« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
ters, lively and healthy, and not always dying with the wa pors, as some of our town misses are.
By this time Charles had finished his dinner, and walked out a second time. Taking Billy with him, for fear of getting lost again ; he was passing the end of a street, which gave him a view of the harbor-see dare, said Billy, see de vessels, how tick da be. Let us go and view them, said Charles. It was a new scene. Here was the order of the tarpaulin frock, more ancient and useful than that of the garter, or the hare.
Here was also a variety of imports, natural, artificial, useful and ornamental, gathered from the free soil of America, the civilized coasts of Europe, the idolatrous shores of India, the stupid, ignorant regions of Africa, the cruel haunts of Turkish barbarity, the degraded, fallen kingdoms of Persia, Greece and Italy, the superstitious, murderous colonies of South America, the islands of the sea, and the uncultivated, savage retreats of the old and new world.
It would have been sufficiently entertaining, to have kept him much longer an attentive spectator, had he not heard such vollies of oaths, as to render his situation painful, and cause him to leave it with regret. What a pity, said be, as he turned away, that men so useful to the increase of our commercial interests, should allow themselves in the horrible practice of blaspheming the God, whose wonders they so often see in the great deep.
He walked slowly through several streets, some of which presented a better appearance, than those he had seen in the former part of the day. The houses were elegant, the shops numerous; the banks, insurance offices, and the crovided exchange, attracted his attention. Windows and doors hung over with articles useful, useless, coarse and fine, as an inducement to call and buy ; and whole files of shopping ladies with many questions, and little cash, were fingering the cambrics and the silks; and teazing sellers with flattering breath, were praising the cheapness, and fine quality of their own goods, and declaring those of their neighbors to be poor, and extravagantly dear.
When he had tired himself by walking, he returned to the place at which he dined, and soon sat out on his way to Mr. P's. Being a little out of the noise, Billy said, how does massa like de town? I must get a further acquaintance with it, replied Charles, and have time to weigh and com
pare, before I can answer this question. I may, however,
I saw some things agreeable enough, and others which were of a very different character. I think there must be many, very poor people in the place; for I observed a number of young females, who seemed to be so poor, they had no covering for their necks, and went with almost naked breasts; and I should think all their other clothing was but a very scanty gown, which was drawn close over them, because, poor creatures ! they had not wherewith to get a larger pattern; I took them to be beggars, ior they carried bags on their arms, to put in what people should give them.
O massa, said Billy, DESE BE DE BIG LADIES. Why, said Charles, do they go almost naked then ? 'Cause it be de fashion, said Billy. It was the fashion, said Charles, in my place of residence, for all that were able, to dress comfortably and decently. He said little more for the rest of the way, but deeply mus
what he had seen. The next day he wrote in diary, the following sensible observations.
YESTERDAY I visited the town. But my view of it is so superficial, that I am not prepared to give a just judgment concerning its character. Should I pass sentence of condemnation upon it, from what I saw, it would be no more reprehensible, than what we have given us as the true character of towns and cities, and even whole nations, by some travel lers. They are not unfrequently prepossessed in favor of their own nation, and against all others before they set out; and are often men of narrow minds, little benefitted by their education ; they pass hastily from place to place, making few enquiries, and not always of the best informed and most impartial men, or else adopt and write for truth, mere common reports, which may be partly true, partly exagerated, partly conjecture, and partly shire, fabricated falsehood.
Were I to be governed by prejudice, or judge hastily, I might represent the whole town as a mean and dirty place; made
up of crooked, narrow streets. But this would certain
ly be unjust. Though to me it appears there is want of energy, and impartiality, in the police, and marks of negligence and ill taste in first laying out, and building the town; yet there are parts of it, which, for the appearance of neatness and elegance, wealth and good manners, are exceeded by few, or none, in the United States. Impartiality will therefore require, that what is censurable, should be censured, and what is commendable, should be commended.
By the same hasty prejudice, all the children of this great metropolis, might be held up as profane and ill bred, setting religion and good manners at defiance. But who can do this without discovering the most culpable haste, or inveterate prejudice? That there should be some boys of the description I saw, is no more than may be expected. Some parents through ignorance or inattention, may have suffered their children to grow up, and act under the influence of a deprav. ed and uncultivated disposition; hence their conduct is precisely what one would imagine. Other parents may have erred in their manner of educating and governing, and thereby occasioned their children to break loose from all restraint; or, as it sometimes happens, other children may have violently overleaped the authority of the best of parents; and uniting with the ignorant and vicious, may have formed the class which I saw. But were I to be acquainted with the town in general
, should I not find children of both sexes as well bred, as virfuous, and of as good behavior as any in the world? There is certainly much reason to believe it, and it is equally certain, that it ought not to be disbelieved, without the most irrefragable proof. Candor and charity should predominate in the mind, when the character of individuals, or bodies of men is in question.
