Before I left England, I had read the book of which you speak. I must confess that it appeared to me exceedingly illogical. Godwin's and Condorcet's extravagancies were not worth confuting; and yet I thought that the Essay on 'Population' had not confuted them.
A human being, suddenly emancipated from a state of subjection, if we may not call it slavery, and transported into a state of freedom, must be expected to be guilty of some extravagancies and follies. But upon the whole, with a small number of exceptions, it is creditable to human nature, that we take this period of our new powers and immunities with so much sobriety as we do.
I have promised a number of extravagancies in the history of my attachment to her; this certainly is one that no idea could be formed of.
Motives for grief which happen on a sudden merit excuse for the extravagancies they sometimes occasion, because they surprize us unawares, reason is off her guard, and it cannot be expected we should be armed against what we had no apprehensions of; presence of mind is an excellent, but rare quality, and we shall see very few, even among the wisest men, who are such examples of it, as to behave in the first shock of some unforeseen misfortune, with the same moderation and calmness of temper, as they would have done, had they had previous warning of what was to befal them.
This picture however wanted effect, and latterly lights and shades have been judiciously introduced, by mingling with these groups eastern abolitionists, white overseers, and English noblemen, and ladies of rank. It made a clever caricature had a great run has been superseded by other follies and extravagancies, and is now nearly forgotten.
Cotton is already produced in Texas, thanks to its German settlers. The question is only, to go on in this way. Slavery once abolished, the small proprietors, who at present carry all the criminal extravagancies of the South further than any others, will be compelled to set their hands to work. This will be an advantage both to the country and themselves.
Some of the scenes, incidents, and characters, are of so extraordinary a nature, that the description of them, without a particular application, must have been regarded as extremely whimsical, and the work, notwithstanding its ingenuity, has been doomed to perpetual oblivion: but history justifies the belief, that in the court of Nero, the extravagancies mentioned by Petronius were realized to a degree which authenticates the representation given of them.
Amid these mute, gray travesties of antiquity and the tastes of his ancestors, the Duc de Puysange exulted. "Ma foi, will life never learn to improve upon the extravagancies of romance? Why, it is the old story, the hackneyed story of the husband and wife who fall in love with each other! Life is a very gross plagiarist.
Louisa was no sooner gone, than he wished her with him again, and was a thousand times about to send and have her brought back; but was as often prevented by the apprehensions of her discovering the motive. He was now convinced that love does not always stand in need of being indulged to enforce its votaries to be guilty of extravagancies.
Bacchanalian dances, which have originated in similar causes among all the rude nations of the earth, and the wild extravagancies of a heated imagination, were the constant accompaniments of this half-heathen, half-Christian festival. At the period of which we are treating, however, the Germans were not the only people who gave way to the ebullitions of fanaticism in keeping the festival of St.