itself to the oak, the apple, the maple, the ash, 
indeed, to most deciduous trees, and grows upon them, a 
suspended bush of evergreen, altogether unique in its ap 
pearance. It sustains itself by drinking the sap of its sup 

The oak, the walnut, the chestnut, and some other trees, 
produce ponderous seeds, too large for distribution by the 
feathered tribes. But a kind and watchful Providence has not 
been unmindful of their dispersion and deposition in spots 
favorable to their future growth. These trees are the favorite 
haunts of the squirrel; and to his charge is committed the 
planting of future forests of these varieties ; among whose 
branches his own race may build their soft abodes, lick the 
morning dew, and pursue their innocent gambols, and finally 
provide for man a rich material for his industry and enter 

As a gentleman was one day walking in the woods, his 
attention was diverted by a squirrel, which sat very com 
posedly on the ground. He stopped to observe his motions ; 
in a few minutes the squirrel darted to the top of a noble 
oak, beneath which he was sitting. In an instant he was 
down with an acorn in his mouth ; and, after finding a soft 

230 Vegetation about Salem. 

spot, he quickly dug a small hole, deposited his charge, the 
germ of a future oak, covered it up, and then darted up the 
tree again. In a moment he was down with another, which 
he buried in the same manner ; and thus he continued to 
labor as long as the observer thought proper to watch him. 

The instinct of the little animal may be directed to a pro 
vision for his future wants ; but the Giver of all good has 
endowed him with such an active and untiring industry, that 
he does more than supply all these ; and the surplus rises 
to adorn the earth, and proclaim the wondrous works of 
Him who is perfect in knowledge. 

The capsules of some plants burst with a spring, and the 
seeds are scattered broadcast by the impulse. The garden 
balsam, and all the violet race, are examples of this mode. 

It is well known how the burdock and the burr marygold 
(Bidens frondosa) hook themselves by a mechanical con 
trivance to the clothes of persons and the coats of animals, 
illustrating in the most familiar manner the economy of 
nature in the dispersion of seeds. 

But, after all, man is the great agent in promoting vege 
table migration. It is by his agency that the most precious 
seeds are borne across the wide ocean. He carries them in 
all his wanderings among his richest treasures ; while others 
follow his course, whether he will or not, mingling with his 
rarer seeds, or adhering unseen to his household stuff. The 
animal fleabane (Erigeron Canadense) was sent from Canada 
to France, in bales of fur, and from thence, by natural propa 
gation, into all the countries of Europe. The tree primrose 
((Enothera biennis), so common in our own vicinity, was 
first naturalized in the neighborhood of Liverpool, and from 
thence distributed by its own spontaneous effort all over the 
civilized world. 

It is by the agency of man that the lofty forests are levelled 
to the ground, and the bosom of the earth laid bare for the 
reception of a new race of plants. Our own vicinity is a 
remarkable exemplification of the fact. All around us we 
see trees, shrubs, and herbacious plants, that once were 
strangers to the soil. A change is still sweeping over the 
face of nature. The noble race of forest-trees, and the beau- 

Vegetation about Salem. 231 

tiful tribe of wild-wood flowers that nestle at their feet, and 
find shelter and shade beneath their boughs, are fast fading 
away. A few blows of the woodman s axe, and the tree 
whose branches have braved a hundred winters lies prostrate 
with the ground. 

The time is not distant when public attention must be 
drawn to the planting of forest-trees in this country. Timber 
is growing scarce, while the arts and manufactures, which 
have taken such deep root among us, are calling for a more 
enlarged supply. Timber has now to be brought from afar, 
at an annually increasing expense ; while large tracts of land 
are approaching a state of barrenness, by being laid bare to 
the searching influence of the sun and wind. We have 
destroyed our forests with recklessness, and posterity must feel 
the consequences ! Indeed, our bleak pastures and bare hills 
begin to reproach us for not making some effort to shelter the 
one, and clothe the other. 

The mechanics have a deep interest in this matter. How 
often does the profitable prosecution of a certain branch of 
business depend upon the abundance and cheapness of its 
staple material ! Has the ship-builder no interest in the 
growth of our pasture oaks ? Is the wheelwright insensible 
to the advantages of an abundant supply of ash and elm ? 
When we see huge loads of barrels entering our cities, when 
we see high piles of chairs and other manufactures of wood 
coming from far back in the country, and, above all, when 
we observe our merchants building their ships on the banks 
of distant rivers, do not these things proclaim the growing 
scarcity of timber around us ? 

