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Nor yet for the ravage of winter I mourn,
Kind nature the embryo blossom shall save;
Ah! when shall it dawn on the night of the grave!" The antislavery placards arrived at Aberdeen during our visit to Banff. But only at these two points did we anticipate them. So that only in the city of Aberdeen and Banff had we an unprejudiced audience, so far as that species of prejudice could avail against us. The city of Aberdeen is now distinguished into New and Old Aberdeen. The new city is mostly built of the most beautiful granite that I have ever seen. Indeed, the quarries of granite, in its immediate vicinity, are of the most beautiful color and of the most compact and solid character. It has hitherto been, and still is, a very considerable article of trade, both at home and abroad. The city of Aberdeen may be called a beautiful city. Many of
streets are, indeed, not only neat, but grand. For durability and comfortable residences it would seem, to a stranger, to be equal to any town of the same population in Great Britain. There are now two colleges in it; and these two institutions are, no doubt, one principal cause of its growth and prosperity. My stay was, indeed, but very short in this, as well as many other towns of considerable rank. Our brethren there are zealous, and very circumspect in the discharge of relative duties, as far as I could learn. There is also a Baptist Church in it, I am informed, of considerable respectability as to number and character. Our excellent brother Dunn, our kind host, with several of his truly amiable daughters are members of it. May grace, mercy and peace be with them all!
From Aberdeen we departed on the 19th for Montrose. We had another pleasant coach ride, at the rate of some twelve miles per hour. Stages, in every part of Great Britain, owing, in part, to good roads, more especially to good drivers and good horses, travel about twice as fast as most of our American stages.
At Montrose we had one meeting. The placards there first anticipated us, and called for some short notice. We disposed of them with as few words as possible, by reading some of our writings on the subject and delivering our views on some points alluded to in the placards. We had an atttentive hearing by only a portion of the audience. Some were superexcited and came rather to hear us on the subject of American slavery than on the gospel. We did not, however, gratify them, having a paramount object in our eye. After enjoying the hospitalities of the brethren, at Montrose, during the night, next morning we departed thence for Dundee, via Arbroath,
on the Firth of Tay, a mere landing place for the steamers running between Edinburgh and Aberdeen.
At no time, during my tour, did I seem to myself in such visible danger of life as in making this landing. The coast was rocky, the port narrow and difficult to attain. Add to this, the sea was quite rough, a good breeze, and some forty-five of us, with considerable baggage, let down from the steamer, crowded into an open boat, some half a mile from the shore. The boat was greatly crammed till within a few inches above water, with one unmanageable sail and a pair of oars. It looked like tempting the Lord. We failed, on the first effort, in making port. We had again to put to sea, across the waves, and, with much difficulty, got ourselves about a mile from shore, and then took a new course in hopes of striking the little harbor. With much dexterity and great effort we succeeded, by a few yards only, in making the desired haven. The slightest indis. creet movement, on the part of the superexcited passengers while in the trough of the billows, or on the back of a wave, would evidently have capsized the boat and consigned us to the deep. But we are often just as safe in an ark of bulrushes, daubed with slime, as in a man of war, begirt with the oaks of Bashan, under the vigilance of him who maketh the winds his chariot,” who rides upon the storm” and “manages the seas.” To him be all the praise. Affectionately your father,
[Selected for the Millennial Harbinger.]
NOVEL READING. NOVEL-READING produces an undue development of the imagination. That profound thinker, the author of the “Natural History of Enthusiasm,"* &c., in his invaluable treatise on “Home Education," remarks, that “the imagination and the imaginative sentiments are the very last to be developed, where nature takes her own course. It is the rich-colored chrysanthemumf of the intellectual parterre. So late in their appearance are the genuine imaginative emotions, and so nearly do they bear upon the confines of personal or adult mental culture, that, except in regard to certain commencements and preparations, the subject might altogether have been excluded, as not belonging to home education.” An American medical writer, in a treatise on the influence of mental cultivation upon health, says the nervous system, being connected with the brain, is early developed, and becomes the predominating system in youth; which predominance is necessary during the periods devoted to the increase
* Mr. Isaac Taylor.
# A flower that blooms late in the season.
of the body; but this great and early development very much-in. creases the liability to disease. He, therefore, concludes that, during this period, strong excitement of the feelings is in danger of producing such a preponderance of the nervous system as to make it easily excited, and disposed to sympathize with disorder in any part of the body, thus generating a predisposition to hypochondriasis and numerous afllicting nervous diseases. “Mental excitement,” he says, “increases the flow of the blood to the head, and augments the size and power of the brain, just as the exercise of the limbs increases and strengthens the muscles of the limbs exercised.” And Dr. James Jackson says, "Extra development and sensibility of the brain cannot take place but at the expense of some function or structure in the animal or organic system. When, therefore, an undue share of the vital energy of an individual is directed to a particular organ, a proportional subduction is made from some other.”
Any sort of light reading is supposed to be less injurious to health than close study. But, if these principles are correct, works of fie. tion, which strongly excite the imagination and feelings, must be much more injurious than study, and, in the period of youth, highly dangerous. As the predominance of the nervous system is necessary during the growth of the body, the opinion of Mr. Taylor, as to the late development of the imagination, agrees with the analogy of nature; for it is the imagination which acts most directly on the nervous system; and we should naturally conclude that the wisdom of the Creator would delay its development during the predominance of the nervous system. What, then, must be the physical effects of strong stimulants, applied to the imaginative powers of girls in their teens? for this is generally the period when the taste for novels is acquired, and when their deleterious influence, in the permanent deterioration of character, is most severely felt. The danger is very great, at this critical period, as to the health of females, either that fatal diseases will be induced, or that such a permanent preponderance of the nervous system will be created, as greatly to enfeeble the constitution, and destroy all balance of character. Just such injurious excitement is furnished by novel-reading; and we need not go far to find examples of just such ruinous effects. “That excessive predominance of feeling and imagination,” says Mr. Hall, “for which the infidel Rousseau was noted, is thought to have been chieflly owing to such a cause. Nearly his whole time, till eight years of age, was spent in listening to romances, read to him by his father."
