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A LETTER OF CONDOLENCE.
Boston, April 19th, 1845. Dear Friend, I write this under the utmost oppression of sorrow; the youngest daughter of our friend Jones is dead ! Never, surely, was there a more agreeable, and more amiable young person; or one who better deserved to have enjoyed a long, I had almost said, an immortal life! She had all the wisdom of age, and the discretion of a matron, joined with youthful sweetness and virgin modesty.
With what an engaging fondness did she behave to her father! How kindly and respectfully receive his friends! How affectionately treat all those, who, in their respective offices, had the care and education of her! She employed much of her time in reading, in which she discovered great strength of judgment; she indulged herself in few diversions, and those with much caution. With what forbearance, with what patience, with what courage, did she endure her last illness !
She complied with all the directions of her physicians; she encouraged her sister, and her father; and when all her strength of body was exhausted, supported herself by the single vigor of her
mind. That, indeed, continued even to her last moments, unbroken by the pain of a long illness, or the terrors of approaching death ; and it is a reflection which makes the loss of her so much the more to be lamented. A loss infinitely severe! more severe by the particular conjuncture in which it hap pened !
She was contracted to a most worthy youth; the wedding day was fixed, and we were all invited. How sad a change from the highest joy, to the deepest sorrow! How shall I express the wound that pierced my heart, when I heard Jones himself, (as grief ever finding out circumstances to aggravate its affliction,) ordering the money he had designed to lay out upon clothes and jewels for her marriage, to be employed in defraying the expenses of her funeral !
He is a man of great learning and good sense, who has applied himself, from his earliest youth, to the noblest and most elevating studies: but all the maxims of fortitude which he has received from books, or advanced himself, he now absolutely rejects; and every other virtue of his heart gives place to all a parent's tenderness. We shall excuse, we shall even approve his sorrow, when we consider what he has lost. He has lost a daughter who resembled him in his manners, as well as his person; and exactly copied out all her father.
If you shall think proper to write to him upon the subject of so reason. able a grief, let me remind you not to use the rougher arguments of consolation, and such as seem to carry a sort of reproof with them ; but those of kind and sympathizing humanity. Time will render him more open to the dictates of reason; for, as a fresh wound shrirks back from the hand of the surgeon, but by degrees submits to, and even requires the means of its cure, so a mind, under the first impressions of a misfortune, share and rejects all arguments of consolation; but at length, if applied with tep dirness, calmly and willingly acquiesces in them.*
Very truly yours,
GEORGE C. S. PARKER Henry Dix, Esq.
Exercises in Epistolary Writing.
A Letter to a friend announeing any event, real or imaginary.
" the inhabitants of the moon, or the stars, or a comet
any character in history.
any one in a foreign country.
criticisms on works that have been read.
requesting the acceptance of some present
some eminent divine.
ON A SUBJECT, AND THE METHOD OF TREATING IT.
In writing on a regular subject, the following directions are given by Mr. Walker, as suggestions for the
different divis ians, as well as for the systematic train of reflections.
* This letter is an original of Pliny the Younger to Marcellinus, trans lated by Melmoth. The address, &;. has been alterod to accommodate it to the purposes of this volume.
The definition ; the cause; the antiquity, or novelty; the universality ur locality; the effects ; namely, the goodness or badness, or the advan: tages or disadvantages.
1st. If your subject require explanation, define it or explain it at large.
2nd. Show what is the cause of your subject; that is, what is the occasion of it, or what it is derived from.
3d. Show whether your subject be ancient or modern; that is, what was in ancient times, and what it is at present.
4th. Show whether your subject relates to the whole world, or only to a particular part of it.
5th. Examine whether your subject be good or bad; show wherein its goodness or badness consists, and what are the advantages oi disad vantages that arise from it. *
Definition. Government is the diretion and restraint exercised the actions of men in communities, societies, or states. It controls the administration of public affairs, according to the principles of an established constitution, a code of written laws, or by well-known usages; or it
may be administered, as in some countries, by the arbitrary edicts of the sovereign. Government is the soul of society : it is that order among rational creatures which produces almost all the benefits they enjoy. Ă nation may be considered as a large family; - all the inhabitants are, as it were, relations; and the supreme power, wherever it is lodged, is the common parent of every individual.
