Page images

manufacture. Britannia-ware and pewter were discarded from the table. She bought silver spoons with her own initials on the handles, which were so thin that they were as sharp as knife-blades. She overhauled Hans' shirts and had them adorned with frills, and ruffles, by reason of which he cut a very ridiculous figure on Sunday. Instead of doing her own work, she hired a servant, and held a perpetual levee in the parlor. Finally, Hans could not stand it' any longer, and in self defence, put her in the asylum. He had not the heart to keep her there long. She soon came out apparently amended, but never after became completely cured.

What a pity it was that Hans Carvel ever parted from the old homestead, or ever knew the blessings of independence !' Then he was engaged in the honorable occupation of tilling the soil, earned his bread by the sweat of his brow, and when the night came on, laid down his weary head to more sound and refreshing slumbers. Now, like many who emerge too suddenly from their customary course, he only diminished his happiness, and reaped no advantage from the change. While Mrs. Carvel became extravagant, put on the airs of a fine lady, rustled in silks, and scolded him more soundly than ever, he sauntered leisurely about, enjoying the reputation of living on his means, doing nothing for the public good, and conscious of nothing but his own importance.

[blocks in formation]

Gem the skies my glance hath pondered,
Oft at midnight's

thrilling tide; Where the breath of waking summer

Only sighed.

Joyous hours! I smile to greet you,

Éven in changeful, fitful dreams! Pierce the shadow of my slumbers,

Vanished gleams!



MAN was formed from the dust of the earth, and placed in the garden of Eden. All his wants were supplied by the spontaneous productions of the soil. He toiled not, and the sweat of his brow was only the healthy destitution of the nectarean waters he drank, as he reclined beneath the shady groves of Paradise, and gazed with delight upon the glowing beauties of a pure world. Thus he would have lived, in unmixed joy; every breeze would have been tempered to softness, and every gale been balmy; new objects would probably have arisen, to satisfy his curiosity, and his course through the cycles of ages might have been one of constant progression. Eve came to share his happiness, and minister to his affections. Adorned with perfect beauty, the fairest of womankind came into existence, herself most beautiful where all was lovely. Imagine the happy pair, as they walked through this magnificent palace of nature ! Mark the dignified repose and content upon the countenance of Adam, and the bright intelligence of Eve, as she listens to his discourse, responds to his feelings, and harmonizes with the scene. Now she calls his attention to new beauties which her fine senses have discovered, and with the untaught grace of nature, and the true eloquence of simplicity, she kindles in the bosom of her husband content into admiration, and satisfaction into delight. The notes of birds, the odor of flowers, the music of streams, and the wondrous bril. liancy of the virgin firmament, all contribute to their felicity. Sin is not; labor is not. No dismal thoughts of the future brood in their hearts ; no anticipations of sorrow darken their dwelling. Want is not known in the garden of God, and human passion is not yet born to disturb their repose. Who, in contemplating a pair like this, can believe that they are the origin of a race who get their bread by the sweat of their brow? But temptation came, and sin followed close upon the temptation, and from thenceforth man was born to sorrow as the sparks fly upward ; and from this point in the history of the world, we may date the commencement of trades, occupations, and professions.

Had our first parents remained spotless and sinless; had no serpent twined his wily folds around her with perfect beauty adorned,' what would have been the situation of mankind, or the state of our planet, who can conjecture ? Here is a fine field for speculation, but one in which it is not our business to indulge, It is enough for us to acquiesce in the course of events; and since doomed to a necessity to toil, let us examine the state of the world, in its vast variety of fulfilling the decision, and see if any have the advantage, or if

any class can be said to be exempt from the decree.

