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linas, and even in North Carolina it was discouraged by a heavy duty laid expressly for that purpose. Yet, notwithstanding these historic facts, which have great ethical as well as political importance, the Minister's Wooing is teaching tens of thousands to believe that so lately as the year 1795, cargoes of slaves, direct from Africa, were imported into Rhode Island. *
But the greatness of the anachronism and the injustice which it does to the state of Rhode Island and to New England, are not fairly represented till we remember that long before the date of the story, not only had the importation of slaves been prohibited, but the abolition of slavery itself had been ordained by legislative power, or incorporated into the fundamental law, in all the New England States, Rhode Island not excepted. Nay, in Rhode Island, especially, the popular sentiment of opposition to slavery was, from the earliest agitation of the subject, clear and strong. Laws providing for the abolition of slavery were enacted by Connecticut and Rhode Island almost simultaneously, in 1784. But from the first pational census, taken in 1790, it appears that while the black and colored persons in Rhode Island were at that time more than 6 per cent. of the entire population, and the same class in Connecticut were less than 3 per cent., more than threefourths of the former were already free, while of the latter almost one half were still counted as slaves. The strength of Quaker influence in Rhode Island, together with the original
* After the peace of 1783, and especially after the establishment of the Federal Constitution, the importation of slaves into South Carolina and Georgia became a great and lucrative business, and so continued until the year 1808, when the power of Congress over that importation became complete. During all that period, the slave trade was carried on by Northern men and in vessels that sailed from Northern ports. Newburyport in Massachusetts, and Bristol and Newport in Rhode Island, shared in the infamy, but Newport most of all. All that while the slave trade and slavery were under the ban of public opinion, but the states which had abolished slavery could not, by any state legislation, effectually restrain their own citizens from participation in the carrying trade between the coast of Guinea and the ports of South Carolina and Georgia. Even when the power of Congress over the slave trade had come to maturity and had been exercised in stringent prohibition, some of the same men, it is believed, continued to pursue the nefarious business, as merchants in New York now do in evasion of laws which cannot be openly defied.
of the lo say that personageer
genius of the colony, (inspired, from the first, more than any other New England community, with a passion for abstract and absolute liberty,) had coöperated with the early efforts of Hopkins to bring about this result.
We impute to the gifted author of the work before ns no intentional injustice. Nor will we venture to say that the liberties she has taken both with the facts and with the personages of history may not be vindicated by the example of other illustrious writers in the department of historic fiction. But we cannot refrain from expressing our regret that the charmed readers of the Minister's Wooing, unless they happen to be fresh in their recollection of our civil and religious history, are so sure to receive erroneous impressions not only in regard to the personal character of such men as Hopkins and Stiles, but also in regard to a more important matter. The reader who assumes that Mrs. Stowe has not changed the facts of history into fable, but has only taken them as the firm material which she was to illustrate and adorn from the resources of her creative mind,—will of course believe that the same atrocious heresies about slavery, which are now current in every part of the country, and which utter themselves so insolently in high places of influence, were equally current and equally insolent seventy years ago. Such a belief is not only false but unjust and mischievous. Such a belief, whosoever may entertain it, and from whatsoever source it may be derived, strengthens the hands of those who, with base and wicked purposes, are continually representing that-not the modern patronage of slavery in the dishonored names of denocracy and the Union, and in the profaned name of “evangelical Christianity”—but the modern opposition to slavery on political, moral, and religious principles-—is a novelty. Had the author of this book attempted only to illustrate history, incorporating facts and dates into her fiction without change—as a naturalist from a few bones reconstracts the entire skeleton of an extinct animal—or as an artist from a half buried ruin and a half intelligible description, produces a "restoration” of some temple or palace that perished long ago—she might have imposed upon herself a far more arduous task, but the work, accomplished, would have been a far higher achievement.
ARTICLE VII.-SIR WILLIAM HAMILTON'S LECTURES ON
Lectures on Metaphysics and Logic. By Sir WILLIAM HAMIL
Tox, Bart. Edited by the Rev. HENRY L. MANSEL, B. D., Oxford, and JOHN VEITCH, M. A., Edinburgh. In two Volumes. Vol. I, Metaphysics. Boston: Gould & Lin. colo. 1859. pp. 718.
