Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

certain, had never been introduced into the world. While, therefore, we believe that Christianity is incomparably the most important fact in history, and the most powerful element of human renovation and progress, we must still contend that it is but an element, and not the soul and centre of history. We must still believe that the propter quam of humanity is the gradual, but effectual triumph of every species of good, over every species of evil. In short, we must believe that Christianity exists for man, and not man for Christianity.

If the subjugation of evil and the consequent restoration of the divine image in man, is the true solution of the complex enigma of history, we are presented with a plan worthy of its Author, and a work worthy of man. Every individual, whatever sphere of life he occupies, has a part assigned him, which, if rightly and faithfully performed, will help forward this glorious consummation. He that stands idle in the market-place and says, “No man hath hired me,” is false to his nature, deaf to his vocation, traitorous to humanity, unprofitable to his Master. He defeats the purpose of his existence, and, so far as in him lies, the destiny of the human race which is implicated with his own. But the work which he has neglected, must and will be accomplished. The wicked and slothful servant will be cast into outer darkness, and his work and its wages will be given to another. Humanity has need of all her children. Every member of the countless brotherhood has the power, and is required to do something for its interests ;-something to elevate himself and others a little higher on the ascending scale, whose limit is the highest attainable perfection.

Toil on, then, whoever thou art, man of thought, or man of action, for Heaven has endowed thee with energy for an immortal work. Toil in faith; for thou canst hasten the times foretold by ancient seers, “when the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord; and when they shall not hurt nor destroy in all his holy mountain.” Toil in hope; for in the darkest storms of life the clouds are spanned by the bow of promise, to which the weary and desponding may look up and “hail its sacred sign.” Toil with courage; for high above the dust and din of the conflict, streaming in light, "the harbinger of victory," thou beholdest

“A banner with the strange device,

Excelsior,"

And thou, poor brother, unpitied, perhaps down-trodden, with sweat and pain delving in the dingy mine for scanty bread, or poisoned by the noxious fumes of the factory, or scorched by the hot breath of the furnace, let thy dim eye brighten ; for thou art not man's hireling, but God's coadjutor. As a gleam of unwonted hope lights up thy countenance, from which the image of thy Creator is not yet effaced, listen with joy, and learn “ The accents of that unknown tongue,

Excelsior." And thou, unfriended son of genius, who starvest in Otway's garret, or pinest in Tasso's prison, while thy full soul travails with thoughts that echo through eternity, though misunderstood or unknown by the litile men around thee, yet fear thou not; for thy communion is with beings of nobler mold, and on thine ear, also, strikes the music of that voice which sounds

“ Through the startled air,

Excelsior." And thou, great humanity, that toilest, like a bewildered child, along thy mysterious path, and strugglest, ever, with the foes that feed on thy Promethean vitals, despair not. Upward an unseen hand guides thy steps; and upward shall guide them, evermore. And from the throne of the universe, which is thy Father's, “ A voice falls, like a falling star,

Excelsior." Dickinson College, April 15th, 1846.

pp. 488.

Art. VI.-1. A Sketch of the History of Wyoming. By the

late Isaac A. CHAPMAN, Esq. To which is added, an Appendir, containing a Statistical Account of the Valley and adjacent Country, by a Gentleman of Wilkesbarre. 12mo., pp. 209.

Wilkesbarre : Sharp D. Lewis. 1830. 2. The Poetry and History of Wyoming : containing Campbell's

Gertrude, and the History of Wyoming, from its Discovery to the beginning of the Present Century. By William L. STONE, author of “The Life of Brant,” “Life and Times of Red Jacket," &c., &c. Second edition, enlarged. 12mo., pp. 398. New

York: Mark H. Newman. 1844. 3. History of Wyoming, in a Series of Letters, from Charles Miner, to his Son William Penn Miner, Esq. Royal octavo,

With an Appendix, pp. 104. Philadelphia : J. Crissy. 1845.

Wyoming is a beautiful vale on the Susquehannah, in the state of Pennsylvania, and is situated about one hundred and twenty miles north of west from New-York, and the same distance west of north from Philadelphia, and east of north from Harrisburg. “The valley” is about twenty-five miles in length, and three in breadth, environed by mountains, generally covered with oak, chestnut, and pine, and here and there studded with peaks and cliffs of rocks. The height of the eastern range averages about one thousand feet, and that of the western about eight hundred. These mountains are variegated with forests, bald rocks, and deep gorges : and though they do not present a view so sublime and picturesque as portions of the Allegany, yet nothing can surpass their beauty and grandeur. The valley is formed of flats and plains, the latter being diversified with small elevations. The noble Susquehannah takes a serpentine course through the vale, and is fringed with a luxuriant growth of maple, elm, buttonwood, and willow. From all points you have a view of some portion of the beautiful plain, the river, and the surrounding mountains. From Prospect Rock, above Wilkesbarre, on the east, you have open before you a view of the old and flourishing town of Wilkesbarre; the new and rising village of Kingston, immediately opposite; New-Troy, six miles above; the rich and highly cultivated farms of the valley, with their elegant houses and barns, and the Kingston Mountain, which is fast yielding to the process of cultivation, and presents a prospect, from this point, of a lovely ascending plain, varied with luxuriant forests and cultivated farms. From

