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our own population, is of a penal and compulsory nature. What purpose can it answer to transport unreformed culprits to a foreign settlement, where their vicious babits may expand and luxuriate? If we are to colonize with convicts, rather let their removal at so great an expense be the reward of amendment, and let the scheme include the means, attended with sufficient inducements, of their returning to habits of industry, and becoming useful members of the new society.
Mr. Fearon proposes to his correspondents four important questions for their deliberate reconsideration. We shall transcribe only the first : “Is it essentiul to your prosperity and “happiness, that you should leave England ? If this had been duly pondered by some sanguine adventurers, there are some painful domestic separations which would never have taken place; soine speculations too late repented of, which would never have been ventured upon, at the sacrifice of home comforts, and peace of mind, and enlightened society.
We must very briefly gather up the notices which we have collected from the present volume, illustrative of the national character of the Americans. The effect of bringing into one view the traits scattered through the several reports, would be to exhibit a portrait so dark and so disgusting, that we feel reluctant to hold it up as a fair representation of any people; and yet there is no room to question Mr. Fearon's fidelity. It is true, he saw for the most part little beyond the exterior of society. A walk in Bond-street would not impress a foreigner with more favourable ideas of the English character, than a saunter through the Broadway, would of that of the citizens of New York. The tall, thin, and solemn'precocious youths of the trans-atlantic metropolis, might possibly stand well enough a comparison with our native dandies. But the demoralizing influence of slavery throughout the southern and western states, is too visible in the destruction of liberal and humane feelings; the love of gain, the actuating motive of the universal mass of the population, is a poison at the very springs of character; while the yawning indolence which prevails, (the only vice chargeable upon their political liberty,) completes the prostration of all that is dignified or estimable in social man.
• Americans,' says Mr. Fearon, whatever may be their excel. lencies or their defects, are certainly not chargeable with possessing a superabundance of warm blood : they are on the contrary, most remarkable for complete and general coldness of character and disposition.'
Again : the character of the mountain inhabitants is stated to be cold, friendless, unfeeling, callous, and selfish. With wbat qualification or reserve soever we might be disposed to receive
such general and sweeping statements, there are facts adduced which seem to bear them out almost to their full extent. The degree to which corruption prevails in all the branches of the political institutions of the United States, exceeds even the abuses which have grown up in the old country. Mr. Cobbett declared that ' during the several years which be resided near
the Treasury in London, he did not witness so much bribery, corruption, and place-hunting, as he had seen in one week in Pennsylvania; that the members of the legislature were engaged in little except sinoking, drinking, and gambling; and that he could certainly have carried his point had he condescended to bribe.' Although,' adds Mr. F. I cannot go the length of Mr. H, and
' Mr. C. in their wholesale censures, perhaps from not having had the same opportunities with them of forming a judgement, yet I have become acquainted with facts in Washington which no man have induced me to believe without personal observation.
One single fact will place in its full light the degraded state of at least their public character.
• I have been highly interested upon several occasions, by being in company with some of the veterans of the revolution.
There is a something in the associations connected with that immortal cause, which attracts insensibly towards those who were engaged in it feelings of respect_almost of reverence. The attention of the govern. ment has lately been directed towards these men in consequence of discussions which have taken place in congress relative to what is called “ Revolutionary Claims :" these claims are for monies advanced, or services rendered, which have never been repaid or recome pensed. The leader of this poor but sacred band of national creditors, is General St. Clair. This respectable veteran is now 80 years of age; he was the companion of Washington, engaged in his country's service at the gloomiest periods of the revolution, fought and bled in the cause of liberty; when the national finances were bankrupt he advanced 1800 dollars of his private property for the common defence: this suin has never been repaid ; and in consequence of the scanty amount of his annual income, he has been compelled to take up his abode in the wilderness. This aged patriot, with clothes which might seem from their appearance to have felt the effects of all the seasons for the last ten years, with flaxen hair, tottering limbs, a care-worn countenance, deeply dejected from supposing his country ungrateful, and with one foot in the grave, is now a petitioner to that people in whose service he spent his youth, his treasure, and his blood, aiding them in their emancipation from external dominion, and in raising them into a great and an independent nation.'
• General St. Clair's claim was the topic when I first entered this assembly (the House of Representatives). The fact of his having advanced 1800 dollars of his private property for national purposes,
was proved by a receipt, attesting it at the time, given by the next in command. I was surprised to find the question of repayment of this sum could be made a subject of debate, naturally concluding that this powerful nation would not have suffered itself, even for a moment, to remain debtor to poor individuals ; and that the mere fact of a revolutionary general having fallen into distress, only required to be known in order that he should be relieved. To my extreme surprise and regret, however, I was speedily undeceived. General St. Clair's claim was so strongly opposed, that I concluded it would necessarily be lost. The arguments advanced by its advocates were, first, that the money was due to him, and if not paid, the country were neither more nor less than swindlers; and, secondly, that having been one of their political saviours, they ought to go hand and heart to pour oil and wine into his wounds, and not to suffer his grey hairs to descend with sorrow to the grave. These reasons met with the following mercenary, cold-blooded arguments, in the way of reply :-" General St. Clair certainly has claims upon our “ gratitude; and if we could be directed by our wishes, we should “ assent to the bill : but we were not sent here by our constituents “ to be governed by, or to legislate according to our feelings. “ The obtainment of our liberties, also, was certainly a valuable “ acquisition: but those are arguments foreign to the present dis"cussion. We have now got our constitution, and how it was “ obtained is, at this time, a matter of little moment. We are not “ eternally to be looking at the past : we are now free: that is our “ main consideration : our duty and true policy is to look at the “ future.” The prominent leader of this side of the question was a man gifted with great volubility of speech, much self-importance in delivery, considerable occasional violence of manner, and who seemed to command much attention, rather from the strength of his lungs, however, than the solidity of his reasoning. This gentleman I found to be Mr. Henry Clay, speaker of the House of Representatives, an active man of business. He is said to understand the forms of the house better than any other member. His manners are not exactly gentlemanly. His natural talent I should suspect to be good, though but little cultivated, at least by present application. His mode of speaking possesses strength, but is totally destitute either of pathos or of logical arrangement. His arguments against Gen. St. Clair I thought ably refuted. It was proved to demonstration, that, although gratitude ought not to be overlooked, this claim was not of that class. It was a demand upon their justice ; and if they did not pay the money, principal and interest, they were actually robbing their creditor.' Upon a division the original motion was lost, and an amendment carried, allowing him, on the ground of national gratitude, 131. 10s. per month. I believe there is not a man in Washington who would insure the General's life for a year and a half.' pp. 307– 314.
