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and learned editor; but the character of Governor Winthrop is too well known to need any further commemoration, and we trust that the public will duly appreciate the patriotic zeal, which could lead a gentleman, of Mr Savage's abilities and occupations, to undertake a task requiring such patient and minute industry. We hope that his success, in the present instance, will have its due effect in inducing him to continue his important and interesting researches. The field, which he has chosen for his peculiar labors, is a true New England soil, unpromising in its aspect to a careless observer, but yielding a rich reward to the skilful and laborious cultivator.
ART. III.-The Merry Tales of the Three Wise Men of Gotham. Edited by the Author of John Bull in America.'
New York. 1826.
'Three Wise Men of Gotham
Went to Sea in a Bowl.
If the Bowl had been stronger,
G. & C. Carvill. 12mo. pp. 324.
Or all the sages of antiquity, whose names have been handed down to our time, none have excited so general a notice, as the three wise men of Gotham. The short fragment of the history of these unfortunate navigators hitherto known to us, which records their lamentable fate, has not been the theme of the learned antiquary and studious scholar alone, but is in the mouths of persons of every class, and of all periods of life, from lisping infancy to tremulous old age. Whether this universal interest and sympathy, is to be attributed to the sudden exit of these venerable men; to the extraordinary character of the vessel to which they committed themselves; or to the mysterious brevity of the fragment alluded to, are questions, which, considering the numerous learned disquisitions on less important subjects, we might have expected, would before this, have exercised the ingenuity of many laborious commentators. This, however, has not been the case, and the history of these distinguished philosophers has remained involved in the most profound obscurity up to this time. The documents noticed at the head of this article purport to be the memoirs of these ancient personages. To con
vey to our readers a just sense of their important bearing upon the present times, it is necessary to say a few words of the state of the sciences, and of public opinion, in our country at this period.
It has no doubt been remarked, that whilst all other parties among men, whether of a religious, political, literary, or any other nature, have come by the force of circumstances, from time to time, to change their character, subside, and amalgamate, the distinction between the ancients and moderns has ever remained the same, sometimes the one, and sometimes the other, claiming to be the superior in acquirements and intelligence. From a very early period, however, there has been this great advantage observable on the side of the ancients, that notwithstanding the moderns had the field to themselves, and might use what arguments they pleased, without the fear of a reply from their opponents, yet sooner or later all the moderns were found to go over to the party of the ancients, whereas no ancient was ever known to become a modern. This circumstance operated so powerfully in favor of the ancients, and by degrees so greatly increased their numbers, that the moderns a long time since, yielded up the victory to them, and freely acknowledged their own inferiority. Insomuch, that, until towards the close of the last century, these last, from generation to generation, have been accustomed, with a praiseworthy modesty, to look back upon their ancestors, who lived centuries before them, as the only genuine source of all wisdom, virtue, and science, and to consider themselves as mere children, bound to receive, and observe with reverence, the information handed down to them from earlier and wiser ages. The obscurity which time threw around the characters and writings of antiquity only served to increase their reputation; and the venerable black letter had its just influence, being ever the more respected the less it was understood. But when the great school of children of this Western world, undertook to break their leading strings, and commenced a general barring out of their masters, the froward spirit which led to this act of disobedience carried them on to still greater extravagancies, and they began to pretend that they were as wise as their
This long exploded opinion they supported with such arguments as these. That although it could not be denied that the individuals then living, were much younger than their ancestors, who lived a thousand years before, still it was to be recollected,
that the world was just so much the older; and that inasmuch as a whole is acknowledged to be greater than a part, the experience and knowledge obtained by the world since the existence of their ancestors, added to that of their ancestors themselves, must plainly be somewhat greater than that of the latter taken alone. These and other like arguments operated so powerfully, as soon to bring a majority of people in this country over to that way of thinking, and to a belief that our ancestors were by no means so wise as they had been said to be. The great success and spread of these opinions, at length so inflated the moderns, that they began to lay aside all reserve, and openly to assert, that there was no science, art, invention, or discovery of any consequence which had not originated, within the last fifty years, or been so improved upon, as that they were justly entitled to the merit of it; the great advancement made in these things, they attributed to the rapid 'march of mind' within that period, and pretended to look upon the first six thousand years of the world as little better than time thrown away.
