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The following tabular view of the manufactures of Great Britain, is chiefly formed upon the calculations
The Letters of the British Spy. account of the local situation of
Originally published in the Virgi- Richmond. He then digresses into nia Argus, in August and Scp- some geoligical speculations on the tember, 1803.
origin and age of our continent,
which, after some time, provokes a Richmond: Pleasants....pp. 43. reply, that is also published in this
collection. He next discusses the The fiction on which the title eloquence of America ; states its of these letters would lead us to defects and their causes, and draws suppose them built, is very favour- the portraits of several eminent able to curiosity and invention. pleaders at the bar. We likewise If we mistake not, it took its ori- ' meet with various thoughts on the gin, as most schemes of the kind subject of style and eloquence in have done, in the prolific imagina- general. tion of the French. The first exam There is some liveliness of fancy, ple was set in the voluminous, and and a sparkling style in the effusions once popular work of “ The Turke of this writer : there are many ish Spy;” and has been followed by marksofa juvenile and undisciplined a numerous train of Chinese, Jewish, pen, and in most of his recitals we &c. This, before us, is the second have found that degree of interest, instance of the kind in America; and amusement which it was probafor a well known writer published, bly the whole intention of the writer formerly, what he called “ The to afford. The following portrait Algerine Spy."
of a pulpit orator will serve as a The mystery and danger en- specimen of this performance. circling the character of a Spy, give his adventures a peculiar and “ I have been my dear S*******, uncommon interest; and the busi- on an excursion through the counness of his life being to inquire and ties which lie along the eastern side observe, and his foreign prejudices of the Blue Ridge. A gencral deleading him to view every object in scription of that country and its a new light, there cannot be a part inhabitants may form the subject of more favourable to original and a future letter. For the present, I striking speculations. Most of the must entertain you with an account Spies, however, with whom we are of a most singular and interesting acquainted, seem to have forgotten adventure which I met with, in the their true character ; and turn out, course of the tour. upon examination, to be nothing “ It was one Sunday, as I travelled more than men travelling for their through the county of Orange, that own amusement.
my eye was caught by a cluster of The letters before us, are written, hörses tied near a ruinous, old, in the character of an English tra- wooden-house, in the forest, not far veller, to Mr. S*******, alias Mr. from the road side. Having freSheridan. They are few and brief, quently seen such objects before, in and exhibit but very few points in travelling through these states, I that immense picture which the had no difficulty in understanding United States constitute in the eye that this was a place of religious of a stranger. The traveller arrives worship. Devotion alone should at Richmond, and there he chiefly have stopped me to join in the ducontinues. He begins his corres- ties of the congregation; but I nust pondence with some remarks upon confess that curiosity to hear the American, that is Virginian rever- preacher of such a wilderness, was ence for rank and wealth, and some not the least of my motives. On
VOL. I....NO. IV.
entering, I was struck with his pre. when he came to touch the patience, ternatural appearance. He was a tall the forgiving meekness of our Sac and very spare old man....his head, viour....when he crew, to the life, which was covered with a white his blessed eyes, streaming in tears linen cap, his shrivelled hands, and to heaven.... his voice breathing to his voice were all shaking under the God a soft and gentle prayer of parinfluence of a palsy, and a few mo- don on his enemies, “ Father forgive ments ascertained to me that he then, for they know not what they was perfectly blind. The first emo- do”....the voice of the preacher, tions which touched my breast were which had, all along, faltered, grew those of mingled pity and venera- fainter and fainter, until his uttertion. But ah! Sacred God! How ance being entirely obstructed by soon were all my feelings changed! the force of his feelings, he raised The lips of Plato were never more his handkerchief to his eyes and worthy of a prognostic swarm of burst'into a loud and irrepressible bees, than were the lips of this holy flood of grief. The effect is inconman! It was a day of the adminis- ceivable. The whole house retration of the sacrament, and his sounded with the mingled groans subject, of course, was the passion and sobs and shrieks of the congreof our saviour. I had heard the gation. It was some time before tho subject handled a thousand times: tumult had subsided so far as to perI had thought it exhausted long mit him to proceed. Indeed, judg. ago. Little did I suppose that in ing by the usual but fallacious standthe wild woods of America I was to ard of my own weakness, I began to meet with a man whose eloquence be very uneasy for the situation of would give to this