« السابقةمتابعة »
institute a comparison between American slaves and English apprentices. Does such an advocate serve or injure most the cause he would defend? But let us turn to Mr. Bristed :-(whose misstatements have justly given to the whole of his writings a loose character :-who cannot be compared with a writer, whose precision is such, that, with all his zeal, argumentative courage,' and the like, his antagonists have not been able to detect a single misrepresentation of his.
The Article concludes with a quotation from Mr. Bristed, which represents a South Carolina master chopping off the head of a slave with an axe--for which he suffered a small fine : and auother, which says "The United States afford no instance of a master being capitally punished for killing his slave!”]
Art. X.-America and her Resources ; or a View of the Agri
cultural, Commercial, Manufacturing, Financial, Political, Literary, Moral, and the Religious Capacity and Character of the American People. By John BRISTED, Counsellor at Law, Author of the Resources of the British Empire. 8vo. pp. xvi. 504. London, 1818. [Review, July, 1820.)
We have already said that this volume may be recommended to the perusal of the general reader who is notin search either of precise statistical information, or of profound political reasoning. He will find in it a spirited rambling descant upon all sorts of subjects connected with American politics and American manners. The Author's loose, declamatory, and turgid style must prevent his taking that rank as a writer, which the tone he assumes would seem to solicit; his report, however, of American affairs, is, on several accounts, specifically valuable, and if his political principles were of a purer character, he might with some consistency receive the praise of being the professed champion of the cause of humanity and religion. One of the circumstances which give a value to this volume, is the apparent unfixedness of the Author's prejudices. The discriminating reader will, perhaps, gather up the truth, from the reports of a writer of this fitful turn more readily and surely than, even, from one whose impartiality is studied and laboured. Mr. Bristed is neither a furious hater of England, nor a devoted worshipper of America.[ ] His affection for his adopted country, is, we imagine, a somewhat wayward passion, liable to frequent disgusts. Citizen Bristed is, indeed, an excellent
(a He has not the least of either character. The terms of the remark would be very apposite if reversed. Citizen Bristed may not be a furious hater' of America, but a devoted worshipper of England.]
patriot and republican in his closet, while roving among his own. speculations, or poring, with prophetic eye, over the map of the continent that is to rule the world ;' but out of doors, jostled in the throng of Broad-Way, he looks often much like the disappointed wanderer, and now and then betrays the irritability of one whose enthusiasm has been roughly cured.
The Author, we have said, professes to be the advocate of religion. Before the sceptical portion of his countrymen, he boldly pleads the claims of Christianity; but in assuming this character, he only exposes himself to the severer reprehension on account of the profligate system of national policy, avowed, without cover or apology, in every part of his work. He talks of humanity, of morals, of the Bible; but he seems almost to seek occasion to stimulate the restless desire of national aggrandizement, and sometimes even to inflame the murderous passions of war. Passages might be cited, from the volume of a kind, to which, as the lovers of peace, we would not be accessary in giving a wider circulation. We are constrained to hope that Mr. Bristed calumniates, or at least, that he grossly misrepresents his countrymen, in attributing to them some of the sentiments which he retains with apparent exultation.
- [There should be no doubt in the reviewer of this. He proceeds to quote passages of Mr. Bristed, relating to the purchase by the United States of Louisiana and Florida ; and their probable possession of Cuba, Mexico, and Peru, with the British West Indies, -and remarks that he passes over some absurd and mischievous vapouring of Mr. B.'--the object of which the reviewer does not appear exactly to comprehend. It is this,—to excite, if possible, an alarm in his beloved government of England, at the extending power and growing ambition of America,—to induce the former to take timely and effectual measures to curb the strength and thwart the progress of the latter :-or, at least, the effort of Mr. Bristed, though too refined for the observation of the British Reviewer, is so understood, as far as his book is read, in this country. The following passages will exemplify.]
Why does not England, as part of the indemnity due to her " from Spain, transfer to her own sceptre the sovereignty of Cuba;
seeing that the Havanna commands the passage from the Gulf of · Mexico ? Why does she not take possession of Panama on the
south, and Darien on the north, and join the waters of the Atlantic with those of the Pacific ocean, in order to resuscitate her • drooping commerce? or is it her intention still to slumber on, until she is awakened from the stupefaction of her dreams by the final fall of Spanish America, and of her own North American provinces, beneath the ever-widening power of the United States.' • How strange and portentous is the contrast between the steady
and progressive policy of the United States, and the supine indifference of the British Government !'
Again ; after some absurd and yet mischievous vapouring, which we pass over, Mr. Bristed says:
The American rulers have become wiser. by their own experi'ence, have profited by their own blunders, have extracted strength * from a sense of their own weakness. They are not likely again
to plunge into a war, without funds, and without men : they are • now preparing in the bosom of peace, the means of future con'flict; by building up the finances of the country, by planting • every where the germs of an army, by sowing those seeds which
will soon start up into bands of armed warriors, by a rapid aug'mentation of their navy; and, above all, by attempting to allay • the animosities of party spirit, and endeavouring to direct the • whole national mind and inclination of the United States towards * their aggrandizement by conquest alike on the land and on the 'ocean; by adding to their present immense empire the continen
tal possessions of Spain and England, and the British insular do. mains in the West Indies.' p. 237. [The Reviewer proceeds:]
• The way of barter,' Mr. B. says, “is a much easier, safer, and • better mode of acquiring dominion than that of war and con.quest.' No doubt, so far as the immediate transaction is considered apart from its motive and its remoter consequences, it is, if not always easier, at any rate, always "safer and better,' to buy than to plunder; but it should be remembered, that there are some things which can never be honestly bought and sold, and also that bargains by which a third party may think himself so far either injured or endangered, as to impel him to break the peace rather than acquiesce in the transfer, are justly chargeable with all the violence and outrage which they indirectly occasion.
