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only by those colloquial pauses and tones, which would most naturally and forcibly express the sense, were the sentiments the spontaneous effusions of my own mind. The sentential pauses in all books, being so mechanically, and consequently so injudiciously placed, as frequently to obscure the brilliancy of the sentiment, and always to communicate a stiffness to the enunciation."
Punctuation is a modern art. The ancients were intirely unacquainted with the use of our comma, semicolon, &c. and wrote not only without any distinction of members and periods, but also without distinction of words; which custom, historians inform us, continued till the hundred and fourth olympiád. During which time, the sense alone divided the discourse. How the ancients read their works written in this manner, it is not easy to conceive. After the practice of joining words together ceased, notes of distinction were placed at the end of every word, generally a mark like our small v. This appears from many ancient manuscripts still preserved in public libraries, and in the cabinets of the curious. This was the mode while manuscripts and monumental inscriptions were the only known methods to convey knowledge. The fourteenth century, to which we are indebted for the invention of printing, did not however bestow those appendages which we call stops: whoever will be at the pains to examine the first printed books will discover no stops of any kind; but arbitrary marks here and there, according to the humour of the printer. In the fifteenth century we observe their first appearance. Nor were they all produced at the same time: the comma, parenthesis, interrogation and period, being then all. The colon was afterwards introduced, and lastly the semicolon, and note of admiration. "Pauses in discourse, says Mr. Sheridan, answer the same end that shades do in pictures; by the proper use of which, the objects stand out distinctly to the eye; and without which, were the colours to run into one another, it would be difficult to discriminate the several figures of the composition. In order to get the better of this bad habit of running sentences and their members too quickly into one another, he recommends it to every reader to make all his pauses longer than is necessary, till by degrees he brings them to their due proportion.
The use of pauses being not only to elucidate the meaning, but to give expression to the sentiments of an author, taste as well as judgment is essentially necessary in a reader; and this taste must be founded upon an active sensibility of the author's feelings, and the most natural and consequently the most forcible mode of communicating them agreeably to the nature of the subject discussed.
The necessity of correct punctuation, expressing the force of sentiment, or the true meaning of the author, will be evident by an omission of the stops, or an improper collocation of them; as in the following sentences:
"My name is Norval on the Grampian hills:
"We fought and conquer'd ere a sword was drawn.
Very closely connected with, and in some degree dependent upon, punctuation, is the proper use of tones, or the modulation and operation of the human voice in forming by its inflexions those many expressions of sentiment and passion which give energy to language, and efficacy to thought.
To this important topic I shall solicit your attention in my next lecture.
FOR THE PORT FOLIO.
Westminster, Frederic County, Maryland, May 20th, 1809,
I VISITED a curiosity a few days since, which the pen of many a traveller has celebrated as among the most beautiful of nature's vagaries. The description of the scenery from the hand of Mr. Jefferson in his Notes, was among the strongest inducements which led me to undergo the fatigue of travelling over so rugged and cheerless a path as the road to Harper's Ferry: but when I arrived there, I found that the scenery and the objects of earth, rock and water, afforded a view, grand, magnificent and highly picturesque, yielding pleasure, surprise and food for speculation, fully compensating the exertion and labour of the jaunt; even when made by so sluggish and inert a crea
ture as myself. The theoretical account of the phenomena of this scene, which Mr. Jefferson gives, is highly beautiful, rich, and interesting; but it has more, in my eye, of the rich and luxurious exuberance of fancy, than the strength or face of probability. The idea of the conflicting land and water; of the rushing of the confluent currents of the Shenandoah and the Potomac against the mountain; and the victorious forcing of a passage, interest and please the "mind's eye," with the splendid display of beautiful imagery and rich invention; but the talismanic touch of probability subvert the dazzling fiction, and leaves the mind of the traveller willing to gaze, with pleasure and delight, upon the gay and tasteful features of the scene, which nature, in a frolic mood, has scattered around Harper's Ferry; content with the ecstasy of seeing, without the vain wish of erecting theories, to account for the vagaires of so wild a prank.
The approach to the ferry is through a rugged, broken, and mountainous country; with all the bleak and verdant variety of hill and of valley. The passage is in many places narrowed by jutting approaches of the bold rocks on either side, whose protruded prows impend, with threatening destruction, over the head of the terrified traveller, and inspire him, with a fearful awe and admiration of the sublime works of nature's hand.
