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how inadequate it is. It remains for others to do the subject more ample justice.

There is yet one name worthy of a far more substantial memorial than our transient pages can afford, with a reference to which we must conclude this article. We allude to that of Robert Morris, of whom it has been justly said, that our country, with a single exception, owes more to him than to any other individual of the times, and of whose public services, imperfectly as they have been understood and appreciated, we are reluctant incidentally to speak. The civil history of the Revolution is the history of Mr. Morris's life. The developement of his financial system, -and it is the highest praise to apply such a term to a structure raised on the uncertain soil, and adapted to the varying exigencies of revolution, and the faithful narrative of his unwearied and successful efforts to supply aliment to the feeble Government which depended on him for sustenance, will be far more interesting than any historical or biographical memoir that has yet been written. It is a subject worthy of all that talent and experience can bestow on it. His services were confined to no local scene. His fame is part of the common property of the nation. The appointment of Mr. Morris to the office of Superintendent of the Finances was the great era of his life, and we had almost said, the most fortunate incident of the revolutionary contest. But the commencement of his usefulness, and of his public services, may be dated at a period long anterior. At the time of the first indication of serious opposition to the British Government, his native city and State acknowledged him as one of the most fearless and active of her patriots. The splendid services which he subsequently rendered, in the administration of the Continental finances, threw all the incidents of his previous life into the shade ; but there was a beautiful unity in his whole career, which his future and faithful biographer will not forget. With respect to his administration of the fiscal concerns of the Confederation, it would be inconsistent with the design of these remarks to make any detailed or even general observations. What Mr. Morris accomplished, tradition and history have informed us, and in the blessings of our national credit, we realize the results of the system which he and his successor designed. How he accomplished the projects which his genius suggested, and with what specific difficulties and disappointments he had to contend, the progress of his financial plans from conception to maturity, amid circumstances of every variety of depression and gloom that clouded every mind, and prostrated every spirit but his own, the succession of hopes and fears which were never intermitted ;-these are points, which a personal memoir and the unreserved publication of his familiar and confidential correspondence can alone adequately illustrate. In the delineation of Mr. Morris's character and services, which we gather merely from the meagre and unsatisfactory memoirs which have been published, and from the details which have been preserved by his few surviving contemporaries, the strongest peculiarities are his unbounded personal influence, the fruit of a life of unblemished integrity, and the spirit of philosophic heroism with which he seems to have been actuated, and which in the course of his public life was most severely tried. Without his personal credit, the system he designed, successful as his inspiring genius made it

, would have been nothing but an inoperative theory, and all the horrors of national bankruptcy and military despotism, the one rendered necessary by the other, must have ensued. It is said to have been the honorable distinction of the Spanish colonial merchants, that in commercial intercourse with them, the artificial securities of notes and guarantees were never resorted to, and that an entry in their own books, or a mere parol promise, using the word in its ordinary sense, constituted a safe and religious obligation. Confidence like this, which never was, and never will be habitual with us even in peaceful times, Mr. Morris was enabled to realize amidst the anarchy and convulsion of a civil war. If the army needed provision or ammunition, his promise of indemnity alone could procure a supply even from the most cautious; by his aid money could always be raised, and the name of Robert Morris on a note gave it a currency and credit, which neither the States nor the Confederation could command. His letters to different individuals in relation to the various exigencies of the Government are richly adorned with the moral beauty which this weight of character imparted. In one to General Schuyler, in the year 1781, on the occasion of a request to that officer to procure some supplies, he used the following characteristic language. I take it for granted, that you can upon your own credit and engagements raise this money; and for your reimbursement you may either take me as a public or a private man, for I pledge myself to repay you with hard money wholly, if required, or part hard, part paper, if so you transact the business. In short, I promise, and you may rely that no consideration whatever shall induce me to make a promise that I am not able to perform.' That security was never known to fail. By the heroism to which we have alluded, we mean the perfect subordination of natural feeling to a stern sense of duty, which enabled him to withstand all the cavils of calumny and suspicion to which his official station exposed him, in the full reliance that the time would come, sooner or later, when all would acknowledge the propriety of his measures, and the purity of his motives. Mr. Morris passed through every variety of trial in this respect, without the slightest faltering of resolution, and on no occasion is it recorded of him, that for the purposes of temporary vindication he sacrificed a public benefit, however remote, or swerved from the line which his sense of official duty pointed out for him to follow. The judgment which his sagacity assured him was inevitable, has long since been pronounced. During his life, all the misrepresentations of his public character that had ever existed were dissipated, and every succeeding year, as it elicits some new mernorial of his services, pays new and cordial bonors to his memory. The closing hours of this illustrious man also were obscured by personal misfortune, and darkened by pecuniary difficulties induced by speculations, in which misplaced confidence and a sanguine temperament had led him to participate. But overwhelming as were those misfortunes, and dark as was the shade they cast upon bis parting hours, their effect has, we have every reason 10 believe, been much misunderstood, or most unkindly misrepresented. The consciousness of unsullied honor and honest motives was a support that never failed him. The vigor of a mind like his, trained in the school of difficulty, and strengthened by continued probation in a public post of painful responsibility, was not subdued ; and while he saw around bin the wreck of hopes and expectations in which he had fondly indulged, be submitted to the blow with calm resignation, and found in the discharge of familiar and social duties enough to console and cheer the short remnant of his eventful life. Mr. Morris devoted the last years of his life to the selection and arrangement of his financial papers and letters, which remain a rich legacy to bis posterity and his country.

