Page images
PDF

tirely novel. This language must be composed of five parts, viz, one part Indian, another Irish, and three fifths Negro tongue. These ingredients well mixed will constitute a language unintelligible by any human nation from Gades to Ganges. As drivers of herds of cattle sometimes bind a spat across the horns of a fierce bullock to prevent his escape in the thickets of the forest, so will this language debar us from all intercourse with other nations, and will erect a strong wall of partition between us and our adversaries. "Without doubt this plan will be strenuously opposed by those, who are continually declaiming against the subversion of ancient institutions, and the destruction of ancient principles. But it is reasonable that man should pursue a course analogical to that nature, which is a process of continual change, of decay and revival.— Flowers, whose existence is brief, and which flourish only for the scythe, are ever most beautiful and fragrant. Besides, a virtuous republican government induces modes of thought and of action, so different from those produced by a monarchy, that many of the terms of the English language are in this country as insignificant and destitute of meaning, as the representatives of old Sarum are of constituents, and the bold and the original thoughts of Americans perish, as would giants in this pigmy land, because they could not be cooped in our cabins, or covered by our garments. On account of this paucity of terms, adapted to our ideas, most of our authors and holiday orators have been compelled to invent new words, and make our language as various as the face of our country. It will be perceived, that this

new language is the result of a spirit of compromise and conciliation, and that those classes of citizens, which are most numerous, contribute most to its formation. If we inspect the American court calender, we shall immediately ascertain, that in selecting materials for this language, due attention has been paid to the origin and descent of those who guide the destinies of our nation : “the most eminent of whom are of Irish or Indian blood. We need not the aid of the college of heralds to trace the lineage of our greatest orator, Randolph, to the renowned Pocahontas...for no sachem among the aboriginals could hurl the tomahawk with more unerring aim, or could, with more adroitness, mangle, and scalp, and lacerate the trembling victims of his wrath. His eloquence is of the whooping kind, and his words, “ like bullets chewed, rankled where they entered, and, like melted lead, blistered where they lighted.” An ancient author thus describes this species of eloquence : “Magna ista et notabilis eloquentia, alumna licnntz, quam stulti libertatem vocabant, comes seditionum, effrenati populi incitamentum, sine obsequiis, sine servitute, contumax, temeraria, arrogans, quat in bene constitutis civitatibus non oritur.” The fame and glory of our orators in Congress must be attributed wholly to their knowledge of Indian dialects. Those, who utter English, are fortunately few, otherwise the circumstance of their receiving their tone and language from a foreign court, would subject them to punishment, as it now does to suspicion and disgrace. The excellencies of the proposed dialect will be numerous ; it will not possess the quality of harmony, so that it may Lt congenial to the nature of our government; and as it will be difficult to be uttered, it will counteract tumults and seditions, which are usually the effect of sudden and inconsiderate expressions of anger and indignation. Our countrymen, like the wing-footed horses of Phoebus, need restraint, rather than impulse. Sponte sua properant; labor est inhibere volentes.

o The ARMAAKER. o

They are not perfect, and no one ought to expect that American citizens should be Gods, till they are nourished by nectar, and breathe *ther on Olympus. In forming this language, our great object is to conform to the sacred rights of the majority, and therefore we banish all delicacy and beauty; for he that would move minds that are material, and souls that are sensible, must use instruments ponderous and palpable, otherwise his labour will be as vain and futile as was that of Æneas, when, in the nether world, he instinctively put his hand to the sword, and would have smote the disembodied spirits, “et frustra ferro diverberet umbras.” o

Republicans, who seek right and follow reason, ever prefer utility to elegance; they use language, as a medium, not as a commodity. The materials, which we have selected, will compose, a currency, cumbrous as the iron money of Sparta, and base as the copper coin of Birmingham ; but, in its clumsiness and relative baseness, will consist its intrinsick value ; for then the cupidity of our merchants will not be tempted to exhaust our country of its circulating medium, neither will the despot of the world exact

