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IMPERFECT SYMPATHIES.

I am of a constitution so general, that it consorts and sympathizeth with all things ; I have no antipathy, or rather idiosyncrasy in any thing. Those natural repugnancies do not touch me, nor do I behold with projudice the French, Italian, Spaniard, or Dutch.- Religio Medici.

That the author of the Religio Medici, mounted upon the airy stilts of abstraction, conversant about notional and conjectural essences ; in whose categories of Being the possible took the upper hand of the actual ; should have overlooked the impertinent individualities of such poor concretions as mankind, is not much to be admired. It is rather to be wondered at, that in the genus of animals he should have condescended to distinguish that species at all. For myself-earth-bound and fettered to the scene of my activities,

Standing on earth, not rapt above the sky, Iconfessthat I do feel the differences of mankind, national or individual, to an unhealthy excess. I can look with no indifferent eye upon things

persons. Whatever is, is to me a matter of taste or distaste; or when once it becomes indifferent, it begins to be disrelishing. I am, in plainer words, a bundle of prejudices—made up of likings and dislikings—the veriest thrall to sympathies, apathies, antipathies. In a certain sense, I hope it may be said of me that I am a lover of my species. I can feel for all indifferently, but I cannot feel towards all equally. The more purely-English word that expresses sympathy, will better explain my meaning. I can be a friend to a worthy man, who upon another account cannot be my mate or fellow. I cannot like all people alike.*

I have been trying all my life to like Scotchmen, and am obliged to desist from the experiment in despair. They cannot like me—and in truth, I never knew one of that nation who attempted to do it. There is something more plain and ingenuous in their mode of proceeding. We know one another at first sight. There is an order of imperfect intellects (under which mine must be content to rank) which in its constitution is essentially anti-Caledonian. The owners of the sort of faculties I allude to, have minds rather suggestive than comprehensive. They have no pretences to much clearness or precision in their ideas, or in their manner of expressing them. Their intellectual wardrobe (to confess fairly) has few whole pieces in it. They are content with fragments and scattered pieces of Truth. She presents no full front to them a feature or side-face.at the most. Hints and glimpses, germs and crude essays at a system, is the utmost they pretend to. They beat up a little game peradventureand leave it to knottier heads, more robust constitutions, to run it down. The light that lights them is not steady and polar, but mutable and shifting : waxing, and again waning. Their

or

That though he can show no just reason why
For any former wrong or injury,
Can neither find a blemish in his fame,
Nor aught in face or feature justly blame,
Can challenge or accuse him of no evil,
Yet notwithstanding hates him as a devil.

* I would be understood as confining myself to the subject of imperfect sympathies. To nations or classes of men there can be no direct antipathy. There may be individuals born and constellated so opposite to another individual nature, that the same sphere cannot hold them. I have met with my moral antipodes, and can believe the story of two persons meeting (who never saw one another before in their lives) and instantly fighting.

We by proof find there should be
'Twixt man and man such an antipathy,

The lines are from old Heywood's “Hierarchie of Angels," and he subjoins a curious story in confirmation, of a Spaniard who attempted to assassinate a King Ferdinand of Spain, and being put to the rack could give no other reason for the deed but an inveterate antipathy which he had taken to the first sight of the King.

- The cause which to that act compellid him Was, he ne'er loved him since he first beheld him.

conversation is accordingly. They will throw stops a metaphor like a suspected person in an out a random word in or out of season, and be enemy's country. “A healthy book !"—said content to let it pass for what it is worth. one of his countrymen to me, who had ventured They cannot speak always as if they were to give that appellation to John Buncle,-“ Did upon their oath—but must be understood, speak- I catch rightly what you said ? I have heard of ing or writing, with some abatement. They a man in health, and of a healthy state of body, seldom wait to mature a proposition, but e'en but I do not see how that epithet can be probring it to market in the green ear. They perly applied to a book.” Above all, you must delight to impart their defective discoveries beware of indirect expressions before a Caledoas they arise, without waiting for their full nian. Clap an extinguisher upon your irony, development. They are no systematizers, | if you are unhappily blest with a vein of it. and would but err more by attempting it. Remember you are upon your oath. I have a Their minds, as I said before, are suggestive print of a graceful female after Leonardo da merely. The brain of a true Caledonian (if I Vinci, which I was showing off to Mr. **** am not mistaken) is constituted upon quite a After he had examined it minutely, I ventured different plan. His Minerva is born in panoply. to ask him how he liked my BEAUTY (a foolish You are never admitted to see his ideas in

