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lent idea in the Northern States, and what is often repeated in fourth of July orations every where—that the English, still sore under their defeats in the revolutionary war, are anxious to revenge themselves upon us as well as they may, by these and other annoyances. We know by actual intercourse with them, that this is a most ridiculous notion : the fact is truly stated in the volume before us. The people of the mother country are profoundly, and we may add, disgracefully ignorant of every thing that relates to the history and condition of their quondam colonies, and perhaps of their present ones too. We have reason to believe, what a celebrated compatriot of our traveller is reported to have said to Mr. Madison, that many well informed persons in all parts of Great-Britain, have never so much as heard of the last war, which was so fruitful to us of signal triumphs and proud recollections. It is not the resentment of the English (we are sorry to confess it that we have to apprehend in this matter of criticism so much as another feeling, far less complimentary, which we do not care to mention. Even when they roam through countries strictly foreign—that is of a different origin and language they rarely do more, as we have already remarked, than tolerate their peculiar usages and manners. Still they do make some allowances on this score, while strange idioms which they seldom comprehend very perfectly, conceal or disguise some of the most remarkable features of national character. But with us, nothing escapes their observation, and everything is tried by false weights and measures.
It is by no means enough, that we should be all that can be expected under existing circumstances-nay, that our manners should even come up (if they do come up, which we neither affirm nor deny) to the standard of propriety recognized by polite society all over the world. We must be in the latest fashion of the West End. Our clothes must be cut by Stultz, our language must be learned in the slang-dictionary, some Brummel inust be our model in the supreme bon genre. Take the important example of the silver fork. It is not very long ago since this great comfort came into very general use in England, if it can properly be said to be so even now. But since it is reckoned by the better sort there a badge of vulgarity to put steel into one's mouth a British traveller draws the same inference here, as a matter of course, quite overlooking the ocean between us, and what is yet more important, quite forgetting that his own father must probably come in for his share of the condemnation. Language is another and a very striking example of the same blind propensity. Certainly there is no line of demar
cation between vulgar people, and people of comme it faut so palpable, as the use and abuse of the vernacular. Between the inhabitants of the same country, the test is quite infallible. But here, too, the English traveller forgets that he is out of his latitude; and is forever wondering why we should not express ourselves in the current slang of the day, instead of speaking a language which no Englishman çıp comprehend. He never once suspects that he knows nothing about the matter that it is we who have preserved our mother tongue in its primitive purity, while it has been debased or corrupted among them by recent innovations. Yet so, in many cases, it undoubtedly is. For example, we were quite amused at Captain Hall's dissertation upon
the word “ Fall,” which it seems we use in the place of “ Autumn,” and which he gravely recommends to the arloption of his countrymen, for poetical purposes at least. Now it so happens, that our common ancestors bad anticipated his discovery in its whole extent by some centuries, and that the traveller has mistaken, as other people have done before him, his ignorance for originality.
In a word, it is taken for granted by every Englishman, that every thing in America differing in anywise from the same thing in England, is ipso facto wrong and conclusive against the intelligence and taste of the people.
This transporting us beyond seas for trial, would be even under the most favorable circumstances, a very outrageous proceeding, but its injustice becomes still more glaring, when we consider by what law we should be judged. We hazard nothing in saying, that with all the admirable characteristics of her people, which have raised England to such a pitch of glory and power, there is no where to be found in christendom, a state of society in many respects so artificial, exclusive and disagreeable-in short, so widely at variance, if we may be indulged in the expression, with the jus gentium of polished life. One very striking feature of it, is the stress they lay upon the merest minutiæ of dress and manners; which are regulated by a most arbitrary and fluctuating standard, so that is utterly impossible for any but the regularly initiated to be sure of conforming to in all respects. It is not to be wondered, therefore, that Captain Hall, who came hither expressly to play the censor, should appear so vastly fastidious and faultfinding.
We must confess, that we sometimes find it difficult to repress a smile when we think of his performance in that character—there is something so outré in the notion of a blunt, bluff, opiniated, though we admit very shrewd and clever Scotch sailor, giving himself the airs of an effeminate and priggish dandy. How far, however, his
political prejudices contributed to the severity of his criticism, is obvious from the excellent part in which he takes the roughest usage on the northern side of the St. Lawrence and Ontario.