Vol. III. No. 8. 3C

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

from us a tribute so debased. we wished for a language, as a valuable commodity, then indeed our words should resemble “ apples of gold set in pictures of silver.” which we could use as toys for traffick. The adoption of this new language will operate very favourably on our foreign relations, and will erect a barrier more powerful than navies, and proclamations, and non-intercourse bills. . The policy of our government is not to

exhaust the bowels of our country

to afford protection to commerce, which infects the manners of republicans with a thirst for lucre. and love of luxuries; which imports the elegancies of the East, and yellow fever of the West Indies, and supplies silks for our la: dies; and slaves for our lords. Though our ports are thronged with merchantmen, richly laden, they receive no other protection, than one gun-boat to each port, “ut unoculus inter catcos.” When this language shall have become common and universal in our country, we shall be a world by ourselves, and will surround our territory by an impregnable wall of brass, and all sit down, each in his whirligig chair, and philosophize. Then our oaks shall not be ravished from our mountains, and compelled to sport in the ocean with mermaids and monsters of the deep; but they shall be permitted still to wear their green honours, and their foliage, instead of quivering through fear of the axe of the shipwright, shall dance and daily with Zephyrus, ...Our citizens will then enjoy all the happiness of hermits, and all the tranquility of monks. ' ... ... "

-

[merged small][ocr errors]

MEssieu Rs Editors, By inserting the following in your Anthology, to exercise the wits of the American literati, you will oblige A subscrib ER.

KEYSLER in his travels relates, that at Casaralta the family of the Volta have a seat where is to be seen the following enigmatical epitaph, which has exercised the wits of the literati for a great number of years.

D. M. Ælia Laclia Crispis Ncc Wir, nec Mulier, nec Androgyna, Nec Puclla, nec Juvenis, nec: Anus, Ncc casta, nec meretrix, nec, pudica, Scd Omnia. Sublata Neque Fame, neque Ferro, neque Veneno, Scd omnibus. Nec Coclo, nec Aqrls, nec Terris, Sed ubique jacet. Lucius Agatho Priscius, Nec Maritus, nec Amator, nec Necessarius, Neque macrens neque gaudens neque flens Hanc Nec Molem, nec Pyramidem, nec Sepulchrum, Sed omnia Scit et nescit Cui Posuerit.

Under this a nigma are the following lines : AEnigma Quod peperit gloriae * Antiquitas, Nec periret inglorium Ex antiquato marmore Hic in novo reparavit Achilles Volta Senator.

For the benefit of your readers, unacquainted with Latin, I insert Keysler's translation. * * *

“Alia Lalia Crispis, who was “neither male, female, nor her“maphrodite ; neither a girl, a “youth, nor an old woman ; nei“ther chaste, a harlot, nor a mod“est woman ; but was all these. “She died neither by famine,

[ocr errors]

“sword, nor poison ; , but by alf “ three. She lies neither in the “ air, nor in the water, nor in the “earth ; but every where. Lu“cius Agatho Priscius, who was “neither her husband, nor gallant, “ nor relation ; neither weeping, “ rejoicing, normourning, erected “ this, which is neither a fabrick, “a pyramid, nor a tomb, but all “ three : but to whom he knows. “ and yet knoweth not. * * “That this. AEnigma, the inven “tion of ingeniousantiquity, might “not be lost by the decay of the “ancient marble on which it was “first engraven, it stands here cut “in fresh characters by order of “Achilles Volta, a Senator.” There have been various explanations of this famous riddle. Mario Michael Angelo will have it to be rain ; Fortunius Licetus, the beginning and ending of friendship ; John Casper. Gevartius interprets it to be love. Zachary Pontinus says it was designed for three persons. Johannes Turrius is of opinion that it is the materia Arima. Nicholas Barnaud, that is an eunuch, or the philosopher's stone. Agathias Scholasticus, that it is Niobe. Richardus Vitus that it is the rational soul or the idea Platonis. Ovidius Montalbanus says it is hemp. Count Malvasia interprets it of a daughter, promised to aperson in marriage, who died pregnant with a male child before

the celebration of her nuptials. M.

de Cigogne Ingrarule has discovered in it Pope Joan. Boxhorn says it is a shadow, and an anonymous person says it is un Íietto.

ORIGINAL

Birmingham, June 19, 1806.