name it goes by among my friends)—when he their growth—if, indeed, they do grow, and are very gravely assured me, that “ he had connot rather put together upon principles of siderable respect for my character and talents” clock-work. You never catch his mind in an (so he was pleased to say),“ but had not given undress. He never hints or suggests anything, himself much thought about the degree of my but unlades his stock of ideas in perfect order personal pretensions.” The misconception and completeness. He brings his total wealth staggered me, but did not seem much to disinto company, and gravely unpacks it. His concert him.- Persons of this nation are partiriches are always about him. He never stoops cularly fond of affirming a truth-which nobody to catch a glittering something in your presence doubts. They do not so properly affirm, as to share it with you, before he quite knows annunciate it. They do indeed appear to have whether it be true touch or not. You cannot such a love of truth (as if, like virtue, it were cry halves to anything that he finds. He does valuable for itself) that all truth becomes not find, but bring. You never witness his equally valuable, whether the proposition that first apprehension of a thing. His under- contains it be new or old, disputed, or such as standing is always at its meridian-you never is impossible to become a subject of disputation. see the first dawn, the early streaks.—He I was present not long since at a party of has no falterings of self-suspicion. Surmises, North Britons, where a son of Burns was guesses, misgivings, half-intuitions, semi-con- expected ; and happened to drop a silly exsciousnesses, partial illuminations, dim instincts, pression (in my South British way), that I embryo conceptions, have no place in his brain, wished it were the father instead of the sonor vocabulary. The twilight of dubiety never when four of them started up at once to inform falls upon him. Is he orthodox-he has no me, that“ that was impossible, because he was doubts. Is he an infidel-he has none either. dead.” An impracticable wish, it seems, was Between the affirmative and the negative there more than they could conceive. Swift has hit is no border-land with him. You cannot hover off this part of their character, namely their with him upon the confines of truth, or wander love of truth, in his biting way, but with an in the maze of a probable argument. He illiberality that necessarily confines the passage always keeps the path. You cannot make to the margin *. The tediousness of these excursions with him-for he sets you right. His taste never fluctuates. His morality never * There are some people who think they sufficiently abates. He cannot compromise, or understand

acquit themselves, and entertain their middle actions. There can be but a right and

relating facts of no consequence, not at all out of the road

of such common incidents as happen every day; and this a wrong. His conversation is as a book. His

I have observed more frequently among the Scots than any affirmations have the sanctity of an oath. You

other nation, who are very careful not to omit the minutest must speak upon the square with him. He

circumstances of time or place; which kind of discourse,

company,

with more

people is certainly provoking. I wonder if an affected civility. If they are converted, why they ever tire one another ?-In my early life do they not come over to us altogether? Why I had a passionate fondness for the poetry of keep up a form of separation, when the life of Burns. I have sometimes foolishly hoped to it is fled ? If they can sit with us at table, why ingratiate myself with his countrymen by ex- do they keck at our cookery? I do not underpressing it. But I have always found that a stand these half convertites. Jews christiantrue Scot resents your admiration of his com- izing-Christians judaizing-puzzle me. I patriot, even than he would your like fish or fiesh. A moderate Jew is a more contempt of him. The latter he imputes to confounding piece of anomaly than a wet your “imperfect acquaintance with many of Quaker. The spirit of the synagogue is essenthe words which he uses ;" and the same tially separatire. B- would have been more objection makes it a presumption in you to in keeping if he had abided by the faith of his suppose that you can admire him.—Thomson forefathers. There is a fine scorn in his face, they seem to have forgotten. Smollett they which nature meant to be of- -Christians. have neither forgotten nor forgiven, for his The Hebrew spirit is strong in him, in spite of delineation of Rory and his companion, upon his proselytism. He cannot conquer the Shibtheir first introduction to our metropolis.— boleth. How it breaks out, when he sings, Speak of Smollett as a great genius, and they “ The Children of Israel passed through the will retort upon you Hume's History compared Red Sea !” The auditors, for the moment, are with his Continuation of it. What if the his

as Egyptians to him, and he rides over our torian had continued Humphrey Clinker ? necks in triumph. There is no mistaking

I have, in the abstract, no disrespect for him. B— has a strong expression of sense Jews. They are a piece of stubborn antiquity, in his countenance, and it is confirmed by his compared with which Stonehenge is in its singing. The foundation of his vocal excelnonage. They date beyond the pyramids. But lence is sense. He sings with understanding, I should not care to be in habits of familiar

as Kemble delivered dialogue. He would sing intercourse with any of that nation. I confess the Commandments, and give an appropriate that I have not the nerves to enter their character to each prohibition. His nation, in synagogues. Old prejudices cling about me.

