North Carolina Newspapers

    Variety's the very spico of life,
That iives it all its flavor.
The Son of the I'orest. A l'ocm.
It is with pride and pleasure that we
hail the native talent which is bursting
out around us. American and for
eign reviewers had so long deplored
the deficiency of our literature, that
we had almost persuaded ourselves the
goddess of dulness had established her
leaden empire over us, and that this
fair land, the chosen abode of peace
and liberty, was nevertheless the clime
" where fancy sickens and where gen
ius dies." Thanks, however, to the
authors of the Spy, the Sketch Book,
and Yamoyden, in our own state, and
many others in the union, this reproach
seems likely to be taken from us. VVe
have it, on the authority of Dr. Beattie,
that it is difficult to " climb the steep
ascent where fame's proud temple
shines afar ;" but there are some ob
stacles in the author's path, which are
peculiar to this country. The contin
ual importation of foreign works, and
the lessened expense of their republi
cation, naturally command the atten
tion of the booksellers, who prudently
prefer publishing books which have
safely passed the ordeal of criticism,
to adventuring on the doubtful experi
ment of an unkown production. An
other disadvantage to a native writer,
is the decided taste for European works,
and the ungrateful and unjust contempt
with which American productions are
here regarded. It is a tact, that Amer
ican writers meet with most discour
agement, where they might reasonably
hope to find most favor, even in their
native land. Half of the trash which,
sanctioned by the title of English nov
els, circulates through the union, pay
ing its way as it goes, if it was of
American origin, would meet with the
contempt it deserves. A volume, of
the sickly manufacture of Miss Porter,
or one of the silly progeny of the Mi
nerva press, will fill the republisher's
purse while an American work of ten
times the merit, struggles slowly into
notice ; or perhaps dies, leaving its un
fortunate parent to defray the expenses
of its short career.
We would not be understood as
censuring the introduction of foreign
works, but the indiscriminate. praise
that is accorded to them, and the hasty
injustice with which native productions
are condemned. Was the author of
the Sketch Book so caressed and flat
tered till the English writers gave us
the cue ? How long would the works
of Brown have slumbered on the shelf,
if an English reviewer had not wiped
the dust of neglect from their leaves,
and given them the notice they merit
ed ? It is time to break the fetters of
this mental vassalage, and while we
enjoy the literary treasures of other
nations, remember to cherish those of
our own. There is also a disadvan
tage to authors, that applies too forci
bly to this state, and in mentioning it,
v.'e confess a feeling of mortification.
A work is praised or censured, as the
politics of the author may happen to
incline ; as if politics had aught in
common with works of imagination
or that the elevating influences of lit
erature should be debased, or destroy
ed, by the petty irritations of party
- Now, with these obstacles arrayed
against him, an author must be bold to
attempt, and fortunate to succeed in
gaining public notice. A few stout
hearts have, however, dared to enter
the lists of fame, and while some have
gone down to oblivion in silence, oth
ers are entitled from their merits to
ujd and commendation. That the au
thor of Ontwa ranks in this class, we
hope that our readers who have read,
and those whom our extracts may
tempt to read the poem, will agree with
The subject of the story is an In-.
diar. tradition, of the extirmination
of the Eries by the Iroquois. The
poem was composed among the scenes,
where the events are supposed to have
occurred, of which circumstance the
freshness and spirit of the descriptions
give happy evidence. The subject was
not without its difficulties : to render
the narrative interesting, without tres
passing on probability ; to give the
character of the savage its Indian tints,
without painjing him ferocious ; and to
represent the softer shades without
violating the keeping of the picture,
required a skilful hand. We do not
.wv that the author of Ontwa has done
all this, for wc do not mean to give our
praise in unqualified terms, but we
freely contribute our share of commen
dation for the beauty of this poem.
