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Quaint maskers, wearing fair and gallant forms,
JOHN NEAL was born in Portland, Maine, October 25, 1793. In 1818, he went to Baltimore, and engaged in the dry-goods business with John Pierpont; but, being unsuccessful, he turned his attention to literature, and commenced his career by writing for the "Portico" a series of critical essays on the works of Byron. In 1818, he published his first novel, Keep Cool, written, as he says, "chiefly for the discouragement of duelling." The Battle of Niagara, with other Poems; Otho, a tragedy in five acts; and Goldau, the Maniac Harper, successively followed. He also wrote a large part of "The History of the American Revolution, by Paul Allen," as Allen had announced it, received subscriptions for it, and was too lazy to finish it. Four novels, Logan, Randolph, Errata, Seventy-Six, followed in rapid succession. Written in haste, and with but little care, they are now neglected; though at the time they made so favorable an impression that some of them were republished in England. This induced the writer to embark for that country, where he arrived in January, 1824. He very soon became a contributor to various periodicals, making his first appearance in "Blackwood's Magazine," for which he wrote a series of interesting and piquant articles on American writers. He also published, while abroad, his novel Brother Jonathan.
After remaining three years in Great Britain, he returned to his native city, and soon commenced the publication of a weekly newspaper, called The Yankee," which, not meeting with much encouragement, was, in about a year, merged in "The New England Galaxy." In 1828, he published Rachel Dyer, a story, the subject of which is "Salem Witchcraft." This was followed by Authorship, by a New-Englander over the Sea; The Down-Easters; and Ruth Elder. In all these works there is great power and much originality; but, setting all method and style at defiance, they will not survive the life of the author.2 Some of his occasional essays, however, as well as a few pieces of poetry written for the magazines, possess great merit, and ought to be preserved. A volume of
1 See page 225, Life of Joseph T. Buckingham.
2" John Neal's forces are multitudinous, and fire briskly at ery thing. They occupy all the provinces of letters, and are nearly useless from being spread over too much ground."- Whipple's Essays.
selections from his works might be made that would be a valuable contribution to our literature. Mr. Neal now (1859) resides in Portland.
CHILDREN-WHAT ARE THEY?
What are children? Step to the window with me. The street is full of them. Yonder a school is let loose, and here, just within reach of our observation, are two or three noisy little fellows, and there another party mustering for play. Some are whispering together, and plotting so loudly and so earnestly as to attract everybody's attention, while others are holding themselves aloof, with their satchels gaping so as to betray a part of their plans for tomorrow afternoon, or laying their heads together in pairs for a trip to the islands. Look at them, weigh the question I have put to you, and then answer it as it deserves to be answered:- What are children?
To which you reply at once, without any sort of hesitation, haps,-"Just as the twig is bent, the tree's inclined;" or, "Men are but children of a larger growth;" or, peradventure, "The child is father of the man." And then perhaps you leave me, perfectly satisfied with yourself and with your answer, having "plucked out the heart of the mystery," and uttered, without knowing it, a string of glorious truths. ***
Among the children who are now playing together, like birds among the blossoms of earth, haunting all the green shadowy places thereof, and rejoicing in the bright air, happy and beautiful creatures, and as changeable as happy, with eyes brimful of joy and with hearts playing upon their little faces like sunshine upon clear waters; among those who are now idling together on that slope, or pursuing butterflies together on the edge of that wood, a wilderness of roses, you would see not only the gifted and the powerful, the wise and the eloquent, the ambitious and the renowned, the long-lived and the long-to-be-lamented of another age; but the wicked and the treacherous, the liar and the thief, the abandoned profligate and the faithless husband, the gambler and the drunkard, the robber, the burglar, the ravisher, the murderer, and the betrayer of his country. The child is father of the man.
Among them and that other little troop just appearing, children with yet happier faces and pleasanter eyes, the blossoms of the future, the mothers of nations, you would see the founders of states and the destroyers of their country, the steadfast and the weak, the judge and the criminal, the murderer and the executioner, the exalted and the lowly, the unfaithful wife and the
broken-hearted husband, the proud betrayer and his pale victim, the living and breathing portents and prodigies, the embodied virtues and vices of another age and another world, and all playing together! Men are but children of a larger growth. ***
Even fathers and mothers look upon children with a strange misapprehension of their dignity. Even with the poets, they are only the flowers and blossoms, the dew-drops or the playthings, of earth. Yet" of such is the kingdom of heaven." The Kingdom of Heaven! with all its principalities and powers, its hierarchies, dominations, thrones! The Saviour understood them better; to him their true dignity was revealed. Flowers! They are the flowers of the invisible world; indestructible, self-perpetuating flowers, with each a multitude of angels and evil spirits underneath its leaves, toiling and wrestling for dominion over it! Blossoms! They are the blossoms of another world, whose fruitage is angels and archangels. Or dew-drops! They are dewdrops that have their source, not in the chambers of the earth, nor among the vapors of the sky, which the next breath of wind, or the next flash of sunshine, may dry up forever, but among the everlasting fountains and inexhaustible reservoirs of mercy and love. Playthings! If the little creatures would but appear to us in their true shape for a moment! We should fall upon our faces before them, or grow pale with consternation, or fling them off with horror and loathing.
