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A HONOLULU NEWSPAPER.

1855.]

Her

and all the attributes of royalty.
majesty the queen is blessed with a daughter
called the Princess Victoria, after our own
and there are several princes of the
queen,
royal blood. The chiefs are perfect aristo-
crats, and boast of their unpolluted descent
for many generations. The nobility are very
fine well g grown men, and the difference of
their appearance and that of the lower orders
indicates a decided superiority of breeding."
His testimony to the importance and value
of Honolulu and the islands generally, is
emphatic. "I never saw," says he, "in the
Pacific such splendid facilities for obtaining
supplies for ships. Of course the arrival of
our large squadron (three English and four
French ships of war) raised the price of the
market considerably-more than double; but
every thing can be procured--water in abun-
dance, coal, bullocks much finer than the
English, sheep and cattle of all kinds, vege-
tables, fruits, and almost every thing can be
obtained, either produced on the islands, or
brought from San Francisco, which is only
about ten or twelve days' sail. About 300
whalers come to Honolulu every year to refit,
and its central position makes it invaluable.
It is a sad pity our government has not
possession- -a more glorious depôt for the
spuadron and merchantmen could not be
found."

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decided in favor of annexation; and the
treaty to that effect was brought over to San
Francisco in the Restless, in time to be de-
spatched to Washington by the steamer of
It is possible that this
the 1st of August.'
statement is substantially correct; and should
the presumption of the annexation of the
islands to the United States be realized,
that power will thereby obtain a splendid
and incalculably valuable acquisition. Even
apart from the commercial importance of the
islands, it is hardly possible to overrate their
immense value to any great maritime power.
To quote the opinion of Mr. Jarves: "If the
ports of this group were closed to neutral
commerce, many thousand miles of ocean
would have to be traversed before havens
possessing the requisite conveniences for
recruiting or repairing shipping could be
This fact illustrates their great
Should any
reached.
importance in a naval point.
one of the great nations seize upon them, it
might be considered as holding the key of
the North Pacific; for no trade could prosper
in their vicinity, or even exist, while a hos-
tile power, possessing an active and power-
ful marine, should send forth its cruisers to
the neighboring commerce."
prey upon
Well for us, we may add, that Russia is not
in possession of these islands!

Without entering into any political con-
siderations, we may safely conclude, that
whether the Hawaiian group continues an in-
dependent state, or whether it is annexed to
some powerful country, a great future is
certain to open on the history of these
Their trade, and the number of
islands.
foreign settlers upon their shores, must in-
evitably increase yearly at an accelerated
rate; and no limit can be assigned to their
progress in commercial and political import-
ance. At present, the Hawaiian is perhaps
the most interesting and promising minor
kingdom in the world.

This writer alludes to the probability that the United States will ere long obtain possession of the Hawaiian group; and if newspaper statements are to be relied on, there is great likelihood that such will be the case. A New York paper positively states, that the Hawaiian government, some time ago, made overtures to the United States' government to "accept the cession of the islands." A favorable answer was returned, which "was submitted to the council, in which body it was approved by all the members, except Prince Alexander, the heir-apparent, and Paki, a high chief. The majority, however,

From the Eclectic Review.

DR. JOHNSON AS A CHRISTIAN AND A CRITIC.*

""

WHILE most people in the present day | admit Dr. Johnson's power as a whole, and grant him to be an honest, fearless and warmhearted man, much prejudice exists against his peculiar notions and feelings in reference to Christianity, as well as against his critical character and achievements. We propose trying to set the public mind right, so far as our power extends, upon both these topics. And first, as to his Christianity, it is called "gloomy," "bigoted," "morose," "superstitious," and so forth. Now, it is singular that no one says that he himself was morose. He was, on the contrary, a "fine old fellow," very irritable, very pompous, and at times very savage; but full of kindness, of jocularity, of sociality, a warm friend, and a pleasant companion, whose great delight was in clubs; in short, as he said himself, a "C very clubable man.' He had, indeed, his gloomy hours; but that these sprang principally from his religion we do not believe. They sprang from his temperament, and from the deep views his intellect took of the miseries of human life. He saw and felt more thoroughly than most, even of wise men, the unsatisfactoriness of earthly enjoyments-the emptiness of earthly honors-the shortness of earthly life-the insincerity and deceitfulness of the human heart - and the reality, the uniform pressure, and the terrible mysteriousness of the woes of the world. He "sate in the centre," and how could he "enjoy bright day"? He spake as he saw. His temperament did, indeed, somewhat discolor his perceptions; but it did not alter or impair them. It was not his fault that made to his view

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being so shadowy as temperament holds the scales, it is difficult to strike the balance between the bright and the dark view of things. But we suspect that Johnson and John Foster arrived, by different roads, to a tolerably correct conception of the truth. Happiness exists here only in dim embryo and half-developed bud. Our pleasures are often felt, at the very moment of their enjoyment, to be delusions; our sorrows, seldom. Life in all cases begins with the wail of a mother's and a child's anguish, and ends in the apparent defeat of death. Many hours want their pleasures; scarce one is free from its anxieties. Most of our misery_springs, it may be said, from ignorance. Be it so. But since our ignorance is so great, how great must be our misery. And even when our knowledge is increased, how true the words of the wise man, "He that increaseth knowledge, increaseth sorrow."

