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If he keeps half his property inactive, he may be a miser, but not an economist. So it is in a state. That is wretched policy, which tends to check exertion. Nor is that much better, 'which does not give life and facilities to industry. Where is the benefit of resources rich and powerful, if there be not enlargement of views and public spirit enough to bring them into action? It is not the legislature, which brings down the annual expenditures to the smallest amount, that discovers the truest spirit of economy; but that, which devises the best methods of disposing of all the revenues a state can afford, in adding to its political importance, its physical and moral strength, and its permanent prosperity.
We may jostly suspect the patriotism of him, who is forward in the councils of state to diminish the revenue by reducing a tax, which has always been cheerfully paid ; or by removing it, because it happens to be unpopular, as all taxes will be, among the class of people who bear the heaviest burdens. What a world of debate and bustle have we once had in the halls of our national legislature about a whis. key tax? And what a world of debate and bustle should we again have, if this subject were brought forward, as it ought to be, and a new tax imposed ? Not that a majority of the members are whiskey distillers, or dealers in this precious article; but there is a certain mysterious sympathy between the representative and his constituents, which operates with a sort of magical power, especially when the criterion of popular sovereignty, the freedom of election, happens to come into consideration. We are compelled to confess, though we do it reluctantly, that in reading the journals of our national, as well as many of the state legislatures, we have been mortified with nothing so much, as the indifference with which appropriation bills are generally received, and the coldness with which they are no less generally dismissed.
What has become of the noble project for a national university? It had the honour of being submitted to a committee, of commanding the attention of the house for a few moments to a short report at the close of a session, and of falling quietly into a sleep, from which it would seem never again likely to be awakened. While small states in Europe, whose positions we can hardly trace on our maps, are endowing universities, establishing and affording patronage to
numerous institutions, we are contented tamely to submit to the reproach of doing absolutely nothing. We waste millions in long talks about Indian wars, and in never-ending speeches on questions, the very terms of which the whole country forgets almost before the orators have hoisted to half their height the flood-gates of their eloquence. But when the subject is brought forward, which, certainly as much as any other, embraces the vital interests of the nation, which involves its moral energies, its intellectual greatness, and political dignity, the torrent has then subsided; not a voice has power to raise the feeblest note; not a whisper of approbation is heard ; not a figure of rhetoric remains. At most we hear nothing, but a few faint and ill-omened murmurs about the low state of the treasury. We cannot but think, that this subject has been passed over, without that candid and liberal investigation which it rightfully deserves, and which it must receive before we can free ourselves from the reproach, wbich bas been justly drawn down upon us, by our total indifference, as a nation, to the great cause of literature and science.
Many of the single states have, acted on a more generous plan, and with much more enlightened views, They have acted on the undeniable principle, that the happiness of a people is commensurate with its intelligence and prosperity. They have been convinced, that the members of a large community can in no way pay their money with a prospect of so much advantage to themselves, as in support of literary insti. tutions of various ranks, in advancing schemes of general utility, public works, and plans of internal improvements. In respect to the first of these, it might be invidious to dis.. criminate. If the endeavours of every state in establishing institutious of learning have not been attended with equal success, it is not to be so much attributed to a want of zeal in the legislatures, as to local, and in many instances una. voidable causes. We do not believe any state has done more than it should do; but whoever will be at the trouble of looking over the literary records of the several states will be willing to allow, that within the last few years especially, no one can be charged with a forgetfulness on this subject, and very few reproached for being backward in making liberal appropriations. We cannot forbear mentioning here the university of Virginia, not only as bearing honourable testimony to the liberality of the state, but as affording one of the finest specimens of the arts in this country. We do not hesitate to say, that in elegance of design, in correctness and beauty of architecture, nothing on this side of the Atlantic surpasses the group of colleges now building near Charlottesville under the immediate direction of Mr. Jefferson. We have heretofore given our views of the theoretical scheme of this university. We have seen no reason to change these views, but we hope we may be disappointed in our fears, that its success may not be adequate to the large and liberal scale on which it is founded, and to the expectations of its friends and patrons. We are happy to learn also, that the University of Maryland has, by the spirited exertions of a few individ. uals, lately been gaining ground. By a late valuable acquisition, it promises, in its medical department, soon to rival the first schools in this country.