Societies of Natural History could not render a greater 
public service than that of ascertaining the comparative value 
of the different species of timber-trees suitable for this climate. 
In this pursuit they may be materially aided by intelligent 
and enterprising mariners. These ought to be requested to 
collect, in their voyages and travels, the seeds of all such 
forest-trees as are likely to grow in this latitude. Evelyn, 
who spent his life in an effort to enrich his native England 
by plantations, says, " I would encourage all imaginable 
industry in those that travel foreign countries, and especially 

232 Vegetation about Salem. 

gentlemen who have concerns in our American settlements, 
to promote the culture of such plants and shrubs and trees, 
especially timber, as may yet add to those we find already 
agreeable to our climate." We all know with what patience, 
pains, and expense, the modern nations of Europe have 
searched the most distant climes for valuable vegetable pro 

We have noticed the astonishing exuberance with which 
our naturalized vegetation appears to flourish. It is a fact 
that ought to be regarded, and we may perhaps deduce from 
it an important lesson. It seems to point to a change of seed, 
to show that new seeds and a fresh soil are important con 
ditions in vegetable economy. Perhaps we ought to take 
the hint from nature, and look beyond the old forest stocks of 
the neighborhood for timber-trees of a rapid and vigorous 
growth. I would not disparage the goodly race of trees that 
once adorned the county of Essex. I fear that we shall 
never look upon their like again. But it is doubtful whether 
they would take to the soil in the form of artificial plantations 
as kindly as some varieties brought from a distance. Every 
one knows that a new orchard cannot be raised on the site 
of an old one ; and it is equally well known, that, when a 
forest of hard- wood trees is cut down, there the pines and 
softer woods succeed a spontaneous growth. The locust 
is here attacked by an insect, and is fast declining in our 
neighborhood, and I believe all along the Atlantic shore ; 
while it is now appearing in its pristine vigor, a naturalized 
tree, in all the South of France. Michaux says that it is likely 
to become abundant in Europe, where it is a stranger, and 
scarce in America, its native clime. 

A rotation of crops is as needful for forest-trees as for the 
more humble agricultural productions. 

Where are the forests of Lebanon, into which Solomon sent 
his fourscore thousand hewers of wood ? Dwindled at last 
to some half a dozen cedars, as if the earth was tired of pro 
ducing, for so long a period, the same race of plants. 

The larch plantations of Scotland are a striking example 
of the importance of a change of seed. 

In the year 1738, a Scottish gentleman was seen wending 

Vegetation about Salem. 233 

his way from the British metropolis to his paternal estate at 
Glenlyon, in Perthshire. He travelled on horseback, after 
the fashion of the times, with his servant well mounted, and 
bearing his portmanteau behind him. On the top of the 
portmanteau was lashed one of the richest treasures for Scot 
land that ever passed the Tweed. It was a few foreign 
larch-trees, the Larix communis, or common white larch of 
Germany. These few trees this public-spirited individual 
generously distributed on his route to those persons in Scot 
land who would give them that care and trial which it was 
desirable they should receive. The course of a few years 
soon began to demonstrate their superiority over the old 
Scotch pine. Growing side by side, these vigorous strangers 
soon over-topped and looked down upon the aborigines of 
the soil. The difference in favor of the German larch was 
found to be immense. " It bears," says Sang, a celebrated 
forest manager, " the ascendency over the Scotch pine in the 
following important circumstances : It brings double the 
price per foot, and arrives at a timber size in a half or a third 
part of the time. The timber of the larch at thirty or forty 
years is equal in quantity, and vastly superior in quality, to 
the Scotch pine of a hundred years. A larch-tree of fifty 
years growth has been sold for twelve guineas, while a 
Scotch pine of the same age, and from the same soil, has not 
brought more than fifteen shillings." 

Towards the close of the last century, when the arts, com 
merce, and manufactures, began to rise in Scotland, her 
nobles soon learned to calculate the value of an abundant 
supply of useful timber. Happily the experiment had been 
tried, and the species of timber-trees best suited to the climate 
and soil of Scotland was already known. In the year 1796, 
more than five millions of larch-trees were raised by one 
nurseryman in Edinburgh. The Duke of Athol planted 
two hundred thousand every year for a number of years, and 
on one occasion he set out more than a million within the 
year. Nor was it merely planting. In the year 1820, this 
patriotic nobleman had the satisfaction of seeing a thirty-six 
gun frigate launched, built entirely of larch timber of his own 
raising. Throughout the British Isles, the larch has been 

234 Vegetation about Salem. 

planted by thousands and millions ; and, what is very extra 
ordinary, the most barren land is converted into fine pasturage 
by the process. The larch succeeds best on poor land, while 
the annual fall of its leaves soon gives rise to a fine natural 
grass that is highly valuable for grazing. Land has been 
let at a yearly rent of from ten shillings to three pounds the 
acre, that, before the planting of the larch, was not worth so 
many pence. It is calculated that in the next age the High 
lands of Scotland alone will be able to furnish the whole com 
merce of Britain with timber for its shipping. The spirit for 
planting continues to the present time. In 1820, the London 
Society for the Promotion of the Arts presented a gold 
medal to one individual, for planting nearly two millions of 
forest-trees, one half of which were larch. Most assuredly, 
those individuals who have thus enriched their country deserve 
w r ell of posterity. 

