תמונות בעמוד

preaching on Society bill, making a distance, by water, of two miles : and old Mr. Dupuy told me, that when he preached from the balcony of the court house on Second street by the market, he could be readily heard by people in boats on the river-not perhaps to make out the sense, but to hear the sound. However, the words he taught them saying' were said to have been heard even at Gloucester point!”

Politicians will be glad to know something of a name which has become illustrious in their annals—that of Saint Tammany. There is an old story, that when the attorneys wanted a patron saint, and applied to the pope, the whole calendar was appropriated, and they could get no one but the d-.--We suppose that the active defenders of our rights and liberties, who figure with such fervent patriotism at town meetings, deemed it best to trust to no canonization but their own.

“ Bucks county is identified with another Indian of greatest fame, even of the renowned Tamanend, (or Tamané, as Penn spells his name,) the tutelary saint of our country! His remains repose by the side of a spring not far from Doylestown. A letter now before me from my friend E. M. says, "I have just returned from visiting the identical spot in which the celebrated Indian chief St. Tamané was buried. It is about four miles from this village, in a beautiful situation, at the side of an endless spring, which, after running about a furlong, empties into the Neshaminy,—the spot is worth visiting ; and the reflections it awakens is worth a league's walk ! Another letter says, 'I have discovered a large Indian mound, known by the name of the Giant's grave,' and at another place is an In. dian burial ground, on a very high hill, not far from Doylestown."

We notice two anecdotes singularly characteristic of the inquisitive and practical mind of Franklin.

“Charles Thomson, the secretary of congress, said he well remembered the circumstance of the first introduction of broom corn into our country. Dr. B. Franklin chanced to see an imported corn whisk in the possession of a lady, and while examining it as a novelty, he espied a grain of it still attached to the stalk. This be took and planted, and so we at length bave got it in abundance among us.

“ The yellow willow among us were introduced from a similar accident, as told me by T. Matlack, Mrs. D. Logan, and Samuel Coates. All in our state came originally from some wicker-work found sprouting in a basket-state in Dock creek. It was seen by Dr. Franklin, who took it out and gave the cuttings to Charles Norris of that day, who reared them at the grounds now the site of the Bank of the United States, where they grew to great stature."

As this work will in all probability go to a second edition, we will venture to call the attention of the worthy author to a few circumstances which will render it in some degree more valuable. We would, in the first place, beg him to forego his sentiments as to the inutility of dictionaries and grammars, at least in regard to the copier of his manuscript and the corrector of the press-for these men, it must be acknowledged, have shown no inconsiderable contempt towards Walker and Lindley Murray. As to the vernacular, however, we are less anxious, because we know that the learned Noah Webster, and various other men, famous in letters, have ventured upon numerous innovations, and our author may be but following their track in discarding the old fashioned guides to whom we have alluded ;

but we cannot think that it is consistent with the courtesy he generally displays, to transmute the languages and appellations of other nations in the manner he has ventured to do. Thus, when he names a sect of foreign philosophers, “ Rosie Crucians," when he christens a well known architect, Major L'enfent,” —when he puts such Latin as that at page 229 into the mouth of St. Luke—when he translates all three in one,” by “tria una in juncta"-when he designates a farmer by the mysterious synonym of a “terri cultore"-and, above all, when he finds out that Arcadia was in Nova Scotia, and that the Arcadians are now “an easy, gentle, happy, but lowly people, still to be found on the banks of the Mississippi near New Orleans,". we are bound by our duties as guardians of literature to protest, in the name of nations beyond the Atlantic, against this direct and positive invasion of their rights to their own languages, names and people. A revision, too, of the work, might save us from a reduplication of incidents, which, although they be, as we have acknowledged, truly interesting, might, perhaps, be remembered with a single perusal. There are, too, designations of illustrious individuals so obscurely made, as to tantalize a laudable curiosity—thus, what satisfaction is there in being told the sayings of our author's friend W. W. or the reminiscences of T. H. in regard to corn-fields in the suburbs :-“ honour where honour is due"-let us have the names of men whose words and memories are thus treasured up. If the size of the book be not deemed an objection, we would hint to our author, whether the collection of facts might not be still more extended—he has recorded at page 144, the overflowing of Pegg's meadows; undoubtedly, a little research might show us, that many other meadows have been overflowed before and since he tells us that in the year 1705, there was “a low dirty place in Market street near Dr. Hodgson's house”—that the scholars of Robert Proud used to play tricks with his wig—that in 1712 one of the kennels was full of standing water—that in 1726, two old wells were open at the Centre square—that in 1753, Spruce street was so much neglected by the city officers as to be impassable—that in 1765, died Margaret Gray, remarkable for having had nine husbands—facts such as these, illustrating as they do, the Annals of Philadelphia, are, indeed, the fruits of various and indefatigable inquiry—but let our author be assured, they are not limited to the number, great as it is, of those he has embodied in these pages-a rich harvest yet lies untouched before him, and we will venture to declare to him, that another volume of equal size, would scarcely contain all the interesting and similar facts which the patient labour of a few more years might acquire.

