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inferences from the tenor of his discourse, or by representing his image as seen through the colored or magnifying media of their prejudice or their mavellousness. When we find reason to believe that we are possessed of such scriptures, we shall be ready to throw them aside, and shall deem it safer to feel our way in the dark, than to perplex ourselves with a light which we can never know when to trust.
We have indicated but imperfectly the contents of the volume under review. With a strict unity of plan and purpose, it discusses a great variety of theological topics, and shows a writer thoroughly versed in the multiform, yet shallow infidelity of the present generation, and in that deeper lore of sacred things, the neglect of which lies at the root of all the moral, social and political evils of our times. Among the subjects treated with peculiar ability, are the influence of Christianity on the condition of woman, its relation to domestic slavery, and the circumstances of its early diffusion in their bearing on the question of its divine origin, - on all which points the loose assertions of Newman are more than refuted, are thoroughly riddled, and scattered to the winds. We find it peculiarly difficult to make extracts from this work; for the separate conversations and essays are too long to be quoted entire, and too compact to be dismembered without doing them gross injustice. We shall be happy if what we have written should contribute to the wider circulation of a book which can hardly fail to profit those who read it, and cannot fail to edify those who stand in no need of its reasonings.
respondence of the American Revolution ; being Eminent Men to George Washington, from the laking Command of the Army to the End of his 14 Edited from the original Manuscripts
. By PARKS. 4 vols. 8vo. pp. 549, 554, 560, 555. Bosttle, Brown & Company. 1853. engaged upon his collection of Washington's writ
tl had in his hands a large mass of original
letters addressed to the chief by co-laborers in his public life. Mr. Sparks had copies taken, and availed himself of a portion for the illustrations of his great work contained in the notes and appendixes. There remained several thousands which had not been thus used. From these he has selected, for the present publication, about a thousand, from about a hundred and ninety writers. Appendixes to the first and second volumes, relating to the operations in Canada in 1775 – 76, those in Virginia and South Carolina in 1776, and those against Burgoyne and on Hudson's River in 1777, are made up of letters, about a nundred and fifty in number, which passed between the secondary actors of the time. These are principally copies from the originals, preserved among the papers of Generals Schuyler, Gates, Lee, Lincoln, Sullivan, Stark, Baron Steuben, and others.
There is no more delightful reading than such disinterred records of the thoughts and doings of the hour, in the correspondence of persons concerned in some great historical action, with their resurrection of long perished loves and hates, triumphs and griefs, of hopes and fears, proved baseless afterwards perhaps, but calling the strongest passions into play, and daguerreotyping them in the letter written as they swept across the scene. Before our day, history has set down the great result. That stands, for the present and coming ages, a thing ascertained and unchangeable. But time was, when it was only one element possible to come into act among the infinite uncertainties of the future. When brought about, it was through complex labors, devices, and anxieties, and through a working and counter-working of a vast variety of agencies. There is an indescribable charm in being carried back to the time and place where the thought of some sage or hero seems to have determined some great issue for future ages, and sharing with him the privacy where the problem was wrought out.
As authentic and trustworthy contributions to history, documents of this description have an authority beyond all others. The public and accredited hearsay of the time of which he is writing must answer the historian's purpose, when he can do 10 better. The newspaper statements, weighed together, and sifted with due caution, are worthy of his regard. Often, from peculiar circumstances, the journals and letters of private persons are entitled to full confidence; and oftener, they are good evidence of what was currently believed, and what is, therefore, more or less likely to have been true. But when Greene or Arnold writes to his superior officer that he has just fought a battle under such and such circumstances, or Morris communicates the state of the finances, or Jay the posture of a foreign negotiation, or Lee that of a question pending in Congress, there is an end so far to ignorance and doubt. The historian has nothing to do but to tell the tale as 't was told to him.
Such books are not only the best materials for history; they are a history more lively and fascinating than the more pretending compositions for which they provide materials. In them the writers appear, as they appeared and acted in life, not as wooden machines for grinding out the independence and prosperity of a commonwealth, but with the variety and human interest of individuals. The reader sees what he might reasonably have guessed, but what it is more agreeable to see, — that the function of giving him freedom was not divided among men all run in the same mould, — fortemque Gyan, fortemque Cloanthum, — but among men of the usual diversity of make, rash and timid, sanguine and saturnine, generous and suspicious, stern and affectionate, like any equal number of other people possessing qualities such as to bring them, at a critical period, into the front of affairs.