The effects of this kind of reading upon girls, in the premature and disproportionate development of the imagination, is thus de. scribed by Hannah More, whose extensive acquaintance with fashionable society, will give due weight to her opinions on such a subject:—“Frivolous reading will produce its correspondent effect in much less time than books of solid instruction; the imagination being liable to be wrought upon, and the feelings to be set a-going much faster than the understanding can be opened and the judgment enlightened. A talent for conversation should be the result of instruction—not its precursor: it is a golden fruit when suffered to ripen gradually in the tree of knowledge; but, if forced in the
hot-bed of a circulating library, it will turn out worthless and vapid, in proportion as it was artificial and premature. Girls who have been accustomed to devour a multitude of frivolous books, will coriverse and write with a far greater appearance of skill, as to style and sentiment, at twelve or fourteen years old, than those of a more advanced age, who are under the discipline of severe studies; but the former, having early attained to that low standard which had been held out to them, become stationary; while the latter, quietly progressive, are passing through just gradations, to a higher strain of mind; and those who early begin with talking and writing like women, commonly end with thinking and acting like children.”
The following remarks of the same writer apply with equal force, after the period of youth is passed. Speaking of the education of females, she says, “Though their imagination is already too lively, and their judgment naturally incorrect, in educating them we go on to stimulate the imagination, while we neglect the regulation of the judgment. They already want ballast, and we make their education consist in continually crowding more sail than they can carry:Their intellectual powers being so little strengthened by exercise, makes every little petty business appear a hardship to them; whereas serious study would be useful, were it only that it leads the mind to the habit of conquering difficulties. But it is peculiarly hard to turn at once from the indolent repose of light reading, -- from the concern of mere animal life, the objects of sense, or the frivolousness of female chit-chat,-it is peculiarly hard, I say, to a mind so softened, to rescue itself from the dominion of self-indulgence, to resume its powers, to call home its scattered strength, to shut out every foreign intrusion, to force back a sprig so unnaturally bent, and to devote itself to religious reading, to active business, to sober reflection, to self-examination: whereas, to an intellect accustomed to think at all, the difficulty of thinking seriously is obviously lessened."
Young Lady's Guide. [TO BE CONTINUED.]
LETTERS FROM HON. JOHN QUINCY ADAMS
To his SON ON THE BIBLE AND ITS TEACHINGS.
ST. PETERSBURG, September, 1811. My dear Son-In your letter of the 18th January, to your mother, you mentioned that you read to your aunt a chapter in the Bible, or à section of Doddridge's Annotations every evening. This information gave me real pleasure; for so great is my veneration for the Bible, and so strong my belief that, when duly read and meditated on, it is of all books in the world, that which contributes most to make men good, wise, and happy—that the earlier my children begin to read it, the more steadily they pursue the practice of reading it throughout their lives, the more lively and confident will be my hopes that they will prove useful citizens to their country, respectable members of society, and a real blessing to their parents. But I hope you have now arrived at an age to understand that reading, even in the Bible, is a thing in itself neither good nor bad, but that all the good which can be drawn from it, is by the use and improvement of what you have read, with the help of your own reflection. Young people sometimes boast of how many books and how much they have read; when, instead of boasting, they ought to be ashamed of having wasted so much time to so little profit. I advise you, my son, in whatever you read, and most of all in reading the Bible, to · remember that it is for the purpose of making you wiser and more virtuous. I have myself for many years made it a practice to read through the Bible once every year. I have always endeavored to read it with the same spirit and temper of mind which I now recom: mend to you; that is, with the intention and desire that it may con. tribute to my advancement in wisdom and virtue. My desire is, indeed, very imperfectly successful; for, like you, and like the Apostle Paul, “I find a law in my members, warring against the law of my mind." But as I know that it is my nature to be imperfect, so I know that it is my duty to aim at perfection; and feeling and deploring my own frailties, I can only pray Almighty God for the aid of his Spirit to strengthen my good desires, and to subdue my propensities to evil; for it is from Him that every good and perfect gift descends. My custom is, to read four or five chapters every morning, immediately after rising from my bed. It employs about an hour of my time, and seems to me the most suitable manner of beginning the day. But as other cares, duties, and occupations engage the remainder of it, I have, perhaps, never spent a sufficient portion of my time in meditation upon what I have read. Even meditation itself is often fruitless, unless it has some special object in view; useful thoughts often arise in the mind, and pass away without being remembered or applied to any good purpose like the seed scattered upon the surface of the ground, which the birds devour, or the winds blow away, or which rot without taking root, however good the soil may be upon which they are cast. We are all, my dear George, unwilling to confess our own faults, even to ourselves; and when our own consciences are too honest to conceal them from us, our self-love is always busy, either in attempting to disguise them to us under false and delusive colors, or in seeking out excuses and apologies to reconcile them to our minds. Thus, althongh I am sensible that I have not derived from my assiduous perusal of the Bible, (and I might apply the same remark to almost every thing else that I do,) all the benefit that I might and ought, I am as constantly endeavoring to persuade myself that it is not my own fault. Sometimes I say to myself, I do not understand what I have read; I cannot help it; I did not make my own understanding; there are many things in the Bible "hard to understand," as St. Peter expressly says of Paul's Epistles;—some are hard in the Hebrew, and some in the Greek—the original languages in which the scriptures were written; some are harder still in the translations. I have been obliged to lead a wandering life about the world, and scarcely ever