Thus it is in regard to literature; but when we come to what may more properly be called internal improvements, we shall find, that some states have left others far behind. New York has shown a spirit of enterprize, and set an example, which are above all praise. The great canal of the lakes is an undertaking of which the most powerful governments on earth might be proud. It is not more a glory to the state, than an honour to the country. The canal of Languedoc, which has long been the boast of France, and perhaps we may say of Europe, is not to be compared with this. Pennsylvania, for thirty years past, has done much to improve her inland navigation, and to multiply the facilities for internal transportation. The good effects of her wise and well conducted measures have long been visible, and are every day becoming more so, in the growing population and wealth of the state, the high cultivation in many parts, the excellence of the markets, and the increasing comforts of the people. Virginia has lately come forward with a comprehensive and judicious plan for public improvements, and engaged in its execution with liberality and zeal. In a former number (XXII) we bave given a particular account of the doings of the board of public works in Virginia. South Carolina has within a short period appropriated a million of dollars to internal improvements; and of this sum it has authorized an annual expenditure of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars, under the direction of a board of public works and a principal engineer.
But we intend it as the chief object of this article, to draw the notice of our readers to the late acts and projected improvements of North Carolina. We have before us a series of documents on this subject, published some months since, in Raleigh, and drawn up principally by the Hon. A. D. Murphey. These documents prove, that the legislature of North Carolina has engaged in the noble undertaking of internal improvements with an enlargement of plan, and a firmness of purpose not surpassed by any other state. Nor has every thing evaporated in deliberations and schemes. In the proceeding thus far, we discover much wisdom in projecting, and much energy in acting. Till a very late period, North Carolina seems to have beld
nk among the other states by no means proportionate its significance in itself, or its importance in the union. Among the old states it was the third in magnitude, being larger than New York. It has lately been enlarged by an accession of territory on the western borders of Georgia, which formerly belonged to the Cherokee Indians. In the extent of its population, it now ranks the third or fourth in the union. And yet, with all these claims to consequence, how little have we bitherto heard of North Carolina Our gengraphers have drawn a picture, which it has given us no delight to contemplate ; and our travellers bave most unfortunately seen nothing but alternate swamps and sands in the face of the country, and rudeness and ignorance among the people. A half century has scarcely elapsed, since a worthy traveller from our own metropolis, after having been in North Carolina, came bome, and gravely wrote in a book, there are but seven provincial laws throughout the colony, and no courts at all in being.' In some things it may be admissible to judge of the whole from a part; but the time is nearly gone by when the public is willing to allow a traveller to have the miraculous power of describing the geography of a country, and the manners and character of the inhabitants, by passing through one of its obscurest corners, and perhaps passing a day at one of its meanest inns. But from sources scarcely more respectable, it has been our misfortune hitherto to derive the most of our knowledge of North Carolina.
It is not to be denied, however, that, although this state has been subject to much misrepresentation, it has not made that progress in general intelligence, refinement, wealth, and agri. cultural improvement, which its many advantages might justly lead us to expect. We believe one reason has been the defective and unsettled government, which prevailed in this state from its first settlement even till the revolution. The colonial governors, and chief officers, were often worthless and deprayed, Bad laws were badly administered. It is said, that the form of government, which the proprietors of the colony established, was drawn up by Locke. It is remarkable, that a man, who was so great a friend to civil liberty, and who wrote so powerfully in favour of toleration, should propose, as the fundamental principles of a constitution in a new colony, a system of articles, one of the most prominent features of which was, that they deprived the people of all freedom, both civil and religious. The government was founded on the semi-feudal notion of lords, landgraves, and barons, and left the peoplo little else to do but to obey. It is not certain that this government ever went into a perfect operation, yet, as far as it was carried, its influence must have been exceed. ingly unfavourable to the improvement, as well as the happiness of the people.
Another cause of the slow improvement of North Carolina, and one which no huma:) skill or industry could remove, has been the obstructions to commerce, which abound along the whole coast of the state. The interior country is intersected by many navigable rivers, whose banks are rich and fertile, but not a single point has been found on the coast, at wbich a safe and commodious port could be established. The consequence has been, that the produce has flowed into channels, which have carried it out of the state markets
ale to distant , and the profits of trade have helped to enrich other states, at the expense of North Carolina. The necessary demand for foreign articles has been supplied, not by a direct importation, nor any thing like a mutual interchange of commodities ; but by receiving them from domestic ports, and allowing the profits of barter to be made and retained abroad. The effects of this state of things on the banking establishments, and on those commercial facilities arising from a substantial medium of exchange, are well set forth by Judge Murphey.
• Men must learn political truths in the school of experience. Such is their obstinacy, that they will learn them no where else, The events of the year 1819 have taught us lessons of the most impressive character. If we do not profit by them, we deserve