Cherokee Phoenix

From the Philadelphian

Published October, 29, 1828

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From the Philadelphian.


A letter just received from one of the faithful Missionaries of the American Board, at Dwight, in the Arkansas Territory, states that the interest hitherto felt both by Parents and children in education and general mental improvement, is increasing. A diagram enclosed, with the accompanying calculations, shewing [sic] the process of ascertaining the altitude of a perpendicular at the foot of a hill, from the hill's ;side, the work of James Madison Payne, an Indian boy, twelve years old, proves (as the writer well observes) that the red children of the forest are 'as capable of being interested in right lines, angels, and parallelograms 'c. as any other youth.- The boy, above mentioned, entered their school at the age of 6 years, totally ignorant of the English language; and now, speaks and reads it with fluency and accuracy; and within the same time has obtained a good knowledge of Geography, English Grammar, and the rules of Arithmetic, and besides has made some progress in Surveying, and the mensuration of heights and distances. Others in the schools are nearly as far advanced.- The adult scholars begin to feel, that the time is at hand, when they who have been enjoying the privileges of the schools will exercise the greatest influence in the nation.


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More than nine hundred years ago, an Arabian Chemist discovered by distillation, a pungent and warming liquor, to which was given the name of Alkohol [sic], and which we call ardent spirit. This, a modern writer asserts, is the aqua divina, or water of the Elysians [sic] fields, invented by Democritus, and he maintains that the term alkohol has nearly the same import with golden liquor, applied by some of his countrymen to the precious invention of the Greek philosopher. This liquor was brought into Europe at the time of the Moorish conquest, soon came into general favor, and now exerts an important influence over a great part of the civilized world.

It is the object of the following remarks to examine the claims of this article to the extensive patronage and confidence it has acquired.

When taken in small quantity into the stomach, it diffuses its influence over the whole body; a fresh impulse is given to the living powers, the countenance lights up with pleasure, and the mind acts with new interest and vivacity.

Under the influence of a larger dose of exhilarating fluid, sensibility and sympathy unfold themselves.- Tears fall as a pensive association crosses the mind, or a tale of common suffering is told, the benevolent affections flow out upon all surrounding objects, and the whole world is not too large a sphere for the exercise of the generous sentiments which swell the bosom. The mind disburthened [sic] of care, and disregarding the past and future, sees no impediment to the boldest and most extravagagant [sic] enterprise; and rioting in the luxury of present existence, scarcely acknowledges a superior in the universe. Here the distinctions of society begin to disappear. The idle and half starved vagrant is transformed into a lord, and surrounded with pomp and plenty; and the miserable outcast, who has tenanted [sic] a prison for his crimes, imagines himself on a throne, clothed with power sufficient to direct the destinies of a nation or of the world.

The lover of alkolol [sic] sometimes resorts to poetry and song in the expression of his ecstacies, but as the effect of the etherial liquor deepens, he sings or shouts inarticulate responses to music or voices which seem to come to him from a distance, but which are occasioned by the violent beating of the arteries of his own brain.

If the corporeal part of man, in this happy condition, be inspected, it presents phenomena which correspond with those of the mind. The whole face is swollen, the forehead and temples patched with red and white, the cheeks of a deep crimson, the nose tipped with ruby, the corners of the mouth drawn down, and the under lip inclined to drop; the eyes bloodshot and glassy, roll upward under their lids, and the body and limbs, no longer subjected to the arbitrary control of the will, assume that position which is dictated by the power of gravitation; in a word, the whole man declining farther intercourse with external nature, retires with himself, and heedless of the material creation around him remains for hours, as if in a trance. If such be some of the effects of alkohol, who can wonder that it has been called golden drink, or that poets have chaunted [sic] its praises?

This however is not all. It possesses more than any other invention of man, the power of transforming character; but what is worthy of particular notice, is that all its good transformations are transitory, and nearly all its bad ones permanent. Does it give momentary strength to the feeble, its habitual use, makes the strong man weak. Does it inspire the coward with desperation, it can break down the heart of courage, and reduce the manly spirit to the imbecility of childhood. Does it make the poor man rich in imagination, it makes the rich man poor in reality. If it occasionally excite a flood of sympathetic tears, and unclench the fist of avarice, it relaxes benevolent exertion, and renders the mind habitually less sensible to the sufferings of others. - Professor Mussey's Address.