« AnteriorContinuar »
mend, much less, inculcate Christianity. Novel writing has become a profession, and novel reading, a mania. The one caters, the others devour, like the shark, every kind of food that comes in their way, labelled, “A NEW NOVEL.” As this class of readers seldom consult the Bible, Query, would it not be well to foil the devil, by publishing it in piece meal, with the above label ? The name of the author presents the grand objection. I complain less of the name novel, than of quality and quantity. By being crammed with light and frothy trash, the mind, like the body with new cider, becomes affected with flatulency; a continuation of which, produces dyspepsia; this often results in dysorexia, and sometimes in dysthymia.
Novel writing, is imagination playing upon imagination. The writer is a veteran, inured to the service; the readers, less accustomed to fatigue, are more liable to be overworked, especially if young. The one knows and treats the subject as fiction; the others often treat it as a dreadful reality. As a convincing proof to me, that novels vitiate the taste, and destroy a relish for stronger food, I can turn my mind's eye to several, whom I have seen weeping over a novel, and have seen the same person sit under the most vivid description of the crucifixion of our Saviour, with stoic indifference; showing, clearly, that this kind of reading neither improves the judgment, nor leads to a true estimate of persons and things. The same persons would look pale, if asked to read Paley on the Mind, and be locked in the arms of Morpheus, by Locke on the Understanding.
Unsound and false thinking, often produce improper actions. Not unfrequently do weak-minded persons take the hero or heroine of a novel, as a pattern for imitation, and succeed about as well as a monkey would in distilling whiskey. The style of novels, some of them festooned with the gayest flowers of language, is calculated to give a disrelish for more solid and useful books; for habit is as quick to seize power, as an ambitious demagogue, and holds on with as much tenacity. If the Bible was read more, and novels less, it would be better.
OCCUPATION. The man who has no occupation is in a bad plight. If he is poor, want is ever and anon, pinching him; if he is rich, ennui is a more relentless tormentor than want. An unoccupied man cannot be happy-nor can one who is improperly occupied. We have swarms of idlers among us, the worst of whom are gentlemen idlers; that is, men who pursue no useful occupation, and sponge their way, often enjoying the luxuries of life, living upon the hard earnings of others—the cancers of community-pseudo patterns of bipeds—leeches on the body politic.
In this wide-spread and expanding country, no one need be without some useful occupation. All trades and professions are open, from the honest hod carrier, up to the highest place in the agricultural, commercial and mechanical departments, and from the humblest, but not least useful teacher of A. B. C., up to the pinnacle of professional fame. Those occupations that require manual labor, are the surest, most healthy, and most independent; surest, because they are more expansive; healthiest, because they give exercise to the physical powers; most independent because less exposed to the whims and caprice of public opinion. The two great professions, Law and Physic, are fearfully overstocked at the present time, and, melancholy as is the fact, parents are pushing their sons into this accumulating torrent, covered with floating wrecks, as indiscriminately as the Hindoos do their children into the Ganges. It is a sad mistake, an injury to the son, and to our common country. But a small portion succeed well, a few more make a mere living, but by far the largest portion struggle awhile with disappointment and poverty, and then go at some other business, or, what is more lamentable, become dissipated and ruined. Every boy should be taught some manual occupation, and every girl housewifery—no matter how rich the parents, or for what profession designed. Riches can be taken from us-our trade or occupation-never while we live. A profession may fail—we then know how to labor. I would especially caution parents against putting their sons to the profession of the Law. As people grow wiser and better, lawyers will be less needed. Physic has also lost much of its mystery-people are becoming their own physicians more and more. In the early history of our race, we read of neither lawyers or doctors, a strong hint that none were needed then-if the number of the former was now reduced three fourths, and that of the other one half, and the young flood dammed up for ten years, it would greatly increase individual happiness and the prosperity of our · country.
Had not office seeking become a kind of professional business, based upon impudence, and the rank and file monopolized by many who are void of true patriotism -men in leading strings—slaves of party leaders and reckless demagogues—some sympathy should be extended to the disappointed thousands, who swell the multitude at the seat of government. It would be but charitable to sympathize with those who are ignorant of the political machinery of party politics—and have been led there by the promise of some member for whom they voted-a promise, probably made to scores of others, for the purpose of obtaining their votes. Office seeking and office promising, are among the cankerworms that are preying on our body politic, and are causing serious mischief. The aspiring candidate, who thinks more of self than the glory and good of his country, obtains many votes, by selecting a number of pliant, plausible men in his district ; and promising each a slice from the wheat loaf, should he be elected. If he succeeds, they are encouraged to make a journey to head quarters—where they go, only to be disappointed, often spend the last dollar they can raise, and leave their families to suffer for bread. Scenes of distress, arising from such reckless promises, are of common occurrence, the authors of which, cannot be too severely censured.
Office seeking has become a game, in which the applicants are the pack, demagogues the players, and government, alias, the dear sovereign people, the table played upon. The secret of true wisdom consists in keeping out of the pack, living in sweet communion with your family, friends, and with the Author of all good. When virtue and genuine patriotism predominate, offices will seek good and competent men, who should answer the call, as a matter of duty, not of pleasure or profit. If corruption, intrigue, and duplicity, are the order of the day, it is useless for good men to enter the arena of applicants—they will be jostled out-have their names traduced, and their feelings mortified. Let them rather aid in clearing out the Augean stable, as the only means of safety, for themselves and our country.
'Tis with our judgments as our watches-none
If Pope wrote truly of the people at the time he penned the above lines, they were composed of different materials from those of the present day. A large portion of our people, in matters of high importance, especially political and religious, either carry dumb watches, do not wind them up, do not trust to them, or force them to run alike. Some big clock governs the mass around it. As it clicks, so they click-as it points the hour, the minute, the second, so do they. If the big clocks were all true to time, and all alike, there would be some sense and comfort in being governed by them—as it is, it would be well for us to look a little to our own timepieces, exercise our own judgments, and learn to think and act for ourselves. This would have a tendency to regulate the big clocks, put a check on