On arriving at the beach of the ferry, his eye is hailed with the 1 view of two grand and noble streams, rushing with ardent velocity to a meeting of each other's currents; their wedding each other's waters, and gliding, after their union down the deep straits between the mountains, hurrying on their journey to the ocean. The confluence of the Shenandoah and the Potomac, forms a beautiful spectacle: in the union, the Shenandoah becomes immerged in the greater current, and loses its name; the aggrandized Potomac, with a force accelerated by its new auxiliary, proudly pursues its rapid, resistless race, down through the mountains, leaving on either side a bold and aspiring bluff of immense altitude: the western bank enriched with a luxuriant verdant garb; the eastern made grand by a rugged, terrific, perpendicular rock. Upon the headland, which the rivers leave between them, have been erected arsenals and public workshops* for the structure of arms, which are well organized and conducted in their rear and retired a little distance from the angle of the headland, stands a lofty, extensive mountain, which from its projecting brow, seems as intended to protect the pigmy works of art, from the rude blast of the north wind: and to look down with super
Planned and erected by Mr. John Mackie.
intending guardianship upon the lilliputian efforts of its busy little protegées. Upon this mountain, the curious traveller clambers, and from the sublime observatory of its summit, commands a full and picturesque view of the grandeur and beauty of this fascinating prospect. He hears at a distance the anxious roarings of the Shenandoah, seeking, in its rapid course, the bosom of its noble spouse: he sees the meeting and the incorporation of these bold tributaries of the Atlantic; he sees the eager river god Potomac, encircle in his watery embrace, the yielding Shenandoah, and hurry, with his pure and precious burden, down to his grand and capacious reservoir. Nature has nowhere offered to the eye of the curious a more beautiful, enrapturing prospect, of her amusements and her pastime, than she presents in the scenery which surrounds Harper's Ferry; and it has well been said, "that a view of its beauties would afford full compensation for an Atlantic voyage."
A A Potomac,
A draught of the confluence of the rivers Shenandoah and Potomac.
с A lofty observatory mountain,
d A tavern,
FOR THE PORT FOLIO.
MEMOIRS OF HAYTI LETTER VI.
The Cape, land of Hayti, March, 1804.
Colonel Noailles Joysin is a young negro of about thirty years of age, of a savage and fierce physiognomy, and of a mind perfectly correspondent with his countenance. On the departure of the general from town on the 21st of February, the command devolved upon him, and he consequently became from his authority, a person of magnitude. His cruelty and insolence are without moderation, and as his power is very extensive, he exercises it with all the severity of a tyrant. This man was formerly a slave; he was once a private in the same troop of dragoons, with Christophe, and by his bravery, assisted by his intimacy with his old comrade, has by degrees been promoted to his present rank; I was once in company with this officer at the house of a French lady, when in the course of conversation, he mentioned that he recollected when his master used to visit her. He spoke of him with a degree of affection and respect, and in conclusion observed that he was "" un bon diable."
I mentioned in a former letter, that the French on the evacuation of the Cape had left the magazine replete with all kinds of military utensils and arms, and an immense number of bullets. These articles were ordered to be conveyed to the forts in the country; and as the soldiers were principally employed in the construction of those forts, guards were almost daily sent to scour the streets to take up every idle or mean looking person, white, yellow or black, they met with, to the arsenal to assist. Here they were drawn up rank and file and examinined by the colonel; very few were excused. If they could stand it was enough, and I have seen him set men at work, without regarding their petitions and solicitations, who were sick, lame or old, and so incapacitated for labour, that they seemed scarcely to be alive. They were compelled to draw heavy wagons loaded with cannon or other warlike apparatus, carry muskets, or convey utensils in wheelbarrows, into the country.
One morning I was informed that the steward of my vessel, who was a black man, had been taken up by the patrol and confined in a guard house. I went to the place, and found him locked up in a small shed with several others. He informed me that on his way to market he had been seized, and notwithstanding his repeated declarations that he was an American, they would not discharge him. I then applied to the officer of the guard for his release; he shrugged his shoulders, and answered il faut demander le colonel." I accordingly waited up