There are other individuals connected with the history of

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the Revolution in our sister State, to whose memory we regret our inability to pay the tribute, which is most justly due. The names of statesmen, such as Charles Thomson, James Wilson, and Thomas McKean ; of gallant soldiers like Wayne, and Mifflin, and Potter, and Irvine, and Armstrong, are worthy of a more elaborate notice than we now have it in our power to bestow.

We owe some apology to the respectable association, the title of whose transactions we have placed at the head of this article, for having used their volume merely for our own convenience, without a specific reference to its contents. As there is nothing, however, among the papers now published, with the exception of a single memoir, which relates to the subject to which our observations have been directed, we may be excused for the unceremonious manner with which we have treated them, and for one suggestion in parting. We regret to find, by a comparison of this with the preceding volumes of the society's transactions, that so small a share of their attention has been bestowed on the revolutionary annals of their State, and may be permitted to hope that they will be induced to give another and more profitable direction to their inquiries. Much may be done by them towards illustrating the subjects to wbich we have cursorily referred. Materials may be collected, records preserved, and the testimony of the few survivors of our age of honor and legitimate renown may be perpetuated. The colonial history of our country, with which alone the society seem to have employed themselves, is a subject of little interest, except so far as it throws light upon the circumstances attending our national birth, and one about which the public may be excused for being very indifferent. We would not exchange one document illustrative of the era of the Revolution and of the ancestry from whom we have inherited our youthful liberties, for all the records of charter bistory that now slumber in appropriate oblivion. They are as worthless in comparison as was the commentary on the Psalms, which for so many ages obscured the treatise de Republicâ. The unhonored sleep in which the revolutionary progenitors of our Pennsylvanian brethren repose, will, we trust, ere long be broken; and if any thing that we have said shall have a tendency to produce that result, all the ends we have had in view will be attained.

VOL. XXXIII.NO. 72. 16


Art. V.-Defence of Mechanical Philosophy.
Signs of the Times.Article VII. in the Ninety-eighth

Number of the Edinburgh Review, for June, 1829. The article which we have just named raises the grave and solemn question, whether mankind are advancing or not, in moral and intellectual attainments ? The writer expresses his opinion, with sufficient distinctness, in the following words; • In whatever respects the pure moral nature, in true dignity of soul and character, we are, perhaps, inferior to most civilized ages.' If this be true, it is a truth of deep and melancholy import. But is it true? Well may we pause, and ponder the matter carefully. What are the petty controversies which agitate sects, parties, or nations, compared with one which concerts the destinies of the whole human race? When we essay to cast the world's horoscope, and interpret auguries for universal man, it becomes us to approach the task with diffidence. And we do approach it with unfeigned diffidence. We despair of being able to rise to the height of the theme, on which we are to speak. Yet we feel that good may come even from the attempt.

Are we, then, in fact, degenerating? Has the hand been moved backward on the dial-plate of Time? Has the human race, comet-like, after centuries of advancement, swept suddenly round its perihelion of intelligence, and commenced its retrogradation? The author of the article before us, as we have seen, expresses, though with a perhaps, his belief of the affirmative. Throughout the whole article, with the exception of the last paragraph or two, of which the complexion is somewhat more encouraging, he draws most cheerless conclusions from the course which human affairs are taking. If the writer do not, as he humanely assures us in the end, ultimately despair of the destinies of our ill-starred race, he does, nevertheless, perceive baleful influences banging over us. Noxious ingredients are working in the caldron. He has detected the midnight' hag' that threw them in, and her name is Mechanism. A more malevolent spirit, in his estimation, does not come from the hateful abodes. The fated inhabitants of this planet are now under her pernicious sway, and she is most industriously plotting against their weal. To countervail her malignant efforts, the author invokes a spirit of a character most

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