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matter of course. What Englishman or Scotchman, or any other loyal subject (we say nothing of a salaried functionary) of his Britannic Majesty, could ever tolerate popular government in any shape? Or why should we, who utterly abominate their polity, and give ourselves so little trouble to conceal our aversion to it, deny the same privilege to them? We were fully prepared, therefore, for his diatribes upon this subject; and all that we felt ourselves at liberty to exact from him, was what every gentleman owes to his own reputation, viz. that he should state our case fairly. It would be going too far to say, that he has done this exactly. It would be, perhaps, expecting too much of him to require it. He came hither with preconceived opinions—he is an homme à système, and visited us for the purpose of collecting facts to support his theory. He has accordingly seen everything with a partial and prejudiced eye. There is no doubt about this, so far, we mean, as our political constitution and its effects on society are concerned. On another vital subject, as we shall presently have to remark more particularly, he does not seem to have adhered so pertinaciously to his opinions. But on this great subject of popular institutions, he looks at all the phenomena through a false medium, and draws conclusions the very reverse of those which would seem fairly deducible from his own premises. When we say, therefore, that he has not, to our knowledge been guilty of any important misrepresentation, our proposition is, of course, subject to the qualification, that he has suffered his inveterate opinions to throw a false colouring over the objects of his inquiry, and to betray him into the exaggeration and unfairness of a professed advocate. Thus, it is undoubtedly true, that with some few exceptions, the speeches of our members of Congress are intolerably long-winded, rhetorical and commonplace, although it may be true that the subject, by the time it has passed through a discussion of fifty orators and at least as many days, is as fully elucidated as it could be by as many Pitts and Cannings. So, it is certainly true, that the great democratic principle, as it is called, of rotation in office, operates rather too actively to admit of a very mature experience in most of our politicians--and yet it does not necessarily follow but that our raw recruits in legislation are quite a match for the disciplined veterans of other countries. Again, our worthy Captain is lamentably behind the spirit of the age-of the nineteenth century-in bis notions about an establishment and the union of Church and State ; yet he admits that he saw every where the most profound respect for religion, and he is only apprehensive, a priori, lest (to verify his theory) things will not long go on in the same train.
Let it be remembered too, that he visited us at a juncture as inauspicious for the country, as it was well suited to the supposed purpose of the tourist. He was here in the very “torrent, tempest and, as I may say, whirlwind of our passions." He was an eye and ear witness of many of those disgusting and disgraceful abominations which have made the late presidential election forever memorable-may it be forever unparalleled in our history. He heard of nothing else wherever he went. The rancorous hostility, the atrocious calumnies, the systematic misrepresentation, the violation of every decency of life, that distinguished the party warfare of the day, pressed upon his observation on all sides. He saw the daily press teeming with ribaldry and falsehood, until the very sight of a newspaper became loathsome to every body that had any sense of shame left. He heard of eves-droppers reporting conversations-of friends publishing the letters of their correspondents—of guests violating the rights of hospitality, and the sanctity of the fireside and the festive board. He saw this ruthless and unprincipled warfare carried into the very bosom of domestic life, and even female sensibility and honour assailed by remorseless ruffians, apparently with the countenance of men who ought to have blushed at the bare idea of such an alliance. This baleful spirit pervaded everything, disturbed everything, corrupted everything. It is impossible for any good citizen to contemplate this subject without anxiety and alarm. What is to become of the country if it is to be eternally distracted by the most slavish and degrading of all sorts of political party, that, namely, in which the fundamental maxim of republican government is reversed, and all principles are sacrificed to men? Captain Hall has given anything but an exaggerated account of this mighty evil, in a passage which we are about to cite. Pudet hæc opprobria nobis ! We know that there are men, and those probably, among the busiest and basest actors in such scenes, who would as little scruple to deny their existence, as to get them up again whenever their own ends could be answered by it. But protestations of this sort, however vehemently patriotic they may sound, cannot restore the peace, the dignity, and the morals of a people thus excited and misled. We see no remedy for these things while the daily press is conducted as it is and while good citizens shrink from the responsibility of denouncing the mean or unprincipled expedients resorted to by their own party, and every thorough-paced partisan, on the contrary, acts as if he thought success the only test of merit, and failure the only sort of dishonour worth avoiding. VOL. IV.NO. 8.
“ The most striking peculiarity of this spirit, in contradistinction to what we see in England, is that its efforts are directed more exclusively to the means, thau to any useful end. The Americans, as it appears to me, are infinitely more occupied about bringing in a given candidate, than they are about the advancement of those measures of which he is conceived to be the supporter. They do occasionally advert to these prospective measures, in their canvassing arguments in defence of their own friends, or in attacks upon the other party; but always, as far as I could see, more as rhetorical flourishes. or as motives to excite the furious acrimony of party spirit, than as distinct or sound anticipations of the line of policy which their candidate, or bis antagonist, was likely to follow. The intrigues, the canvassings for votes, all the machinery of newspaper abuse and praise, the speeches and manœuvres in the Legislature, at the bar, by the fireside, and in every hole and corner of the country from end to end, without intermission, form integral parts of the business-apparently far more important than the candidate's wishes-bis promises or even than his character and fitness for the office.