ART. V.-American Ornithology, or the Natural History

of the Birds of the United States, &c. By ALEXANDER Wilson. With a Sketch of his Life. By GEORGE ORD, F. L. S., &c. Collins & Co., New-York, and Harrison Hall, Philadelphia.

The reputation of Wilson's admirable work is now so justly established, as entirely to supersede the task of criticism ; our object in noticing it is rather to impart a knowledge of the author's life, and of his self-devotion in struggling to overcome the difficulties which beset every step of his progress in the achievement of his great undertaking. In the performance of this duty, we cannot do justice to his marked character and opinions without quoting largely from the letters and journals written amidst his wanderings, and now incorporated in the spirited biographical sketch of his life, prefixed to the present edition of his work.

Alexander Wilson was born in the town of Paisley, 1766, of parents in the humblest condition of life, who could barely afford to him the rudiments of education at the common school, when he was apprenticed to the trade of a weaver, at which he worked until he reached his eighteenth year. He evinced an early taste for literature, and being of a romantic temperament of mind, he spent much of his scanty leisure in reading, and in making verses. Disliking the confinement of the loom, he resolved to indulge his natural inclinations by wandering over his native hills and glens in the vocation of a pedlar, devoting much of his time to the service of the muses, rather than the profits of vending his merchandise. The genius of Burns had just burst upon his countrymen, and its fire enkindled such an ardent spirit of emulation in the breast of Wilson, that he determined, to use his own words, “ to make one bold push for the united interest of pack and poems.” Accordingly, he issued proposals for publishing a volume of his poetry, and sallied forth a second time, laden with commodities, in quest of customers and subscribers; but, although he failed in both designs, he yet found means to favour the world with a volume, entitled, “Poems, Humorous, Satirical, and Serious.” It passed through two small editions; but its success by no means satisfied the ambition of the author, who, in his riper judgment, had the good sense to condemn this youthful effort of his presumption. He now returned to his trade, as the more certain means of gaining a subsistence; but with a mind still intent upon poetic distinction, he sought and obtained an introduction to Burns; the interview was so far gratifying, that they separated with a promise of future correspondence, which was early interrupted by an incident sufficiently characteristic. Wilson boldly ventured to criticise a line in Tam O’Shanter, remarking, “ that there was too much of the brute in it.” The sensibility of the bard was justly offended, and he replied, “If ever you write to so irritable a creature as a poet, I beg you will use a gentler epithet than to say there is too much of the brute in any thing he says or does.”

About this period, the French revolution began to spread its infectious influence over the world, including the patriotic weavers of Paisley; misunderstandings arose between them and their employers, in which Wilson bore a conspicuous part, by arraigning the conduct of one of the latter, whose avarice and knavery were supposed to have rendered him obnoxious, in a galling satire, written in the Scottish dialect. The subject of his ridicule soon discovered and prosecuted the author for a libel; who was ignominiously sentenced to burn his verses with his own hands at the town cross, and to suffer a short imprisonment. He underwent the first part of the punishment surrounded by his abettors and admirers, who extolled him as a martyr to the cause of truth and honour.