Cause. The necessity of governmen: lies in the nature of man. In terest and selfishness, unrestrained by salutary laws and restrictions, would be the controlling principle of every man's actions, uninfluenced by a proper regard for the rights of others. It is necessary, therefore, 10 have some restraint laid upon every man — some power which shall control him, and impel him to what is right, and deter him from what i wrong, and this power is government. To this restrairt every one muss subrr.it; and if in such submission any one finds it necessary to give up
* These directions are thus versified by Mr. Walker:
If first your subject definition need,
you can, find out your subject's cause,
a portion of the rights with which he fancies that God and nature en dowed him, he will be consoled by the reflection that all have to make the sacrifice, and that the concession is made for the protection of his property and his life, for without government neither would be safe.
Antiquity. Accordingly, we find, so deeply seated is the necessity for government, that in the earliest ages of the world a kind of government was existing among all tribes and nations; and remarkable is this fact, that almost all that history records of the earliest people is the history of these kings.
Universality. In every part of the world, also, at the present day, where ouman creatures are to be seen, there also some kind of government is found among them. Even the rudest among the savage nations have their kings and chiefs, whose word is law, and whose power is seldom disputed.
Locality. But government, in its most perfect form, is generally found among the most civilized and enlightened people. Almost all the different kinds of government now existing, or that ever did exist, may be reduced to three, namely, Monarchy, Aristocracy, and Democracy. Under one of these forms every nation now known to exist is regulated and controlled. The painted Indian, whose life and death are at the mercy of his sachem, the naked Arrican, who looks in terror at his king, and the wild Arab, whose chief is the sovereign arbiter in the division of the plunder obtained by the horde, all are in fact the subjects of a monarch. Rome, under the decemvirs, and Venice and Genoa under their nobles, presented the spectacle of an Aristocracy; while Athens, luxurious Athens, invested the chief power in an assembly of the people, and presented to the world a splendid example of a Democracy. Each of these different forms is attended by its own peculiar advantages and disadvantages which the unity of our subject does not permit us now to discuss. But the advantages of some form of government remains yet to be presented.
Advantages. . Order is said to be the first law of heaven. But among men it is essentially necessary for their very existence. Man, uncontrolled and unrestrained, would ever be invading his brother's rights Nothing would be safe. Might would be right, and the strongest might revel in the possession of that which the weaker had no power to keep from him. Laws emanate from government. Without government there could be no laws. It is the laws which protect every man in the enjoyment of his life, his liberty, and his possessions. Without laws, property would not be respected; the weak would be the slave of the strong, and the strong could enjoy their ill-gotton possessions only so long as they could maintain their ascendancy. It is government, therefore, that secures to every one the enjoyment of what he possesses, and restrains the strong from encroaching on the rights of the weak.
Disadvantages. Every form of government is liable to abuse. They who are in power are engaged in a constant struggle to maintain that power, while the ambitious and the aspiring are eagerly watching their opportunity to supplant them. This gives rise to parties and cabals, to plots and intrigues, to treachery, to treason and rebellion, to civil wars ind family feuds, in which the innocent often share the punishment pre(ared for the guilty. But these evils are light in comparison with those which spring from anarchy, or want of government. It becomes every ne, therefore, to lend his aid in support of the government under which it has pleased providence to place him, until that government shows by its actions that the good of the people for whom it was instituted is not its aim, and thereby renders rebellion a palliated evil, if not a virtue.
Themes are subjects, or topics, on which a person writes or speaks.
A theme, as defined by Mr. Walker, is the proving of some truth.
Themes are divided into two classes, the simple and the complex.
Simple themes comprehend such as may be expressed by one term or more, without conveying either an affirmation or A negation. Such as Logic, Education, Habit, The Fall of the Roman Empire, The Institution of Chivalry. *
* Such, also, are the subjects of the last Exercises under the head of Regular Subjects.