The story, though simple, is interest
ing, the incidents are natural and ap
propriate, and the characters well
drawn. The author has been unfor
tunate in the choice of the measure,
which, exclusive of its being hackney
ed and Worn out, neither admits of
majesty, nor full-toned melody. Both
in his descriptions and his verse, he has
fixed his eye on Scott's writings ; and
we are sorry for it, because he is a
faulty model. Young poets should es
pecially of studying from in
ferior masters, or of acquiring the slip
slop, sloven air, of the poetry of the
present day. Let them turn back to
the vigorous, sparkling style of Dry-
den, and by making his art of poetry
their manual, endeavor to escape the
errors, which he well knew how to per
ceive, though he would not take the
pains to correct them in his own poems.
Nor has our author availed himsclt of
the only advantage Scott's measure
possesses, that of varying his verse,
the sameness of which leads sometimes
to monotony. The superiority of that
part of the poem, where the warriors
recite their past exploits, is a strong
proof of this assertion. Escaped from
the trammels of the measure he had
imposed upon himself, his verse be
comes spirited and easy.
Ontwa is supposed to relate his his
tory to a missionary, whose pious zeal
had led him to these trackless woods.
The description of the scenes through
which he passed, till he arrived at the
falls of St. Anthony, forms the intro
duction to the poem, and in it some of
the finest passages occur. He thus
speaks of a range of islands and rocks,
called the Grand Traverse, at the mouth
of Green Bay :
' I askM the red man for my g-uule ;
He Lumch'il his bark on Krie's tide,
Through all the liquid chain we ran,
O'er Huron's wae and Michi'g-an, j
Veering among" her linked isles '
Where the mechanic beaver toils,
Still floating on, in easy way I
Into her deep indented lay,f j
Through rocky isles whose bolder forms
Are chafed anil frittcrU down by storms,
And, worn to steeps of varying &hape
That architectural orders ape,
Show ruin'd column, arch and niche,
And wall's dilapidated breach ;
"With ivy hanging from above,
And plants below, that ruins love,
Drooping in melancholy grace
On broken frie and mould'ring base.'
At last wc reach the narrow mound
The wide diverging waters bound
Where, almost mingling as they glide
In smooth and counter-current tide,
Two rivers turn in sevcr'd race,
And flow, with still enlarging space,
Till one rolls down beneath the north
And pours its icy torrents forth,
."While glowing as it hurries on
The other seeks a southern zone.
Here, as the heaven dissolves in showers,
The boon on either stream it pours,
And the same sunbeams, as they stray,
On both with light impartial play ;
lint onward as each current hies,
New climes and sunder'd tropicks rise,
And, urging, growing, as they run,
Each follows down a varying sun,
Till, o'er her tepid Delta spread,
The Michi-sipi bows her head,
While Lawrence vainly strives to sweep
His gelid surface to the deep.
Scarce did the low and slender neck
The progress of our passage check ;
And ere our bark which, dripping, bore
The marks of rival waters o'er
Had lost in air its humid stain,
'Twas launch'd, and floating on again
pp. 1114.
At thc'falls of St. Anthonv, the mis
sionary meets the wandering Ontwa,
. . ..... ,
who, sootnecl by his kindness, tells nis
4 tale of many woes.' But it would be
unjust to omit the description of this
celebrated fall.
' Why checks my guide on yonder rise,
And bends to earth in mute surprise,
As the Great Spirit of the air
Had burst upon his vision there ?
Twas the vast Cataract that threw
Its broad effulgence o'er his view,
Like sheet of silver hung on high
And glittering 'ncath the northern sky.
Nor think that Pilgrim eyes could dwell
On the bright torrent as it fell,
With soul unawed. We look'd aboc
And saw the waveless channel move,
Fill'd from the fountains of the north
And sent through varied regions forth,
Till, deep and broad ami placid grown,
It comes in quiet beauty down
Unconscious of the dizzy steep
O'er which its current soon must sweep.
The e ye hung shudd'ring on the brink,
As it had powerless wish to shrink,
Then instant sunk, where mid the spray,
All the bright sheet in ruin lay.
