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we could scarcely hope that he would change that opinion for any thing we have now been saying. But Mr Wi's book may fall into the hands of many, in his own country at least, to whom our writings are but little known; and the imputations it contains
become known to many who never inquire into their grounds: On such persons, the statements we have now made may produce some impression--and the spirit in which they are made perhaps still more. Our labour will not have been in vain, if there are any that rise up from the perusal of these pages with a better opinion of their Transatlantic brethren, and an increased desire to live with them in friendship and peace.
There still remains behind, a fair moiety of Mr W.'s book; containing his recriminations on England-his exposition of (her sores and blotches and his retort courteous for all the abuse which her writers have been pouring on his country for the last hundred years. The task, we should think, must have been rather an afflicting one to a man of much moral sensibility :- But it is gone through very resolutely, and with marvellous industry. The learned author has not only ransacked forgotten histories and files of old newspapers in search of disreputable transactions and degrading crimes—but has groped for the materials of our dishonour, among the filth of Dr Colquhoun's Collections, and the Reports of our Prison and Police Committees—culled vituperative exaggerations from the record of angry debates—and produced, as incontrovertible evidence of the excess of our guilt and misery, the fervid declamations of moralists exhorting to amendment, or of satirists endeavouring to deter from vice. Provincial misgovernment from Ireland to Hindostan-cruel amusements-increasing pauperisin-disgusting brutality-shameful ignorance-perversion of law--grinding taxation-brutal debauchery, and many other traits equally attractive, are all heaped together, as the characteristics of English society; and unsparingly illustrated by • loose extracts from English Journals, '-quotations from Espriella's Letters and selections from the Parliamentary Debates. Accustomed, as we have long been, to mark the vices and miseries of our countrymen, we really cannot say that we recognise any likeness in this distorted representation; which exhibits our fair England as one great Lazar-house of moral and intellectual disease-one hideous and bloated mass of sin and suffering—one festering heap of corruption, infecting the wholesome air which breathes upon it, and diffusing all around the contagion and the terror of its example.
We have no desire whatever to argue against the truth or the justice of this picture of our country; which we can assure Mr
W. we contemplate with perfect calmness and equanimity: but we are ternpted to set against it the judgment of another foreigner, with whom he cannot complain of being confronted, and whose authority at this moment stands higher, perhaps with the whole civilized world, than that of any other individual. We allude to Madame de Staël—and to the splendid testimony she has borne to the character and happiness of the English niation, in her last admirable book on the Revolution of her own country. But we have spoken of this work so lately, in our Number for September 1818, that we shall not now recal the attention of our readers to it, further than by this general reference. We rather wish to lay before them an American authority.
In a work of great merit, entitled, " A Letter on the Genius and Dispositions of the French Government, published at Philadelphia in 1810, and which attracted much notice, both there and in this country, the author, in a strain of great eloquence and powerful reasoning, exhorts his country to make common cause with England in the great struggle in which she was then engaged with the giant power of Bonaparte, and points out the many circumstances in the character and condition of the two countries that invited them to a cordial alliance. He was well aware, too, of the distinction we have endeavoured to point out between the Court, or the Tory rulers of the State, and the body of our People: and, after observing that the American Government, by following his councils, might retrieve the character of their country, he adds, They will, I am • quite sure, be seconded by an entire correspondence of feeling, * not only on our part, but on that of the PEOPLE of England
whatever may be the narrow policy, or illiberal prejudices of • the British MINISTRY;'-and, in the body of his work, he gives an ample and glowing description of the character and condition of that England of which we have just seen so lamentable a representation. The whole passage is too long for insertion; but the following extracts will afford a sufficient specimen of its tone and tenor.
• A peculiarly masculine character, and the utmost energy of feeling are communicated to all orders of men,- by the abundance which prevails so universally,--the consciousness of equal rights, the fulness of power and fame to which the nation has attained,-and the beauty and robustness of the species under a climate highly favourable to the animal economy. The dignity of the rich is without insolence,--the subordination of the poor without servility. Their freedom is well guarded both from the dangers of popular licentiousness, and from the encroachments of authority.-Their national pride leads to national sympathy, and is built upon the most legitimate of all foundations-a sense of preeminent merit and a body of illustrious
s Whatever may be the representations of those who, with little knowledge of facts, and still less soundness or impartiality of judgment, affect to deplore the condition of England, -it is nevertheless true, that there does not exist, and never has existed elsewhere, - so beautiful and perfect a model of public and private prosperity, -so magnificent, and at the same time, so solid a fabric of social happiness and national grandeur. I pay this just tribute of admiration with the more pleasure, as it is to me in the light of an Atonement for the errors and prejudices, under which I laboured, on this subject, before I enjoyed the advantage of a personal experience. A residence of nearly two years in that country,—during which period, I visited and studied almost every part of it,—with no other view or pursuit than that of obtaining correct information, and, I may add, with previous studies well fitted to promote my object,-convinced me that I had been egregiously deceived. I saw no instances of individual op pression, and scarcely any individual misery but that which belongs, under any circumstances of our being, to the infirmity of all human institutions.'