It is, however, in three things particularly, that the moderns boast to have utterly surpassed all that was ever done or thought of in former times, and by which they expect to secure to this age the admiration and gratitude of all future ones. The first of these is the invention of the woman machine, whereby the productive power of mankind in the making of cottons, kerseys, &c. is increased to a most wonderful degree, and the most important parts of female education greatly improved upon. And of this machine the moderns claim to be the original and sole inventors. Secondly, the bringing of the common law to a pitch of perfection, such as was never before imagined to be possible. Thirdly, the introduction and prosecution of the science of phrenology, a science said by knowing men to be fraught with more important consequences to mankind than any other ever before pursued.
Now upon an examination of the work before us, it appears that these three ancients represent themselves to be proficients in these very sciences which the moderns thus claim to have originated or to have perfected in these latter days. In a matter of so great importance as this, a regard, as well to the reputation of those venerable ancients, as to the just rights of the present age, makes it our duty as impartial critics, to examine and decide upon the respective pretensions of the two parties.
The learned editor in his preface gives the following account of the manner in which those remarkable papers first came to light.
'A great Oxford antiquary, of whom it has been said that he remembered whatever others forgot, and forgot whatever other people remembered, speaks of the "Merry Tales of the Mad Men of Gotham," a work in great repute in his time, when the kindest name given to a philosopher, was that of madman, a phrase which often saved him from the stake or the block. This work was long supposed to be extinct, but at length came to light, not long since, at Mr Bindley's sale, and was bought by a young American traveller for a trifle, owing to the deplorable ignorance of two munificent noblemen, who little suspected that it was the only copy in the known world, and for that reason considered it as worth nothing.'
The work is divided into three distinct memoirs or narrations, said to have been delivered individually by the three wise men during their perilous voyage, and giving a minute account of their experiences in the prosecution of the three sciences in which they were proficients.
We shall take up these several memoirs separately, in their order, and state our reasons for thinking as we do, that the learned editor has been imposed upon by some invidious modern, who having arrived at such a period of life as made it certain that he must soon become an ancient, took the opportunity, whilst it was yet within his power, to do something in favor of the party which he was about to be connected with; and for that purpose, to use a legal phrase, first pirated the most remarkable improvements and inventions of the moderns, and then held them up to ridicule. The first of these memoirs purports to be that of the 'Man Machine, or the Pupil of Circumstances.' The account of his birth and initiation into the science of productive labor is thus described.
'I was born, began the first Wise Man of Gotham, in a country that I consider unworthy of my nativity, and for that reason I shall do all in my power to deprive it of the honor, by not mentioning its name. I am, moreover, descended from a family, which must necessarily be of great antiquity, since, like all old things, it has long since fallen into decay. My father had little or no money, but was blessed with the poor man's wealth, a fruitful wife
and great store of children. Of these I am the eldest; but at the period I shall commence my story, we were all too young to take care of ourselves, until the fortunate discovery was made by some great philanthropist, that little children, of six or seven years old, could labor a dozen or fourteen hours a day without stinting their minds, ruining their health, or destroying their morals. This improvement in the great science of PRODUCTIVE LABOR, delighted my father-it was shifting the onus, as the lawyers say, from his own shoulders to that of his children. He forthwith bound us all over to a cotton manufactory, where we stood upon our legs three times as long as a member of congress, that is to say, fourteen hours a day, and among eight of us, managed to earn a guinea a week. The old gentleman, for gentleman he became from the moment he discovered his little flock could maintain him-thought he had opened a mine. He left off working, and took to drinking and studying the mysteries of political economy and productive labor. He soon became an adept in this glorious science, and at length arrived at the happy conclusion, that the whole moral, physical, political and religious organization of society, resolved itself into making the most of human labor, just as we do of that of our horses, oxen, asses, and other beasts of burden.' pp. 21, 22.
This wise man, whose name is Harmony, goes on to give, at great length, a minute description of the science of productive. labor as exemplified in the management of a cotton factory. We think it will be apparent to our readers that the object is, under the feigned name of a man machine, to decry and run down that most useful and remarkable invention of modern times called a woman machine. The more fully to show that the moderns are justly entitled to the merit of this invention, and that the slurs cast upon it by this writer are altogether groundless, we shall shortly state how, and when, this machine came first to be invented in this country; explain the mode of its construction; and briefly notice the very important uses to which it is applied.
The invention of the woman machine, as can be incontestibly proved, first came about in this manner. As soon as the people of this country had fairly freed themselves from the government of Great Britain, and discharged themselves of their ancestors, all classes of persons here began to thrive and multiply exceedingly, but more especially females; insomuch that our political economists suggested a fear that, in process of time, the whole country would get to be overrun with women, unless some check was put to them. Now our mechanical geniuses, casting their