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We are willing to admit this, though we cannot so readily agree to the reasonings of our author on the subject, nor to the causes to which he ascribes the melancholy occarrence. He observes, the transaction which took place at that time, originated in the desertion of certain seamen from the British ship Melampus.' (Chap. II. p. 12.] And then he proceeds to inform us of the circumstances attending that desertion, the enlistment of the seamen on board the Chesapeak, and the demand made of them by the British consul at Norfolk. The ea. quiry which it is said the American government instituted upon the, citizenship of the seamen is enlarged upon, and the probabilities res: pecting their unsupported assertions in relation to their nativity are weighed and compared, as well as the propriety of the conduct of the administration in ultimately refusing to deliver them up. Assuming the desertion from the Melampus to be the sole cause of Admiral Berkley's proclamation which was evidently the immediate cause of the attack on the Chesapeak, the author, we think, will find it difficult to discover authority sufficient to maintain his assertion. As he has not conceived it necessary to cite the authorities on which his declaration is founded, and whilst we have official documents before us which speak a diffierent language, we hope to be excused, if we do not suffer the unsupported account of this writer to supercede the evidence of Berk ley's proclamation. So far was the desertion from the Melampus,' from being the origin of the transaction, that the proclamation, whilst it enumerates six vessels, deserters from which are assigned as reasons for the claim of search, the Melampus is not once mentioned. The vessels particularized were the Bellisle, Bellona, Triumph, Chichester, Halifax, and Zenobia (Cutter). In an historical narrative, where the most scrupulous correctness and fidelity are fairly to be claimed, such deviation from the principal official document in the case, ought certainly to have been supported by countervailing testimony. How far the American government were authorised to refuse to deliver the deserters from the Melampus, is nugatory, since the question at issue between Berkley and Barron, was not respecting those
many others; more particularly, five deserters from the Halifax, who first rose upon their officer, and afterwards insulted their commander in the streets of Norfolk. It is clear from the fact that Capt. Humphreys exceeded his instructions in taking men from the Chesapeak, who were not included in them, and therefore should it be settled by his punishment ; but it cannot be admitted that the transaction originated in the desertions from the Melampus, when they seem to have been purposely omitted by Berkley in his proclamation. The evident attempt of this writer to screen the administration, in his relation of the facts in this manner, is preposterously absurd ; they were unquestionably wrong in suffering British seamen to be enlisted on board their ships of war, but they were clearly right in refusing to suffer the search to be made. Jenkin Ratford was the only man on board the Chesapeak, who came
within the compass of Capt. Humphrey's instructions, and he had entered by another name, (Wilson) which circumstance might have been unknown by Commodore Barron, and he is not obliged to resort to the necessity of justifying his denial by the disputed meaning of the word deserter.' The American government therefore, might be more fully vindicated from the charge of prevarication and falsehood, under a true statement of facts, than by arrogant assumptions which do not contain sufficient colour of truth to confer on them the appearance of plausibility
The account of the action next engages the attention of our author, in several particulars of which we discover some of those smaller lapses of correctness and deviations from authority of which we have before had occasion, and certainly have a right to complain, in this historical narration. Thus, the ensuing account directly contradicts the letter of Capt. Humphreys in regard to the time the action continued. Before these orders could be executed the Leopard commenced a heavy fire. This fire unfortunately was very destructive. In about thirty minutes, the hull, rigging and spars were greatly damaged,' &c. (page 17). Capt. Humphreys does not allow the firing to have continued so long; he says with great precision at the expiration of ten minutes from the first shot being fired, the pendant and ensign of the Chesapeak were lowered.' Our author does not expressly mention a circumstance which we consider to have been important, but leaves it to his reader's imagination, the formal offer of surrender, and the striking the American Aag on board the Chesapeak. Future readers would not be able to discover these facts from any expression in the ' Annals:'
In chapter III. the author proceeds to relate the astonishing effects of this melancholy event, which extinguished the fire of party asperity, caused every one to sigh for the indignity we had sustained, and produced unavailing attempts among some part of the people to heal the wound the national hononr had received by the ill-directed revenge of exasperated animosity. The destruction of two hundred casks of water, the raising of the militia in the vicinity of Norfolk, were the principal warlike incidents which occurred. The author then touches upon the court of enquiry instituted upon the conduct of Commodore Barron, and afterwards complains of the decision of the court martial in pun: ishing him for a mere errour of judgment,' which the author considers very humanely to have been of such a kind, and in such circumstances' as to be the most venial in itself, but most harmless in its consequences, that can be easily imagined.' Its • kind is best known to Capt. Barron himself; “ the consequences' have only been to imbue the national character with a stain of disgrace so indelible, that neither time nor repentant tears will ever be able to eradicate it.