In the early ages of the world, occupations were few, because the wants of mankind were few, as they would be now, perhaps, if we could be content to be simple and unostentatious. Pasturage of their flocks employed their chief attention, which, with the game that came in their way, furnished them with all they thought they required. The skins of animals furnished them coverings for their bodies; and their flesh, food. Tents of the easiest constructure sheltered them from the heat and cold, and ownerships in land being unknown and unthought of, they roamed here and there, to suit their convenience, and accommodate their wants. Mankind must at this point be viewed as shepherds. They watched their flocks by night, to protect them from the incursions of beasts of prey; they were drawers of water and hewers of wood. Water, in that part of the world where mankind were first planted, was of more consequence,


appears, than land; and we read of ownership in wells of water. They lived in a state of labor, then, in the most primitive state of the world; for watching flocks by night, and going any distance for water, would be esteemed no slight drudgery, even at this day.

There is a charm that hangs around this view of our progenitors, which always belongs to contemplations of a wild and untutored independence, a modification of the natural love of liberty. Hedged about, as we are, with laws and customs, enslaved by the despotism of fashion, and wearing the servility of opinion ; drawn this way by conscience, and that by regard for temporary interest, or some distant prospect of aggrandizement, we look at the free wanderers of the wild, or unprejudiced followers of nature, as possessing privileges, for which we would gladly barter all we possess of refinement, or enjoy of luxury. But superinduced upon all this, we may add the majesty of their unadulterated religion. Holding communication with the Deity himself, like the patriarchs, or receiving his commands like Moses, or going out to battle, clothed with the armor of his approbation and protection, like David. Nor is this simplicity confined to those who had a knowledge of the true God. All men living in a simple state, will frame to them.selves, by the light of nature, a plain system of belief, grand and imposing from its majestic unity. It is the adulteration of the true religion which is to be feared ; it is this which debases a nation, like the heathen idolatries of Asia, which all, or mostly, are the results of wicked aims in a few to enslave the many. Religion, like a valuable medicine, may, by foreign mixtures, be rendered a deadly poison, killing instead of curing, degrading instead of elevating: The unlettered Indian, whose heaven is in the 'sweet south-west,' who sees God in clouds, and hears him in the wind, who bows to the inward promptings of his great spirit, feels a dignity of devotion, as he listens to its suggestions, and obeys its mandates, unknown to the speculative caviller of sects, and the half-doubting, half-believing follower of Christianity.

This state of the world has been the favorite theme of poets, and dreamers of happiness; and, indeed, it may be asserted, with some truth, that men are more virtuous, and consequently happy, who are left much to a free dependence upon their own thoughts, and escaping all social evils, are open to the action of the purifying influences of nature. The shepherd who watches his flocks, and moralizes like the melancholy Jacques, in the woods of Arden, may, like him, find

"Tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,

Sermons in stones, and good in every thing.' Hannah More, in her Shepherd of Salisbury Plains, has given us an instance at how high a state of moral greatness a poor, laboring, yet thinking man may arrive, in this primeval occupation; and taught, by an instructive tale, how beautiful piety and resignation may be made to appear in the humble shed, where, though visited by all the ills that flesh is heir to, we almost envy the contentedness of the man, though we should have to take his physical misery along with it.

But from the constitution of the mind of man, he could not long remain in the shepherd state. Social feeling led men together. Our progenitors soon discovered the pleasures of love and friendship, the reciprocation of kindness, and the pleasures of sympathy. We suppose the opening of these resources of happiness in the human heart were purely accidental. Necessity and chance operated in the moral world, as in the physical, in continually calling out new powers, and unfolding new affections. I am aware that this is contradictory to many notions of our parents, and their immediate descendants ;


some have supposed that Adam came into existence endowed with a mind richly stored with science, and particularly excelling in astronomical knowledge. But when men began to find it for their happiness to form clans, they became more fixed in their abiding places, and local attachments became known, and the word 'home' began to have a sweetness and a charm, which it has never lost. Division of labor, so well understood by ants and bees, would seem to be the obvious result of such an arrangement. But division of labor, or exchange of one kind of labor for another, soon led to the discovery, that practice rendered some more perfect in certain kinds of employment than others, owing to physical organization, taste, etc; and so arts and trades became known. Long periods of years must have elapsed to produce this classification of men, which we gladly acknowledge, to enable us to step over certain dark gulfs in the history of our kind, and to come down to periods better known, and more suited to our purpose. This, however, is merely supposition ; for it must be acknowledged, that it is in vain to seek for commencement; all is progress. In imagination, we may conceive a time when the human race was in the lowest degree of culture; but on inquiry, we every where meet the arts, meet men collected into societies, meet property, legislation, and government.