――――――

"The sun like blood, the earth a tomb,
The tomb a hell, and hell itself a murkier gloom."

Nor is this estimate altogether untrue, al-
though it be partial. Of course, when a

*Boswell's Life of Johnson, together with Tour to the Hebrides. Edited by the Right Honorable John Wilson Croker. London: J. Murray.

Johnson set himself most determinedly against all cant; and one cant he found especially prevalent, and with it he fiercely warred, the cant of happiness, or to express it more accurately in one of his own Brobdignagian words, the cant of "felicitation." Many people he found perpetually shouting "Optime!"-if we are not happy, we should be; all is for the best; and after all drawbacks and deductions are made, is not this a very comfortable little world on the whole, if not exactly as Leibnitz asserts, "the best of all possible worlds"? Johnson says, emphatically, "No; this world is not happy. We are not happy. It is, indeed, in a measure, our own blame; but still, there is the fact, account for it as you may. Man is far from happy; and were he crowned with a crown of stars, and given the milky way for a sceptre, he would continue far from happy still. There is only one thing that ever can make him even approximatively happy here, and that is, the Christian hope of a better life, and the operation of that hope upon his character and principles." This, we think, was the sum and substance of Dr. Johnson's theological creed. He was driven to Chris

tianity by his profound feeling of human woes, and of the wants of his own nature and heart. He had tried every thing else ;-study, and found it a weariness, when not a burden and a woe; fame, and found it the dream of a bubble; wine, and found it a raging and mocking madness; woman, too, and found her help, indeed, invaluable, but her love, as men are wont to idealize it, a delusion; society, and found it a restless arena, fitted to excite, but unable to satisfy; and he came at last to the conclusion, that there was nothing in this world worth living for, but the promise of, and the preparation for, another; and that all the lights of science, literature, and philosophy were darkness compared to the red hues shed over the Judean hills by the parting steps of Christ, as the prophecy and promise of his coming again. He did not, indeed (and here lay his wisdom, and this showed his want of fanaticism), abandon the use of the pleasures which Providence allotted him, and become an austere anchorite. He continued, and with all his might, too, to try and wring out of all lawful pleasures what good there was in them. But this he did with no expectation of complete or ultimate satisfaction, for that he knew it was not in their power to give, but solely that they might strengthen or amuse him in his progress toward that grand and only fountain of peace and soul-security which rises in another world.

It has been often said, that Dr. Johnson, as well as Foster, failed to see life in its beauty, its nice arrangements, its poetry, and its hopeful tendencies. Had this been said to the former, he would have gruffly replied, "All canting absurdity. There is beauty, indeed, in nature, although my dim eyes can not see it very clearly, and although I hate to hear poetasters whining about purling streams and pastoral crooks; but I can admire better than they the solemn magnificence of forests, the outspread expanse and booming thunders of ocean, and the dread glories of the midnight sky. But I know that this is a life compounded of mistakes. and miseries, of delusive pleasures and real wretchedness, of vice, terror, and uncertainty, a life which the most of men spend in estrangement from God, and in enmity with one another, and which the best have ever felt to be a weariness and a heavy load, and cried out, We loathe it; we would not live always.' The only real good on earth is virtue, and that is not the result of life, but a communication from on high, and a pledge and foretaste of a better existence."