(To be continued.] * Letter to John Erskine Douglas, Esq. captain of his majesty's ship Bellona,
REMARKS On a Sermon delivered at King's Chapel, Boston, 1st January, 1809..
Br SAMUEL Carer.
(Concluded from page 217.) Page 16. Our author' says, 'He ought not to satisfy himself with discussions of general topicks, with dispensing general censure or * praise, but he should honestly represent to his people the consequen• ces of particular sins.' Pray ought a minister to ' dispense' particular censure or praise ? If the consequences of all sins are the same, why talk about the consequences of particular sins?' He proceeds, * It is one very important part of his duty to reprove voluntary faults,' &c. Pray what is to be done respecting 'involuntary errours,' as Mr. Madison expresses himself in his inaugural address ? " The author adds, “It is a duty to disclose the real motives of bad actions.' 'Is not this requiring more than any human being was ever able to perform? He talks of displaying the extreme deceitfulness of the human heart." How will this gentleman and his colleague agree upon this expression? He proceeds, this may and ought always to be done with gentlenessi In page 12 he says, "some persons should be answered in a style of • general invective and contempt.? He adds, ' It is certainly a most un• welcome employment, but it ought not to excite enmity. Many people think it an agreeable ' employment, and believe that it excites no more enmity' than many other employments, but upon the whole rather less. He then speaks about' concealing necessary truth,' as if any body expected unnecessary truth' from these gentlemen. He concludes the paragraph, by saying, 'We must not see them loitering * negligently upon the edge of a precipice, without telling them plain• ly that death is before them.' The effect of this metaphor is entirely destroyed by the tameness of its termination. Death is before us all, whether upon the edge of a precipice or not. This mode of writing, is somewhat in the style of the following lines :
His eyeballs burn, he wounds the smoking plain,
And knots of scarlet ribbon deck his mane. MART. SCRIB. In the last line of this page, he says, ' A faithful minister must govern • himself.' Is this duty peculiar to 'a faithful minister?'
Page 17. He says, ' He must exhibit himself a living example,' &c. a dead. example' will not answer the purpose ; nor could he indeed in this case 'exhibit himself.' In the next paragraph he says, the first
care of a chriscian minister should be to enlighten his conscience. He probably means his understanding. Perhaps, however, the word was adopted on account of the beauty of repetition, as it occurs again within three lines. He here varies his language very prettily, by a frequent change of person, 'Let him,' and 'Let us.' This entertaining variety
of person, is indeed spread through the whole sermon.
The two concluding sentences of this page, cannot boast much elegance of composition. They are somewhat in the style of a petulant school-boy, • what if we are, and what if it should,' &c.
