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s it is a rule we saw universally observed in America, never to think how the men shall fare till every female has been fully accommodated."--Because he hears two lads at a public school declaim pieces breathing hostility to England, he concludes that boys are nurtured in systematic hostility to England.—He complains of being continually called on to admire.—The electioneering spirit, he observes, never dies in America; and then after alluding to the commotions which take place at an English election in Westminster, he goes on to say, “ if we could imagine what would be the state of things in England, were the Westminster form of election to become general over the island, and instead of lasting a fortnight, were made perpetual, we should then have some idea of what is going on in America, at all times and seasons." From this it might reasonably be inferred, that the people of the United States are employed, throughout the year, in giving and taking bribes for their votes, breaking each other's heads, and throwing dead cats at candidates for the legislature.-In regard to the facility of obtaining justice in this country, he observes that, “ The radical principles of bringing justice home to every man's door, and of making the administration of it cheap, have had a full experiment in America, and greater practical curses, I venture to say, were never inflicted upon any country.” He illustrates this position by the case of Pennsylvania, in which, he says, “No person, be his situation or conduct in life what it may, is free from the never-ending pest of lawsuits. Servants, laborers, every one in short, on the first occasion, hies off to the neighboring lawyer, or justice of the peace, to commence an action. No compromise or accommodation is ever dreamt of. The law must decide every thing.”—The debasing influence of democracy is continually dwelt on.-In regard to the scenery of America, he observes that, “ take it all in all, a more unpicturesque country is hardly to be found any where."
The general tone of the book corresponds with that of the remarks cited. It however contains considerable truth, from which we might profit, for captain Hall, though a captious, is not an unintelligent observer, but the irritation excited by the constant manifestation of a fault-finding spirit, unfits the reader from acceding even to such of his criticisms as happen to be just.
We come now to Mrs. Trollope's book, which may be considered as occupying the comparative degree in the scale of detraction; captain Hall's book being in the positive, and Mr. Fidler's in the superlative. The captain was biassed by bis toryisin, and Mrs. Trollope jaundiced by the failure of a scheme to establish a bazaar in Cincinnati. She writes with spirit and even elegance, and is evidently a woman of talent. When she gets away from the scene of her disappointment, the unfortunate Cincinnati, her tone is quite mollified, and she is even liberal in her praise of New York, but the poor West is treated without niercy. She is continually on the watch for subjects of blame, puts the worst construction on what she sees, and leaves out of sight the redeeming features, so that without saying much that is positively untrue, she contrives to give a very partial and distorted sketch of American society. Her prejudices have in some cases made her credulous, and she gravely states some great absurdities. She tells a story, for instance, of a wood-cutter's family, on the banks of the Mississippi, being eaten up one night in their sleep by alligators, in consequence of having built a hut directly over a hole inhabited by these reptiles.-She informs us that it is common for the wives of eminent men to receive the title of lady, as lady Washington, lady Jackson, &c. She must have been led into this mistake by the foolish fashion of giving such names to steam-boats ; but Mrs. Trollope may be assured that we have no noble ladies but such as " walk the water.”—The injurious effects of democracy are a constant theme with her, as well as with the worthy captain. She tells us that “all the freedom enjoyed in America, beyond what is enjoyed in England, is enjoyed by the disorderly at the expense of the orderly," and that so slavery is less injurious to the manners and morals, than the fallacious ideas of equality.”—“ Nearly four years of attentive observation,” she says, have impressed on her the opinion, that among the Americans, “ the moral sense is on every point blunter than with us,” (the English.) She ascri es to the people of the West “ a total absence of probity, where interest is concerned,” and a “total and universal want of manners, both in males and females.” Her views on the state of religion in the United States may be understood from the following extracts,
" The whole people appear to be divided into an almost endless
variety of religious factions, and I was told, that to be well received in society, it was necessary to declare yourself as belong, ing to some one of these. Let your acknowledged belief be what it may, you are said to be not a Christian, unless you attach yourself to a particular congregation. Besides the broad and well known distinctions of Episcopalian, Catholic, Presbyterian, Calvinist, Baptist, Quaker, Swedenborgian, Universalist, Dunker, &c. &c. &c.; there are innumerable others springing out of these, each of which assumes a church government of its own; of this, the most intriguing and factious individual is invariably the head ; and in order, as it should seem, to show a reason for this separation, each congregation invests itself with some queer variety of external observance that has the melancholy effect of exposing all religious ceremonies to contempt.”