The celebrated Coke, of Norfolk, has been a successful 
planter of forest-trees. It is said that, soon after this gentle 
man came into possession of his estate, the lease of a certain 
parcel of land expired. This land (eleven thousand acres) 
had been let at a yearly rent of three shillings per acre ; but 
this the lessee thought too much, and offered only two shil 
lings ; to which Coke replied, " No, I will sooner turn it into a 
hunting-ground ; " and he immediately set to planting it with 
oak, larch, and the Spanish chestnut. In a few years, the 
annual thinnings alone yielded him more than the former 
rental. At the time of his marriage, this magnificent wood- 
lot was valued at 220,000. 

The planting of trees is by no means such a hopeless or 
heartless affair as some people imagine. A short time since, 
I called upon an aged gentleman* of this county, and was 
politely invited to see his trees. As we passed beneath a 
noble range of plane-trees, whose bending boughs seemed to 
do homage to their planter, my friend informed me that 
the trees I was then admiring, some of which were sixty or 
seventy feet high, and five or six feet in circumference, were 
a fine seed between his thumb and finger, after he was five 

* Dr. Kilham, of Wenham. 

Vegetation about Salem. 235 

and forty years of age. When I alluded to his public spirit 
and disinterested benevolence, he replied in a tone of mingled 
satisfaction and regret, " I now wish that I had planted a 
hundred trees where I only planted one." 

There is reason to believe, that the late Timothy Pickering 
held the larch-tree in high estimation, and thought of it as a 
suitable tree for covering the bare hills of his native county. 
At any rate, he was among the first to give it a trial. Some 
thing like five and twenty years ago, he imported two hun 
dred of these trees. They now form the ornament of his 
late estate at Wenham. I have known them for more than 
eighteen years ; and, during that period, they have exhibited 
a growth of great promise. Their seeds ripen kindly in this 
climate, and a second generation of spontaneous growth has 
arisen from these imported trees. We may now reckon this 
valuable timber-tree among the naturalized products of New 

If the individual who plants a common tree deserves the 
thanks of posterity, how much larger is the debt of gratitude 
due to him who introduces and blesses his country with a 
new and useful race of trees ! 

Those who visit Wenham in the middle of the summer, 
and behold the original range of larch-trees, cannot fail to 
be struck with their appearance. Their light foliage and fine 
pyramidal forms, differing materially from the pines around 
us, suggest at once their exotic origin ; while the richly orna 
mental and tasteful manner in which they are disposed, tells 
at once that their planter was no ordinary individual. 

There is something peculiarly affectionate and grateful in 
associating the remembrance of a great man with some parti 
cular tree. Who has not heard of Pope s willow, or of the 
mulberry that Shakspeare planted ? and who could have 
stood beneath the shade of the one, or have gazed upon the 
other, with ordinary emotion ? Something of this reverence 
will be felt by those who ride by the larches of a Pickering s 
planting ; and time will not diminish the interest. I do not 
wish to be understood as particularly recommending the 
German larch, though I think it highly worthy of a trial on 
poor land. Nothing but experiment can determine the trees 

236 Vegetation about Salem. 

best suited to this climate, if indeed any can be found superior 
to the old stocks. It is time that attention was awakened to 
the subject ; for who can calculate the advantages of an 
abundant supply of useful timber to a commercial and 
manufacturing people ? 

We possess one tree, among many that are richly orna 
mental, of surpassing beauty. I allude to our common elrn 
( Ulmus Americana]. The grace, the beauty, the magnificence 
of this tree is only to be exceeded by the princely palm. 
Planted in rows along the streets, it is the pride of our towns, 
suggesting to the mind a far better idea of ease and comfort, 
than it could derive from the most exquisite statuary. 