Disgusted with his lot in life, and indignant against the oppressive effects of the laws of his native country, he resolved to seek for the enjoyment of liberty and better fortune in the United States; but to obtain the means of carrying this design into effect, he wrought unremittingly for four months at the loom, expending only one shilling a week to supply the demands of nature. Accompanied by his nephew, William Duncan, he arrived at New-Castle, from Belfast, on the 14th of July, 1794, without a shilling in his pocket, having slept upon the deck of the ship during the whole of the passage. Exulting in his release from a land which he considered enslaved by the aristocracy of wealth, he hailed his arrival in this country as the era of a new and brighter state of existence. Shouldering his fowling piece, he set forward on foot towards Philadelphia. He used afterwards to dwell with delight upon the impressions with which he beheld the first bird that presented itself to his view, as he entered the forests of Delaware. It was a red-headed woodpecker, which he shot, and thought it the most beautiful object of its kind he had ever seen. This little incident seemed ominous of his future pursuits in the new world. For some time he worked at his trade in the employment of Joshua Sullivan, near Philadelphia, in whom he ever after found a true friend. In 1795, he travelled through the state of New-Jersey in his old capacity of a pedlar, and met with some success. Afterwards he taught school at various places, and during a short vacation from his duties, he travelled on foot nearly eight hundred miles, to visit the Genessee country, for the purpose of seeing his nephew, who resided there, upon a small farm, which they had VOL. VIII. - NO. 16.



been kindly assisted in purchasing by a loan from his friend, Joshua Sullivan. The object of the purchase was to provide an asylum for his sister, the mother of his nephew, and her family of small children, whom poverty and misfortune had recently driven to this country.

At length, after various changes of abode, employed chiefly as a schoolmaster, he accepted a permanent engagement to teach the Union school, situated at Gray's Ferry, on the Schuylkill, a few miles from Philadelphia. His removal proved decisive of his future pursuits ; it was here that he contracted an affectionate intimacy with the venerable naturalist, William Bartram, and his family, whose residence and magnificent botanic garden were in the vicinity of the schoolhouse. Always a worshipper of the beauties of nature, his inborn taste was kindly fostered in the society and by the instruction of his friends. He soon discovered the imperfections of books on the subject of the birds of this country, by a comparison with the living objects themselves, and gradually acquired the skill of a naturalist. Although much of his time was spent alone in the solitary labour of teaching, he was happy in the enjoyment of many new sources of pleasure ; but after a time, he became restless, and his spirits suffered depression by ruminating upon the obscurity of the teacher of a country school. His friend, Mr. Lawson, the engraver, to whom he disclosed the gloomy state of his feelings, promptly administered relief, by advising him to renounce poetry and the flute, and substitute the amusement of drawing, as an employment better fitted to restore the equilibrium of his mind. His efforts in imitating sketches of the human figure were so unpromising, that he threw them aside in despair, when Mr. Bartram recommended a trial in drawing birds, and lent him his own specimens to copy after. The attempt was successfully made ; there seemed to be something magical in the pursuit, that aroused all the dormant energies of his nature, and he soon learned to lead the way in this beautiful art. His progress in natural history kept pace with his advancement in drawing, nor did he neglect to improve his qualifications as a teacher, by the most diligent study of various other branches of knowledge. It was not until the year 1804, that he thought of devoting himself exclusively to the pursuits of a naturalist, with a glimmering hope of giving to the world a complete work on American ornithology. He carefully examined the resources of his mind, and the many requisite branches of knowledge; the undertaking seemed hazardous; he pondered it for a long while before he ventured to mention it to his friends. At length he made known his views to Mr. Bartram, who freely expressed his confidence in his abilities and acquirements, but, with a full knowledge of his

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