صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

given so highly-colored an account, even if they actually existed; but I certainly mixed enough in society in the western States to be thoroughly satisfied that there is, to say the least of it, most gross and palpable exaggeration in the general statements she has communicated to the public. My own belief decidedly is, that there is infinitely less hypocrisy in matters of religion in the United States, and certainly not more enthusiasm or fanaticism, than in Great Britain."

“Captain Hall, in his Voyage to Loo Choo, mentions in terms of disapprobation, that both writers and artists are too apt to look out exclusively for remarkable, rather than ordinary and characteristic features of the scene before them. It would have been well that Mrs. Trollope had profited by this remark. In that case, her remarks on the religious assemblies of the United States would not, during the period she passed there, have been limited to meetings of Methodists and Presbyterians, to two Roman Catholic cathedrals, one Unitarian church, one Quaker meeting, and to one camp-meeting, but would have embraced the Episcopal churches, the Dutch Reformed church, the Con. gregationalists, the Lutherans, and the Baptists. In that case, it would not have been her unceasing employment to find out what she might consider as blemishes in the forms of worship-with which she was, it is obvious, previously entirely unacquainted of part of the Christian population of the United States, and to hold them up to the derision of the public."

“ Mrs. Trollope describes the men of the United States as totally inattentive to religious duties, and as never going to church. This I know to be a mistake, for I have never any where seen, except in the Roman Catholic cathedral at Baltimore, any religious meeting in the United States, in which there did not seein to me to be present a greater number of males, in respect to the number of females, than in the churches or religious meetings of Great Britain, and especially of London ; but, were it otherwise, it is not pretended that at all those meetings the congregations were not composed in part of males; and is it credible, that the husbands and fathers all over the United States, would permit those mystic caresses, those scenes that made Mrs.

Trollope shudder, when again and again she saw the young neck encircled by a reverend arm, to be repeated, or the guilty to escape without punishment ? Such impostors, if they actually existed, would be more summarily dealt with in the United States than in this, or any other country. If such scenes took place once, certainly those fathers and brothers who neither cared for religion nor religious teachers, would take very good care that they never should happen again ; but I am bound to say, that I conceive it to be morally impossible that such a scene as that which is said to have occurred in Mrs. Trollope's presence, at the principal Presbyterian churches in Cincinnati, and to be constantly repeated there, could have occurred openly in any church of the United States.”

“ Captain Hall's statements of what he observed at meetings for religious worship in America are very brief, but very comprehensive and decided, and directly in the teeth of all that Mrs. Trollope has written upon the subject. He declares that ' he never saw the slightest indecency of any kind in an American church. On the contrary, there always appeared to him the mosi remarkable decorum in every place of worship which he entered in that country.'"

In regard to the conversations which Mrs. Trollope has introduced on the subject of religion, he observes,

“ As to the colloquies which Mrs. Trollope has introduced on this and other subjects, especially with her servants, I must be permitted to say that I put no faith in them ; I view them merely as representations of what Mrs. Trollope wishes to be believed, and I entirely adopt the sentiment of Mr. Ferrall, when he writes, 'I must contess that I never was so fortunate in America as to come in contact with any who reasoned so badly as the persons caplain Basil Hall introduces in his book.""

In the following passage, he contradicts another of Mrs. Trollope's statements.

" At this time the Irish prodigy, young Burke, was performing at the Park theatre, at New York. I saw him several times ; but neither then, nor on other occasions, at the New York theatres, or at the theatres of Philadelphia, Boston, New Orleans, or Charleston, did I ever see any rudeness on the part of any portion of the male audience, nor do I believe any person would have been tolerated in sitting on the edge of the box inclosure, with his back to the performers. I mention this in reference to a statement of a contrary import which Mrs. 'Trollope has made, in order, most probably, to add to the effect of one of the whimsical sketches which accompany her volumes. The occurrence which she has noticed must have taken place after the curtain had dropped.”

He thus contrasts the opinions of captain Hall and Mrs. Trollope, respecting American scenery.

“Dr. Hosack's grounds are so very charming, and the views from them so picturesque and striking, that I cannot help wishing that captain Hall had seen Hyde Park Terrace before he de

clared North America to be the most unpicturesque country to be found anywhere.' This seems to me a most rash assertion, proceeding from an individual who merely had time to traverse the vast territory of the United States, about as large as Europe, in one line to the south and one to the north. What should we think of an American traveller who had journeyed from London to Newcastle by the east, and had returned from Carlisle by the west road, declaring England to be an unpicturesque country!and yet he would be far better entitled in that case to deliver an authoritative opinion on the subject of England than the gallant officer on the subject of America ; for he would have travelled in two directions through England, which is not so considerable in point of extent as several of the separate States of America. But captain Hall had, in fact, admitted himself to be incapable of giving an opinion upon this subject worthy of any consideration. He tells us in one part of his book, that