In Danvers, a little on this side of Aborn-street, in a barn 
yard on the land of the late Benjamin Putman, stands an elm 
of great beauty. A finer specimen of the elm, a more per 
fect tree, is seldom seen. Such is the vigor, the healthiness, 
and unshorn symmetry of its form, that it appears not yet to 
have arrived at maturity. There is a remarkable boldness 
in the manner in which the numerous branches spring from 
the parent stem, and form its fine symmetrical head. Dur 
ing a ride of six or seven hundred miles along the turnpike 
roads of England, the summer before last, I carried this tree 
in the eye of rny mind as a standard ; and truly in all that 
long ride I could not find one that appeared so perfect. 

The Boston elm is a larger tree ; but it is braced and 
bolted with bars of iron, and the mind is pained with the 
symptoms of approaching decay. To the lone farm-house 
or the detached villa, the elm is a most graceful appendage. 
I hope, however, I shall be forgiven if I say a word on the 
manner in which it is sometimes planted. It is too common 
to plant trees, while young, close before the dwelling, so that 
in a few years they totally obscure the building they were 
designed to ornament. Trees should be planted so as to 
flank the building, if it be a detached cottage or villa : in 
this position they will usually furnish sufficient shade, without 
obscuring the view, either from within or without the dwell 

This climate does not possess an evergreen ivy ; but our 
common creeper ( Vitis hederacea) is a most excellent substi- 

Vegetation about Salem. 237 

tute. In many respects it surpasses the ivy of Europe. Be 
ing deciduous, it never becomes a gathering-place for snow 
in winter, or dampness in spring. I am surprised that it 
does not Avork its way into favor. The ivy has always been 
a favorite. It was held in reverence by the ancients ; and in 
the elder world it is associated with all that is venerable. It 
mantles the lonely abbey ruin, and creeps over the moulder 
ing remains of feudal power. I think our creeper would be 
more generally admired, were we more discriminating in the 
use of it. It is very often trained against a newly painted 
vestibule of much architectural spruceness ; and it soon be 
gins to obscure those embellishments that cost the owner no 
small sum, and then down comes the creeper in disgrace. 
Its proper place is to cover up the blank side of an out-house, 
or to give grace to some rustic wall or fence. Perhaps I 
shall better convey my idea of its use by observing that the 
ivy or creeper would be a beautiful ornament to the Gothic 
style of the Episcopal Church of Salem. The wild beauty 
of its pendant laterals would be in correct keeping with the 
Gothic arch, and add much to the remarkable appearance of 
the building. But, on the other hand, it would be altogether 
out of place to allow it to creep over, and mar, the delicate 
proportions, and obscure the fine architecture, of the South 

The indigenous vegetation of our immediate vicinity does 
not, indeed, present a landscape of the most luxuriant growth. 
We cannot boast the palm, the lemon, the orange, the clove, 
and the cinnamon-tree. But, if the eye is not allowed to be 
hold a perpetual spring, it is permitted, during our fleeting 
summers, to enjoy a beautiful variety of flowers, that spring 
up in rapid succession, and pass like a shifting scene before 
it; filling the heart with joy and gladness, and the imagina 
tion with a thousand forms of grace and beauty, on which it 
may love to linger when the charming reality has passed 
away. From the time that the little Draba opens its tiny pe 
tals to cheer us with the hope of returning spring, till the last 
flower of the summer, the blue-eyed gentian, weeps over the 
departed year, it is one succession of bright hues and beau 
tiful forms. At least, it is so to all who have eyes to behold, 

Vegetation about Salem. 

and souls to enjoy, the pure pleasures that flow from a con 
templation of the works of God in creation. 

How beautiful is all nature in the springtime of flowers ! 
How lovely are the woods when the young leaves are ex 
panding, when the first green garniture of summer is burst 
ing into existence ! The lowly hepatica opens its gemlike 
flowers at the foot of some lofty tree, eager to greet the first 
ray of summer-like sunshine that visits the earth. The tinted 
petals of the anemone quiver in the breeze, as the winds of 
the spring pass by. The early thalictrum exhibits its singular, 
flower-like tassels of purple and yellow. The delicate cory- 
dalis blooms on the bare rock ; and the stranger who beholds 
it for the first time wonders that a flower of so much beauty 
should be bom to " blush unseen." Who can tread the 
green carpet of the earth, in the spring of the year, and not 
feel delighted at the first appearance of the modest houstonia, 
peeping out from among the young grass, and seeming, as 
an eminent naturalist beautifully expresses it, "like handfuls 
of the pale scattered flowers of the lilac, which had come too 
early to maturity"? The "wee, modest, crimson-tipped 
flower," the mountain daisy, which the poet Burns buried 
with his ploughshare, and then sung its requiem in never- 
dying rhyme, was not more worthy of a poet s effort than 
this graceful harbinger of a New England summer. 