general, have not over-sensible countenances. I cannot shake off the story of Hugh of Lincoln. How should they ?mbut you seldom see a silly Centuries of injury, contempt, and hate, on the expression among them. Gain, and the purone side,—of cloaked revenge, dissimulation, suit of gain, sharpen a man's visage. I never and hate, on the other, between our and their heard of an idiot being born among them.fathers, must and ought, to affect the blood of Some admire the Jewish female-physiognomy. the children. I cannot believe it can run clear I admire it-but with trembling. Jael had and kindly yet ; or that a few fine words, such those full dark inscrutable eyes. as candour, liberality, the light of a nineteenth In the Negro countenance you will often century, can close up the breaches of so deadly meet with strong traits of benignity. I have a disunion. A Hebrew is nowhere congenial felt yearnings of tenderness towards some of to me. He is least distasteful on 'Change—for these faces-or rather masks—that have looked the mercantile spirit levels all distinctions, as out kindly upon one in casual encounters in all are beauties in the dark. I boldly confess the streets and highways. I love what Fuller that I do not relish the approximation of Jew beautifully calls—these “images of God cut and Christian, which has become so fashionable. in ebony.” But I should not like to assoThe reciprocal endearments have, to me, ciate with them, to share my meals and my something hypocritical and unnatural in them.good-nights with them, because they are I do not like to see the Church and Synagogue black. kissing and congeeing in awkward postures of I love Quaker ways, and Quaker worship.

I venerate the Quaker principles. It does me if it were not a little relieved by the uncouth terms and

good for the rest of the day when I meet any phrases, as well as accent and gesture peculiar to that country, would be hardly tolerable.-Hints towards an

of their people in my path. When I am ruffled Essay on Conversation.

or disturbed by any occurrence, the sight, or quiet voice of a Quaker, acts upon me as a his word. He knows, if he is caught tripventilator, lightening the air, and taking off a ping in a casual expression, he forfeits, for load from the bosom. But I cannot like the himself at least, his claim to the invidious Quakers (as Desdemona would say)“ to live exemption. He knows that his syllables are with them.” I am all over sophisticated- weighed--and how far a consciousness of this with humours, fancies, craving hourly sym- particular watchfulness, exerted against a pathy. I must have books, pictures, theatres, person, has a tendency to produce indirect chit-chat, scandal, jokes, ambiguities, and a answers, and a diverting of the question by thousand whimwhams, which their simpler honest means, might be illustrated, and the taste can do without. I should starve at their practice justified, by a more sacred example primitive banquet. My appetites are too high than is proper to be adduced upon this occasion. for the salads which (according to Evelyn) Eve The admirable presence of mind, which is dressed for the angel, my gusto too excited notorious in Quakers upon all contingencies, To sit a guest with Daniel at his pulse.

might be traced to this imposed self-watchfulThe indirect answers which Quakers are ness-if it did not seem rather an humble and often found to return to a question put to them

secular scion of that old stock of religious may be explained, I think, without the vulgar constancy, which never bent or faltered, in the assumption, that they are more given to evasion Primitive Friends, or gave way to the winds and equivocating than other people. They of persecution, to the violence of judge or naturally look to their words more carefully, accuser, under trials and racking examinations. and are more cautious of committing them- “ You will never be the wiser, if I sit here selves. They have a peculiar character to answering your questions till midnight,” said keep up on this head. They stand in a manner one of those upright Justicers to Penn, who upon their veracity. A Quaker is by law ex- had been putting law-cases with a puzzling empted from taking an oath. The custom of subtlety. “Thereafter as the answers may resorting to an oath in extreme cases, sanctified be,” retorted the Quaker. The astonishing as it is by all religious antiquity, is apt (it must composure of this people is sometimes ludibe confessed) to introduce into the laxer sort crously displayed in lighter instances. I was of minds the notion of two kinds of truth- travelling in a stage-coach with three male the one applicable to the solemn affairs of jus- Quakers, buttoned up in the straitest non-contice, and the other to the common proceedings formity of their sect. We stopped to bait at of daily intercourse. As truth bound upon Andover, where a meal, partly tea apparatus, the conscience by an oath can be but truth, so partly supper, was set before us. My friends in the common affirmations of the shop and confined themselves to the tea-table. I in my the market-place a latitude is expected, and way took supper. When the landlady brought conceded upon questions wanting this solemn in the bill, the eldest of my companions discovenant. Something less than truth satisfies. covered that she had charged for both meals. It is common to hear a person say, “ You do This was resisted. Mine hostess was very not expect me to speak as if I were upon my clamorous and positive. Some mild arguments oath.” IIence a great deal of incorrectness were used on the part of the Quakers, for and inadvertency, short of falsehood, creeps which the heated mind of the good lady into ordinary conversation ; and a kind of seemed by no means a fit recipient. The secondary or laic-truth is tolerated, where guard came in with his usual peremptory noclergy-truth-oath-truth, by the nature of the tice. The Quakers pulled out their money circumstances, is not required. A Quaker and formally tendered it—so much for tea—I, knows none of this distinction. His simple in humble imitation, tendering mine—for the affirmation being received, upon the most supper