Still, it must be confessed, that he seems in many respects to have struggled hard against his feelings, which were such as any philosopher might make a boast of curbing; though it is another instance to shew that the pow Do OEQUTOV was a divine precept, that the author of this book has actually persuaded himself, that he came hither prepossessed in favour of the country! He confesses freely, and with all suitable professions of gratitude, that he was every where treated with kindness, nay, that he was sometimes overwhelmed with it, especially in the matter of sight-seeing in the Northern cities. But wherever he went-in crowds or in solitudes, in the maritime capitals, or in the wildest backwoods, he never encountered a human being who did not greet him hospitably, and if need were, serve him cheerfully. Let it be borne in mind, too, that he made no secret at all of his opinions, but went about sketching, scribbling,sneering, scolding to our very faces, without encountering so much as one ruffled temper, or one uncivil answer.* No greater eulogy, it appears to us, could possibly be passed upon any people. Indeed, highly as in duty bound, we shall ever think of our beloved countrymen, the statenient seems to us scarcely credible. What we should like to know, would be the reception of a foreigner in England, under similar circumstances ? The remarks of our author upon all the public, but especially the charitable institutions of the country are, also, highly favourable to it. According to this account of us, neither pains nor expense are spared to perfect them-no difficulties, no discouragements damp our philanthropy, or make us weary of welldoing. Captain Hall has done is full justice, too, in another most important particular. He has been at no pains, we think, to disguise the fact, that, bad as its government is, the country is in a very flourishing condition. At least, whatever he may say in occasional passages, this is the necessary inference from his whole statement taken together. He thinks, indeed, that if we had remained under the royal government, we should have had a more prosperous, though not so populous a country. As respects one devoted part of this confederacy, we are sorry to say, we entertain no doubt about the truth of
* Perhaps, the manners of a noble Roman would vulgar in Grosvenor Square, and the morality of a heathen be despised by those who enjoy the advantages of an established church, but there is someti ing after all in the following precept: Peregrini officium est nihil præter suum negotium agere, nihil de alieno anquirere, minime que in aliena esse republica curiosum.-Cic. Off. i. 34.
the proposition but it is some consolation to reflect, that the spoils of that part are blazing forth in, the improvements and accumulated opulence of the rest, and nothing can be more wild than Captain Hall's notion, considered in reference to the state of the Union at large. Charleston and Savannah, and even Norfolk, would no doubt, have been flourishing capitals, instead of mouldering away, in silence, amidst the unavailing fertility of nature; but would New-York have contained two hundred thousand inhabitants, and done the business of the whole continent? Would the carrying trade, and the East-India trade, during the recent wars in Europe, have converted in the course of a single generation, the economical “store-keepers” of Boston into Venetian magnificoes, and covered the rocks of New-England with exotic luxury and splendor ? As for the great Valley of the Mississippi, its comparative condition must, of course, depend in some degree, upon that of the older States, but it is impossible for any one who understands the genius of colonial government, to imagine, that under such a system, Cincinnati would have been already counting her tens of thousands, and the waters of the Ohio and the Mississippi been covered with upwards of a hundred steamboats ? The very absenteeism which is now helping to desolate the South, but which would, under a colonial government, have prevailed over the whole country, (though in a far less degree with us than it does at present) would have been a very serious obstacle to im provement.
By far the greater part of the second volume of these travels, is devoted to the discussion of two subjects, to which the worthy Captain seems to have mainly directed his attention. These are first, our political institutions and their effects on the national character : secondly, the peculiar domestic institutions of the Southern States. We shall confine our remarks in the remainder of this paper, principally to these points.
As to the former, we certainly do not mean to argue it with Captain Hall, in mood and figure. Whatever may be thought of it in England, we do not consider it as an open question here. We have taken it for granted, that under a constitution imposing proper restraints upon the ebullitions of popular passion, and so contrived as, in the long run, to throw a preponderating influence into the hands of the virtuous and enlightened, man at least the great Anglo-Saxon race within the borders of this republic-is capable of self-government. We restrict, perhaps, the hopes of humanity to too narrow a compass by the above qualification, yet we must be allowed to say once more, that we have not much faith in the "march of intellect," and would not, if
possible, pitch our anticipations in too high a key. But so far as our own country is concerned, we have no wish to be disabused of this glorious and engobling illusion, if that can be called an illusion which the history of whatever is renowned in antiquity-which the opinions of the wisest and the best men— which all the gifts and aspirations of human nature-which our own experience and discipline in freedoin for two centuries, (not forty years) forbid us to question. We feel that it would be recreant to despair in this all-important interest of inillions upon inillions yet unborn, even were appearances a thousand times more against us, than they are represented to be. We dare not express a doubt in the language we speak, “our English," as Milton calls it, "the language of men ever famous and foremost in the achievements of liberty." Our ideas of popular government are, thank God, far different from those which Captain Hall avows.
We would excuse him, who tells us candidly that he judges only froin his own crude and unassisted conceptionswhich, it is very manifest, have never been lifted up to the height of this great argument by the sublime testimony of the martyrs and confessors in ."the good old cause." But he will allow us to say, that our respect for his understanding was put to a severe trial by his astonishing paradox, that popular institutions are inconsistent with the highest social and intellectual improvement. Inconsistent! Those institutions which, even in their very worst form, were reverenced by a people whose genius has never been rivalled, as the nurse of all that is sublime in conception and character-ή δημοκρατία των μεγάλων αγάθη σιθώνος. “That free government which we have so dearly purchased, a a free commonwealth, held by wisest men in all ages, the noblest, the manliest, the equallest, the justest government, the most agreeable to all due liberty and proportioned equality, both human, civil and christian, most cherishing to virtue and true religion."* We believe that such a government is the beau idéal of society, and, like all perfection, equally difficult to attain and to preserve. We are deeply sensible of our unspeakable privileges. We cannot look back into tbe history of the past, or look around us at the actual condition of the world, and not feel that it is a rare and glorious distinction-far beyond all nobility—to be free. We are not propagandists of revolutionary doctrines, and we do not pretend to auticipate what is to be the fate of other nations who have already followed, or may hereafter follow our perilous example for perilous, all revolution undoubtedly is. The general theory of popular government, we leave in the keeping of the great men of antiquity, and their
* Milton. VOL. IV.NO. 8.