The tumult swells, and on again
The eMiii waters roll amain,
Still foaming down in an angry pride,
'Now called the P.cavcr Islands in Lake Mi-
chi-cgan, (or Grcut Lake,) as named by the na
f Called Green Hay, whose mouth is almost
closed by a chain of islands, called the Grand
Traverse. Their sides arc high, rocky, and bold ;
and, being of limestone, have been worn into a
thousand fantastic shapes, which, even without
the aid of fancy, assume the appearances dc
jeribedin the text.'
TUl mingling rivers Smooth its tide. i
Nor did the isle, whose promont wedg:
Hangs on the torrent's dizzy edge,
Escape the view ; nor sister twin
That smiles amid the nether din
Closed in the raging flood's embrace,
And free from human footstep's trace ;
Where the proud Eagle builds his throne,
And rules in majesty alone.' pp 16 18.
7'o be concluded.
In passing through Lake Pepin, our
interpreter pointed out to us a high
precipice, on the east shore of the lake,
from which an Indian girl, of the Sioux
nation, had many years ago, precipita
ted herself in a fit of disappointed love.
She had given her heart, it appears, to
a young chief of her own tribe, who
was very much attached to her, but
the alliance was opposed by her pa
rents, who wished her to marry an old
chief, renowned for his wisdom and
influence in the nation. As the union
was insisted upon, and no other way
appearing to avoid it, she determined
to sacrifice her life in preference to a
violation of her former vow, and while
the preparations for the marriage feast
were going forward, left her father's
cabin, without exciting suspicion, and
before she could be overtaken, threw
herself from an awful precipice, and
was instantly dashed to a thousand
pieces. Such an instance of sentiment
is rarely to be met with among barba
rians, and should redeem the name of
this noble-minded girl from oblivion.
It was Oo-la-i-ta.
Schoolcraft's Journal.
" One of the most striking instances
of the amazing influence which the
imagination possesses, not over the
feelings" merely, but upon the actual
state and functions of the bodily or
ganization, is related by professor
Hufeland; this case is so interesting,
and, we may add, so instructive, that
we are tempted, notwithstanding its
length, to lay it before our readers.
" A student at Jena, about 16 years
of age, having a weak and irritable
nervous frame, but in other respects
healthy, left his apartments during twi
light, and suddenly returned with a
pale dismal countenance, assuring his
companion that he was doomed to die
in thirty-six hours, or at 9 o'clock on
the morning of the second day. This
sudden change of a cheerful young
mind, naturally alarmed his friend ;
but no explanation was given of its
cause. Every attempt at ridiculing
this whimsical notion was fruitless,
and he persisted in affirming that his
death was certain and inevitable. A
numerous circle of his fellow-students
soon assembled, with a view to dispel
those gloomy ideas, and to convince
him of his folly, by arguments, satire
and mirth. He remained, however,
unshaken in his strange conviction ; be
ing apparently inanimate in their com
pany, and expressing his indignation
at the frolics and witticisms applied to
his peculiar situation. Nevertheless,
it was conjectured that a calm repose
during the night, would produce a
more favorable c.iange in his fancy ;
but sleep was banished, and the ap
proaching dissolution engrossed his at
tention during the nocturnal hours.
Early next morning, he sent for pro
fessor Hufeland, who found him em
ployed in making arrangements for his
burial ; taking an affectionate leave of
his friends ; and on the point of conclu
ding a letter to his father, in which he
announced the fatal catastrophe that
was speedily to happen.
u After examining his condition of
mind and body, the professor could
discover no remarkable deviation from
his usual state of health, excepting a
small contracted pulse, a pale counte
nance, dull or drowsy eyes, and cold
extremities : these symptoms howev
er, sufficiently indicated a general spas
modic action of the nervous system,
which also exerted its influence over
the mental faculties. The most seri
ous reasoning on the subject, and all
the philosophical and medical elo
quence of Dr. Hufeland had not the
desired effect ; and though the student
admitted that there might be no osten
sible cause of death discoverable, yet
this very circumstance was peculiar to
his case ; and such was his inexorable
destiny, that he must die next morning,
without any visible morbid symptoms.