If we are to take the account of the Writer before us, the Americans are far from being pleased with the irregular figure which the Republic exhibits upon the map. This and that corner of the continent must be bought (or conquered if it cannot be boughi) in order to give a more hardsome sweep to their periphery. But surely we have already heard enough of arrondissemens : in fact, their boundary line is never só exactly round to satisfy the nice eye of an ambitious people; the jagged polygon still needs here and there some trimming; but this perfecting of the figure is to be effected always by increments,-never by retrenchments.
As to the means employed on such occasions, those are not to be feared the least which are the most silent and plausible. As for instance, the plan of buying territory, which, while it springs from the same restless spirit, is more base than the passion for military glory, and in every respect as hazardous to the repose of nations.
It is really almost better that ambition should appear in its old and proper garb, than that it should take a new guise and walk through the earth in the character of a peddler. Away then with the smooth-face state trader, who coolly appraises islands and continents as if they were the chatiels of a bankrupt, calculates to a dollar and a cent, what it will cost him to buy up the world, and then says— Is not my balance even ?--Am I not a man of peace?
But it ought to be premised, that it would be rash and unfair to infer from the inconsiderate declamations of two or three lightheaded American writers, that this craving for territory,—not less preposterous than immoral,-affects the people of the United States generally. If Mr. Bristed, as every good patriot ought to be, is more concerned for the honour of his country, than solicitous for his individual credit, he will thank us, and all his candid English readers, for persisting to hope that, at least on this subject, the mass of his countrymen far surpass himself in the possession of plain good sense and political morality.
But if, for the sake of argument, it be supposed that the American people, forgetting the wise principles of the great founders of their liberty, are actually possessed by the mania of encroachment, and the passion for extended domination, their peculiar circumstances render this madness so eminently dangerous to themselves, that their European rivals could do nothing better thau quietly look on, while it works on its own correction. No very profound political sagacity is needed, to perceive that nothing less than the very soundest and calmest condition of the public mind in America can promise the long continued acquiescence of the northern and the inland states, to the present Virginian government of the Union. It is a fact that lies upon the surface of American politics, that there already exists such an essential and irremediable contrariety of interests and of feelings between the northern, southern and western states, as has never yet, in the history of the world, been brought into voluntary concurrence under the same government. This fact supposes, therefore, that there should be found throughout these wide nations, so artificially united, a greater degree of philosophical superiority to the pressure of immediate interests, more freedom from passion, more immobility of temper, in a word, a more undisturbed reign of reason, than has ever yet been seen to prevail among men.[a] How long then, is it likely, will the patrician planters of the South be able to compose, and to retain under their guidance this discordant mass, after it shall have become inflamed with ambition, and erased with Quixotic projects? 
[a Why not? and without having much cause for boasting either.] [b The fancy of our becoming crazed with Quixotic projects arises from the
store b and spea lations o chalante A hundreds, map, in the is found amor woven the idea pational characal within a circle oil can planter familia of the Atlantic an much of his continen sa, the fruits of the sought for, or to be s the solitary agricultu. store-keeper on the wa er or less degree, profic mercial condition of th
which, in Europe, is the chants. The mighty str make geographers of all t. apon this communication w raising themselves above th around them. The Map, t American ; but a map is a sed power of influencing directly mediately allies personal feel and glory. The transition consideration of the Map, is cumstances, almost inevitable. of ambition ; nor is its influei in the Log-house of the rugg Kings or the mansions of Cap of political speculation, the thought, palpable and gross
writer's observation of the people of showing their power but by the driven to that impotent resort, for: inflamed and crazed with the consel
There are, no doubt, some particular causes which tend to foster in the minds of Americans, the propensity to indulge the extravagant reveries of national ambition. The American has vastly more geographical feeling than the European. The migratory habits of the people, the recollection of having an inexhaustible store house of territory bebind them,--the necessity of thinking and speaking of the particular proprietorship of the soil, in its relations of latitude and longitude, even the periodical and nonchalante pilgrimages of their Congress-men, measured, not by hundreds, but by thousands of miles, compel them to a use of the map, in the common business of life, ten times more frequent than is found among any other people, and have actually, as it were, woven the idea of terrene extension among the very elements of the national character. The thoughts of the European farmer range within a circle of twenty miles diameter. The ideas of the American planter familiarly traverse the wide extent between the shores of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. The one knows nearly as much of his continent, as the other does of his country. In America, the fruits of the earth as well as manufactures, have to be sought for, or to be sent, some thousands of miles. Hence, both the solitary agriculturalist of the Western States, and the petty store-keeper on the water's edge, are necessitated to be in a greater or less degree, proficients in that general knowledge of the commercial condition of their own country and of distant nations, which, in Europe, is the business only of the first class of merchants. The mighty streams of the North American continent, make geographers of all the settlers on their banks, who depend upon this communication with the wide world, for all the means of raising themselves above the condition of the wandering savages around them. The Map, therefore, is ever in the hand of the American; but a map is a seductive article to men whose conscious power of influencing directly the government of their country, immediately allies personal feelings with the idea of its magnitude and glory. The transition from the commercial to the political consideration of the Map, is not merely easy, but, under such circumstances, almost inevitable. A Map is the mischievous familiar of ambition ; nor is its influence found to be much less bewitching in the Log-house of the rugged republican, than in the palaces of Kings or the mansions of Captains. Considered as the implement of political speculation, the map presents an abstract region of thought, palpable and gross in its elements, yet not without a
writer's observation of the people of his own country, who have no other way of sbowing their power but by the lawless violence of their mobs,--and being driven to that impotent resort, for any expression of their honest feelings, are inflamed and crazed with the consciousness of its impotency.)