What would be our feelings to see a fair child start up before us a maniac or a murderer, armed to the teeth? to find a nest of serpents on our pillow? a destroyer, or a traitor, a Harry the Eighth, or a Benedict Arnold, asleep in our bosom? A Catherine or a Peter, a Bacon, a Galileo, or a Bentham, a Napoleon, or a Voltaire, clambering up our knees after sugar-plums? Cuvier laboring to distinguish a horse-fly from a blue-bottle, or dissecting a spider with a rusty nail? La Place trying to multiply his own apples, or to subtract his playfellow's gingerbread? What should we say to find ourselves romping with Messalina, Swedenborg, and Madame de Staël? or playing bo-peep with Murat, Robespierre, and Charlotte Corday? or puss puss in the corner with George Washington, Jonathan Wild, Shakspeare, Sappho, Jeremy Taylor, Alfieri, and Harriet Wilson? Yet stranger things have happened. These were all children but the other day, and clambered about the knees, and rummaged in the pockets, and nestled in the laps of people no better than we are. But if they could have appeared in their true shape for a single moment, while they were playing together, what a scampering there would have been among the grown folks! How their fingers would have tingled!
Now to me there is no study half so delightful as that of these little creatures, with hearts fresh from the gardens of the sky, in
their first and fairest and most unintentional disclosures, while they are indeed a mystery,-a fragrant, luminous, and beautiful mystery!
Then why not pursue the study for yourself? The subjects are always before you. No books are needed, no costly drawings, no lectures, neither transparencies nor illustrations. Your specimens are all about you. They come and go at your bidding. They are not to be hunted for, along the edge of a precipice, on the borders of the wilderness, in the desert, nor by the sea-shore. They abound not in the uninhabited or unvisited place, but in your very dwelling-houses, about the steps of your doors, in every street of every village, in every green field, and every crowded thoroughfare.
THIS renowned philologist and traveller, the son of Rev. William Robinson, who was pastor of the Congregational Church at Southington, Connecticut, for forty-one years, was born at that place on the 10th of April, 1794. He was destined for mercantile life, but, being on a visit to his uncle, at Clinton, Oneida County, New York, early in 1812, he concluded to enter Hamilton College, which had just been chartered. Accordingly, in the fall, he joined the first Freshman class, and graduated in 1816, with the highest honors. In October of the next year he was appointed tutor in his Alma Mater, where he remained a year, teaching the mathematics and the Greek language. In the latter part of the year 1818, he was married to the youngest daughter of the Rev. Samuel Kirkland, and sister of the late President Kirkland, of Harvard University. She died in the following July, and Mr. Robinson remained in Clinton, pursuing his studies, for two years longer.
In December, 1821, he went to Andover, Massachusetts, and after being here two years, without having been connected with the seminary, he was appointed assistant instructor, and continued such till 1826, translating in the mean time, from the Latin, "Wahl's Clavis Novi Testamenti," or Lexicon of the New Testament.
In the summer of 1826, he went to Europe, and spent four years in travelling, combined with hard study, in the mean time (1828) marrying the youngest daughter of Professor Ludwig von Jacob, of Halle. On his return home in 1830, he was appointed Professor Extraordinary of Sacred Literature in the Andover Theological Seminary. In 1831, he commenced the publication of the "Biblical Repository," of which he was the editor and chief contributor for four years. In 1833 appeared his translation of "Buttman's Greek Grammar," and in 1836, his new Lexicon of the New Testament, and his translation of the "Hebrew Lexicon of Gesenius."
In 1837, Dr. Robinson was appointed Professor of Biblical Literature in the Union Theological Seminary, in the city of New York, the position which he still
holds. He accepted the appointment on condition that he might be permitted to carry out a plan previously formed, of visiting the lands of the Bible, in conjunction with his friend, Rev. Eli Smith, a missionary of the American Board. This he accomplished, and then repaired to Berlin, where he devoted himself for two years to the preparation of his Biblical Researches in Palestine. In 1840, he returned to New York, and his great work was published the next year in three volumes, at Boston, London, and Halle. It at once established his fame, and, for learning, unwearied investigation, and scrupulous fidelity, placed him in the very front rank of travellers; and the Royal Geographical Society of London awarded to him one of their gold medals.
Notwithstanding his many official labors connected with the seminary, Dr. Robinson projected and established, in 1843, "The Bibliotheca Sacra," which, for critical theological learning, has not its superior on either side of the Atlantic. He also published, in 1845, a Harmony of the Four Gospels in Greek, and the next year an English Harmony. In 1850 appeared a new edition of his Lexicon of the New Testament.
The next year he again set out for Palestine, to make new researches, as well as to go over some of the ground formerly explored. He returned in 1852, and made preparations for a new volume, which appeared in 1856, both in this country and England, and in the German language at Berlin. This great work is now the standard upon the geography of Palestine, and for accuracy and thoroughness leaves nothing more to be desired.'
PLAIN BEFORE SINAI.
As we advanced, the valley still opened wider and wider, with a gentle ascent, and became full of shrubs and tufts of herbs, shut in on each side by lofty granite ridges with rugged, shattered peaks a thousand feet high, while the face of Horeb rose directly before us. Both my companion and myself involuntarily exclaimed, "Here is room enough for a large encampment!" Reaching the top of the ascent, or water-shed, a fine broad plain lay before us, sloping down gently towards the S. S. E., enclosed by rugged and venerable mountains of dark granite, stern, naked, splintered peaks and ridges of indescribable grandeur, and terminated at the distance of more than a mile by the bold and awful
1 Palestine, Past and Present: with Biblical, Literary, and Scientific Notices: By Rev. Henry S. Osborn, A.M., Professor of Natural Science in Roanoke College, Salem, Virginia. This is a work of very great merit, recently published by James Challen & Son, Philadelphia,- -a pleasant and animated book of travels, with personal reminiscences, descriptions of scenery, interspersed with occasional religious reflections and philosophical discussions; and all in a pure and lively style. It is illustrated by a series of original engravings from the pencil of the author, and by new map of Palestine, and is altogether the most pleasant and readable work upon this land we have yet seen,-of no ephemeral interest, but of a living, permanent value.