How readily, also, would a person under the dominion of prejudice, represent all seafaring men as filthy, profane and unprincipled. Though from what I have seen and heard, it may be justly considered a matter of lamentation, that so great a proportion of them, abandon themselves to the very degrading practice of swearing, and other vices; yet are there not to be found in this class, men of decent language, humane and christian feelings, honorable and sober habits ?
If 90, why ought not the line of discrimination to be drawn, and those spared from an unjust judgment, who deserve our esa teem? How many base misrepresentations had never seen the light, had all writers proceeded by this rule ?
Nor would it be less unjust, to pronounce the town under the influence of laughable ignorance, because a few inattentive or affected persons can be found in it, who talk of wessels, wisits, wirtue, and wapors; or because others may show different marks of a bad, or deficient education. Carelessness, and the mother dialect, may sometimes occasion a bad pronunciation, by persons possessed of good sense and learning. It was but a small part of the inhabitants that I saw, and I conversed with a still smaller part; how incompetent am I therefore, to judge concerning them; and should I hastily censure, how many would that censure fall on, who deserve well the name of intelligent gentlemen, or humble christians ?
And it would also be very unjustifiable, to exhibit all the sellers of the town as a company of knaves and pick pockets, because I found some of them trying to cheat the buyer by overrating their own goods and underrating those of their neighbours. That such practices are carried on, cannot be denied. There are knaves in all places, whether town or country, but what judicious person will from hence infer, that none act from the principles of honesty ?
And how much should I deserve the brand of public infamy, if I were to publish to the world, that there is not a modest female in the town; because some go about the streets half naked, to appear in what is called the fashion. It would be almost urexampled, if there should not be some levd and immodest females, who have wantonly bartered away the glory of their sex, and now make a glory of their shame ; nor is it strange, that some unthinking creatures should, without knowing from whenee they come, adopt the irnmodest fashions of the lend; which fashions were invented as SIGNS of CHARACTER; and that being adopted by such, they should go from one to another, though very indecent in the view of an impartial and modest spectator. Hence all are not to be condemned as daughters of Venus, who are drawn into the vortex of immodest fashions; though with the discerning and virtuous, they render themselves strongly suspected.
Wherever we see a sign up, we are at liberty to suppose there is a tavern ; at such places travellers usually call, even if they CANNOT get entertainment. How many virtuous fo. males have been attacked by unprincipled libertines, for no other reason, than because they had incautiously hung out the sign of an immodest fashion ; and how many have been conquered by the attack, who can tell ? Were 1 permitted,
therefore, to give my advice, I should do it in the language of the apostle, “ Let the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shame-facedness and sobriety.” But after all, I have reason to believe, modesty and virtue are not strangers there?
Nay, instead of the uncharitable sentence of prejudice and partiality, candor discerns among the different classes and employments of the metropolis ; those who, to true knowledge, and a praise worthy philanthropy, join the worship of the Supreme Being.
Among those may be found the consistent divine, whose pulpit labours are made estimable and powerful by a pious life. Who does not falsely imagine, that he ennobles the gospel and builds up the church, by decrying grace to exalt works
; nor by preaching grace, so as to sap the foundation of evangelical obedience ; nor yet does he set aside the atonement, to make way for human merit ; nor dwell so much on what is done for us by the atonement, as to cause his hearers to neglect what is to be done in them, by an application of that atonement. And though he believes in a religion which may be felt, he does not so cry up frames and feelings, as to give liberty to every enthusiast to follow bis own misguided fancy ; but while he preaches the stoical pharisee into feeling, and spiritual activity, and tells the saints that they may rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory; he binds the ranting visionary in the chains of scripture,
There may be also found, the real philosopher, who “looks through nature up to nature's God." His philosophy does not consist in an empty sound of words or unintelligible jargon. Willing to acknowledge the Creator and Governor of the universe, he does not bewilder himself and all his readers by metaphysical reasonings, to find out second causes for all events, so as to supercede the necessity of the FIRST
It is no part of his favourite system, to dignify na ture into a fancied god. His writings and conversation are not interspersed with sceptical doubts, atheistical or deistical cants against divine revelation ; in order to conduct his readers or associates the back way into infidelity. Nay, his knowledge of nature serves to exalt his ideas of God; in the variety and greatness of his works.
There dwells the son of science, whose learning has not made him so conceited as to reject the wisdom from above ; nor does he suppose it beneatb bim, to learn of Christ to be