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many passages of a lighter and more amusing kind. To these, though they occur more frequently, than in the pages of other historians, it would be worse than stoical to object, upon any general principle. They not only serve to prevent the fatigue which might arise from perusing an unbroken narrative of momentous public transactions, but often afford, in a few words, more information respecting the private character of distinguished individuals, or the feelings, habits, and manners, of the people of this state, in the middle of the last century, than could well be learned from volumes of more stately history.

The following anecdote, for instance, is a curious illustration of the character and condition of that class of negro servants, which has furnished a model to the author of the Spy, for his most original and entertaining personage.

If some previous remarks on doctors Cooper and Chauncy are recollected, they will render the following story more intelligible. Dr Cooper, who was a man of accomplished manners and fond of society, was able, by the aid of his fine talents, to dispense with some of the severe study that others engaged in. This, however, did not escape the envy and malice of the world, and it was said, in a kind of petulant and absurd exaggeration, that he used to walk to the south-end of a Saturday, and if he saw a man riding into town in a black coat, would stop, and ask him to preach the next day. Dr Chauncy was a close student, very

absent and irritable. On these traits in the character of the two clergymen, a servant of Dr Chauncy's laid his scheme to obtain a particular object from his master. Scipio went into his master's study one morning to receive some directions, which the doctor having given, resumed his writing, but the servant still remained. The master, looking up a few minutes afterwards, and supposing he had just come in, said, "Scipio, what do you want?" 66 I want a new coat, massa." "Well, go to Mrs Chauncy, and tell her to give you one of my old coats ;" and was again absorbed in studies. The servant remained fixed. After a while, the doctor, turning his eyes that way, saw him again, as if for the first time, and said, "What do you want, Scip?” "I want a new

coat, massa." "Well, go to my wife, and ask her to give you one of my old coats," and fell to writing once more. Scipio remained in the same posture. After a few minutes, the doctor looked towards him, and repeated the former question, "Scipio, what do you want?” "I want a new coat, massa. It now flashed over the doctor's mind, that there was something of tition in this dialogue. 66 Why, have I not told you before to ask Mrs Chauncy to give you a coat? get away," "Yes, massa,

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but I no want a black coat." "Not want a black coat, and why not?" "Why, massa, I fraid to tell you, but I don't want a black coat." "What's the reason you don't want a black coat? tell me directly." "O! massa, I don't want a black coat, but I fraid to tell the reason you so passionate !" "You rascal! will you tell me the reason?" "O! massa, I'm sure you be angry." "If I had my cane, you villain, I'd break your bones: will you tell me what you mean?" "I fraid to tell you, massa, I know you be

angry." The doctor's impatience was now highly irritated, and Scipio perceiving, by his glance at the tongs, that he might find a substitute for the cane, and that he was sufficiently excited, said, "Well, massa, you make me tell, but I know you be, angry, I fraid, massa, if I wear another black coat, Dr Cooper ask me to preach for him!" This unexpected termination realised the negro's calculation; his irritated master burst into a laugh: Go, you rascal, get my hat and cane, and tell Mrs Chauncy she may give you a coat of any color; a red one, if you choose." Away went the negro to his mistress, and the doctor to tell the story to his friend Dr Cooper.' pp. 449, 450.


Among a few passages of this book, which might be advantageously omitted, may be mentioned, in the first place, all the sayings and writings of Mr. Otis, during his mental derangement. The ruins of a great mind have been often compared to those of a fine building, but the resemblance, though sufficient for many poetical purposes, fails altogether when we consider the effects severally produced by these objects, on those who contemplate them. No sensations are more diverse, than the soothing pensiveness, which steals over the feelings in the one case, and the mixture of pity and horror, which agitates and rends them in the other. We dissent from our author's opinion, that the disclosure of the facts to which we allude, might throw new light on Mr Otis' character. There is a difference of beauty among the young, says Juvenal, but there is but one face to the aged, and we think it true to nearly an equal extent, that the loss of reason reduces all understandings to a humiliating uniformity. Besides, the singular qualities of Mr Otis' mind are too clearly seen in what remains (little as it is) of the private history of his better days, to receive any additional illustration from a few anecdotes of its operations, while in a diseased condition. For these reasons we think it better, that the effects of his disorder on his conduct, should have been described only in general terms, and that no anecdotes should have been given of the

latter part of his life, but those which relate to his lucid intervals.

We ought to observe, however, that those stories to which we now object, though in our opinion superfluous, are in no degree indelicate, and that the topic of Otis' insanity is invariably treated with the most respectful tenderness. But the only passages really unworthy of this volume, are a few of a lighter cast. Of the long string of puns, for example, annexed to the character of Dr Byles, one or two, at most, are all that can be tolerated. They are none of them superior to many which we daily hear in our social circles, and have been frequently retailed in works, in which they are far better entitled to a place.

