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gests no remedies which appear to us to bear the impress of a statesman's mind upon them. To apply a portion of the revenue of the state annually to purchase the nost industrious among the slaves, to liberate others after a certain term of servitude, (projects easily attempted where the numbers are few, but utterly impracticable where they constitute a great if not the greatest part of the population,) are all that he recommends; however, as we shall have to consider this question in another part of this number, we shall the more readily pass it over here.
Such are the physical, statistical and political features of this valuable Island. If we have detailed them at some length, and with some minuteness, it is because to the United States, it is, from position, a country of much and increasing importance. In its present state, our commerce and intercourse with it is great and valuable, and a few years back when the Spanish monarchy in America, appeared on all sides to be falling to pieces, there was throughout the Union, from its geographical relation to us, a deep anxiety to know what would be the ultimate fate of Cuba. We have reason to believe, that on the Island itself this question was no less seriously considered. On the extension of its commercial privileges by Spain, and finally by the grant in 1822, of an entire freedom of trade, the wish in Cuba and in the United States, that its political relations should continue unchanged, became almost universal; all other nations have at least acquiesced in this arrangement.
So wonderful have been the changes of the last forty years, that it seems now difficult to recall and realize the transient and fluctuating scenes which have passed almost under our own eyes—to recollect that within twenty years, Spain like the ancient mistress of the world in the fourth and fifth centuries, so far from protecting and commanding her distant provinces, was struggling for her own existence, overrun by foreign armies as enemies, auxiliaries or guardians, and leaving her remote colonies to provide for their own safety, and secure themselves, if possible, from internal anarchy and foreign oppression. At such a moment it well became the inhabitants of Cuba, who had not the physical advantages of the continental viceroyalties, to reflect on their situation, and think on what power they should rely for aid, if the hour of danger should approach them more nearly. The policy which had been pursued by Mexico and Colombia, rendered a union with either of those States impracticable, indeed their greatest and most immediate dangers appeared to threaten from those quarters. A few, it is said, principally Frenchmen, wished to throw themselves
into the arms of France, but this party was small, and the remembrance of St. Domingo was always before their own eyes, and the eyes of their neighbours. A great majority of the inhabitants, nearly all in the middle and lower ranks of society, and many of the wealthy looked to the United States as the power with which, under all circumstances, it would be wise to connect their fortunes ; but the want of a strong naval force in this country to shield them from aggression, and an apprehension that our Northern African Societies would be permitted to endanger their domestic tranquillity, induced many, perhaps a majority, of the very wealthy inhabitants to turn to GreatBritain, as their most secure dependence-yet even to that alliance, there were many objections. It was not certain that they could or would be placed on a footing of equality with the ancient British colonies, and even then, the policy which GreatBritain was pursuing towards those colonies was likely to render the property of the proprietors unproductive and without value. From this dilemma, from the necessity, in fact, of adopting any measure which would commit them with their own government, or with foreign nations, the inhabitants of Cuba were relieved by the discretion of those to whom the government of the Island had been fortunately committed and by the reviving condition of Spain.
New difficulties, however, may await them. The present military expedition against Mexico, will renew the feelings of bitterness between the mother country and her ancient colonies, which, as in North-America, were subsiding by the operation of time and tranquillity. If not successful, it will in all probability provoke the new governments in Spanish America, to renew their efforts to wrest from Spain the two Islands she still retains, (Cuba and Porto Rico) which will continue to afford in her hands the means and opportunity of threatening them with perpetual aggression and injury. Colombia and Mexico, whatever may have been their feelings, and wishes at one moment, have been induced by the advice or interference of other powers, to suspend their meditated enterprizes against Cuba. They have laid aside their naval armaments which they found expensive and not very efficient. But, under other circumstances with awakened resentments, they may collect the remnants of their squadrons, and engage in one of those adventurous expeditions, for which the early Conquistadores were distinguished; and considering vessels only as the means of transportation, not of naval hostility, may avail themselves of favorable winds and currents, and throw in anger a desperate band of disciplined troops on the shores of Cuba, to injure and destroy
if not to conquer. That if this should be accomplished, a servile war would be excited by one party or the other, no one can doubt. This beautiful Island may be desolated by the storm which injudicious and foreign counsellors have excited on her shores, and an unoffending people be made to atone for offences not their own. From these evils, however, we most cordially hope they may be permitted to escape and enjoy for a long course of years the advantages which a fortunate concurrence has conferred upon them.
The supplement to the Essai Politique of Humbolt, which occupies the greater part of the second volume, and which presents many statistical views of the whole continent of America, may hereafter be separately considered.
