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by some persons of a morbid disposition. I thought I could but warn you against entertaining universal suspicions, which would infallibly narrow and degrade your feelings. Suspicion is dishonorable in gray-headed age, but it is revolting in the extreme to find it in youth. If there be one so base as to attempt to ingratiate himself with others, in order to lead them into vice and error, he is certainly worthy of the utmost contempt and detestation. I know of no punishment too severe, no name too opprobrious, for him. I would loathe him as I would the viper. The mere idea of such a crime excites feelings of horror. It is a most heinous and irreparable violation of the most sacred obligations of humanity and the fundamental laws of society. The contempt and execration of society must and will follow him who renders himself guilty of a crime of so dark a nature. Its curse will light upon the man who is instrumental in making a soul callous to the better feelings of humanity. But I can not believe that one so lost to honor and generous susceptibility, has ever existed. Fortuitous circumstances and selfish interests may have impelled some to seduce others from the paths of rectitude; but I can not believe that independent selfish motives have ever actuated any one to act what I may call the part of a moral assassin, and least of all will I believe that such a one could be found in youth; for, it seems to me that one who could thus basely demean himself, would not have failed to display his malicious disposition by some or other previous misdeeds.
Here I might notice the precept of general charity, which, to the exclusion of private friendship, has sometimes been inculcated by some rigid and misguided moralists. They would have us love one man as another; and though they pardon the partiality which one relative entertains for another, their forbearance can go no further, and they declaim loudly against all personal attachments as regards other individuals. Their conduct generally bears along with it its own condemnation; for, they themselves are often forced to waive in practice what they so strenuously uphold in theory. We can not account for them; we can not even analyze them; but all are conscious of instinctive attachments; and until man is gifted with a more transcendant genius, and a more piercing penetration, the only reason we can assign is, that the same God who bade the planets roll in harmony, mutually “controlling and controlled,” has ordained that man shall feel his heart beat in unison with that of his fellow-man ; and most probably we shall never be able to probe the hidden cause, until we shall be competent to understand and appreciate the “music of the spheres.” To presume, even for a moment, that (unless a radical change take place in the nature of man) all men can dwell in harmony and peace, much less in friendship, is a mere Utopian scheme, as wild and impossible as the most extravagant vagary oriental imagination has ever conceived. In the present depraved and vitiated state of society, such a project must appear ridiculous in the extreme, and its apparent realization would only serve to open new avenues and new facilities to evil. Independent of this, there are prejudices which are born with us, strengthen with our age, and leave us only at the grave; and which, by the omnipotency of their magic, would render all such fanciful fabrics real towers of Babel. For my part, I think that reason shows, as clearly as the light of heaven, that the kindly feelings of the heart must first exercise their influence on those with whom we hold daily intercourse, and interchange the social charities of life. What cares the enlightened American for the besotted Hottentot ? The latter is too far removed to excite the warmer feelings of the former; and though his abject and ignorant state may excite pity, he will never conciliate the love of distant individuals. I do not deny that there is something noble in the strange theory which I have just noticed. I merely animadvert upon it, as being of no practical utility in the present condition of society; and I am convinced that it is one of those day-dreams which will always continue to disturb the heated imaginations of the fanatic and the enthusiast. Were a man to attempt to follow it out, his feelings would be diffused over" so vast a surface that they would become weak and powerless, and finally they would either be deadened, or else be soured by a thousand disappointments. Those who are nearest to us naturally call for the most active exercise of our benevolence. If, in pursuance of our duty, we commence with them, our influence will gradually extend
comparison, though not the application of it, from a poet) the waters of a lake, when disturbed at the centre of the surface, swell off into progressively increasing circles, the last one of which comprehends the entire body of water. If the fountains of the heart gush forth in a continual, unrestrained flood to those who are needful, they will undoubtedly form a stream which will pass on to those who are at a greater distance. The advantages of close and intimate friendship are (or rather ought to be) manifest to all. Those who possess such friends as they can call true, hardly need that I should point out the benefits which accrue from such connexion. They know what it is to have one with whom they can tread gayly the paths of life. They know what it is to have one to whom they can confide every doubt and every hope—who will rejoice in their happiness, weep with them in their sorrows, and bend over their sick and fevered couches in tender and sympathizing anxiety. They know what it is to have one who will cherish their loves, defend them from calumny, and, when the “taper of life” has gone out in darkness, still remember them with fond and undying affection. Often have I seen two noble foresttrees, which have been loosened by a tornado, and which would have fallen to the earth and there decayed, had it not been for the one depending on the other; and thus mutually upheld, they had again struck root in the ground, and flourished in their pristine luxuriance. So it is with two real friends. In the hours of prosperity, they share each other's success, and when misfortune frowns upon them, they defy her rudest blasts, secure in reciprocal assistance. Thus do they live in the most intimate and
affectionate union of thoughts and sentiments.
“Thus in their mutual love supremely blest,
There is nothing which so fully and clearly proves the value which we set upon a faithful friend, as the difficulty we experience at parting with him. Though even before we loved him fondly and devotedly, yet, most probably we were not sufficiently alive to his merit; and the overpowering pleasure which we experienced in his company, by its very excess, rendered us incapable of duly appreciating
him. We have hitherto roamed in a fairy world of bright.
and beautiful creations, over which he was the presiding deity. But other duties than those which have, until now, bound him to our side, call him away, and those bonds of friendship, which we have been so careful to draw as close as possible, must unavoidably be broken. He goes—and the ideal world, in which our imagination had formerly loved to lose itself, “fades away into nothingness.” Truth steps in and disenchants the scene; and we now see nothing but barrenness and deformity, where once all was verdure and beauty. Days before the sorrowful parting,
which previous circumstances have rendered inevitable, a