“I believe I am sufficiently tolerant; but this does not prevent my seeing that the object of all religious observances is better obtained, when the government of the church is confided to the wisdom and experience of the most venerated among the people, than when it is placed in the hands of every tinker and tailor who chooses to claim a share in it. Nor is this the only evil attending the want of a national religion, supported by the state. As there is no legal and fixed provision for the clergy, it is hardly surprising that their services are confined to those who can pay them. The vehement expressions of insane or bypocritical zeal, such as were exhibited during the revival,' can but ill atone for the want of village worship, any more than the eternal talk of the admirable and unequalled government can atone for the continual contempt of social order. Church and state hobble along, side by side, notwithstanding their boasted independence, Almost every man you meet, will tell you, that he is occupied in labors most abundant for the good of his country; and almost every woman will tell you, that besides those things that are within (her house), she has coming upon her daily the care of all the churches. Yet, spite of this universal attention to the government, its laws are half asleep; and spite of the old women and their Dorcas societies, atheism is awake and thriving."
“But notwithstanding this revolting license, persecution exists to a degree unknown, I believe, in our well ordered land, since the days of Cromwell. I had the following anecdote from a gentleman perfectly well acquainted with the circumstances. A tailor sold a suit of clothes to a sailor, a few moments before he sailed, which was on a Sunday morning. The corporation of New York prosecuted the tailor, and he was convicted, and sentenced to a fine greatly beyond his means to pay. Mr. F., a lawyer of New York, defended him with much eloquence, but in vain. His powerful speech, however, was not without effect, for It raised him such a host of Presbyterian enemies as sufficed to
destroy his practice. Nor was this all : his nephew was at the time preparing for the bar, and soon aster the above circumstance occurred, his certificates were presented, and refused, with this declaration, that no man of the name and family of F., should be admitted. I have met this young man in society; he is a person of very considerable talent, and being thus cruelly robbed of his profession, has become the editor of a newspaper."
If this story has any foundation in fact, the facts as given by Mrs. Trollope must be exceedingly distorted. She also tells us, that “the influence which the ministers of all the innumerable religious sects throughout America have on the females of their respective congregations, approaches very nearly to what we read of in Spain, or in other strictly Roman Catholic countries.—I never saw or read of any country, where religion had so strong a hold upon the women, or a slighter hold upon the men.” We need concern ourselves but little, however, with her opinions on the state of religion among us, since she has evidently no religion herself, though she dares not openly avow her infidelity. The general character of her book may be said to be satirical. Captain Hall is continually getting into a fret, or flying into a passion, and vents his ill humor in scolding. Mrs. Trollope does not scold-she cuts, and sometimes with a good deal of effect. Her book is made up of satirical descriptions of conversations, parties, domestic manners, theatres, revivals, camp-meetings, &c.
The next book on our list is that of the reverend Mr. Fidler, who came to America to teach the Americans Sanscrit, and calls them all sorts of hard names because they did not choose to learn it of him. The amount of his intelligence may be understood from the nature of his errand. A man who could not find scholars to learn Sanscrit in England, deserves a place among the wise men of Gotham, for seeking such in America. But the ignorance, incapacity and vanity which he displayed while in this country, were so striking, that the American public had very little reason to trust his pretensions to oriental learning. He seems to have been an adventurer, unable to gain clerical preferment, or to succeed in school-keeping, at home, who had moved in a humble sphere in his own country, and came to America on the presumption that an Englishman would pass for a prodigy in this barbarous region. Finding that the people of the
United States were willing to dispense with his services, and being unable to continue in Canada, (where he had obtained a humble situation as a preacher,) in consequence of the discontent of Mrs. Fidler, he returned to England, and joined the goodly band of the Fauxes, Fearons, &c., the jackals who provide game for that doughty lion, the Quarterly Review. His book is peculiarly vapid. Every page shows his shallowness of mind and ignorance of his subject; and only the gross absurdities which he puts forth, shed a transient gleam of interest on his pages. He went through the country, as an English journal describes him, “ squabbling with every man, woman and child he met,” preparatory to squabbling with the whole people collectively. We will now quote a few passages, to show the nature of his observations, and the extent of his credulity and prejudice.
“The clergy of America are prohibited, by an act of legislature, from sitting in the chamber of representatives. This was not always the case, but was brought about after the following manner. One of the members of congress, a clergyman, was very desirous that some permanent provision should be made for the Episcopal church, and was urgent, with a friend of his, a member also, to use his endeavors to accomplish it. This friend, probably annoyed by frequent solicitations, and being, as Americans in general are represented, a summer's-day friend, promised his word of honor, that he would do something for the church. Accordingly, he mentioned this circumstance in congress, on the first opportunity, and relating his promise, moved that no clergyman should thenceforth sit in that house. The motion was carried by a vast majority, and clergymen, with their golden anticipations, vanished from it for ever. This was told me by a divine of eminence."
He gives the following philosophical explanation of the little use made of corporal punishment in the American schools.
“Two or three anecdotes were related, to convey to me an idea of American schools. The best teacher whom the United States could ever boast of, was a blind athletic old man, who was so well acquainted with the books he taught, as to detect immediately the slightest incorrectness of his scholars. He was also a great disciplinarian; and, though blind, could from constant practice, inflict the most painful and effective chastisements. From the energetic mental and bodily powers of this teacher, his pupils became distinguished in the colleges and universities of