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Editor's Table, June 1852

From: Editor's Table
Creator:  A (author)
Date: June 1852
Publication: The Opal
Source: New York State Library

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Fashionable Life is not always the happiest, nor its associations the most sincere. -- There cometh with its wonderful appurtenances sometimes a faint praise always equal to censure, and then a tone of elevated appreciation or depreciation, as if indeed Fashion was Lord of the Manor, and its dictates were to be regarded when not in accordance with propriety. There is an accompaniment of it, however, which the staid of manner do not generally adopt, an adaptation of small talk, table talk and infinite little pleasant says, and finishes of adaptation of manner and thought to the scenes and events of life extremely agreeable, and which in ordinary affairs of prosaic wisdom is deemed too trifling to be noticed. Any thing and every thing in the realm of God is worthy of the notice of a gentleman, "and as a sparrow falls not to the ground without the notice of our Heavenly Father," so it cannot be beneath the dignity of his children to bow with respect and love to the beautiful displays his creation, or is exhibited in his own direct emanations -- or indirect, by means of his created.


Prefacing with these observations, we may proceed to remark that although it may be fashionable to descant on the literature of the age, of science and scientific institutions, of works of art, and their concomitants, yet in consequence of peculiar constitution, we being supposed to have affinity to Lazy St. Lawrence, we must defer the publications of Jemima to more profound and able critics and advisers, and with the ocean of libraries, we may shipwreck our understanding and be left to grope with the inconveniences attending it. "Putting it on thick," is what we of the Opal do not understand. We do mean what we say despite of fashion, when we say that the Edinburgh or Quarterly Review, or the Westminster or British Review, or Sartain's, or Godey's, or Graham s, are always in our heart of hearts. We mean what we say, that we are indebted to them -- for a myriad of thoughts and interests that inform the mind and better the heart.


Because we are favored with so many kindnesses, is no reason we should despise the "day of small things," or pass unnoticed the fact that Mr. Backus has received a legislative appropriation of three hundred dollars for the aid of his Radii, but we do not acknowledge the like sum from the great body, for the Opal, nor do we expect to have the pleasure. When we turn over the pages of the Reviews and books and papers, and see so much worth seeing, we would be in retirement and hide our heads in very shame, that we bare so few original thoughts. "Our leanness, our leanness," to be a little Scriptural, but still we do not despair; of one thing we are not ashamed, we are never too old to learn, nor are we ever ashamed to learn or to be instructed. As usual, the intellectual contributions to our fountain from abroad are very acceptable, and with the London Lancet to bleed us, and let off our impurities, we have the healthful food from the South, and West, and East of "our own country," to supply its extra demands on our circulation, and as the Opal is destined to be original in its communications, we hope that it may live, and be itself an embodiment of the intelligence and information that loads down its table. Judicious perusal of works of taste and sense is ever an object of curious desire, and the enabling a person to do so, in circumstances of independence of mind, body, and estate, demands the sincerest gratitude.


By the way, Elder Bailey, of Utica, who is always ready in the cause of virtuous benevolence -- with his good sense and candor to commend his friends and neighbors -- and who came to this Humanity with the Blind Vocalists, and showed great interest in their welfare, will be pleased to accept an expression of our regards therefor, and a wish that prosperity may ever attend the path of so good a man. And in this connection, by association, we are reminded of our obligation to Dr. Valentine, some near relation to the Saint, and to the Major Valentine, of the Council of New-York, perhaps, but more related to himself as the very genius of wit, and soul of civil mirthfulness, whose truthful imitations of character rendered him at once the object of deep interest to the officers and their care, as a source of great diversion from the care and sorrow incident to some who happen to be here. Although Kossuth did not visit the Asylum, there were some who shook hands with him, and who felt quite honored thereat. This shaking of hands, is not superior to a telegraphic despatch of good-will, even tho' the late Hooper Cumming seemed to prize it very highly, who declared he would rather shake hands with La Fayette than any man on Earth; they had fought side by side at Brandy-Wine.


There is one thing we must mention -- the Evening Prayer in the Chapel, by the Chaplain, and the music by the choir, which has a tendency to raise the souls toward Heaven. Not writing for writing sake, we will mention the visit to the Asylum, and to Dr. Benedict and his aids, of some gentlemen superintendents of Insane Retreats, Dr. Greene, of Georgia, Dr. Smith, of Ohio, and Dr. Lopez, of Alabama, to whom our Superintendent and aids extended the usual civilities. The Convention of Superintendents met at New-York, but we have not seen the account of their visit, nor do we think our Metropolis shewed them the Bay and Dr. Morris's Establishment at the Island. We are ashamed that Boston, the good old town of Boston once, but now the city of refined hospitality, takes the lead generally in doing up such matters; and it is an undisputed fact, that instead of shewing the strangers of distinction the Bay of New-York, and its environs, they show Blackwell's Island, a parcel of paupers, rag-tag and bob-tail, our institutions, and then are Dickenized for their trouble. Now we were brought up in the city, we early learned its every way and our hearts yearn toward the place of our early and happy days.

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