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dialogue in it-a more difficult task than narrative. Some remarks on ancient poetry are very good. From a descriptive piece of some length, “Early Morning,” we will extract the concluding remarks as one of the frequent evidences of a healthy appreciation of their own advantages which we meet throughout this publication.
“ But this is all anticipation; and although the air is far more mild and soft than it has been, it is still chilly enough to remind me of my protracted meditation; yet I could not but muse awhile on the pleasures of early rising, and wonder that so many are averse or indifferent to its various attractions. Our purest and best feelings are aroused at such times; we rise from earth, and walk, as it were, among the stars, and hold communion with their spiritual inhabitants; and then we feel more forcibly our connection with beings of a higher sphere.
Many there are who seldom witness the glory of the rising sun, or feel the pure refreshing breeze of a morn like this. Placed by affluence in situations where they are not required to labour from morning till night to earn their daily food by constant industry, and yielding to the sluggish feelings of our nature, they devote the earliest and most beautiful hours of day to unconscious sleep. In this respect the in. dustrious working classes possess an advantage over them. They rise with the lark, and with hearts rightly attuned to enjoy the beauties of nature, they acquire energy of character to prosecute and persevere in all their undertakings; and they feel a spirit of honest independence as they look abroad on the beautiful earth, and realize that they can supa port themselves by their own efforts.
And many a factory girl, besides knowing this, has the sweet consciousness of having assisted others, and added to their happiness. And are they not rewarded? Yes, the smiles of an approving conscience are theirs, and they retire to the couch of rest, with as contented a spirit—their dreams are as pleasant—their slumbers are as refreshingand they rise at early dawn to attend to their daily avocations, with as light and buoyant hearts, and as pleasing expectations of the futureas those who do nothing but spend money, and misspend time. Nor would I exchange the blithe spirits of an early riser, although a factory girl, for the pleasures of a fashionable devotee of late hours at night, and still later hours in the morning.
“ E. E.T.” These extracts are a very fair specimen of the whole, as there is less difference in the merit of the contributions than is usual in similar collections. They bear to us the marks of being the result of cultivation, not of spontaneous growth. The Improvement Circles have, probably, called forth the first essays of the writers, to cease, most likely, with their connection with Lowell. In the meantime they will have benefitted much by their efforts. Nothing overcomes that great obstacle to mental advancement, indistinct conceptions, so well as endeavouring to communicate our ideas to others, and we would encourage the attempt, whether in the nursery the elder child first exercises his drawing powers in rude illustrations for his lecture on astronomy, and the younger, unable yet to read, in his turn calls his observations on the habits of his pet guineapig, by the grand name of Natural History; or the young man collects and condenses information on some subject which, though it has been better discussed fifty times before, would in no other
way have become so completely his own; or the female operative is ambitious to contribute her share to the amusement of the Improvement Circle, or the pages of the Lowell Offering.
We trust that these favourable effects will not be counteracted by an erroneous estimate of the Offering. Its great value is as a means of improvement to the Lowell operatives, and a proof of the state of the mental cultivation of a flourishing manufacturing town. We do not fear its interfering with more standard reading, and its remarks will be perused by many to whom longer moral essays would be an unattempted labour.
The Offering indicates a degree of character as well as cultivation in its contributors, we should not expect to meet with among the same class in this country.
They are mostly the daughters of farmers, owning their own farms, and have had their intellects exercised and matured, by the variety of work and fertility of resources necessary in a newly-settled and thinly-populated country.
Some are the daughters of ministers of religion. All have received a good education before they came. The law of Massachusetts requiring every child, under fifteen years of age, to spend three months of each year at school, appears to be rigorously enforced, and must have its effect both upon the general state of intelligence, and in keeping before the public mind the value and duty of education. Indeed, we doubt if the chief value of many laws does not lie rather in the impression silently made upon the public mind of certain duties being imperative, than in any positive results we can, with certainty, trace to their direct operation. How far the public opinion, which is now the effective guard of some of our most valued institutions, owes to law much of that very strength which seems to render such support unnecessary, is a question of great interest and not of very easy solution.