There is a beautiful dramatic variety of character in these volumes. Each writer is as different from every other as men in reality always are, but as formal history has not space to exhibit them, and as indeed history is not able to exhibit them, for the historian can draw no such spirited sketches as their own pens involuntarily trace of themselves. Here is a great gallery of portraits of historical men, self-delineated. The eye ranges over peopled walls. Near the entrance, it rests on a full length presentment of Hamilton, at twenty, beginning a succession of pictures of that rare genius, from the time when, an already famous boy, he became the favorite and confidential aid of the commander-in-chief, to that, when, having been
one of the controlling spirits in the Convention for framing the Federal Constitution, having largely helped to carry its adoption in the States by his essays in the Federalist, and set the ponderous machine going, with pendulum and weights, as Secretary of the Treasury, he retired from public life, thirtyeight years of age. There sits Hancock, grave, graceful, and stately, putting the first name, as President of Congress, to the Declaration of Independence, or writing to the General to “have it proclaimed at the head of the army.” There is the solid and gallant form of Knox, — “semper par negotiis, nec supra;" here the serviceable, prompt, punctilious tactician, Heath, always in good humor with himself, but never so much so as to prevent his taking his chief's rebukes in good part. There are the very effigies of the brave, hearty, upright, zealous, but rather scatter-brained Putnam; of the admirable Greene and Lincoln, the former the more capable of original combination, but, on the other hand, the less stoical and smooth in reverses, — both alike soldiers and patriots of the true metal and stamp; of Arnold, a man of endless resources, of brilliant capacities for action and influence of a soul volcanic with fires kindled in the abyss, stamped for greatness, had it not been for the disability of a congenital and essential scoundrelism. There is the high-born French youth, La Fayette, bending his shield, of Heaven knows how many quarterings, in reverential homage to his adoptive father, the soldier of poor republican America ; and the frank smile and close brow of Jefferson, already the same mystery that the future historian will find him. There is the dashing young dragoon figure of the younger Laurens, (the elder, we fear, must be allowed to pass for a failure,) and there, again, is the same fine form in the diplomatic circle round the royalty of France; while the port of the humbler Marion proclaims that all the chivalrous temper of the South does not run in the channels of her courtly blood. There is a double portraiture of poor Gates, first, when reaping at Saratoga the thick laurels which Schuyler and Lincoln, Arnold and Stark had sowed, he flew at the goal of the chief command, and would have jostled the Great American from his place, - next when, after the consummate and (but for Greene's admirable strategy) fatal blunder at
Camden, he was suing for indulgence with a mien almost as abject as formerly it had been confident and proud.
Schuyler's is a dignified, but a mournful figure. Justice was not done him in his own day. We doubt whether it has been done him yet. The old enmity between Dutch and English made him the object of a prejudice on the part of the New England troops, which a certain unfortunate hauteur of his own confirmed. But he was an able, as well as an honest, patriotic, disinterested man. It seems to have been a hard thing to deprive him of the command against Burgoyne, at the time when that step was taken. The harvesting of that field seems to have been fairly due to him, though allowance must be made for our being unable perhaps, at this day, fully to measure the discontent of those New England troops, on whom so much reliance was justly placed for the issue. And earlier, when ill health prevented him from assuming in person the conduct of the Canada campaign, a great game appeared to be in his hands, for his country and for himself.
“ Mad Anthony” Wayne shows himself in a frame of great method and sobriety. Stark stands out, not at all as the rude soldier, but as a man of calm good sense, and well-trained thought. The mercurial and accomplished Gouverneur Morris; the strenuous and magnificent money-king, his namesake, “reminding us,” says Mr. Pulszky, “ of the heroes of Cornelius Nepos;" the venerable Jay, inflexible, incorruptible, and patient as Washington; the generous Morgan, of lowly origin, but a true gentleman's heart; Chittenden, the yeoman Governor of Vermont, keeping her loving and loyal to the Union, under injustice keenly felt; George Clinton, a model, in those days, of intelligent and right-minded activity; Montgomery, resolute and sanguine, equal to any sacrifice or hardship, but those of baffled plans, and ill-disciplined and complaining soldiers; Sullivan, deserving far better success, once and again on the point of some great achievement, which just failed him; Madison, matured in early manhood to a placid, graceful, scholarly statesmanship; Charles Lee, whom Carlyle might call Junius-Dalgetty; the gorgeous group of foreign officers, - Steuben, with