Page 18. The sentence at the top, seems by the repetition of the word general,' to contain a military idea, especially as it is preceded by the word storm. This idea is contained in a subsequent sentence, as, • We are protected by a shield,' by a fortress, and by a power.' Then changing the person, 'He is an ambassadour. Our `author' gently hints to this ambassadour, that he need not do what it is utterly impossible he should do, if he be the ambassadour he pretends ; (i. e.) * of a meek and lowly master. He need not do this in a tone of • fierce defiance, or in a spirit of bitter animosity, or in the language of 6 a common brawler. If these insinuations be intended against other persons, he condemns himself in page 15. For such language must be considered as an attack upon their reputation and influence. If we suppose these expressions to afford an exposition of his own char. acter, then has our author long lessons indeed to learn, of 'hu\ mility,' of gentleness,' of patience,' and forgiveness,' before he can be fit to teach others by his example. Although indulging in a • style of general invective and contempt,' may be considered as closely allied to the conduct described in this page, (18) yet the ambassadour of Jesus Christ certainly required. no such caution. In the next paragraph he says, ' a christian must act his principles," Can principles' be acted? They may be acted upon. Our author' proceeds, • We are not to content ourselves with professions of benevolence,' &c, If we are conscientious, we cannot thus content ourselves. Perhaps he intended to say, we must not expect that others will be contented with our professions of benevolence. This supposition is corroborated in page 19, by the beginning of the adjoining sentence, It is expected of us also. He then speaks of throwing some Aowers and * some cheerfulness into the path of misery.' This mixture of metaphor and reality accompanied by the repetition of the word some, is indeed very entertaining ; as if he had said, I will throw a little of each, but I will take care not to block up your path with one, nor overwhelm you with the other. After amusing himself with a triple repetition of the word sometimes' and a little expletive verbosity, he says, “a min, ister may
be called to hear the last groans of a wretch whose con* science has now told him for the first time that he has lived in vain. . Then it may be in his power to save a soul from everlasting death.' Can a ' minister' save the soul of a wretch who has lived in vain, and * is groaning for the last time? Do even our Roman Catholick brethren pretend to as much as this?
Page 26. The author' says our master may suddenly appear be. • fore us. This is a new idea. Perhaps the gentleman intended to
say, We may be suddenly called to appear before our master,' &c. In the
next paragraph, he says, “ the employments of the pastoral office, are ! such as may give delight to the purest and greatest minds.' He seems to forget that in page 16, he said of the business of a minister, " It is certainly a most unwelcome employment. The expressions * purest and greatest are probably allusive to himself, as in the next sentence he says of the employments, they place us above the pow
er of the world, above the fear of death.' Here is another new idea. To start two original ideas in one page must be admitted as evidence of genius. With the utmost respect, however, for the clerical profession generally, some persons are heretical enough to believe, that its
members are neither above the power of the world, nor the fear of death.'
Page 21. The preceding page was remarkable for invention, this excels in another embellishment. The gentleman appears here in a very knowing character. In thirteen lines, the expression, ' I know,' is repeated five times, and the consequential, ' I appear,' eleven times. This exhilarating pronoun,'I,' acquires here the ascendency over 'He' and 'We,' and maintains it to the end of the sermon. Our S author says, ' I know the blasting influence of the temptations of the world.
I tremble when I remember the weakness of human nature. In the preceding page, he boasts of being above the power of the world.' The last sentence on this page is constructed in our aythor's' usually lucid manner ; the last six words, however, appear to be entirely expletive, and not strictly grammatical, as the indicative mode is used instead of the subjunctive.
Page 22. Our author' says, “I hold it a crime to pledge myself 6 to defend the dogmas of any human theological system.' Are there any other than “human' theological systems? "I will be the slave of . no man's creed.' Perhaps the young gentleman intends to form a creed for himself, for it cannot be supposed that he will remain without
It is to be hoped he will oblige the publick with it, as soon as he thinks it complete. He proceeds, because among all that endless va.
riety of opinions, which have rent the church asunder, there is not one which is supported by better authority than some human teacher, Pray what other authority' than human' does he expect to find for opinions? In the next sentence the gentleman has deigned to state a part of bis creed, which is indeed truly liberal and ingenious. 'I be
lieve,' says he, that every christian has a right to reject what he proves to be absurd !'
Page 23. Beginning at the bottom of the preceding page, he says, I acknowledge myself unqualified to decide peremptorily on ques. * tions, which my aged and learned brethren in the ministry, after
spending their whole lives in attempting to solve, have pronounc• ed inexplicable.' Most marvellous sense and modesty! Really, he