• The agriculture of England is confessedly superior to that of any other part of the world, and the condition of those who are engaged in the cultivation of the spil, incontestably preferable to that of the same class in any other section of Europe. An inexhaustible source of admiration and delight is found in the unrivalled beauty, as well as richness and fruitfulness of their husbandry; the effects of which are heightened by the magnificent parks and noble mansions of the opulent proprietors: by picturesque gardens upon the largest scale, and disposed with the most exquisite taste : and by Gothic remains no less admirable in their structure than venerable for their antiquity. The neat cottage, the substantial farm-house, the splendid villa, are constantly rising to the sight, surrounded by the most choice and poetical attributes of the landscape. The vision is not more delightfully recreated by the rural scenery, than the moral sense is gratified, and the understanding elevated by the institutions of this great country. The first and continued exclamation of an American who con. templates them with unbiassed judgment, is
Parens frugum, Saturnia tellus Magna virum. It appears something not less than Impious to desire the ruin of this people, when you view the height to which they have carried the comforts, the knowledge, and the virtue of our species: the extent and number of their foundations of charity; their skill in the mechanic arts, by the improvement of which alone, they have conferred inestimable benefits on mankind; the masculine morality, the lofty sense of independence, the sober and rational piety which are found in all classes; their impartial, decorous and able administration of a code of laws, than which none more just and perfect has ever been in operation; their seminaries of education yielding more solid and profitable instruction than any other whatever ; their emi;
nence in literature and science—the urbanity and learning of their privileged orders—their deliberative assemblies, illustrated by so many profound statesmen, and brilliant orators. It is worse than Ingratitude in us not to sympathize with them in their present struggle, when we recollect that it is from them we derive the principal merit of our own CHARACTER—the best of our own institutions—the sources of our highest enjoyments—and the light of Freedom itself, which, if they should be destroyed, will not long shed its radiance over this country.
What will Mr Walsh say to this picture of the country he has so laboured to degrade?--and what will our readers say, when they are told that Mr WALSH HIMSELF is the author of this picture!
So, however, the fact unquestionably stands.— The book from which we have made the preceding extracts, was written and published in 1810, by the very same individual who has now recriminated upon England in the volume which lies before us, --and in which he is pleased to speak with extreme severity of the inconsistencies he has detected in our Review !— That some discordant or irreconcileable opinions should be found in the miscellaneous writings of twenty years, and thirty or forty individuals under no effective controul, may easily be imagined, and pardoned, we should think, without any great stretch of liberality, But such a transmutation of sentiments on the same identical subject--such a reversal of the poles of the same identical head, we confess has never before come under our observation; and is parallel to nothing that we can recollect, but the memorable transformation of Bottom, in the Midsummer Night's Dream. Nine years, to be sure, had intervened between the first and the second publication. But all the guilt and all the misery which is so diligently developed in the last, had been contracted before the first was thought of; and all the injuries, and provocations too, by which the exposition of them has lately become a duty. Mr W. knew perfectly, in 1810, how England had behaved to her American colonies before the war of independence, and in what spirit she had begun and carried on that war:--our Poorrates and taxes, our bull-baitings and swindlings, were then nearly as visible as now. Mr Colquhoun had, before that time, put forth his Political Estimate of our prostitutes and pickpockets; and the worthy Laureate his authentic Letters on the bad state of our parliaments and manufactures. Nay, the EDINBURGH REVIEW had committed the worst of those offences which now make hatred to England the duty of all true Americans, and had expressed little of that zeal for her friendship which appears in its subsequent Numbers. The Reviews of the American Transactions, and Mr Barlow's Epic, of Adams's
Letters, and Marshall's History, had all appeared before this time--and but very few of the articles in which the future greatness of that country is predicted, and her singular prosperity extolled.
How then is it to be accounted for, that Mr W. should have taken such a favourable view of our state and merits in 1810, and so very different a one in 1819? There is but one explanation that occurs to us.—Mr W., as appears from the passages just quoted, had been originally very much of the opinion to which he has now returned-For he tells us, that he considers the tribute of admiration which he there offers to our excellence, as an Atonement for the errors and prejudices under which he laboured till he came among us,-and hints pretty plainly, that he had formerly been ungrateful enough to disown all obligation to our race, and impious enough even to wish for our ruin. Now, from the tenor of the work before us, compared with these passages, it is pretty plain, we think, that Mr W. has just relapsed into those damnable heresies which we fear are epidemic in his part of the country-and from which nothing is so likely to deliver him, as a repetition of the same remedy by which they were formerly removed. Let him come again then to England, and try the effect of a second course of personal experience and observation ?-let him make another pilgrimage to Mecca, and observe whether his faith is not restored and confirmed let him, like the Indians of his own world, visit the Tombs of his Fathers in the old land, and see whether he can there abjure the friendship of their other children? If he will venture himself among us for another two years' residence, we can promise him that he will find in substance the same England that he left:-Our laws and our landscapes--our industry and urbanity ;-our charities, our learning, and our personal beauty, he will find unaltered and unimpaired ;-and we think we can even engage, that he shall find also a still greater correspondence of feeling in the body of our People, and not a less disposition to welcome an accomplished stranger who comes to get rid of errors and prejudices, and to learn--or, if he pleases, to teach, the great lessons of a generous and indulgent philanthropy.
We have done, however, with this topic. We have a considerable contempt for the argumentum ad hominem in any caseand have no desire to urge it any further at present. The truth is, that neither of Mr W.'s portraitures of us appears to be very accurate. We are painted en beau in the one, and en laid in the other. The particular traits in each may be given with tolerable truth--but the whole truth is to be found in neither; and it will not even do to take them together-any more