In this dilemma, Dr. Hufeland propos
ed to treat him as a patient. Polite
ness induced the latter to accept of
such offer, but he assured the physician
that medicines would not operate. As
no time was to be lost, there being on
ly twenty-four hours left for his life,
Dr. Hufeland deemed proper to direct
such remedies as prove powerful exci
tants, in order to rouse the vital ener
gy of his pupil, and to relieve him
from his captivated fancy. Hence he
prescribed a strong emetic and purga
tive ; ordered blisters to be applied to
both calves of the legs, and at the same
time stimulating clysters to be admin
istered. Quietly submitting to the
Doctor's treatment, he observed, that
his body being already half a corpse,
all means of recovering it would be in
vain. Indeed, Dr. Hufeland was not
a little surprised, on his repeating his
visit in the evening, to learn that the
emetic had but very little operated, and
that the blisters had not even redden
ed the skin. The case became more
serious, and the supposed victim of
death began to triumph over the incre
dulity of the professor and his friends.
" Thus circumstanced, Dr. Hufeland
perceived, how deeply and destructive
ly that mental spasm must have acted
on the body, to produce a degree of
insensibility from which the worst con
sequences might be apprehended.
All the inquiries into the origin of this
singular belief had hitherto been unsuc
cessful. Now, only, he disclosed the
secret to one of his intimate iriends, j
namely, that on tne preceding evening
he had met with a white figure in the
passage, which nodded to him, and, in
the same moment, he heard a voice ex
claiming 44 The day after to-morrow,
at nine o'clock in the morning, thou
shalt die !" He continued to settle his
domestic affairs ; made his will ; mi
nutely appointed his funeral ; and even
desired his friends to send for a cler
gyman ; which request, however, was
counteracted. Night appeared, and
he began to compute the hours he had
to live, till the ominous next morning.
His anxiety evidently increased with
the striking of every clock within hear
ing. Dr. Hufeland was not without
apprehension, when he recollected in
stances in which mere imagination had
produced melancholy effects ; but, as
every thing depended on procrastina
ting, or retarding that hour in which
the event was predicted ; and on ap
peasing the tempest on a perturbed
imagination, till reason had again ob
tained the ascendancy, he resolved up
on the following expedient : Having a
complaisant patient, who refused not
to take the remedies prescribed for
him, (because he seemed conscious of
the superior agency of his mind over
that of the bod),) Dr. Hufeland had
recourse to laudanum, combined with
the extract of hen-bane ; twenty drops
of the former, and two grains of the
latter, were given to the youth, with
such effect, that he fell into a profound
sleep, from which he did not awake till
eleven o'clock the next morning. Thus,
the prognosticated fatal hour elapsed ;
and his friends, waiting to welcome the
bashful patient, who had agreeably dis
appointed them, turned the whole af
fair into ridicule. The first question,
however, after recovering from this ar
tificial sleep, was " What is the hour
of the morning?" On being inform
ed that his presages had not been veri
fied by experience, he assured the com
pany that all these transactions appear
ed but a dream. After that time, he
long enjoyed a good state of health,
and was completely cured of a morbid
"Had this youth fallen into less sa
gacious hands, the event would, it is
more than probable, have answered to
the prediction ; and the occurrence
would have stood as irrefragable evi
dence of that creed which imagines
that the times have not long since pass
ed of individual and immediate com
munication between the world of sense
and the world of spirits. How the
fancy originated, it is difficult to say ;
but it is not less difficult to explain the
nhenomena of dreams."
In the reign of George II. the sec of
York falling vacant, his majesty being at
a loss for a fit person to appoint to the ex
alted situation, asked the opinion of the
Rev. Dr. Mountain, who had raised him
self by his remarkably facetious temper
from being the son of a beggar to the see
of Durham. The Doctor wittily replied,
" Hadst thou faith as a grain of mustard
seed, thou wouldst say to this Mountain
(at the same lime laying his hand on his
breast, be removed and be thou cast into
the sea (see.)" His Majesty laughed
heartily, and forthwith conferred the pro
ferment on the facetious doctor.