The Metaphysics of Hamilton is the crowning glory of Scotch philosophy. It fills up much that was wanting, and corrects much that was wrong; adorning it, moreover, with the refinements of scholarship. Nor do we regard this latter cir. cumstance of small moment. Intimate acquaintance with the great masters of the world of thought, in case it does not overpower, polishes the mind, and imparts a certain grace of manner to all that it does. The precise influence of a university edncation upon the tone of thinking cannot be completely expressed, because language has not words to describe all the minute and insensible effects which come from the daily contact of many minds engaged in liberal studies ; yet it exists, and its presence is everywhere felt. So it is in that larger university of scholars where the great original thinkers and polishers of thought meet together. There is an inexpressible charm in the writings of such men. Hamilton was one of them; and he was both scholar and teacher. He had mastered Aristotle and Plato without being mastered; he had stood beside the great schoolmen as their peers; he was at home with Descartes and Leibnitz, with Kant and Schelling and Hegel, with the whole family of the great continental thinkers, and that as one of the household. It is this kind of scholarship which gives the peculiar charm and polish to the writings before us. They abound in the best thoughts of the great masters of thought through the successive ages of mentranslated, indeed, but in the footnotes often appearing in the original choice expressions. Such thoughts have a double value; they are like notes which, though above suspicion in themselves, are endorsed by the best of names. We exclude, however, from these remarks the long passages translated from modern French and German philosophers. These were introduced on other grounds. They embrace the easier parts of particular subjects, the principles of which had been thought out and stated by Hamilton himself. It seems as if he grew weary of the drudgery of going through with the details, and as a relief took them from others, though it should be said that these extracts are characterized by great accuracy of thought, and precision of style.
Hamilton's own style is preëminently good. It expresses the most subtle distinctions and the most evanescent shades of thought with a clearness that makes one think better of the English language, and less regret the loss to philosophy of the wonderful capacities of the Greek. On the whole, we think it the best style in which Scotch philosophy has yet appeared. We acknowlege the inimitable and indescribable charm of Hume, but still his style was rather popular than philosophical, and certainly lacked precision. We acknowlege, too, the perspicuity of Reid, but then we remember those short, contracted sentences and curt clauses, which check the career of the mind, and make it halt and stumble. Besides, Dr. Reid always had an eye in writing on David Hume. It is amusing to notice at what remote distances he lays his train-how continually he shapes the expression of his propositions so as to meet some position of that philosopher. The young student finds it difficult at the first perusal to understand much that he reads, and when he does is somewhat indignant at what he considers the trick that has been played upon him. Dr. Reid was a controversialist, and this circumstance has affected, if not the structure of the sentence, the manner of statement, and style of thought, so that, while individual sentences are clear, the impression of the whole is somewhat obscure, although, we need not add that in this great controversy with the philosophical sceptic of the times, he showed a most original mind, and brought out to consciousness and enforced
many fundamental truths. Dugald Stewart was flattered in his day with the praise of having expressed the crabbed truths of philosophy in classical English. That doubtless was what he aimed at. His English came from the school of Dr. Blair, and does indeed possess all its merit. Mr. Stewart uses no vulgar words; he will go far out of his way to avoid repeating the same thought in the same words; and has a horror of calling things by their right names. The result is, that without being tautological, without being even overloaded with epithets, his style is cumbersome from the excess of circamlocution, and readers grow impatient of sonorous sentences which for the words employed are so empty of thought. We place Hamilton, then, with respect to philosophical language, above Stewart, or Reid, or even Hume, of course above all other Scotch philosophers, although we see in him what we would call the Scotch predilection for long words of Latin origin, and used in a Latin sense. We go further, and, taking into view the additional circumstance that its pages are adorned with the finely expressed thoughts of so many great thinkers, pronounce this work, notwithstanding its title of Metaphysics, one of the most interesting books of the day, even for reading, to say nothing of its value as a study.
We said above, that Hamilton had added the refinements of scholarship to Scotch philosophy. It may be thought we have not done justice in this to his predecessors. Hume was a great reader. He studied, as we learn from his biographer, the Latin and Greek classics to a considerable extent ; he was acquainted with the philosophical writings of his own and the preceding age; yet he was not deeply versed in the philosophical works of ancient or medieval times. Nor can it be said that Reid's Analysis of Aristotle's Logic, which presents the most show of learning of anything in his works, gives him a title to the name of scholar in the sense we are now using the term, if, indeed, it does not make the contrary impression. Reid had that which is far better than all scholarship-a genuine philosophical genius, but he did not have scholarship and genius both—and this is what belongs to Hamilton. It is not necessary to speak of Stewart in this