The clearness and liveliness of our author's narrative, are by no means his highest, much less his only merits. Instead of confining himself to this branch of his duty; instead of merely chronicling events, and leaving his readers to make their deductions as they may, a practice for which our most respectable historians have been censured, not perhaps without plausible reasons, by foreign critics, he frequently awakens and directs our reflections by his own original and judicious comments. The uniform spirit of candor and good humor, in which these comments are uttered, cannot be too forcibly recommended to the imitation of our historical and political writers. The author seems every where free, if not from error, at least from passion, alike exempt from national, political, and local prejudices, jealous for the honor of his native state, but not less so, for that of our whole country. His most able and interesting remarks (if we can be considered as fair judges) are those which relate to the New-England character, a subject which, as he has more than once proved to the public, his previous researches have singularly qualified him for elucidating. With the exception of a few rather hasty and unqualified animadversions, on the intolerance of our forefathers, a point, in our opinion, not to be touched, without much caution and discrimination, we recollect nothing on this head, which is not highly creditable to his discernment and candor.

The style of this work is well suited to its subject, and finished with much greater care, than that of our author's former productions. His language, with the exception of a

mounted the scaffold, sooner than pay a shilling of illegal shipmoney; he would have fled to a desert, rather than endure the profligate tyranny of a Stuart; he was proscribed, and would sooner have been condemned as a traitor, than consent to an illegal tax, if it had been only a six penny stamp, or an insignificant duty on tea; and there appeared to be no species of corruption by which this inflexibility could have been destroyed.

'With this unrelenting and austere spirit, there was nothing ferocious, or gloomy, or arrogant, in his demeanor. His aspect was mild, dignified, and gentlemanly. In his own state, or in the congress of the union, he was always the advocate of the strongest measures, and in the darkest hour he never wavered or desponded. He engaged in the cause with all the zeal of a reformer, the confidence of an enthusiast, and the cheerfulness of a voluntary martyr. It was not by brilliancy of talents, or profoundness of learning, that he rendered such essential service to the cause of the revolution, but by his resolute decision, his unceasing watchfulness, and his heroic perseverance. In addition to these qualities, his efforts were consecrated by his entire superiority to pecuniary considerations; he, like most of his colleagues, proved the nobleness of their cause by the virtue of their conduct and Samuel Adams, after being so many years in the public service, and having filled so many eminent stations, must have been buried at the public expense, if the afflicting death of an only son had not remedied this honorable poverty.' pp. 276-278.

To conclude, we have looked upon this book, we confess, with a friendly, but certainly not with a flatterer's eye, and with the exception, perhaps, of a few minute defects, have given, in our opinion, a faithful, though incomplete view of its contents. If our expressions have done justice to our meaning, we must have declared in substance a highly favorable opinion of its general merit; a judgment, which we submit with confidence. to the revision of our community of readers. Our author has nothing to fear from those who will allow him a hearing.

We have often lamented as a fact, not only humiliating to our reputation as patriots, but highly detrimental to our dearest public interests, the indiscriminate and undeserved neglect, which has been shown in this country to works relating to our own history. Such works, however deficient in point of finish, so they be but authentic and impartial—and these are the unquestioned merits of many of our annalistsare deserving of a far other destiny, than that of an iron

slumber on the shelves of their publishers. It is no light thing to arrest those important facts, which are every day falling into oblivion, which are only extant in the memory of a few individuals, and are continually borne away with them beyond the reach of human investigation. Thus to preserve such incidents is all that is now indispensably necessary; to arrange and adorn them, may be left, not advantageously indeed, but safely, to the genius of future historians. Many, we know, will maintain, that it is asking too much of their patriotism to require them to wade through a dull chronicle of events, however important, that the only reason why American history is so little read is, that it is not more ably written, and that thus it must ever be in fact, whatever may be desirable in theory. Such remarks may be applied, we grant, with much justice to many of our historical works, but certainly not to this; and should it fail of the reception due to its literary merits, to say nothing of any other, its fate will reflect as little credit on the good taste as on the patriotism of our countrymen.

For the benefit of those of our readers, if any, who may not have seen this volume, we have composed the following brief abstract of the life of Otis.

James Otis was born in West Barnstable, February 5, 1725, and received his early education from the reverend Jonathan Russell, the minister of the parish. Whether he gave any very early indications of his extraordinary genius is a point, on which we are altogether uninformed, a loss which will not be regretted by those, who reflect, that such indications are seldom related without exaggeration, and are in themselves exceedingly equivocal. At the age of fourteen, that is, in June 1739, Otis entered Harvard College. The two first years of his residence there were wasted in idleness, a negligence, which he more than redeemed in the remainder of the time. He took his bachelor's degree in 1743, and bore a part on that occasion, in a syllogistic disputation. After devoting eighteen months to the pursuit of general literature, and more particularly, as we are informed in a short sketch of his life, contained in the Monthly Anthology, to the reading of the most distinguished authors in Latin and Greek, and in the modern languages, he began the study of his profession under Mr Gridley, and continued in his office three years. On entering into practice, in the year 1748, he quickly rose to the high honors, New Series, No. 14. 45

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