Úpon the whole, such a view of the comparative state of the
American and the English manufacturer, as is here brought before us, ought surely to awaken the anxious attention of the British people. A large American population are congregated together in manufactories, conducting a profitable business,—the operatives, taken as a mass, religious, moral, intellectual, and healthy. Will England, Christian England, rest satisfied till, in right good earnest, and with a holy zeal, disinterested efforts are made to improve the physical and moral condition of our manufacturing population, by the removal of restrictions, and by a generous and enlightened system of Education ?
Art. II.—THOUGHTS ON THE PRESENT TENDEN
CIES OF CIVILIZATION.
Spe trepido: haud unquam vidi tam magna daturos,
LUCAN, viii. 297-9.
Two forms of civilization have in different ages and in different countries existed in the earth, strikingly distinguished from each other in their principle and their effects.* In the one, the entire direction of society—the exclusive superintendence of its mental and spiritual interests, and, through that, the ultimate control of government, of jurisprudence, and even of material industry—has been confided to an independent and irresponsible priesthood, claiming a direct derivation of its authority from heaven, and holding the rest of mankind in slavish subjection. In the other, we find the order of social relations reversed; the priesthood subdued; the civil power invested with supreme authority in its place; and the cultivation of knowledge, and the exercise of religion, taken out of the hands of an exclusive caste, and left—under the sanction of the laws—with more or less freedom of speech and action, according to the political constitution of society—to the spontaneous efforts of those classes which enjoy the rank and privileges of citizens. For an immense period of time, long before the commencement of authentic history, the inhabitants of the most favoured regions of the earth appear to have subsisted under the first of these forms of civilization, and to have attained under it to a very remarkable degree of wealth, industry and social tranquillity, and of skill in the practical arts of life. The valley of the Nile, the alluvial plains of the Euphrates and Tigris, of the Oxus, the Indus and the Ganges,—in the new world, the regions of Mexico and Peru, and perhaps, at a period anterior to the ascendancy of the Hellenic and the Roman races, the peninsulas of Greece and Italy—were once the seats of this sacerdotal culture; present to us through the dimness of tradition just dawning into history, the first striking contrast, in the progress of human affairs, of civilization with barbarism ; and still contain many curious and instructive monuments of the powerful and industrious multitudes that once occupied their surface.
This observation is made by Humboldt; Researches into the Ancient Inhabitants of America; Preface.
As we descend the stream of time, the second of these forms of civilization comes into view. We observe an evident preparation made for it in the freer spirit and more independent character of different branches of the Semitic family of nationsmore especially of the Hebrews and the Phænicians; although the precise steps of the transition to its complete realization among the Greeks are hidden from us in the obscurity of the remote past. This new form of civilization did not rest within the limits of its original domain ; it spread itself over the ancient seats of sacerdotal despotism; and, through the conquests of Alexander, scattered the seeds of a higher mental culture in Egypt and the East. The Romans sustained it by the nature of their constitution, and the prowess of their legions; they humbled the priesthood in every land submitted to their sway; and through the whole of the civilized world, from the shores of the Atlantic to the frontiers of Parthia, they maintained undisputed the ascendancy of law, policy and arms.
With the introduction of Christianity, a new principle began to operate. Religion had hitherto been attached either to an independent body of priests, or to the state which assumed their functions and exercised their authority. The idea of its separating itself at once from the priest and from the magistrate, was a novelty as yet unheard of. Yet this was the great idea of primitive Christianity. It made its appeal to the hidden man of the heart; it discarded authority and the use of outward force; its weapons were spiritual, and its kingdom not of this world it conquered by conviction; it ruled by faith ; and its empire was the conscience and the heart. History obliges us to confess that this idea was too pure and elevated to be completely realised in the actual circumstances of human nature, and amidst the overwhelming accumulation of external calamities which attended the downfall of the Roman Empire. It was perhaps quite as much a necessity of the time, as a deliberate corruption of its spirit, which embodied Christianity, after the age of Constantine, in the form of a hierarchy. In this form it subsisted, compact and unbroken, amidst the shock of hostile forms; subduing into humanity, by its awful front and firm arm, the wild rigour of the tribes that descended from the North to impregnate with a new life the exhausted elements of the ancient civilization; cherishing in its deep bosom, under the deadening folds of formalism and secularity, a latent spark of divine life; and carrying safely, as in an ark, across the dark and troubled 'food of strife and ignorance, the most precious relics of the mind of the old world. A priesthood is essentially conservative; it is the natural depository of the traditions of the past. When we