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Therefore, the soul does not exist in man, if it did not exist in his ancestral monad.
But that moral sense which enables us to perceive our relations to right and wrong,—that capability of abstract conception of truth and justice,—that consciousness of accountability as responsible agents,—that principle of veneration or religious sentiment,—all of which define the human soul as a distinct existence separate from the body, the mind, and the so-called moral affections of men and animals,—is “the most intense of all realities,” and is inseparably connected with the consciousness of our own existence.
It follows, then, if Mr. Darwin is conscious that he has a soul, he must either claim, in consistency with his hypothesis, that he has inherited it from his ancestral monad, or else, denying this, he must admit that Man came into existence by a subsequent creative fiat, when, by the breath of God he became a living Soul.
This admission would explode his whole hypothesis ; but there is no escape from the alternative, unless Mr. Darwin should take refuge in the grossest materialism, and maintain that the human soul is a property of matter, developed by organization.
We will conclude, by summing up, in a few brief words, what we have attempted to prove in the foregoing pages, viz : that Mr. Darwin's scheme cannot stand the three great tests of a sound hypothesis.
1st. His “Natural Selection,” dependent on chance, yet endowed with the attributes of a beneficent, discriminating creative agent, is not a vera causa, for there is no such thing in nature. It is purely an assumption and chimera of Mr. Darwin's imagination.
- 2d. The true unintelligent natural selection, which is dependent on physical law and external conditions, is incompetent to produce the phenomena he seeks to explain by his hypothesis.
3d. There is a known cause which is competent to produce these phenomena, and which is the only vera causa that can explain them, namely, an intelligent DIVINE CREATOR.
(To be continued.)
ART. II.-AMERICAN POETRY, OLD AND NEW.
The Columbiad, by JOEL BARLOW. Philadelphia : Fry &
Hamerer. 1807. The Poetical Works of Fitz-Greene Halleck. New Edition.
New York: D. Appleton & Co. 1865.
It is not much more than fifty years, since an eminent English critic,-we forget whether it was Brougham or Sydney Smith,—asked, contemptuously, “who reads an American book ?” The question has not been often repeated, and the most corrugated Briton would scarce venture to propound it now. But, at that time, it was certainly both a wicked and unwise one. It could only tend to awaken envious and malicious feelings between two nations of close kindred, and had, doubtless, no small influence in embittering the brief War which followed. At that time, we, Americans, could scarce be said to have any separate Literature. We had not learned,-for as yet there had been neither space nor occasion,—to divide the writers of England from our own. We considered Bacon and Shakespeare and Milton as much our countrymen, as if they had been born on the banks of the Hudson or the Potomac ; and had lived altogether in the eighteenth century. It was but short space before, that our principal Journalists had been born Englishmen; and two of them, Cheatham, in New York, and Dennie, in Philadelphia, were still living. The State papers and polished Essays, produced by the men of the Revolution, whether we consider force of argument or grace of style, compared advantageously with the best writers on the other side of the Atlantic. And we had vindicated, successfully in arms, the rights of which they had written the manifestos. Under such circumstances, and at such a time, to throw contumely upon successful effort, setting the snakes to bite Hercules in his cradle, was an unworthy office, especially when performed by one of our own kindred. It was seething the kid in its mother's milk ; killing us by means of one of our kindliest
affections. For, assuredly, in those times, and for long after, the weakest part in the American character was an unmeasured fondness and veneration for the language, laws and customs of the Mother country.