the side of the mountain west of Forty Fort the prospect is still more extensive and enchanting. At the north, the eye takes in the Lackawanna Valley, at the east Abram's Plains and Wilkesbarre, and at the south Hanover and Newport. Here you have spread before you a most lovely and beautiful view of a rich plain under the highest state of cultivation, ornamented with the choicest drapery of both nature and art; the waving fields, the sparkling river, flourishing towns, and the proud Eastern Mountain, which, as yet, defies the hand of cultivation. Our description is wholly inadequate, though drawn from a vivid picture of the favored spot which has been filling up and deepening its impressions upon the tablet of the soul for twenty-seven years. We love the beautiful, the grand, and the sublime. We have gazed with rapture upon the scenery of the east, the north, and the west. We have traced the Connecticut, the Hudson, the Mohawk, the Genesee, the Ohio, the Cumberland, and the Mississippi, and, after all, we must say, for beauty and loveliness we have seen nothing which so completely fills our eye as Wyoming. Some, we doubt not, will say, “Hereby hangs a tale." In Wyoming, the reviewer found the companion of his youth, here he had his earthly home, and here, Providence permitting, he means to be buried. All this is true; and yet we are as firm in our opinion as the monomaniac is of the truth and importance of his “one idea,” that our notions and impressions are founded upon sober truth, and that no man of good taste, upon an actual survey of the scene at any period between May and October, will question the truthfulness of the convictions and impressions herein briefly sketched

Our object, however, is not eulogy, but history and incident. The spot to which we would direct the attention of our readers is rich in historical facts, stirring incidents, and the very genius of romance. The associations of every inch of Wyoming are profoundly interesting and inspiring. Whether we turn attention to the occupancy, the struggles, and the fate of the original inhabitants; or to the privations, the toils, the dangers, the woes, and achievements of the early settlers; or to the diplomacy, negotiations, contests, and compromises of the states which set up rival claims to the soil, we see materials for the record of the historian and the speculations of the philosopher, while we have grave lessons of instruction for the moralist and the Christian.

The first work, placed at the head of this article, was the earliest essay at a connected “History of Wyoming;” and, considering the materials with which the author constructed his delineations,

is by no means a contemptible performance. The narrative is perspicuous, bold, and true to the records and relations upon which the author relied—the discussions and speculations are able and enlightened, and the work is by no means barren of incident. But the author was called to an early grave, and, consequently, had not the time and opportunity for a thorough investigation of records, and other sources of information necessary to a complete History of Wyoming. The work is out of print, and perhaps will hereafter only be sought as a literary curiosity, and be consulted by such as wish to see all that has ever been written upon the subject. The name of the author, however, deserves to live, and will live, among the historians of the country—and the editor and publisher is deserving of much praise for the ability and correctness with which the work is executed. Works of this class are wholly above criticism. The enlightened scholar and antiquarian will treasure them up as precious specimens of the literary standard of the times, and as a portion of the materials which must always be carefully surveyed and impartially considered, in forming a comparative estimate of the past and the present, and in studying the philosophy of our country's history.

The second work is an improvement upon the first. The author, the late lamented Col. Stone, added much from his large collection of documents and records in relation to Indian affairs. His reflections, descriptions, and illustrations are highly instructive and entertaining, and his style is pure classic English, as every composition is which remains as the fruit of his prolific pen. Of the sweet poem of Campbell—“Gertrude of Wyoming”—with which the colonel commences his book, we need say nothing. It has passed through its probation, and has, by universal consent, taken its position among the prettiest tales and the most beautiful specimens of the poet's art which modern times have produced.

But it was reserved for another hand to do full justice to this subject. The man best qualified to write the History of Wyoming—and the man to whom those who have felt special interest on the subject have looked for these fifteen years pastwas the Hon. Charles Miner. Mr. Miner came to Wyoming in 1799, and since that time has enjoyed the best advantages for procuring the necessary information. Having access, personally, and by his friends, to the records at Washington, Philadelphia, and Harrisburg; and having an extensive and intimate acquaintance with the ancient families-mingling with the fathers and mothers who still live, and stand out upon the face of society like old weatherbeaten oaks in a thicket, and being employed con amore with

« VorigeDoorgaan »