which I had taken. She would not resacred occasions, withont any further test, lax in her demand. So they all three quietly stamps a value upon the words which he put up their silver, as did myself, and marched is to use upon the most indifferent topics of out of the room, the eldest and gravest going life. He looks to them, naturally, with more first, with myself closing up the rear, who severity. You can have of him no more than thought I could not do better than follow the example of such grave and warrantable per- serious persons for the seeming injustice of sonages. We got in. The steps went up. their conduct. To my great surprise, not a The coach drove off. The murmurs of mine syllable was dropped on the subject. They hostess, not very indistinctly or ambiguously sate as mute as at a meeting. At length the pronounced, became after a time inaudible- eldest of them broke silence, by inquiring of and now my conscience, which the whimsical his next neighbour, “Hast thee heard how scene had for a while suspended, beginning to indigos go at the India House ?” and the give some twitches, I waited, in the hope that question operated as a soporific on my moral some justification would be offered by these feeling as far as Exeter.

WITCHES, AND OTHER NIGHT FEARS.

We are too hasty when we set down our - but that once assumed, I see no reason for ancestors in the gross for fools, for the mon- disbelieving one attested story of this nature strous inconsistencies (as they seem to us) more than another on the score of absurdity. involved in their creed of witchcraft. In the There is no law to judge of the lawless, or relations of this visible world we find them to canon by which a dream may be criticised. have been as rational, and shrewd to detect an I have sometimes thought that I could not historic anomaly, as ourselves. But when have existed in the days of received witchonce the invisible world was supposed to be craft ; that I could not have slept in a village opened, and the lawless agency of bad spirits where one of those reputed hags dwelt. Our assumed, what measures of probability, of ancestors were bolder or more obtuse. Amidst decency, of fitness, or proportion — of that the universal belief that these wretches were which distinguishes the likely from the palpa- in league with the author of all evil, holding ble absurd—could they have to guide them in hell tributary to their muttering, no simple the rejection or admission of any particular Justice of the Peace seems to have scrupled testimony?—That maidens pined away, wasting issuing, or silly Headborough serving, a warinwardly as their waxen images consumed rant upon them as if they should subpæna before a fire—that corn was lodged, and cattle Satan !---Prospero in his boat, with his books lamed—that whirlwinds uptore in diabolic and wand about him, suffers himself to be revelry the oaks of the forest—or that spits conveyed away at the mercy of his enemies to and kettles only danced a fearful-innocent an unknown island. He might have raised a vagary about some rustic's kitchen when no storm or two, we think, on the passage. His wind was stirring—were all equally probable acquiescence is in exact analogy to the nonwhere no law of agency was understood. That resistance of witches to the constituted powers. the prince of the powers of darkness, passing -What stops the Fiend in Spenser from tearby the flower and pomp of the earth, should ing Guyon to pieces—or who had made it a conlay preposterous siege to the weak fantasy of dition of his prey, that Guyon must take assay indigent eld—has neither likelihood nor un- of the glorious bait—we have no guess. We likelihood à priori to us, who have no measure do not know the laws of that country. to guess at his policy, or standard to estimate what rate those anile souls may fetch in the sitive about witches and witch-stories. My devil's market. Nor, when the wicked are maid, and more legendary aunt, supplied me expressly symbolised by a goat, was it to be with good store. But I shall mention the wondered "at so much, that he should come

accident which directed my curiosity originally sometimes in that body, and assert his meta- into this channel. In my father's book-closet, phor.- That the intercourse was opened at all the History of the Bible by Stackhouse ocbetween both worlds, was perhaps the mistake / cupied a distinguished station. The pictures

From my childhood I was extremely inqui

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