ART. III.- Travels in North-America, in the years 1827 and
1828. By Captain Basil Hall, Royal Navy, 2 vols. 12mo. Philadelphia. Carey, Lea & Carey. 1829.
OUR only motive for reviewing this book is, the general expectation that we shall do so. It is to us, on many accounts, a most unpleasant task. We are by no means sure that the majority of our readers will concur with us in some of our views, and we have too much reason to fear that there are many individuals in every part of the country to whom all of them cannot possibly prove acceptable. But we have learned by experience the truth of Seneca's lines,
Sæpe vel linguâ magis
-muta libertas obestand since we must needs speak, we shall even speak out.
We will begin by confessing that we have been greatly scandalized at the fuss that has been made about Captain Hall and his book. If there were nothing more in it, this fidgety and prurient anxiety about what he has been saying of us behind our backs, is rather a provoking confirmation of what he reports of our efforts to extort his approbation of us before our faces. But our mortification arises from a more serious view of the matter. For our humble selves, we declare, with great sincerity, that none of the impertinencies which have been published about
our country and its institutions, in England or elsewhere, have ever given us the smallest uneasiness, nor do we conceive how they should disturb the tranquillity of any rational mind. If the remarks of a stranger convey salutary truths, we feel it a duty to acknowledge, as it is our interest to profit by them. But what possible harm can his errors or his falsehoods do-except, indeed, to those who are sensitive enough to be angry with them? Even in the case of an individual, it would infer a great want of self-respect, to be so excessively alive to the opinions of others-much more to think of retaliating upon a vulgar calumniator in his own way. But what is undignified in the case of an individual, becomnes quite absurd in a whole people-especially in a people full of a prophetic confidence in its destinies, and every day, as we are taught to believe, marching with such gigantic strides to the fulfilinent of them. Surely, it is unworthy of such a people to think of making any other answer to the misrepresentations of a prejudiced, or theoretical, or lying traveller, (as the case may be) than the pregnant one conveyed in a line of Dante
Taci, e lascia volger gli anni.* We cannot say that we found any single passage in these volumes, more offensive to us than the following :
“ The fact of the greater part of all the works which are read in one country, being written for a totally different state of society in another, forms a very singular anomaly in the history of nations-and I am disposed to think that the Americans would be a happier people if this incongruous communication were at an end. If they got no more books or newspapers from us, than we do from France or Spain, they would, I really believe, be much happier, as far as their intercourse with this country bas
influence over them." Vol. i. p. 243, Yet there is, unfortunately, but too much truth in it. For all our hyperbolical vauntings about our own superiority to the rest of mankind, we do defer too much to English criticism, and suffer ourselves at once to be governed and to be made unhappy by it. We have too much national vanity, and too little of the far nobler feeling of national pride. There can be no true greatness either in individuals or in multitudes without self-reliance. Enthusiasm must be too intense to quail at ridicate genius must soar above criticism, or there is no hope of excellence. We must learn to think only of truth and nature in what we do and say, and to be contented with the applauses of our own people. Instead of clipping and paring away our energies, to suit ourselves to the taste of foreigners, let us give them free
• Paradiso, ix.
scope, and trust to the sympathies of our neighbours, our friends, our brethren. What Frenchman expects to be admired at London, or cares a straw about the opinions of English and Scotch censors ? For him the whole world lies between the Alps, the Pyrenees and the Ocean. We are, in this respect, too fortunate, did we but know and appreciate our own advantages. Ridiculous as some of our anticipations, bottomed upon the "geometrical ratio” may be, there is one which cannot fail. Beyond a doubt, in the course of half a century more, the audience to which American genius shall address itself, (great as it already is) will be far more numerous—the theatre more vast and imposing, if not altogether so brilliant as that of the parent country. At the end of yet another half century, it will be said of England, with truth, pars minima est ipsa sui. Her language will become a dialect. It will be to the great Anglo-Saxon tongue, spoken on the banks of the Missouri and the Hudson, at best, what the Attic was to the Hellenic or common Greek. The majority, with anything like equality of force and advantages, will govern in this as in other things. The adoption into good use in England of very many words, but the other day rejected and ridiculed as Americanisms, shews already what is the inevilable tendency of things. And, after all, what does it signify to us whether that language shall be intelligible and agreeable or not to a foreign ear.* Happy the men who shall lead the way in the formation of a national literature-who shall strike the chord to which so many millions of American hearts shall vibrate forever, and leave a name to be re-echoed
" With a shout
As from blest voices, uttering joy." We begin by avowing frankly that we have been, upon the whole, agreeably disappointed in Captain Hall's report of us. From all that we had heard of his conversations and deportment while among us, we had been led to expect a great deal of misrepresentation and acrimony in his book. We must do him the justice to say, that there is very little of the formerin the way of any positive suggestio falsi at least—and nothing at all of the latter. Most of what he states as matter of fact, we believe to be substantially true. Our readers will understand us. We would carefully distinguish between his statements and his inferences between the journal of the traveller and the common-place book of the Tory philosopher. That he should be dissatisfied with our political institutions, was quite a
* See the remarks of Captain Hall on this subject, at vol. i. p. 241,