MY DEAR FRIEND, YEstERDAY I travelled the whole distance from Buxton to Birmingham (sixty-one miles) in a postchaise, with a young American born near Portsmouth, and we shall probably keep company till we reach the metropolis, the urbs sacra, the city of the gods. This charming country is worth a voyage across the Atlantick to behold. Ceres and Flora must have laid their heads together, I think, to lay it out, and I have found that Thomson's Summer is a perpetual commentary, upon the road I have been travelling. Yesterday, about 5 o'clock, P. M. I passed through Lichfield. I purposely delayed dining till this late hour, that I might spend a longer time on this classick ground. As soon as I alighted at the hotel, , I inquired for the house where Dr. Johnson was born. I was immediately shown to one about 200 rods off, and I am sure I should not have walked with a quicker step or with more expectation to see the amphitheatre of Vespasian. The house, where Johnson was born, stands in the centre of the town of Lichfield, at the corner of a square, within a few paces of the market and the church of St. Mary’s, I think. It is now an old three-story building, rather showy without, and rather shabby within. The first apartment on the lower floor, which was the bookstore of Johnson's father, is now a tinker's shop, filled with copper tea-kettles, tin-pans, candle-sticks, &c. while a small room adjoining is occupied by a maker of electrical ma

[ocr errors]

LETTER.

- * chines. In the chamber over this shop, once divided into two, that mighty spirit, destined to illuminate the generation which received him, and to exalt our estimate of human capacity, was ushered into this world. This chamber is now, as I imagine, the tinker's drawing room | . There remains a small fire-place in one corner, and the walls are hung round with paltry pictures, The seasons framed with listing find a place, And brave Prince William shows his lampblack face.

The floors are much worn, dirty, and uneven, and every thing within the house bears the appearance of poverty and decay. The tinman, named Evans, was not at home ; but his wife, a chatty old woman, told us, in answer to our queries, that the present rent which they paid was eighteen guineas, and that the taxes were as much more. This, to be sure, is quite as much as such a house would be worth in Boston, and nothing but its central situation.can render it so high. The old lady then called her little grand-daughter to conduct us to Yvhat is called the Parchment house, to which Johnson's father afterwards removed, and to show us the willow tree, of which there is a tradition, that it was planted by Johnson or his father ; lout nobody knows which. However this may be, it is one of the most remarkable trees in all England. It is certainly twice as large as any willow I ever saw in America, and it is allowed to surpass every other in this country. The tinker's wife told us that her house

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

her civilities.in showing it, amount

A tinman is now able to secure a comfortable habitation by showing the chamber where Johnson was

[blocks in formation]

frt

eller.

streets of London, because he was unable to pay for a lodging ! . As we were returning to our inn, we espied a curious figure of an old, man, with laced round hat, scarlet coat, with tarnished trimmings of the last age, with a bell under his arm. Upon accosting him, we found that he had been town-crier for many years, and a kind of Caleb Quotem, that he always shaved Dr. Johnson when he came to visit Lichfield, that his name was Jenney, seventy-four years old, with strength and spirits unimpaired. The cathedral at Lichfield is worthy the attention of every travWho shall say that the daily view of this ancient, dark, and reverend pile, once the resi

[blocks in formation]

own steps in these lofty and silent cloisters, and seem to shrink into venerable grandeur of the roofs,you can hard

... at least to the rent of the house. Iy bring yourself to believe that Here is a subject for meditation. “

such a vast and solemn structure is uninhabited ; and after having heard the great gate close; upon your coming out, you cannot avoid the impression, that you are leaving these awful retreats to some invisible and ghostly tenants. This pile was founded in the year 657. It suffered much in the revolution, and since the restoration they have been continually repairing it. The dean and chapter are now replacing some of the old windows by some painted glass, which they have received from some old church at Liege. It is said to be wonderfully fine, but as I am no connoisseur in these things, I can only say that the colours are wonderfully brilliant. The window at the east end is modern. Dr. Johnson, and David Garrick, and Gilbert Walmsley have monuments in this cathedral very near to one another. You remember the Latin epitaph which Johnson wrote for his father's-tombstone, who was buried here ; I know you will hardly forgive the dean and chapter, when I tell you, that in paving the chureh, they have lately removed it, as well as another, which Dr. J. caused to be placed over the graves of a young woman, who was violently in love with his father. The inscription which Dr. J. wrote, was nothing more than this, a Here lies — a stranger, ob. &c.”

This anecdote I had from the ver

ger, a tattling old man, who showed us the cathedral. He professed to have been “very intimate” (these were his words) with Dr. J. His name is Furneaux.

« PreviousContinue »