topic a new and the preacher. For I could not conmore sublime pathos than I had ever ceive how he would be able to let before witnessed. As he descended his audience down from the height from the pulpit to distribute the mys- to which he had wound them, withtic symbols, there was a peculiar, out impairing the solemnity and a more than human solemnity in his dignity of his subject, or perhaps air and manner which made my shocking them by the abruptness of blood run cold, and my whole frame the fall. But....no: the descent was to shiver. He then drew a picture as beautiful and sublime, as the of the sufferings of our saviour.... elevation had been rapid and enhis trial before Pilate....his ascent thusiastic. The first sentence with up Calvary.....his crucifixion..... which he broke the awful silence and his death. I new the whole was a quotation from Rousseau : history; but never until then had I “Socrates died like a philosopher, heard the circumstance so selected, but Jesus Christ like a God!!!" so arranged, so coloured! It was all I despair of giving you any idea of the new; and I seemed to have heard cffect produced by this short senit for the first time in my life. His tence, unless you could perfectly enunciation was so deliberate, that conceive the whole manner of the his voice trembled on every sylla- man, as well as the peculiar crises ble; and every heart in the assem in the discourse. Never before did bly trembled in unison. His pecu- I completely understand what Desiar phrases had that force of de- mosthenes meant by laying such scription that the original scene stress on delivery. You are to appeared to be at that moment bring before you the venerable figure acting before our eyes. We saw the of the preacher....his blindness,convery faces of the Jews....the star- stantly recalling to your recollection ing, friglıtfuldistortions of malice and old Ilomer, Ossian and Miltöll, and rage. We saw the buffet....my soul associating with his performance, kindled with a fiame of indignation, the melancholy grandeur of their and my hands were involuntarily geniuses....you are to imagine you and convulsively clenched. But hear his slow, solemn, well accented
enunciation and his voice of affect- seem forced by the sentiment which ing, trembling melody....you are to he is expressing. His mind is too remember the pitch of passion and serious, too earnest, too solicitous, enthusiasm to which the congrega. and, at the same time, too dignified tion were raised....and then the few to stoop to artifice. Although as minutes of portentous, death-like far removed from ostentation as a silence which reigned throughout man can be, yet it is clear from the the house....the preacher removing train, the style and substance of his his white handkerchief from his thoughts, that he is, not only a very aged face (even yet wet from the polite scholar, but a man of extenrecent torrent of his tears) and sive and profound erudition. I was slowly stretching forth the palsied forcibly struck with a short, yet hand which holds it, begins the sen- beautiful character which he drew tence...“ Socrates died like a phi- of our learned and amiable country, Josopher"....then pausing, raising man, Sir Robert Boyle: he spoke of his other hand, pressing them both, him, as if “his noble mind had, clasped together, with warmth and even before death, divested herself energy to his breast, lifting his of all influence from bis frail taber. « sightless balls” to heaven, and nacle of flesh;" and called him in his pouring his whole soul into his tre- peculiarly emphatic and impressive mulous voice....but Jesus Christ.... manner,'" a pure intelligence.... like a God!....If he had been indeed the link between men and angels !"* and in truth an angel of light, the « This man has been before my effect could scarcely have been imagination almost ever since. A. more divine. Whatever I had been thousand times, as I rode along, I able to conceive of the sublimity of dropped the reins of my bridle, Massillon or the force of Bourda- stretched forth my hand and tried loue had fallen far short of the power to imitate his quotation from Rouswhich I felt from the delivery of this seau ; a thousand times I abandoned simple sentence. The blood which, the attempt in despair, and felt per. just before, had rushed in a hurri. suaded that his peculiar manner cane upon my brain, and, in the and power arose from an energy of violence and agony of my feelings, soul which Nature could give, but had held my whole system in sus- which no human being could justly pense; now ran back into my heart copy. In short, he seems to be als, with a sensation which I cannot de- together a being of a former age, or scribe ; a kind of shuddering, deli- of a totally different nature from the cious horror ! The paroxysm of rest of men. As I recal, at this blended pity and indignation to moment, several of his awfully strikwhich I had been transported, sub- ing attitudes, the chilling tide with sided into the deepost self abase- which my blood begins to pour along ment, humility and adoration! I had my arteries reminds me of the emojust been lacerated and dissolved by tions produced by the first sight of sympathy for our saviour as a fel. Gray's introductory picture of his low-creature ; but now, with fear bård. and trembling, I adored him as.... si a God !".