Arts, however, even almost down to our own time, were viewed as a direful necessity. The improvements were so slow, that they can hardly be perceived. War was the great business of man. This seemed to offer an opportunity for the exercise of those powers, which have since been proved to be capable of contending with the elements themselves. Man spurns labor; and it is only when he views it in its consequences upon society, in the melioration of his kind; when he views labor philosophically and religiously, that he will submit to it, any farther than for the immediate supply of his necessities. The Indian places his glory, his pleasure, his virtue, even, in the arm of battle; and thus it has been over the whole world. And we question if the love of contention, which manifests itself upon all occasions, and which throws our country into such violent agitations, is worthy of a better origin, than a hereditary disposition to fight, bred so closely in the habits of our progenitors. No matter what the subject or the project, opposition will come.

Does a man

labor to demoralize, he is opposed. Does he labor to moralize, he is opposed. Where is the undertaking which has not its opposers ? Where is the individual, who has not his enemies ? It is precisely the same spirit that leads to violent invective, and random abuse, now-a-days, that formerly marshalled men with the buckler and sword. Instead of the trumpet, we are summoned by the press, and instead of the proud war-horse, shaking the plain, each man rides bis own hobby, until he or his hobby lies panting upon the sand, in inglorious death. Nevertheless, our wars do not interrupt the order of society, nor interfere with the pursuits of agriculture, and commerce, and manufactures; while the wars of the ancients employed nearly all the able-bodied men, and left domestic affairs entirely to the women. We may here discover the cause of the slow progress of the arts, and dragging movements of civilization, which always move at an equal pace with the advancements in the sciences. Nearly up to the discovery of the western continent, mankind must be viewed as warriors. It is true that short intervals of peace led them into other pursuits. Love of ease and luxury begot the means of enjoying pleasure. Conquerors carried their poets, and painters, and jesters, with them to battle. Greece had her poets, and sculptors, and orators, and Imperial Rome ‘sat upon her seven bills, and from her throne of beauty ruled the world, as much by the power of her senate, the eloquence of her patriots, and the sagacity of her consuls, as by the splendor of her arms, and the chivalry of her achievments. Egypt, too, had long before this built her pyramids, and found time to study the stars, and hide in her archives the secrets of science.

Carthago fuit - Troja fuit.' Pericles had adorned Athens with magnificent buildings, and the arts flourished beneath his patronage. The treasures of the east had been accumulated; astrology had deluded kings, and incense bad burned to heathen gods, and to vile impostors. Women had been won by the songs of troubadours ; tournaments had been held to reward the valiant; but war, war, was the great business of mankind.

To overrun

a country, and deluge it with blood ; to slay women and children, or to destroy harvests of rich grain, and leave the wretched inhabitants to a cruel death ; these were the exploits of men, whose names almost alone shine conspicuously on the page of history. So that history seems a charnel-house of butcheries, with here and there a character to remind us that we are reading of civilized men, instead of savages.

It is not within our scope, to account for all the different occupations that employ mankind, although the subject is highly interesting, involving as it does, the progress of science and civilization, We must content ourselves with saying, that moral and physical necessity is the ground-work of all art. Men act not without motive. Dread of labor, irksomeness of toil, is the mother of invention. Though some arts may trace their origin to accident, as the discovery of Newton, who, idly dreaming in his garden, seized upon the fall of an apple as the nearest and most convenient object upon which to exercise his speculating propensities, has led to results which have changed the whole face of astronomical knowledge, and given birth to a new era in philosophy.

It would indeed be a curious subject, to trace the occupation of


« PreviousContinue »