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in the splendid career opened to enterprise of every description in our free and thriving community. We were in the morning of life, as it were, when everything summoned us to action ; when the spirit was quickened by hope and youthful confidence; and we felt that we had our race to run, unlike those nations who, having reached the noontide of their glory, or sunk into their decline, were naturally led to dwell on the soothing recollections of the past, and to repose themselves, after a tumultuous existence, in the quiet pleasures of study and contemplation. " It was amid the ruins of the Capitol,” says Gibbon, “ that I first conceived the idea of writing the History of the Roman Empire.” The occupation suited well with the spirit of the place, but would scarcely have harmonized with the life of bustling energy, and the thousand novelties which were perpetually stimulating the appetite for adventure in our new and unexplored hemisphere. In short, to express it in one word, the peculiarities of our situation as naturally disposed us to active life as those of the old countries of Europe to contemplative.

The subject of the present memoir affords an almost solitary example, at this period, of a scholar, in the enlarged application of the term, who cultivated letters as a distinct and exclusive p'ofession,

P resting his means of support, as well as his fame, on his success; and who, as a writer of fiction, is still farther entitled to credit for having quitted the beaten grounds of the Old Country, and sought his subjects in the untried wilderness of his own. The particulars of his unostentatious life have been collected with sufficient industry by his friend, Mr. William Dunlap, to whom our native literature is under such large obligations for the extent and fidelity of his researches. We will select a few of the most prominent incidents from a mass of miscellaneous fragments and literary lumber with which his work is somewhat encumbered. It were to be wished that, in the place of some of them, more copious extracts had been substituted for his journal and correspondence, which, doubtless, in this as in other cases, must afford the most interesting, as well as authentic materials for biography.

CHARLES BROCKDEN BROWN was born at Philadelphia, January 17, 1771. He was descended from a highly respectable family, whose ancestors were of that estimable sect who came over with William Penn to seek an asylum where they might worship their Creator unmolested in the meek and humble spirit of their own faith. From his earliest childhood Brown gave evidence of his studious propensities, being frequently noticed by his father, on his return from school, poring over some heavy tome, nothing daunted by the formidable words it contained, or mounted on a table, and busily engaged in exploring a map which hung on the parlour wall. This infantine predilection for geographical studies ripened into a passion in later years. Another anecdote, recorded of him at the age of ten, sets in a still stronger light his appreciation of

intellectual pursuits far above his years. A visiter

A at his father's having rebuked him, as it would

seem, without cause, for some remark he had made, gave him the contemptuous epithet of “boy.” “What does he mean,” said the young philosopher, after the guest's departure, “ by calling me boy? Does he not know that it is neither size nor age, but sense, that makes the man? I could ask him a hundred questions, none of which he could answer.”

At eleven years of age he was placed under the tuition of Mr. Robert Proud, well known as the author of the History of Pennsylvania. Under his direction he went over a large course of English reading, and acquired the elements of Greek and Latin, applying himself with great assiduity to his studies. His bodily health was naturally delicate, and indisposed him to engage in the robust, athletic exercises of boyhood. His sedentary habits, however, began so evidently to impair his health, that his master recommended him to withdraw from his books, and recruit his strength by excursions on foot into the country. These pedestrian rambles suited the taste of the pupil

, and the length of his absence often excited the apprehensions of his friends for his safety. He may be thought to have sat to him

. self for this portrait of one of his heroes. “I

preferred to ramble in the forest and loiter on the hill; perpetually to change the scene; to scrutinize the endless variety of objects; to compare one leaf and pebble with another; to pursue those trains of thought which their resemblances and differences suggested; to inquire what it was that gave them this place, structure, and form, were more agreeable employments than ploughing and threshing.” “My frame was delicate and feeble. Exposure to wet blasts and vertical suns was sure to make me sick.” The fondness for these solitary rambles continued through life, and the familiarity which they opened to him with the grand and beautiful scenes of nature undoubtedly contributed to nourish the habit of revery and abstraction, and to deepen the romantic sensibilities from which flowed so much of his misery, as well as happiness, in after life.

He quitted Mr. Proud's school before the age of sixteen. He had previously made some small poetical attempts, and soon after sketched the plans of three several epics, on the discovery of America, and the conquests of Peru and Mexico. For some time they engaged his attention to the exclusion of every other object. No vestige of them now remains, or, at least, has been given to the public, by which we can ascertain the progress made towards their completion. The publication of such immature juvenile productions may gratify curiosity by affording a point of comparison with later excellence. They are rarely, however, of value in themselves sufficient to authorize their exposure to the world, and notwithstanding the occasional exception of a Pope or a Pascal, may very safely put up with Uncle Toby's recommendation on a similar display of precocity, “ to hush it up, and say as little about it as possible.”

Among the contributions which, at a later period of life, he was in the habit of making to different journals, the fate of one was too singular to be passed over in silence. It was a poetical address to Franklin, prepared for the Edentown newspaper. “ The blundering printer,” says Brown, in his journal, “ from zeal or ignorance, or perhaps from both, substituted the name of Washington. Washington, therefore, stands arrayed in awkward colours ; philosophy smiles to behold her darling son; she turns with horror and disgust from those who have won the laurel of victory in the field of battle, to this her favourite candidate, who had never participated in such bloody glory, and whose fame was derived from the conquest of philosophy alone. The printer, by his blundering ingenuity, made the subject ridiculous. Every word of this clumsy panegyric was a direct slander upon Washington, and so it was regarded at the time.” There could not well be imagined a more expeditious or effectual recipe for converting eulogy into satire.

Young Brown had now reached a period of life when it became necessary to decide on a profession. After due deliberation, he determined on the law; a choice which received the cordial approbation of his friends, who saw in his habitual diligence and the character of his mind, at once comprehensive and logical, the most essential requisites for success. He entered on the studies of his profession with his usual ardour ; and the acuteness and copiousness of his arguments on various topics proposed for dis

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