A love of flowers has always ranked among the refined 
pleasures of a polished people. " Let us crown ourselves 
with rosebuds before they be withered ; let no flower of the 
spring pass by us," were the words of the royal sage, in 
the days of Israel s glory, when the sons of Jacob sat every 
man beneath his own vine and fig-tree, when the roses 
of Sharon bloomed in the palaces of Jerusalem, and the 
daughters of Judah gathered lilies by the waters of Kedron, 
to scatter them in the courts of the Temple. No sooner 
had the warlike Roman conquered and incorporated the sur 
rounding states, and made Rome the mistress of all Italy, 
than the villas of the Roman citizens studded the whole coun 
try, from the Straits of Messina to the mountains that formed 
her northern barrier. It was to embellish these, that the 
fruits and the flowers of the East were gathered by the Ro- 

Vegetation about Salem. 239 

man soldiers, in their martial expeditions, and poured into 
the lap of Italy. Nor is the savage insensible to the charms 
of nature. We are told that an Otaheitean was once taken 
to Paris, and shown all the splendors of that gay metropolis ; 
but his heart yearned for the simple beauties of his own na 
tive isle. On being taken to the Garden of Plants, the unex 
pected sight of a banana-tree so reminded him of the hills 
and streams of his distant home, that he sprang forward to 
embrace it ; and, with his eyes bathed in tears, he exclaimed 
in a voice of joy, " Ah ! tree of my country ! " and seemed 
by a delightful illusion to be transported to the land of his 

But to return to our own loved hills, and the flowers that 
cover them. Among these the blood-root (Sanguinaria 
Canadensis) well deserves a passing notice. It puts up from 
the ground with remarkable caution. A single leaf of a 
white and woolly texture rises from the ground, and enfolds 
a little flower-bud, wrapping it round as with a mantle. In 
this guarded manner, it abides the vicissitudes of our spring 
weather. When a warm day arrives, a milk-white flower, of 
singular delicacy, shoots up, and bares its lovely bosom to the 
sun. When clouds obscure the sky, or when night falls, the 
little flower closes its milk-white petals, the single leaf gathers 
closer round the flower-stem ; and thus, like a fairy taking 
her rest, it awaits the touch of another sunbeam. We 
import the snow-drop, we cherish it with care, and it well 
repays our attention ; but this delicate native, equally worthy 
of our regard, is seldom seen in our gardens. So true is 
it that flowers, like prophets, have no honor in their own 

In the earlier part of spring, the columbine (Aquilegia 
Canadensis) shakes its gay bells over all our rocky hills. 
Starting from every chink and crevice, it clothes the rude 
features of our ancient rocks in a vernal robe of scarlet and 
gold. This flower seems, in a peculiar manner, to have 
gained the regard of the young. On the first fine days of 
spring, the youth of both sexes may be observed returning 
into town, laden with ample bouquets of its pendulous flowers; 
while ever and anon they drop them on the side-walks, as if 

240 Vegetation about Salem. 

to invite the busy crowd of care-worn citizens to leave the 
town s dull smoke, to forget for a while their ponderous 
ledgers, and to go forth into the fields to sympathize with the 
spirit of loveliness which is abroad in all the land. Would 
this be waste or improvement of time ? Let Wordsworth 
reply : 

" Nature never did betray 
The heart that loved her. Tis her privilege, 
Through ail the years of this our life, to lead 
From j oy to j oy ; for she can so inform 
The mind that is icithin us, so impress 
With quietness and beauty, and so feed 
With lofty thoughts, that neither evil tongues, 
Rash judgments, nor the sneers of selfish men, 
Nor greetings where no kindness is, nor all 
The dreary intercourse of common life, 
Shall e er prevail against us, or disturb 
Our cheerful faith that all that we behold 


And again, 

" Therefore, let the moon 
Shine on thee in thy solitary walk, 
And let the misty mountain winds be free 
To blow against thee ; and, in after-years, 
When these wild ecstasies shall be matured 
Into a sober pleasure, when thy mind 
Shall be a mansion for all lovely forms, 
Thy memory be a dicetting -place 
For all sweet sounds and harmonies ; oh ! then, 
If solitude or fear or pain or grief 
Should be thy portion, with what healing thoughts 
Of tender joy wilt thou remember nature, 
And these her benedictions ! " 