On a rock, whose haughty brow,
Frownis o'er old Conway's foaming “ If this description gives you the
flood, impression that this incomparable Rob'd in the sable garb of woe, minister had any thing of shallow, With baggard eyes the poet stood; theatrical trick in his manner, it (Loose his beard and hoary hair, does him great injustice. I have Streamed, like a meteor, to the trounever seen, in any other orator, sucli
bled air) an union of simplicity and m ijesty. And with a poet's hand and prophet'e He has not a gesture, an attitude,
fire or an accent to which he does not Siruck the deep sorrows of his lyre,
“Guess my surprise when, on my his laws. But the counsels of hea. arrival at Richmond and mentioning ven are above the ken, not contrary the name of this man, I found not to the voice of human reason; and one person who had ever before the unfortunate youth, unable to heard of James Walbell! Is it not reach and measure them, recoils strange that such a genius as this, from the attempt, with melancholy so accomplished a scholar, so divine rashness, into infidelity and deism. an orator, should be permitted to Godwin's glittering theories are on languish and die in obscurity within his lips. Utopia or Mezoraniaboast eighty miles of the metropolis of not of a purer moralist in words, Virginia ! To me it is a conclusive than the young Godwinian. But argument, either that the Virginians the unbridled licentiousness of his have no taste for the highest strains conduct makes it manifest, that if of the most sublime orotary, or that Godwin's principles are true in the they are destitute of a much more abstract, they are not fit for this important quality, the love of ge- system of things, whatever they nuine and exalted religion. Indeed might be in the republic of Plato. it is too clear, my friend, that this “From a life of inglorious indosoil abounds more in weeds of foreign lence, by far too prevalent among birth, than in good and salubrious the young men of this country, the fruits. Among others the noxious transition is easy and natural to imweed of infidelity has struck a deep, morality and dissipation. It is at a fatal root, and spread its pestilen- this giddy period of life, when a tial branches far around. I fear that series of dissolute courses have deour excentric and fanciful country- bauched the purity and innocence of man, Godwin, has contributed not the heart, shaken the pillars of the a little to water and cherish this uuderstanding, and converted her pernicious exotic. There is a no- sound and wholesome operations, velty, a splendor, a boldness in his into little more than a set of feverish scheme of morals peculiarly fitted starts, and incoherent and delirious to captivate a youthful and an ar- dreams, it is in such a situation that dent mind. A young man feels his a new-fangled theory is welcomed delicacy flattered, in the idea of as an amusing guest, and deism is being emancipated from the old, embraced as a balmy comforter obsolete and vulgar motives of moral against the pangs of an offended conconduct; and acting correctly from science. This coalition once formed motives quite new, refined and sube and habitually consolidated, “farlimated in the crusible of pure, wel, a long farwel” to honour, geabstracted reason. Unfortunately, nius and glory! From such a gulf however, in this attempt to change of complicated ruin, few have the the motives of his conduct, he loses energy ever to attempt an escape. the old ones, while the new, either The moment of cool reflection, from being too ctherial and sublime, which should save them, is too big or from some other want of conge- with horror to be endured. Every niality, l'efuse to mix and lay hold of plunge is deeper and deeper, until the gross materials of his nature. the tragedy is finally wound up by a Thus he becomes emancipated, in- pistol or a haltar. Do not believe deed ; discharged not only from that I am drawing from fancy; the ancient and vnigar shackles, but picture is unfortunately true. Few also, from modern fine-spun, tinseled dramas, indeed, have yet reached restraints of his divine Godwin. their catastrophe; but, too many are Having imbibed the high spirit of in a rapid progress towards it. literary adventure, le disdains tlie These thoughts are affecting and limits of the moral world; and ad- oppressive. I am glad to retreat vancing boldly to the throne of God, from them by bidding you adieu ; he questions him on his dispensa- and offering my prayers to heaven tions, and demands the reasons of that you may never lose the pure,