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es. The dangers, the difficulties, and the disappointments that we have experienced, appear to us then only as the impressions of a dream, and we smile at the apprehensions they have excited. It is not until then that we discover how much our former unhappiness has been magnified by fear, and distorted by fancy. We have been deprived for a short time of rest and refreshment, we have been agitated by a phantom of the brain, or exhausted by feverish visions, and we now enjoy, with double pleasure, a moment of repose.
There is an impatient spirit natural to the human heart, that spurns control, frets under misfortune, and despises alike the sober voice of reason, and the soothing accents of benevolence. The heart filled with indignation, or wrung with anguish, from a real or fancied evil, loses that charitable pulse which is its dear. est ornament, and imbibes a bitterness that poisons and destroys its noblest feelings. The world and its vanities seem then but as a great show, where the buffoon is the most important character; or as a modern play, in which libertines and banditti are honourable men. If this spirit could be conquered—if we could investigate dispassionately our own situations, beat up the thickets around us and discover our companions in misery, few of us would find much cause of complaint.—But we are too apt to cherish illusions, and to look with distrust and jealousy upon facts and experience. Imagination, which, when properly controlled, is a most delightful and instructive companion, becomes thus a treacherous and insidious foe.
There is also a feeling of injured pride which disquiets the mind of the unfortunate. The man who sees the companions of his boyhood, his equals in rank, and perhaps his inferiors in talent, rising into opulence and distinction, while he is sinking to the opposite extreme, is apt to conceive that comparisons may be drawn injurious to himself; for if the chances of fate and fortune are thrown out of the question, why is one man raised above another, but because bis faculties are better or more properly exerted.Thus he continually fancies that he is blamed for the want of acuteness or energy; and dreads to meet the eye of a friend, lest he should find ridicule, reproach, or insolence, where he is entitled to kindness and encouragement. It is thus, by making ad
versity a disgrace, that we clothe it iu fictitious terrors a thousand times more hideous than its natural deformity. The opinion of the world, the fear of its censure, and the knowledge of its ma. lignity, “ makes countless thousands mourn.” It is from this feeling that he who loses his fortune, or fails in a favourite spéculation, often feels a keener anguish, than one who has been bereaved of his choicest friend or dearest relative. The first, is ever calling to mind the means by which his misfortune might have been averted; and fancies he sees in every smile that greets him, the triumph or the speer, of a more successful rival. He may know his conduct to have been correct—but he believes himself to be the object of censure, or what is worse, of ridicule, from which there is no shield. The other, whose bereavement is much greater, feels a melancholy sentiment of regret;—but his pride is untouched, his honour or capacity is unimpeached, no bad passion is roused, no jealous feeling excited. The hand of Providence has afficted him without his own agency, and there is a sacredness in his wo, that every good man honours, every bad one must respect.
But, while we deprecate the indulgence of useless regret, or fastidious suspicion, we must confess, that they are too often justified by the fashions and opinions of the world. The insolence of wealth, and the impertinence of wisdom, are too often severely felt by those, who, in losing the one, are supposed to have forfeited all claim to the other. All the world allows honesty to be a virtue when combined with opulence—but how many are there who give it no praise when it is clad in the humble garb of poverty! Cunning is despised, and hypocrisy execrated, in theory, but the man who wants the one, or neglects to practise the other, is ridiculed as visionary and puritanical. When a man descends from opulence to poverty, it is seldom inquired how the change has been effected he had money, and has lost it-therefore, he is called imprudent—or when a man has toiled for years without amassing wealth, his exertions are ridiculed, and his plain dealing is styled improvidence. Thus the merchant, whose honesty or munificence have reduced him to bankruptcy; the statesman who is ruined by his adherence to an independent policy; or the soldier who preserves his honour better than his purse, are placed exactly
on a level with the gambler, who stakes his fortune upon the turning of a card, the profligate who wastes, or the glutton who devours it.
Some author has said, “ look at those whom the world call unfortunate, and you will find they were unwise.” It is by such sayings, invented by cunning, and supported by ignorance and malice, that poverty has become a disgrace, and misfortune a dishonour. But this prudential maxim is far from being correct, for there are many, very many indeed, who, from the cradle to the grave, are pursued by the most rancorous ill-furtune, without having de. served the imputation of folly., Who is it that dispenses good and evil? Has not He declared, that whom he loves he chastens? But suppose them guilty of folly:-it is a venial sin. The follies that produce adversity, generally "lean to virtue's side;" while the arts which lead to prosperity, are too often closely allied with vice. It seems, however, to afford great satisfaction to those who have never felt the sting of disappointment, or the anguish of “ hope deferred,” to stigmatise, in others, with the name of indiscretion, that which is the effect of the unalterable decrees of Providence. If this apothegm was true, we should find the wise, the ingenious, and the virtuous prosper, and the knave and fool unthrifty-but the fact is not so,—and sools and knaves thrive where better men must beg.