The offensive remark of the English critic, to which we have alluded, was, as we remember it, intended to apply only to the Poetry and artistic and professional literature of the day; and in so far, though ill-natured and unreasonable enough, might, under other circumstances, have been overlooked and forgiver. It was made before the age of Irving and Halleck and Bryant; when all we had to admire was the “ Columbiad," and the “ Conquest of Canaan ;” two productions which our own critics have recently vilified more effectually than any Englishman would have ever cared to do.* In the angry recrimination and bickering which followed the ill-timed taunt, its limitation was lost sight of, and bitter rejoinders were made, as if the whole body of American writers had been grossly slandered. In truth, the fault of the criticism was its lack of generality; for, with few exceptions, it applied as well to the light literature of England as to ours. And, had we waited but a few years, the authority of the greatest poet of the day would have settled this point for us. Lord Byron, in his “English Bards and Scotch Reviewers,” after belaboring soundly nearly the whole fraternity of his poetical contemporaries, condescends to acknowledge only four of them as brethren. This censure was, undoubtedly, prejudiced and severe, yet not altogether unreasonable or undeserved. The literary fervor which had arisen in England in the days of Dryden, Addison and Pope, had long since expended itself, and lost force by diffusion and over-growth. A class of minor poets had followed in the wake of these high-priests of the Nine, who are scarce remembered now. They were writers of verses, and good verses too, accurately measured, well sounding, well imitated, and on sensible subjects. But the remark is an old one, that civilization and refinement are not favorable to the inspiration necessary for great poets. The wonder has been that Milton, master as he was of so many languages, and possessed of so much knowledge, should, with so many fetters about him, have been able to write so simply and majestically as he did. The poets of whom we have spoken, who wrote Essays, Translations, Plays, Odes, and Elegies, between 1760 and 1805, are not the divinities worshipped by Englishmen now, and will soon be merged and lost in an immense brotherhood.like themselves. There is no hazard in saying, that the light literature of both countries, written in the interval we have mentioned, that is to say, between the times of Shenstone and Sir Walter Scott, as expressed in small books and Magazines, would be found now, by any unbiased critic, to be very much of the same order and kidney. The great splendor of English Poetry had grown wan, and lost much of its original freshness, some years before we were recognized as one of the independent nations of the earth. It may not be amiss or unprofitable to review some of its previous history.
* Atlantic Monthly for February; Article, — Connecticut Pleiades.'
A language can hardly be said to belong to any country in particular, until it has become the medium of all official, as well as ordinary intercourse, and is used by the courtier as well as the peasant. In this technical sense, we can scarce fix the exact time when English became our English. For, from the Nolumus leges Anglie mutari of the barons at Runnymede, down to the Defensio pro populo Anglicano of Milton, all the Acts of State, and much of the political and polemical discussions of the time, had been conducted in Latin. It is true, the Holy Scriptures had been translated into English, in the interim, and perhaps that epoch, or the end of Elizabeth's reign, may be appropriately taken as the beginning of the English, which we have now. But, however this point may be settled, we think there can be no doubt that about the end of the last century, the language had assumed its most certain and stable structure, and remained stationary for a longer period then, than it had ever done before, or perhaps ever will do again. From the time of the Norman Conquest, up to that of Shakespeare and Bacon, it had been in a state of progression and change, increasing its volume by derivations from Latin and Norman French, and changing its orthography and pronunciation, sometimes in conformity with one of these languages, and sometimes with the other.
Nor must we omit noticing another important feature which belonged to this period, and continued even later, or to the time of Pope and his contemporaries, which is, that thus far the study of Letters had been confined exclusively to the clergy, the nobility and gentry of the kingdom. It was for them only that books were written, and authors were supposed to address themselves always to intellects that had been subjected to some sort of preliminary culture. Even the political and polemical writing, in which the age between the reigns of Elizabeth and Anne had been so prolific, was directed solely to the learned. The common people understood only enough of it to keep what was technical in the right place, and apply epithets and distinctions to the right parties. But, between the end of the Civil Wars and the accession of William, the purpose and aim of men of letters underwent a most important and thorough change. In the long and bitter controversies about abstract principles of religion and government, which had arisen in England, as in other countries, out of the usurpations of the crown and the clergy, the voice of the people—held by the ancients with at least as much conceit as wisdom, to be the voice of God,-grew altogether too loud and powerful to be disregarded. In consequence, authors began to look for patrons as much among the lower as the upper ranks of society, and to write for the amusement, as well as the instruction of common people. Much of the disputation which had, hitherto, been carried on in the Latin tongue, or sanctioned by quotations from Roman authors, was now put forth in downright English. While, for the recreation of the more unlearned, there then first appeared light and taking Essays, like those which are still preserved in the pages of the “Spectator,” the “ Tatler," and the “Guardian," and which, though not much read now, were then almost necessaries at an English breakfast table.
As a very palpable consequence of this diversion of the purposes of literary men, the English Novel also appeared about this time, no longer twisted into Euphuism, or holding the lan