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'the little negroes of the West Indies with flannel drawers and moral pocket-han'kerchers,' are matured over the tea-table, than in any other place whatever. So let us hear no more about tea-total societies. Blot out every letter from the alphabet of mercies; we cannot part with T :
O sweet exotic of the east!
Come rule o'er all the flowery host,
Not all the herbs which dames respect,
Not all the herbs which dames collect,
Thy virtues are supreme enough,
When pinch on pinch of recreant snuff
In weal or wo, at night, or mørn,
I gladly fly to thee;
'O Molly, put the kettle on,'
And let us drink our tea!
Welcome, thrice welcome, ye proud Indiamen, whom prosperous gales have wafted from the distant Ind, filled to the blue wave with antique boxes, marked with strange characters, and filled with little mystic scrolls, to be unrolled in the vapors of the tea-pot, and to be interpreted at the bottom of the cup! We will prize the treasure, which thou bringest, (what were, we without it?) drink of it, be soothed by it, be thankful for it, and be as happy as a grasshopper intoxicate with dew! Yea, we will imbibe it to the very dregs, and until we have exhausted it of all its sweetness, we will not cast it like a noxious weed away!'
I HAVE been upon the mountain,
Dark doubts were thronging round me,
But those frail, fearless snow-drops
IN the last number of the twelfth volume of this Magazine, in a notice to readers and correspondents, allusion was had to several corpulent manuscript volumes, which had recently come into our hands, containing the private journal of a distinguished professional gentleman of this city, kept during the years 1794-5-6-7, embracing all the prominent topics and occurrences of that eventful era; copious correspondences with choice literary and scientific spirits; together with divers disquisitions and reflections, of a valuable or entertaining character, upon the literary performances and social movements of that remote period. The two papers upon the Yellow Fever of 1795,' given in late numbers, were from the same source; and we now proceed to a more various and miscellaneous selection. We have pleasure in the belief, that many of our elderly readers will derive no small enjoyment from passages which may carry them vividly back to 'scenes long vanished,' and unite them again with public or private friends, who have perhaps been forgotten for many a year. We cannot help thinking, as we peruse these minute records, that many in this metropolis, and the good 'city of brotherly love,' would kindle into a fervor of reminiscence, could they accompany the writer, in his social sphere, among the chief men of his time; the Wolseys, the Johnsons, the Kents, the Mitchells, and the Dunlaps; now passing an hour with Hodgkinson, hearing him read from a then new but now old play, which was soon to be brought out; and now rejoicing at the theatre in the exquisite acting of Mrs. Johnson, in Lady Townley, or 'old Jefferson,' as he was called in
later days, as Sir Francis Wronghead; sitting, perhaps, all the while by the side of no less a personage than the celebrated Bollman, who so gallantly attempted the rescue of Lafayette. Or, if in our sister city, vibrating between the Wistars, the Rush's, the Copes, and the Wolcotts; walking round the metropolis with his intimate friend and correspondent, Charles Brockden Brown, tracing out the localities of that awful epidemic, which this distinguished author afterward so powerfully described, or hearing him read from the pages of his novel, while scarcely dry from his pen. Copies of a varied and interesting correspondence, with some of the most distinguished men and women of that period, are transcribed at large in the journal; and it is from this portion of the мs. volumes, whence we select the following passage, in relation to letter-writing. When Charles Lamb said that 'one glimpse of the human face, one shake of the human hand, was worth whole reams of cold, thin correspondence,' we may suppose he had in his eye some such correspondents as those alluded to by our journalist below; men who, although they disfurnish their skulls to write a letter, yet make up a most stiltish model of 'written converse :'
'You cannot but have observed how various are the powers of men in this respect; and how contemptibly the minds of some appear to have dwindled, when they come to give a written language to that which in ordinary conversation seemed to possess no little share of brilliancy and truth. There are so many resting places, in common talkings, (for they scarcely deserve the name of conversations,) so many ways of sliding out of difficulties, by means of an apt allusion, or pun, a repartee, or a new subject, that men of superficial minds and scanty information oftentimes obtain great credit, where they deserve none. The touch-stone of these is the pen. When men venture to assume this instrument, we look for something more than the passable; we expect precision, pertinence, method; and in no other species of composition do men so miserably fail, in these particulars, as in letter-writing. This is, perhaps, because they mistake the purpose of letters. For a letter,' they say, 'is of no consequence;' and they make it the slovenly vehicle of crude and contemptible opinions. But, surely, my dear Sir, you do not think thus lightly of these substitutes for conversation. You will bear in mind that I am not speaking of mere letters of business. You do not think it sufficient to have scrawled half a dozen almost unintelligible lines, concerning some report of the day, and to have dismissed the abortive thing under the title of a letter. Much as you may love your friends, and dearly as you prize their welfare, you will not be satisfied with mere testimonials of the continuance of their affection, assurances of their happiness, and wishes for your own. Letters, in your mind, must certainly assume a higher, a more dignified character. What this character is, becomes evident enough, when we have reflected for a moment on their design.