I do not know that a more delightful task could be assigned 
to any one, than that of observing the vegetation of this vici 
nity. Among our plants are many of great interest and 
beauty ; and certainly nothing can be more fraught w r ith 
instruction and delight than occasional visits to the charming 
localities in which they grow. Who is there that has ever 
pursued this branch of natural history, that does not recollect 
the many scenes of rural beauty and loveliness into which 
it has led him ? How often, when gathering his floral trea 
sures, has he not paused to admire the silent and sylvan 

Vegetation about Salem. 241 

retreats in which he has found them ! All around this neigh 
borhood, there are scenes that challenge the best efforts of the 
painter ; and he who holds converse with the flowers soon 
learns the best points of view, and becomes a privileged 

Among our native plants are many that deserve a place in 
the flower-border, and none more so than the lily tribe. 
The superb lily, which is rarely found in this vicinity, and 
the Canada and Pennsylvanian lilies, are among the most 
beautiful flowers that bloom. There is something exceed 
ingly graceful in the general aspect of the Canada lily, when 
it assumes a good size in the rich soil of a garden. It rises 
with a clean stem, throwing off whorls of green and beau 
tiful leaves, at regular intervals, to the height of five or six 
feet ; crowning the whole with a pyramidal cluster of droop 
ing bells. Many of the foreign lilies excel the Canadense in 
the beauty of their flowers ; but none approach the delicate 
and tropical symmetry of its habit. 

The superb cardinal flower will be remembered by every 
one : it is the ornament of our water-courses in the long days 
of summer. It has been cultivated to high perfection, and 
should always occupy a place in our gardens. 

We have growing among us one of the neatest little garden 
hedge-plants that the earth produces, the little privet (Lig-us- 
trum). It is found abundantly on the road to Manchester. 
It is of beautiful foliage, and in summer produces spikes of 
sweet-smelling flowers, like miniature bunches of white lilac. 
In the days of Parkinson and Evelyn, this shrub used to be 
clipped into the forms of birds, beasts, and fishes, and nobody 
knows what. Time, however, has not diminished the esti 
mation in which it is held. I have often observed it forming 
the screen hedges within the iron railings that, surround the 
public gardens in the great squares of London. For the 
formation of interior or garden hedges, there are few shrubs 
that approach it in appearance of neatness and beauty. 

We have plants all around us of singular habits and strange 

The Cuscuta, or Dodder, which is found in the moist land 
of this neighborhood, affords a specimen of the parasitic tribe 

242 Vegetation about Salem. 

of plants, which fasten and feed upon others. The Cuscuta 
is a bright yellow leafless vine, bearing a profusion of small 
white flowers. It rises from the ground like any other 
vegetable ; and, after attaining a certain height, it looks round, 
and seizes upon the first plant that comes in its way. Like 
a little vegetable boa constrictor, it takes a few spiral turns 
round its victim ; and, when it finds itself firmly fixed, it disen 
gages itself from its own root, lets go its hold upon the earth, 
and depends for the future on the plant upon which it is 
seated. In this way it blooms and perfects its seed, without 
any direct communication with the earth. If the seeds of 
this plant are sown, they will come up and grow for a season ; 
but they soon die, if they have no plant to which they can 
attach themselves. Pope, in his " Essay on Man," says : 

" That thus to man the voice of Nature spake : 
Go, from the creatures thy instruction take ; 
Learn from the birds what food the thickets yield ; 
Learn from the beasts the physic of the field ; 
Thy arts of building from the bee receive ; 
Learn of the mole to plough, the worm to weave ; 
Learn of the little nautilus to sail, 
Speed the thin oar, and catch the driving gale." 

Who knows but man caught the idea of multiplying choice 
fruits by grafting, from observing with what facility parasitic 
plants attach themselves to others, and draw nourishment 
from roots that are not their own ? 

The dog s-bane that is found all around us, the silk-weed 
that grows by the way-side, and the sundew that is found 
in every old peat meadow, are all strongly sensitive, and 
strangely destructive of insect life. 

The dog s-bane opens its nipper-like filaments ; and when a 
fly puts in his proboscis in search of honey, they close like a 
steel trap, and the little victim remains a provision till he dies. 

The leaves of the Drosera, or sundew, are furnished with 
a sort of hair-like spines, which support minute globules of a 
clear liquor ; and, when thirsty insects descend to drink this 
nectar, the spines fall upon them and entangle them, and 
the whole leaf bends with a sort of muscular effort to secure 
the intruder ; nor is there any escape from the irritated plant. 