"

Foster felt far more forcibly than Johnson the glories of nature and the beauties of art. Inferior in learning, in critical acumen, and in dictatorial power over thought and language, he had a subtler, a more poetical, a more enthusiastic genius; this taught him to admire nature in all its forms with a deeper, although a pensive, admiration. He believed, with trembling, in the universe, on which he saw a shade resting like that of the morning of the first day of the Deluge. The ocean's voice seemed in his ear a wild wail, as if some maniac-god were imprisoned in its dreary caves, and were proclaiming his eternal wrongs to earth and the stars. The sun seemed looking on earth from his lofty car with an air of supreme scorn and haughty reserve, and crying out, "What care I for that petty planet, and the reptile race my beams have generated in its mud-with their animalcular loves, hatreds, wars, fortunes,and faiths?" The moon seemed (as he describes her in a passage of his journal) to be contemplating our world with a melancholy interest, but the interest of one who had long given up the hope of doing any good to man, or of ever seeing him becoming better. And the stars appeared like the fiery spires and watch towers of the walls of hell, surrounding the miseries of earth with an aspect of fixed and far-off indifference. And yet, notwithstanding the gloomy discoloration in which he saw all these objects, he continued to admire them to enthusiasm. He sometimes reminds us of that band of fallen angels whom Milton describes exploring the distant regions of their place of pain, and imbibing a certain deep, though sullen joy, as they pass

"O'er many a frozen, many a fiery Alp." So, Foster, deeming this universe little better than a vast hell, yet admitted it to be a most splendid one-all deluged and shining with a dreadful glory, which at once fascinated and terrified his soul.

As his religious views were of a sterner cast than Johnson's, so his views of man and of life were even darker than his. He also fell at times into deep abysses of doubt, from which, in general, Johnson kept free; and, unlike Johnson, he did not seek to snatch his share of the passing pleasures of the world, but held them in a scorn too deep even to taste their flavor as they hurried by. Both, however, seem to have come to the same conclusion on one momentous question-we mean the restoration of the lost. Foster has

one of his conversations with Boswell, intimates a leaning towards it. We stay not to expose what we deem the fallacy of this hope. It seems far too good news to be true, as well as rendered excessively improbable by the aspects and phenomena of the present world. But when contemplating the massive gloom which lay upon two such minds as Foster's and Johnson's, we are glad to find them getting partial relief even from a false dawning, although it only reminds us of the poet's words:

expressly defended this; and Johnson, in | gles, trials, temptations, and sources of spiritual sadness, peculiar to himself. His life is compared to a birth, to a warfare, to an agony. He is the special mark of many obloquies from men and many secret assaults by invisible enemies; and has often to be contented with no other reward than is implied in the consciousness of integrity and of brave struggle, and in the hope of eternal life. He is promised "not happiness, but only blessedness." Finally. He has often, like his fellows, to contend with afflictive providences, with poverty, and with the infirmities of his own temper or body. Nay, he may be more pressed by these than other men, and may thus seem more miserable than they, notwithstanding the secret solaces welling up within, and the glimpses of a glorious destiny seen hovering above him. We have at present two private Christians in view as illustrating the principles we have thus stated. Both belong to the excellent of the earth, and find the religion of Jesus dearer to them thau their necessary food. But the one has been blessed with a benignant temper, an undisturbed serenity, been visited by few trials, and enjoyed an equable flow of health all his life. Hence he has been as happy as this state of being will permit; has been troubled with no doubts or misgivings, and hardly had his temper ruffled for a moment. The other has had a tone of health less firm, a nervous system more excitable, a temper more imperfect, an education more neglected, and a career more checkered; and has, therefore, been, on the whole, unhappy, morbid and while his excellence is admitted by all who know him, he is evidently far from the possession of that blessed peace and calm which are possessed by the other, and seems never likely to reach them till recast in another mould, and admitted to a serener region.

Those entertain very false notions of Christianity who dream that as soon as it is believed it always operates as a charm, and creates around the believer a clear and constant heaven on earth. This idea has, we think, done much injury to the cause, disheartened many at the difficulties of the

"As northen lights the sky adorn,
And give the promise of a morn,
Which never comes to-day."

This is not the place for going at great length into the question as to the connection of religion with melancholy; yet we must be permitted a few remarks, as they are appropriate to Dr. Johnson's case. And we think the whole truth may be summed up succinctly in a very few sentences. First. Religion is not necessarily connected with a more than ordinary degree of gloom. There have been, and are Christians habitually cheerful; that is, many persons inclined originally to look at the bright side of things have become Christians, and their piety has not lessened but increased their pleasures; for, although it may have given them new sorrows, it has also multiplied and intensified their joys. But secondly, there are many whose temperament, naturally bilious or nervous, when pervaded by Christian ideas, seems to become a shade darker; the thoughts of God's holiness, of the strictness of his law, of their own unworthiness, of the state of the world, and of the doom of sinners in a future state, press on them with awful force, and render them all their lifetime subject to bondage. Thirdly. Not a few Christians are exceedingly fluctuating in their emotions; their life is a balance, now sinking to the depths, and now soaring to the sun; and this is in them partly the result of temperament and partly of their oscillations of religious feeling. Fourthly. If a Christian,

ral conditions of cheerfulness, seclude himself from society, pay no attention to his health, and deny himself those innocent gratifications which fill agreeably up the intervals of duty, it is not his Christianity that will save him from inequality of spirits, or from fits of deep depression. Fifthly. It

as too many Christians do, neglect the natu-way, and sent back from the first slough they encountered not a few pliables who otherwise might have struggled on to glory. Preachers have dealt too much in rose-colors while painting the Christian life. They should remember, as Croly says in the preface to his sermons, "that our religion is a manly religion;" that it is to men emphatic

can not be denied that a Christian has strug-ally that it calls. ("To you, O men, I call,