After this, it would be superfluous to comment on the fact, that this people have not yet raised a monument to Washington! It is now talked of.
· In their domestic habits, the intemperate and disgusting use of spirits and tobacco, with all the uncleanly concomitants of the latter practice, is anotber striking and unfavourable trait, the effects of which are visible in the countenances of the people. There are two things but rarely seen in the cities of the United States, good teeih and green old age.' 'A Philadelpbian ' female,' says Mr. F. 'is as old at 27, as a Londoner at 40. • Neither sex possesses the English standard of health-a rosy • cheek.' Even among the society of friends, the junior branches of the family rouge ! No one will be surprised to find in connexion with such practices, a lamentable neglect of cleanliness, and an absence of any thing answering to English ideas of sociality and confort. Spitting-boxes' are placed at the feet
. of each member of the House of Representatives, a circumstance which will give our readers at once an idea of what takes place where there is no such elegant nuisance for the accommodation of the company. The affectation of splendour and style which pervades society, ill accords with the disregard of neatness and order so generally chargeable upon American families.
The character of insubordination forced itself repeatedly upon the observation of our Author,-an independence of each other among the members of families extending from the boy of six years of age, up to the owner (I was going to say master)
of the house. The neglect of domestic education must be assigned as the only adequate cause of this uncivilized state of things; a neglect arising out of the general contempt for order, and the prevailing indolence of mind. The frequency of early marriages has doubtless a decided tendency to dwarf the character, and to give a premature independence to the calculating spirit of the boy. Things must in domestic life bave reached a fearful height of immorality, before ' a respectable • inhabitant of New York' could feel himself justified in saying, « There is not a father in this city, but who is sorry he has got "a son !
We shall notice but one more feature of the American character, and that is, the ridiculous excess of their nationality. When General Moreau, at the commencement of the American war, was told that his talents would be of essential service to the Republic, his reply was : Sir, there is not a drummer in the American army, who does not consider himself equal to • General Moreau.'
• There are, perhaps, no people, not even excepting the French, who are so vain as the Americans : their self-estimation and cool. headed bombast, when speaking of themselves or their country, are quite ludicrous. Every man here thinks he has arrived at the acme of perfection; the mechanics themselves possess the same feeling.'
Mr. Birkbeck, in vindicating the Americans from what he is pleased to term an absurd and groundless charge, affirms that national antipathies are the result of bad political institutions,
not of buinan nature, Mr. Fearon is at issue with him as to both the fact and its origin.
• From what I have seen of this country, I have no hesitation in saying, that an Englishman who had candidly surveyed it as a whole, and observed the feelings of its inhabitants, particularly in the old settled parts, and where the population is dense, would declare that national antipathies exist here to an extent exceeding any thing which he had ever seen, or could have conceived, when in England. I have already stated many facts which tend to support this assertion. Let me now observe, that the state of Pennsylvania presents a further illustration of this subject. Between the Americans of Irish and of German extraction, there exists the most deadly animosity even to the third and fourth generation. In the mind of a German American, the term Irishman is one of the most foul reproaches with which his range of ideas supplies him. Throughout America (the parts at least which are populated) Irishmen are despised, and Englishmen are viewed with cool malignant jealousy and hatred.'
Few of our readers can be unacquainted with the name of the much lamented General Hamilton, the friend and companion of Washington. The following remarks which will further illustrate the singular force of national prejudice, are given from a New York publication.
• General Hamilton was born in one of the English West India islands; he came to the American colonies when a lad; entered into the revolutionary war with zeal ; became early in the war one of the aids of General Washington; gallantly commanded a regiment at the capture of Cornwallis ; fought through the revolution; was a member of the convention from which our national constitution originated ; was the first secretary of the treasury, or chancellor of the exchequer, under the national government; he formed the department, and brought order out of chaos; he was, perhaps, the ablest writer, and most eloquent man in America. Even Hamilton, one of the most ingenuous and disinterested of mankind, was called and considered and treated as a foreigner. His early distinctions are to be ascribed to the circumstances of the times, to a poverty of talents. The late President Adams says, in his recent publications, that Hamilton being A FOREIGNER, it could not be supposed that he could have American feelings, or be well informed on American affairs ! ! ! pp. 77,78.
But it is not against foreigners only that these illiberal prejudices exist : they are entertained reciprocally by the citizens of different states and towns. Indeed,' says Mr. F. 'I find,
almost universally, that sectional prejudices are as strong among
themselves, as those which exist generally against England; • for there seems to be no reasoning in the likes and dislikes of