“ All these things, generally speaking, it would seem, are subordinate considerations ; so completely are men's minds swallowed up in the technical details of the election. They discuss the chances of this or that State, town, or parish, or district, going with or against their friend. They overwhelm one another with that most disagreeable of all forms of argument authorities. They analyze every sentence uttered by any man, dead or alive, who possesses, or ever did possess, influence; not, it must be observed, to come at any better knowledge of the candidate's pretensions as a public man, but merely to discover how far the weight of such testimony is likely to be thrown into their own scale, or that of the opposite party.
“ The election of the President, being one affecting the whole country, the respective candidates for that office were made the butts at which all political shafts were aimed, and to which every other election was rendered subservient, not indirectly, but by straight and obvious
It was of no importance, apparently, whether the choice to be made, at any given election, were that of a governor, a member of Congress, or to the Legislature of the State-or whether it were that of a constable of the obscure ward of an obscure town—it was all the same. The candidates seldom, if ever, that I could see, even professed to take their chief ground as the fittest men for the vacant office—this was often hardly thought of--as they stood forward simply as Adams men or Jackson men—these being the names, it is right to mention, of the two gentlemen aiming at the Presidency. Although the party principles of these candidates for any office, on the subject of the Presidential election, could not-nine cases in ten-afford any index to their capacity for filling the station to which they aspired, their chance of success was frequently made to hinge upon that matter exclusively. Thus the man who could bring the most votes to that side of this grand, all-absorbing Presidential question, which happened to have the ascendency for the time being, was sure to gain the day, whether he were or were not the best suited to fill the particular vacancy.
“ More or less this interference of Presidential politics in all the concerns of life, obtained in every part of America which I visited. There were exceptions, it is true, but these were so rare, that the tone I have been describing was assuredly the predominant one every where. The consequence was, that the candidates for office, instead of being the principals, were generally mere puppets—men of straw-abstract beings, serving the purpose of rallying points to the voters from whence they might carry on their main attack in the pursuit of an ulterior object, which, after all, was equally immaterial in itself, but which served, for the time being, to engross the attention of the people as completely as if it were of real consequence to them. In these respects, therefore, the Presidential contests in America resemble those field sports in which the capture of the game is entirely subordinate to the pleasures of its pursuit.” Vol. i. pp. 248–250.
As for that peevish disposition which the worthy Captain manifests on other points, it is partly to be accounted for by his political theory, and partly by the simple fact that he is an Englishman. We say Englishman, because we know that every North-Briton affects to be thought so, if possible. If the education of the more opulent classes is defective-if domestic discipline is lax and feeble-if the speeches in Congress are prosy and bombastic-if the roads are rough-if the stage-coaches have hard seats and only one door, or, perhaps, none åt all-if every body “gobbles up his dinner in a trice, and goes about his business--if in a country-ion or a cheap boarding house in town, "the dangerous practice” of eating with a broad-sword, nicknamed a knife, instead of a silver fork, and without any napkin, is still kept up here, as it was in England until very recently—it is all owing to that accursed spirit of democracy, the mighty leveller, the universal defiler. So if the gentlemen do not smooth their hats, are very superficially versed in the neckclothiana, and seem far less concerned than they ought to be about the cut of their coats. The emphasis which is laid upon these things by so very intelligent a person, will surprise the uninitiated ; but his complaints on another head, are more frequent and lugubrious. It is, we are grieved to say, but very seldorn that he finds a bill of fare satisfactory to his distinguished appetite, or more distinguishing palate. The good gentleman talks of the boys at Captain Partridge's Academy, bolting their dinner like cormorants. We do not pretend either to dispute his statement, or to defend such heathenish manners—but if some little envy did not enter into this criticism, we have read this book to little purpose. We never, in all our experience, heard so much about eating, except in a passage across the Atlantic, with a company of French gourmands, whose daily practice it was to supply a very scanty and unsavoury dinner,
by the "bare imagination of a feast." We should say that Captain Hall was labouring under as confirmed and violent gastrimargia* as honest Sancho. Another annoyance of which he complains bitterly, is, that he was constantly put to the torture until he confessed what he thought of everything that he saw and heard, and if his answer happened to be less rapturous than was desired, he uniformly had the mortification to perceive that he had given great offence. We are glad to find that he was relieved from this bore as soon as he got as far southward as Baltimore, and was allowed during the rest of his journey, to bestow or to withhold his admiration as he saw fit. There is, no doubt, a great deal of truth in the remark, that Americans do not bear criticism well. We know this from our own very limited experience, and we think the account given of it by Captain Hall, is substantially correct.t
We readily conceive that the last mentioned grievance is a serious one, and he has all our sympathy when he dwells upon it. But really, nothing but the proverbial querulousness of Englishmen, especially when travelling in foreign countries, can excuse or rather account for some of our tourist's complaints. Grumbling seems to be John Bull's prescriptive privilege, whether at home or abroad. Whoever has happened to meet with him on the Continent of Europe, knows that Poco-Curante himself was not harder to please. Voltaire paints him very pleasantly in the following lines :
“Ce fut là qu' à table ils rencontrèrent
Plus dédaigneuse encore, plus impolie," &c. If there were nothing more in it than this, we should have less cause to complain of the treatment we have received at their hands. But the fact is, that for obvious reasons, we are subject to the utmost rigour of this peevish and splenetic criticism. We certainly do not imagine-what Captain Hall says, is a preva
* We do not know that this word has been yet naturalized, but it has quite as inuch right to the jura civitatis, as “ gastronomy," &e.
+ Vol, ii p. 241.