He who will not be cheated a little,
will be abused a great deal, and by that
means suffer no less in his fortune, than
in his reputation : our first lesson, there
fore, in the art of economy, should ev
er be to learn how to permit ourselves
to be properly imposed on, in due pro
portion to our situation and crrcum
There is perhaps no mistake more
common and dangerous than that which
is generally entertained in regard to
conscience. Nothing is more com
mon than to hear men say, thank God,
I do nothing for which my conscience
condemns me ; while at the same time
they are living in the practice of those
things which are not only condemned
by the law of God, but by the reason
and judgment of those whe have a ve
ry moderate standard of morals.
What, in fact, is conscience ? It is
an internal monitor implanted in us by
our Creator, teaching us, infallibly, the
moral turpitude and rectitude of things ?
If so, how is it that it teaches so differ
ently and contradictorily in different
persons, and especially in different ages
and parts of the world ? The poor In
dian who plunges his infant in the wa
ters of the Ganges, and offers it as an
acceptable service to God pleads the
excuse of his conscience. The Druids'
Qf Qj whQ set annually an immense
fijrUre of a wicker man, in the texture
of which they entwined above a hun
dred human victims, and consumed the
whole as an offering to their God,-plead-ed
their conscience. And St. Paul
thought verily that he was doing God
service when he was, before his con
version, slaying his fellow creatures.
In short, there is no crime, nor super
stition, however gross or cruel, which
has not been acted under the sanction
of conscience. Can that, then, be a
safe guide which has led its votaries to
such issues ?
What is generally called conscience
is in fact nothing more or less than the
force of education or custom or consti
tutional predisposition. Often it is the
same thing as a man's wishes. He
chooses out to himself the course of in
dulgence suited to his inclination, and
then accommodates his conscience to
his determination, either by drugging
it with opiates, or by perverting it with
false reasonings and examples. In
these cases, conscience either loses the
power of action, or, becoming a cow
ard, will not have boldness to accuse
what it has not resolution to prevent, or
like a judge in court, surrounded by
false witnesses and corrupt counsellors,
will be led to pass a false verdict.
Who among us has not reason to
tremble, when we see the daring atheist
the impious blasphemer, the hardened
murderer going out of the world with
a shocking and stupid insensibility,
which he dignifies with the name of a
good conscience I .Who will say, that
conscience is to be trusted, when it per
mits and sanctions every day such gross
outrages ?
In man's primeval innocence, con
science held out a pure and perfect law,
and its dictates wrere a sure comment
upon the question of his conformity to
the moral standard. But it has shared
the fate of all the faculties in the gen
eral wreck of human nature. It lies
buried under the ruins of the fall. Its
lights are extinguished, its energies im
paired, and its vibrations, if felt at all,
are no longer the true monitors of du
ty. It is only when touched by the
regenerating power of the cross, that
it can give us any sure and distinct
notices ; and even then, it is not suffi
cient to inform us of our duty. It on
ly approves or disapproves, according
to a rule previously made known. The
word conscience, by virtue of its de
rivation, signifiies to know together
with another. Thus, conscience, when
forming a harmonious concurrence
with the scriptures, becomes a useful
and important auxiliary. The circum
stance of our thinking aright depends
upon so many and various contingen
cies of education, of custom, of cli
mate, and of constitutional tempera
ment, (and conscience, as followed by
the world, at last is nothing more than
this,) that it would seem unjust to sup
pose that God would have left us to
grope, our way through these tortuous
and perplexing mediums to the knowl
edge of our duty. dr. wilmer.
Ager said, " give me neither poverty
nor riches ; and this will ever be the prayer
of the wise.' Our incomes should be
like our shoes if too small, they will 'all
and pinch usr but, if too large, they will
cause us to stumble and to trip. But
wealth, after all, is a relative thing, since
he lhat has little, and wants less, is richer
than he that has much, but wants more.
True contentment depends not upon what
we have, but upon what we would have ;
a tub was large enough for Diogenes, but
a yorju; was top little fcr Alexander.

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