Vegetation about Salem. 243 

These strange propensities are not to be construed as 
instances of wickedness or cruelty in plants. Our profound 
ignorance of the causes and motives of action of all created 
things should teach us to humble ourselves before the great 
Creator, whose ways are wondrous and past finding out. 
" Certainly we do know that all unnecessary sufferings, 
sufferings that have no salutary tendency, or subserviency to 
the happiness or welfare of created beings, can find no 
place under the government of an infinitely perfect and 
gracious Ruler." 

It was noticed by Linnaeus, that the flowers of the barberry 
are remarkably sensitive. If the filament of the flower be 
touched by any substance, as the blade of a penknife or a bit of 
stick, it instantly falls upon the stigma with apparent violence. 

The common locust is remarkably sensitive of light. In 
the glory of a noonday sun, its foliage appears enlivened. 
The little leaflets that form its wing-like leaves look upward, 
as if they were anxious to drink in the light and warmth of 
his reviving rays. At night, or in cloudy weather, they all 
hang their heads as if asleep. The whole tree wears alto 
gether a different aspect at eventide. I very well remember 
the first time that I observed this sensitiveness in some young 
trees of this genus. I thought they had met with some acci 
dent, and were dying. The next morning, however, I was 
pleasingly surprised to find that they all looked up to the sun 
as joyously as ever. Like some young animal, they ap 
peared heartily refreshed by a good night s sleep. A little 
girl who had observed this phenomenon in a locust that grew 
before her nursery window, upon being required to go to bed 
a little earlier than usual, replied with much acuteness, " O 
mother ! it is not yet time to go to bed : the locust-tree has 
not yet begun to say its prayers." 

Some of our most common plants are remarkable in the 
choice of their localities. The hemlock loves to luxuriate 
in the ruin and desolation of cities. Wherever there is a 
deserted mansion, with its garden in ruins, there is sure to 
be found the fatal hemlock, as if the very ground were ac 
cursed, and brought forth poisonous plants. The ghostly 
mullein stalks over worn-out and neglected pastures, the 
emblem of sterility. The black nightshade and the dubious 

244 Vegetation about Salem. 

form of the thorn-apple rise from neglected heaps of rubbish, 
as if the noxious exhalations had assumed a material form, 
to warn man of the consequences of uncleanness. 

There is a spot within the bounds of our county, that is 
classic ground to the naturalist, where grow some plants 
that are not common to these northern regions. I am 
sure that I need only mention the laurel woods of Man 
chester, the farthest northern boundary of the Magnolia, to 
awaken the most pleasing recollections. Those who have 
seen these Kalmia groves, at the time of their flowering, can 
not soon forget the scene they present. The whole appears 
like an enchanted land. I have sometimes thought that this 
wild wood garden, full of sweet odors and graceful forms, 
must have been torn from some more genial clime, wafted 
across the calm bosom of our bay, and placed, some stilly 
night, just where it is, to give us a glimpse of a more favored 
creation. There, in the low ground, is found the Cymbidium, 
the Pogonia, and the beautiful Orchis fimbriata ; plants that 
may vie with the proudest exotics, and which, in another 
hemisphere, are cherished among the most favored children 
of the earth. And shall I forget the Rhodora, that, like the 
almond, gives forth its lively purple flowers ere yet its leaves 
are expanded, a shrub better known arid more valued 
abroad than in its own native land ? Above all, there, too, 
is found the Magnolia, with its unrivalled foliage, saturating 
the air for miles with the odor of its flowers. We are cer 
tainly favored beyond measure in having within our borders 
a type of that genus of plants which is esteemed for flower 
and foliage the most magnificent the earth produces. 

The pencil can give but a faint idea of the splendor of the 
Magnolia grandiflora ; and the pen altogether fails in the ef 
fort to describe its charms. The South may well be proud of 
the possession of a tree of such noble bearing. The leaves 
are glossy, and of a most luxuriant softness. The young 
branches are of a fine, purplish brown, producing flowers at 
the extremity of each ; and, when the tree rises to the height 
of sixty or seventy feet, and each branch holds up its petalled 
vase of ivory whiteness, as if presenting incense to the sun, 
it affords an appearance of beauty and grandeur that rivals 
the proudest productions of man. 

The Twofold Being-. 245 

Many of the nations of the earth have chosen a flower for 
their emblem. The roses of England are well known in 
story. Ireland has chosen the lowly shamrock, which is 
found in every field ; and its adoption is said to be as old as 
the introduction of Christianity into the island. 

Dear is the thistle to the heart of the Scotchman ; but faded 
for ever are the lilies of France. 

The Carolinian rallies beneath the palmetto ; and on the 
earliest coins of old Massachusetts we find a pine-tree, 
emblematic, no doubt, of the source from which she drew 
her earliest wealth. If ever these United States should choose 
a symbol from the vegetable world, let that symbol be the 
magnolia ! 