But in the loss of wealth alone, there is nothing which should produce this keenness of disappointment, or malevolence of ridicule. In the change from affluence to poverty, we lose nothing to which we had an inherent right, but merely restore to society, that which we had appropriated from the common stock to our own exclusive advantage. It is to be valued and regretted merely as the means of subsistence, of benevolence, or of luxury, and not as the badge or criterion of superiority.
But adversity, however painful, is not without benefit-every difficulty that we experience, produces some ultimate advantage. Under every rose is a latent thorn, which only inflicts a pain when we grasp with too much eagerness the object of admiration. The luxurious passions of youth, nourished by opulence and enjoyment, increase to a vigour and rankness, which renders depletion necessary. It is like the chastening of a fond parent,
which excites but little corporeal pain, while it imprints a deep impression on the mind. We are taught to love the hand that has afflicted us for a moment, to make us eventually happy. By misfortune, pride is humbled by showing its possessor that he is not exempt from the evils to which the highest as well as the lowest are subject; and self-love, by teaching him that his sagacity and foresight were not infallible. By adversity, the passions, though at first roused, are ultimately corrected, and they subside into dignity and firmness. In adversity we discover our enemies, and prove our pretended friends; the former, no longer fearful, exchange insidious policy for open malice; and the cringing hypocrisy of the latter, is replaced by cold civility, or courteous insolence. It is then that a man discovers that his enemies are “those of his own household,” and finds that “ his familiar friend hath listed up his heel against him.” It is then he learns to know his real friend; -when he finds 'a manly arm extended with generous enthusiasm to support the “ weary laden,”- or a tender bosom glowing with unaltered affection, offering a pillow to the child of sorrow, and lulling his passions and his cares to rest.
FOR THE PORTFOLIO.
SOIL AND CLIMATE OF THE AMERICAN TERRITORIES.
In our Journal, for September, 1816, we gave some general observations on the soil and climate of the United States, with remarks on the manners of the people. Political rancour fastened upon a few abstract speculations, incidentally introduced into that paper; and a certain writer, by a process of reasoning which he admitted to be o uncandid," endeavoured to impute to the editor, opinions which he had not maintained. It was the main object of our article to give information to foreigners, who wish to emigrate to this country. So far, this zealous patriot, suffered us to pass unquestioned, and, as we did not choose to submit our political creed to his inquisition, his animadversions received no attention from us.
The subsequent letters enable us to fill up some parts of our outline, and we should feel much obliged to gentlemen of practical
experience for any further information respecting the resources and strength of the country. Owners of soil who are endeavour. ing to procure settlers and purchasers for their wild lands, may be induced to regard this request with some attention; when we inform them that this journal is regularly published in London, shortly after its appearance in this city-and that an English gentleman who was about to emigrate to this country, and who saw our number for June, 1816, resolved not to decide upon any spot for an investment of his funds, until he had travelled through Susquehannah county. It would afford us great satisfaction to be able to impart any information to the strugers, who are daily visiting our shores, in search of a resting place. Philanthropy points to the widows and orphans who have been deprived of the comforts of home by the quarrels of the world, and who now seek an asylum for distress, and a relief from oppression. Let us then prepare our fruitful fields and offer them the protection of a government of equal rights and equal laws.
Dear Sir.-In answer to your inquiries respecting the commercial towns already located in the territory of Alabama, as well as the most eligible scites for such as have not yet been established, I submit the following view, with such observations as appertain to the subject.
The town of Mobile is situated on a low sandy pine-plain on the west bank of the west mouth of Mobile river, within one mile of the bay. It was founded by the French upwards of one hundred years ago, and is older than New Orleans. Its population does not exceed eight hundred souls, inhabiting one hundred and twenty tenements, of very inferior size, and nearly all of an ancient Gothic appearance. The inbabitants of Mobile are of various descriptions:-- About five hundred are people of colour, of every shade, who are generally free and possessed of real estate, &c. The balance are whites, of a heterogeneous character.
The manners and customs of the French and Spaniards at present appear to prevail. There is no house of public worship there, except a small Roman chapel, in which a Spanish priest, of a subordinate grade, occasionally says mass.
The trade of Mobile is very inconsiderable, but is increasing as the upper country settles. There are at present about fifteen dry-good stores, and a few groceries. The wantof good fresh water in Mobile is a serious inconvenience and disadvantage to that place. Nearly all the potable water used there for six months in the year, is drawn by wagons, &c. in kegs and barrels from a creek three miles west of the town. During the winter the river affords wholesome water for every use. It is, however, I believe, in contemplation to have water conducted into town, by aqueducts, from a branch of the above named creek, whose fountain is said to admit of it, about four miles from Mobile. With respect to the facilities of ship navigation to Mobile, they are not so great as could be desired. Alt gb Mobile bay admits vessels of twenty feet draught, and those of fifteen cap as