'Had I been absent from my friend for many months, hearing nothing from him, no communication subsisting between us, and were we, after such an absence, to meet, should I content myself with bare inquiries after his health, and his pecuniary prosperity? Would he be satisfied with corresponding information respecting myself? Would
either be likely to suppose that the purpose of our meeting was then effected, and quietly return to the same remote situations, and to the same long-continued silence? Is it not more probable, nay, is it not certain, that we should indulge ardently, passionately, and reasonably indulge, in many long, and to us interesting, conversations ? That we should not feel each other's company a burthen, for one, two, three, or even more hours? And that, though our health and prosperity might, reciprocally, claim some part of our attention, we should seize on the occasion, with avidity, to discuss all those questions which, during our absence from each other, had greatly affected us? Should not we seek, in fine, to unfold the treasured volume of our soul, and expose the variegated pages to the inspection of our friend? If it be true, that 'letters are intended to be the substitutes of discourse,' can there any longer remain a doubt as to what they should be? Is it not clear, that the more copiously they treat of important matters, the more valuable they become, and the more perfectly they answer their true end? It has been remarked of the celebrated Grotius, and greatly to his praise, that he wrote numerous letters, and that all his letters were complete treatises. Compared with such a standard, what would be the character of the infinitude of puny existences which daily arrogate to themselves the sacred appellation of letters? Shall I answer you in the spirited and forcible language of my friend Charles Brockden Brown? Speaking on this subject, in one of his late letters, he says: Letters, indeed, as they are usually written, are the ghosts, the skeletons of conversation; with bones as marrowless, and blood as cold,' as any gibbetted representation of death whatever. Of such mockeries of wit and ease, such shadowy resemblances of life and nature, it is not easy to speak in any other language than that of anger or ridicule.'
When communications are frequent, they are apt to become very brief; and in short letters, all the real use of such an intercourse is lost, by frivolous inquiries, tiresome introductions, and impertinent conclusions. They are like fashionable tea-parties where all is hurry and confusion, while the company are together; where every one is under constraint, through fear of not doing every thing just as it ought to be done, or of injuring her fine clothes; where the value and merit of fans, ribbons, and muslins, are the topics of discussion; and where, in fine, each guest is glad when the company separate, and the hostess happy to see her visitors depart. But long letters, when not very frequent, are like those visits which our distant friends make, when they come to stay with us occasionally, several days, in the true family way; where all things take their accustomed course; and where we are more anxious to enjoy their society, than to display the richness of our habiliments, and the magnificence of our furniture.'
From a letter to the writer, by a distinguished lady of Connecticut, the wife of an eminent member of the National Congress,' we copy the annexed remarks upon women, their rights, education, etc. The reader will bear in mind, that the letter is based upon a conversation held with our journalist, in relation to a recently published work upon the education and condition of women, and that hence the thoughts are thrown together in a random and miscellaneous manner. Nevertheless, we commend them to the serious attention of the reader, as
embodying views and facts, which will at least be deemed important by those who properly estimate the great influence of well educated females:
As to the proposed amendments in the education of women, I confess I see no objection to the attempt. To eradicate a single folly, above all, to expel a single vice, from the character of women, is worth the united exertions of mankind, for at least one century. For after all, women are of great importance in the world, even with their present narrow views of things. Let them then possess legally that liberty which they now obtain by their illicit operations on the minds of their male acquaintances and connexions. This will show whether they will bear a reasonable independence; whether they will bear to be, lawfully, of consequence. The term which was first applied to woman, ‘help-meet,' carries, to my understanding, an idea of equality.
'The light of science, where it has only beamed on half a nation, (for women, nationally, have never partaken but of the reflected blaze,) has shown us wonders. Suffer it, then, to have indiscriminate extension, to men and women, and I believe it will have, indiscriminately, good effects. As we are the work of the hands of the same God, and, independently of each other, accountable beings, I cannot conceive why women ought not to be so educated that they can think for themselves. It is allowed, on all hands, that exercise of mind, as well as of body, tends to strengthen its faculties.
'I believe the Deity sees latent talents in the human mind, which will, in his own time, be drawn into light and into use; and that the means appointed to this sublime end, are to be found in the mutual exertions of mankind. I have sometimes indulged the thought, that the whole human character is yet in its infancy. We daily see men stopping short, when they have but half ascended the hill, discouraged with the thought that they can never attain the summit of perfection which has been attained, much less go on to an ideal height; that is as dark as midnight. We are all in the habit of viewing things as dangerous, nay, as impossible, which are only difficult. A little more light, which would dawn upon us if we would shut our eyes to prejudice, and open them to reason, might excite astonishment, how we could have been so long in ignorance of simple truths, respecting one half of the human race, who interweave themselves with the happiness of the other half.
'Universal Love must gain ground, in all hearts, and Science spread, universally, its pure lights, before women will be completely emancipated from the chains of ignorance, and consequent folly; or men from their passion to tyrannize. I speak collectively, not individually. I do not call all men tyrants; nor all women slaves, or fools, or samples of blind ignorance. No! There is, here and there, a being, among both sexes, so enlightened, and so good, that nature may hold them forth, and, in the language of Minerva, say, 'These are my children!'
'I have only perused your little book once through, and therefore can only touch its prominent features; but you will be able to gather, from what I have written, my general opinions. Nor have I given them with diffidence; because you, I know, will not deem it an in