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Our primitive fathers are subjects not yet exhausted, or in fact hardly touched upon. The red men, strange as it may seem, have taken precedence of them: but no matter; the habits—the feelings—the moral and religious character of our forefathers will, in the end, yield to no other topic.
If we look carefully into what is called a heroic age, we shall find that the deeds of the sword are transient, unless embalmed by the pen.
The record that a light was kindled, lives longer than the light itself. man can do much for a nation's fame; that must be
: built up as the monument to Kosciusko's memory in Poland, where, to accomplish the great object of creating a pyramid, every citizen threw a stone on the pile. He who describes his own country must depend on his own countrymen for a favorable reception of his works, for foreigners in general cannot fairly judge of their merits. If we have the same language as is spoken in England, our manners and habits are essentially our own, and have grown out of the peculiarities of our situation. Englishmen have written clear histories of us, but they cannot seize the traits of individual character. We see imitations of Buckskin and Yankee characters, and your Nimrod Wildfires of the West : but a shrewd observer will at once see that they are not true to nature, but caricatures of those they intend to represent. If these imitations were closely examined, the ignorance of the writers would be as easily detected as that of an English sailor impressed to serve in the West India squadron, who insisted that he was an American born citizen, and fixed the place of his birth at Marble-head-a town famed for being the cradle of oceanheroes. He was thought to be an American citizen by his examiners, until Admiral Sir Isaac Coffin called
Well, my lad, if you were born in Marblehead,” said he, “you can tell me of what materials the steps of the bishop's palace are composed.” “Why, of marble," was the reply!
* One impulse of a vernal wood
May teach you more of man-
Than all the sages can."
THE knowledge of human nature cannot be acquired by simply surveying the mass of mankind. We must study the characters of individuals, and draw our general inferences from a careful examination of the whole details. By such a process we shall find that the laws of nature and the commands of heaven are in harmony, and cannot be opposed with impunity. The heart that is cased in Aint to the common observer, often beats with an irregular motion, and has its aches, that are ill-concealed under the mask of indifference.
JOHN THOMPSON, HENRY GILBERT, and MONTJOY TILESTON RUSSELL, were nearly of the same age—born in the same city-educated in the elementary branches of know. ledge in the same school and graduated from college in the same class. They were bright boys-emulous of distinction—and held, if not an equal rank with each other, surely a high one in their class. In the course of obtaining their education, they were constantly associated together, and a strong friendship grew up between them, which they fondly believed that nothing but death could destroy. They agreed to settle in their native city. Thompson studied the law-Gilbert, physic—and Russell entered the counting
room of his father, and prepared himself to become a mer. chant-one acquainted with the history and geography of nations, with the nature and amount of their products and commerce. After a few years, he became a partner in the house of which his father was the head, and was considered as an active, intelligent young merchant. The lawyer and doctor began business under good auspices, particularly the former. He was well read, sagacious, and full of confidence. He studied his causes well, and was in general very successful—for he would not condescend to be a tool against his judgment for any one. The doctor was learned in his
profession, and refined in his manners. He would not use a harsh word the humblest patient, nor flatter the most exalted. If he did not advance so rapidly as many dashing young men have done, still it may be said, that what he gained, he never lost. His delicacy was only surpassed by his firmness--and that never had a particle of asperity in it.
These young gentlemen had made it a rule with themselves to meet once a week, to enjoy a banquet of conversation ; and to which feast, like Scarron's, each guest brought his own dish. This habit was kept up for several
great constancy, and to their mutual advantage. Sometimes à few friends were admitted to join this trio and this was considered a great favor. 1 At a time between the embargo of 1807 and the war of 1812, the prices of merchandize underwent many fluctuations, in the successive shocks given to commerce by the numerous acts of national legislation. At a time when new changes were anticipated, the young merchant was not at his weekly supper as usual. The other two went out to find him. He was still at his desk, but engaged to be with them in the course of an hour or two. When he arrived he told them that he anticipated that great changes were
about to take place in the prices-current, and that he had prevailed upon a young man who had just come into possession of a great estate, to venture an hundred thousand dollars to be used by him at half profits. He dwelt so long on the subject, and gave such satisfactory reasons for his belief of great gains, that his friends were convinced that he had a splendid prospect before him; and after some further preliminary remarks, the professional gentlemen prepared to put something into the speculation. This, Russell agreed to take, upon conditions that they should receive all the profils—saying, that if he was successful, he should make enough out of what he now had of his own and of others, and that he would not trade for his own benefit on the money of his friends. The lawyer and doctor, by pledging their bank stock and mortgaging some paternal real estate, raised fifteen thousand dollars each. This was done forthwith, and the money was put into the hands of their friend the merchant. Some weeks elapsed before the waters began to
The first purchase made by Russell was of all the spices, drugs, and coffee he could find at fair prices. The next, was to enter into contracts, which were made binding, for an immense quantity of distilled spirits, at numerous distilleries. This being done, he repaired to the city of New York, to watch the operation of the great speculators in Wall street. This was managed so adroitly, that his views were not suspected until he was well acquainted with the signs of the flood from the first rise until it would return to its neap. He then left that city for his own. All his trans. actions were carried on without bustle, and succeeded to his wishes.
At a supper on one of their usual nights of meeting, Russell assured his friends that each of them were now worth an hundred thousand dollars in addition to their former