there are few things so “ fatiguing as fine scenery,”' and in another, that the most picturesque object in every traveller's landscape is the post-office,'— he acted accordingly; and has confirmed the truth of his remarks, so far as he is concerned, by omitting to take the trouble to visit the most interesting scenes easily and daily for a long period within his reach. It does not appear from his book that he ever was on Staten Island, to enjoy the views from it, though the most diversified and beautiful in America, and daily in his power. He passed through Hellgate in the dark, and never returned to see it, though one of the most singular scenes of that description in the world, within much less than an hour's drive of New York; and although he was long at Washington, he left it without seeing Mount Vernon, which was within an hour and a half's drive of him, because, as he states, the steam-boat did not pass the place at a convenient hour. It would have been absurd to point out these omissions, which are merely a sample of many that might be noticed, were it not to prove that, notwithstanding captain Hall's opinion is expressed in terms so peremptory, it is not entitled to any weight. Well might Mrs. Trollope ask, 'Who is it that says America is not picturesque ? I forget, but surely he never travelled from Utica to Albany. This is a severe question, for captain Hall travelled in the very same line as Mrs. Trollope. 'I have often confessed,' Mrs. Trollope adds, my conscious incapacity for description, but I must repeat it here, to apologize for my passing so dully through this matchless valley of the Mohawk. I would that some British artist, strong in youthful daring, would take my word for it, and pass over for a summer pilgrimage through the State of New York. In very earnest he would do wisely, for I question if the world could furnish within the same space, and with equal facility of access, so many subjects for his pencil. Mountains, forests, rocks, lakes, rivers, cataracts, all in perfection. But he must be bold as a lion in coloring, or he will make nothing of it.'

"Think of the magnificence of the rivers of the western part of the United States—of the Hudson, the most lovely of all rivers-of the scenery of the Alleghanies, running from one end of this great continent to the other, in all variety of shapes, and with numerous offsets or spurs to the right and left, covering one hundred and twenty thousand square miles, and then judge whether the sentiments of captain Hall or Mrs. Trollope, for these great doctors differ toto cælo on this question, are the best founded. The truth is, that all the works of nature on the continent of America are on a magnificent scale ; mountains, rivers, lakes, vallies, and plains. Captain Hall, and all British travellers, cannot fail to miss the smooth pastures, the beautiful and richly-dressed fields, the hedges, and the dropping trees of England. But it is utterly absurd, that because the United States are not in the advanced state of cultivation of our own country, and because great plains, one of the grand features of the country, must sometimes be passed over, to hold that a traveller should forget the splendid, striking, and most peculiar features of this continent, and in one line, pass sentence of condemnation on the whole country as unpicturesque. Such a mode of proceeding only proves that the traveller never saw it.”

These extracts will show that Mr. Stuart is a very different observer from captain Hall and Mrs. Trollope. His volumes are well described in the Edinburgh Review, as furnishing “a vivid and faithful picture of American life, in every part of the Union, from Boston to New Orleans, and froin St. Louis to New York. We feel assured of their possessing the invaluable quality of perfect trustworthiness. The reader has every where the comfortable conviction, that he is accompanying an unpretending, candid, observing, and very intelligent man; of one, too, who has both the mind and qualities of a gentleman and of a citizen of the world.”

We have thus given a summary view of the works of captain Hall, Mrs. Trollope, and Mr. Fidler, and have compared their statements with those of a liberal observer. We have already said, that it is not surprising that our people allow themselves to be somewhat nettled by the taunts of our friends across the water. But we are now so much used to thein, that it may be hoped we shall bear them in future with proper patience. If a captain in the French navy, visiting England with strong feelings of national hostility, or

if a French lady, disappointed in her hopes of gaining English gold, or a French teacher, unsuccessful in his own country, and equally so in England, should, on returning home, abuse the English without mercy, we should hardly think it wise in that people to allow their tempers to be ruffled on the occasion ; and it is equally imwise for us to concern ourselves about the stories of captain Hall, Mrs. Trollope, or Air. Fidler. We cannot expect a high tory to find gratification in the practical refutation of his principles, which our country affords; and we cannot think it strange that individuals, who were dissatisfied and disappointed at home, should be dissatisfied and disappointed here. The fault is in their own constitutions.

" The mind is its own place, and of itself

Can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven."

As long as we can see wealth, population and knowledge increasing among us, with almost magic rapidity-as long as our country is the beacon of those who are buffeting with the storms of the old world, and the haven of those who have escaped from the commotion—we may look with equanimity on the abuse which is served up for the gratification of those who dread the influence of our example, in strengthening the hearts and hands of millions struggling to be free.



CRITICISM, in the most common acceptation of the term, is an expression of judgment in matters of taste. It is the application of taste to the different fine arts, and more especially, the arts of literary composition and oratory. In reference to its connection with these last, we would speak in this article.

VOL. I. 37

« السابقةمتابعة »