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and my voice is to the sons of men ;") and that it never promises an uninterrupted course of happiness either within or without. Dr. Johnson's religion, after subtracting a good deal of superstitious nonsense, wasand latterly especially-a true although a gloomy faith. His very terrors proved his greatness, and seemed, as Keats has it, portioned to a giant nerve." His fear of ghosts, for instance, sprung from his intense belief in a spiritual world, and from his feeling of his own unworthiness to meet a purely spiritual nature. His fear of death arose from his profound and solemn conceptions of that immense Being he expected to see after it. The higher a mind rises it has a wider view of the Great Supreme, and a proportionate feeling of awe towards him. A Lilliputian mind worships a comparatively Lilliputian Deity; a mind of giant stature has its idea of Deity prodigiously magnified, and its fear accordingly enhanced. Hence Johnson on his death-bed cried out, "I will take any thing but inebriating substance, for I wish to present my soul to God unclouded." There is something sublime in the sight of this autocrat of letters, of one who, like John Knox, never feared the face of man, bowed in terror before the powers of the world to come, and you think of that being in Milton (in this point we alone compare them) who feared no power in earth, hell, or heaven, except Death and Deity. When you see this powerful nature agitated by his peculiar fears you are reminded of the Psalmist's words, "He toucheth the mountains and they smoke." They stand in their granite strength umovable by all the efforts of all mankind; but whenever their Creator lays his lightest finger on them they recognize his hand and begin to tremble and to smoke. Yet Johnson, while keenly alive to the terrors of the law, and too much attached to outward forms, was not altogether ignorant of the consolations of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The peculiarities of that Gospel became dearer to him as his life advanced. On his death-bed he recommended to a friend a volume of sermons because it dwelt most fully on the doctrine of a propitiation. The Cross shone out at last amid the vapors which had laid on him, and he saw in it the pillar of the divine government, the mirror of the divine character, the finger pointing up to a father's house, and the mighty mag-ful to his original feelings, for his memory is a vice (in both senses of the word shall we say?) but it is not always, any more than these, just to the book. One reading, and Johnson rarely honored a book by reading it

The name of Johnson as a critic has had a somewhat fluctuating history. Once rated too high, it is now, we think, pushed far below its level. The true way to describe his criticism is to say it is the criticism of gigantic but cramped common sense. He lacks that subtler instinct which detects minute beauties, and that recherché taste which distinguishes the secret flavors of excellence. Nor has he any principles of criticism entitled to the praise of depth, comprehensiveness, or originality. He takes up a book with a feeling compounded of eagerness and reluctance; devours it in hasty gulps; becomes aware of all its principal faults, and its broader beauties; throws it down to lift it up no more; and proceeds, some twenty years perhaps afterwards, to daguerreotype the results of the one hasty and hungry perusal. That is generally faith

net drawing men home there from their vain and various wanderings. It did not, indeed, remove all his darkness, or that of this system, but it allured to brighter worlds," and

seemed to bear inscribed above the head of its bleeding victim the words, "What thou knowest not now thou shalt know hereafter." And as it rose in its clear command above earth and death and hell, his dreams about the efficacy of fastings and the other superstitions he had imbibed in his childhood faded away; a portion of his fears vanished with them, and he fell asleep at last a forgiven and accepted child, perfect through suffering, in the arms of his Redeemer.

Johnson had fallen into occasional errors of life, hinted at rather than disclosed by Boswell, which prevent him from being proposed as a model. His physical system it should be remembered was radically diseased, his passions were excessively strong, and nothing but his own-acquired self-command, and the grace of God, prevented him from becoming a moral wreck, as conspicuous and lamentable as Savage, Burns, or Byron. But he was nevertheless, and the more from the struggle which he had to maintain with his temperament, one of the noblest of human beings, and in nothing so much so as in his deference to the claims of Christianity. If any man of that age might, strong in the pride of intellectual power, have refused to bend and become as a little child, it might have been this sturdy Titan, and yet he not only knelt himself but taught thousands to kneel beside him, who, but for the example of so great a man, would have disdained the homage.

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