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BY J. R. TYSON.
The national feeling which was engendered by Pennsylvania's being the principal theatre of war-by being the locality of the first Congress--and by being the place whence emanated the Declaration of Independence-almost absorbed provincial attachments and local sympathies. Sectional predilections were exchanged for the brighter and more transcendant glory of the whole confederacy. The wise providence of her sisters in arms, while animated by the patriotic fire which sought to destroy the pretensions of Britain over the Union, did not permit them to be frigid upon the subject of their own reputations. They have blazoned their exploits in a hundred narratives and histories, and perhaps too sedulous of fame, have sometimes despoiled Pennsylvania of the laurels by which her brow should be adorned. Not content with assuming merits and gallantry which, perhaps, they legitimately claim, the disposition has been frequently observed to filch from Pennsylvania some of 6 the mighty meed of her large honours,' by attributing to cowardice or toryism the effect of religious tenets, and by ascribing to the state at large the disaffection of a few. During all this period-a period beyond half a century--we have so far acquiesced in the justice of these reproaches as to maintain the profoundest silence, and though vires acquirunt eundo, not a production has appeared which aspires to the dignity of defending the purity and patriotism of her course by an authentic narrative. The materials for a history lie scattered in the richest profusion over works which, to the burning shame of our patriotic sensibilities, be it spoken, are seldom examined. That part of our story which is interwoven with the country, is accessible in every form in which it can be presented, by compilations of original documents—the attraction of personal memoirs—and the graver productions of elaborate histories. But where are the narratives of Pennsylvania in particular, subsequent to the year 1775? The total absence of any sober and authentic development of her transactions, sufferings, and services, has not been without its effects upon the currency of opinions involving the detriment of her revolutionary fame.
The absence of a formal history during and since the revolution, has not only proved injurious to the fame of our civic patriotism, but it conveys a really mortifying reflection upon our indifference to national glory. From the labours of this society, the accumulations of Mr. Hazard, and the curious researches of Mr Watson, the historian can labour under no paucity of materials. The selection of an individual who is competent to such a task, by the charms of an elegant and finished English style by philosophical studies-by liberal and enlarged views -is a matter of very general, even public concern. The reputation of a country and the moral influence of her example upon her contemporaries and posterity, must essentially depend upon the ability of her historians. How can the one or the other of these be effected, but through the medium of a performance whose intrinsic and superior merits shall command the esteem of other countries and of other times? The brilliancy of great events, or the glare of imposing successes and dismal catastrophes, is
not necessary to the preservation of a people's memory or the perpetuity of a people's influence. The nation whose opening effulgence and meridian splendour are embalmed in the pages of a Livy, and whose decrepitude and decline are recorded by the pen of a Tacitus, is less indebted for her fame to the power of her arms and the wisdom of her counsels than to the elegance of her historical authors. Would not the bays of ancient Greece long since have been faded or obscured, if the genial and kindly influences of Homer, Herodotus, and Thucydides had been withdrawn? Such events as the Persian and Peloponnesian wars and the expeditions of Alexander, which comprise the principal exploits of that celebrated people during the lapse of three centuries-illustrious as they are—may have been surpassed by nations whose memory, not perpetuated by genius, is lost in the mists of remote antiquity. A smile may perhaps be excited at an allusion to the ever enduring fame of Greece and Rome, with relation to the domestic transactions of Pennsylvania; but it would not be improper before the contemptuousness of ridicule be indulged, that our history, before, during, and since the revolution, be fairly examined and truly known. Genuine philosophy unfettered by the trammels of education and uninfluenced by eclat, will coolly scan premises and investigate facts, before she will pronounce a decisive judgment. In imitating this prudence let us be guided by no blind or vainglorious partiality, but contemplate with calmness, some of the broad lines of the image which it will be the duty of our historians to exhibit.
BY S. L. FAIRFIELD.
My father died ere I could tell
The love my young heart felt for him: My sister like a blossom fell;
Her cheek grew cold, her blue eye dim,
When she was dearest unto me;
Were beautiful as Araby.
Departed to the land of dreams:
Were few as flowers by mountain streams ;
And early I was taught to treasure
Now they are mine in utmost measure.
Their shadows on the spirit’s dial, Cannot by their deep spell bereave
They herald but a darker trial; And such 'tis mine e'en now to bear
In the sweet radiance of thine eye, And 'tis the wildness of despair
To paint vain love that cannot die. Yet thus it must be like the flower,
That sheds amid the dusky night The rays it drank at mid-day hour,
My spirit pours abroad its light, When all the beauty and the bloom,
The blessedness of love hath gone,
Upon the glory of its throne.
Deterring pride-one hurried deed
And ever it must throb and bleed, Till life, and love, and anguish o'er,
The spirit soars to its first birth, And meets on heaven's own peaceful shore
The heart it loved too well on earth.