THE dew of youth on her pure brow lay ; 

Her smile was the dawn of Spring s softest day ; 

Spring s rosy light was on all her way. 

She seem d an oasis in desert lands ; 

We thank d God for her with lifted hands, 

Then turn d again to the weary sands. 

But Life came on with its withering glare, 
And swept down all the sweet beauty there, 
And left the fount dry and the branches bare. 

When I look d again on her alter d face, 

The glow had all vanish d, and left no trace, 

Not a lingering gleam of her maiden grace. 

Yet that form, as in earliest beauty fair, 
Can my mind shape out, in this evening air : 
Not a trait, not a shadow, is wanting there. 

So now two beings for one I find ; 

One walks on earth, one lives in my mind ; 

Yet mystic relations these two still bind. 

246 The Twofold Being. 

O Seer ! which the reality ? 

The beauty, all gone ere again I could see ; 

Or this vision my soul hath eternally ! 

Yet there may be more than the eye can scan : 
Have such bright creations no wider plan ? 
Doth God love the beautiful less than Man ? 

It seems as if nothing could fill our dearth ; 

But the beauty that stayed not on dark cold earth 

May have fled again to the land of its birth. 

It fled the pangs of life s constant rack ; 

But, when the soul takes the heavenward track, 

It shall come like a sweet child nestling back. 

For the loveliness that Earth s fairest wear 
Must be one and the same with the beauty there 
Of the transfigured angels of heavenly air. 

And the parted soul shall take its stand 
In familiar guise mid the sister-band, 
Deck d with the glory of God s right hand. 

And for us, when the walls of flesh are riven, 

And to open d spirit-eyes is given 

To see the beloved again in heaven, 

Mid the fathomless joys of that wondrous scene, 
Will come once more the presence serene 
Of that pure beauty s unearthly mien. 

Then shall Time s veil uplifted be, 
And our life s long dreams of anxiety, 
Like clouds o er a sunny hill, shall flee. 

And it will be seen by the spirits pure, 
How little is left upon earth to endure, 
When we learn that all which is fair is sure. 

The Favorite. 247 



I WOULD not have thee criticized 

By vain or vulgar eyes ; 
I would not have thee eulogized 

By one who could not prize 
That maiden purity and calm 
Which form thy most especial charm. 

I want a poet s heart, to read 

Thy soft, appealing glance, 
Who, for his pains, should have the meed, 

While watching thy sweet countenance, 
Of sunny smiles, that sudden spread 

Across thy lips, and, passing thence, 

Upon thy brow their light dispense. 

Half child, half woman ! the pure faith, 
That every thing was made for love, 

Which saved our childish days from scathe, 
Still bears thy floating feet above 

The thorns and briars which must tear 

Those who find no such path of air. 

And, surely, natural to thee 

Such confidence must prove, 
Stealing from every treasury 

Thy proper hoard of love ; 
For at the first sound of thy voice 
The closest stores unlock their choice. 

Almost I weep to let thee go : 

Fain would I watch above thy path, 

The least approaching shade to know, 
That thy unventured Future hath, 

To lead thee in Life s sweetest ways, 

And feed thee on Love s heartfelt praise. 

248 The Favorite. 


I watch d the rose-clouds rise around the scene 
Wherein thy life s fair pageant on did glide, 

And every hour, with iris-colored sheen, 
Tinging thy loveliness and girlish pride. 

Fond lingering on childhood s fairy isle, 

Thy innocent feet yet press d its dewy flowers ; 

But joys of youth impatient strove to wile 

Thy half-waked soul to more entrancing bowers. 

The sternest eyes dropp d gentlest looks of love, 
The coldest hands strewed incense at thy feet ; 

And, in the cloudless zenith arch d above, 

Not one dark shade thy fearless gaze could meet. 

Yet still thine unsuspicious, placid glance 

Found nothing strange in such a beauteous lot, 

But saw the coming years, like dreams, advance, 
And of their solemn meaning question d not. 

Nor fear d I for thee, but bewilder d, charm d, 

Lured by a magic never felt before, 
I never dream d mine idol could be harm d, 

And careless flung for thee one perfume more. 

I saw thy head grow giddy in the breath 

Of adulation, fanning out the air 
Common and pure, and with a subtle death 

Poisoning and making false thine atmosphere. 

Oh ! perishing of too much love and praise ! 

Oh ! foolish mortals, spoiling all their best ! 
Who now our floweret too much forced can raise, 

Or from its bloom exotic bravely wrest ? 




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