Слике страница

Art. IX.--- London Quarterly Review,

The United States

490 Scandinavian Literature.

(June, history and manners of our own country--of its authentic annals and romantic traditions of the lives of its heroes, bards, and legislators, --contributes to nourish a warm spirit of patriotism, and to fortify the honest sentiment of national pride.-These studies open new regions of imagination-they unfold to the poet's eye a new creation, whose wild-flowers have hitherto “blushed unseen,” and whose wonders he may make his own.All this is felt by the scholars and patriots of the northern nations of Europe. But even to us, the literature of the North must have its interest, --since we deduce our origin, our language, and our laws, from the Scandinavian and Teutonic races. The filiation of languages is not only a curious subject of philosophical inquiry, but an acquaintance with it, is absolutely essential to a perfect knowledge of the structure of our own language, derived as it is from the mingled streams of all the Northern dialects, and enriched with the addition of copious supplies from classic sources. We have seen the great family of man, from the banks of the Ganges to the shores of Iceland, with few exceptions, speaking languages having their common root in the venerable Sanscrit. The pursuit of these investigations has been associated with the loftier and purer purpose of diffusing the light of the gospel over the same regions. Frederick Iỹ. of Denmark, was the first prince who sent Protestant missionaries to India. The Danish establishment at Serampore, is the great scene of literary and religious activity in the East.--But it is on the bleak and barren coasts of Greenland, that their noblest conquests have been achieved ; and it is here again, that we are indebted to the Danish missionaries for our knowledge of the singularly fantastic structure of the dialect spoken by the natives of that desolate country. In the gardens of Jægerspriis, where the present king of Denmark, when crown prince, erected monuments of Norwegian marble to the benefactors of their country, -amidst those of heroes and sages, stands an humble pillar, on which are inscribed the names of Hans Egede, the first miscionary to Greenland, and Gertrude his wife, who shared with

In the task we have undertaken in the

i have a warrant for taking up a Review examination. It is in full accordance with and the promise we made in the prospectu there declared our design to be national." “the work will be truly American in spirit ism, alert, emphatic, resolute, militant ev cumstances, is a trait which should distingui production of this country.” When, then, a tive attack is made upon the character, cono of our country, in the guise of a review, or do but redeem our pledge to the American 1 calumnies and exposing its falsehoods. Upo believe we have a full justification for the re upon the article mentioned at the head of i London Quarterly Review."

However honest, intelligent, and liberal, be upon other matters, the moment he ui write about the United States, he becomes be This is the point of his insanity; and he wi in his opinions and observations, until he tou subject. In a moment, truth is no longer t to have any influence on his mind, and he i between the most clear and settled facts, a nonsense of his national pride. Every maj such cases of partial derangement; and ne nor physician has been able to account for i neither the writers nor the readers country are really deceived the momentari

ART. IX.--
London Quarterly Review, No. 73. Article VIII.

The United States,

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

In the task we have undertaken in the following pages, we have a warrant for taking up a Review as a proper subject for examination. It is in full accordance with our stipulated duty, and the promise we made in the prospectus of this journal. We there declared our "design to be national.” We promised that “ the work will be truly American in spirit and drift”—“patriotism, alert, emphatic, resolute, militant even, under certain circumstances, is a trait which should distinguish it and every similar production of this country." When, then, an unjust and vituperative attack is made upon the character, condition, and institutions of our country, in the guise of a review, or in any other way, we do but redeem our pledge to the American public, in refuting its calumnies and exposing its falsehoods. Upon these grounds, we believe we have a full justification for the remarks we shall offer upon the article mentioned at the head of our page, from the " London Quarterly Review."

However honest, intelligent, and liberal, an Englishman may be upon other matters, the moment he undertakes to speak or write about the United States, he becomes bewildered and absurd. This is the point of his insanity; and he will be sensible and just in his opinions and observations, until he touches this unfortunate subject. In a moment, truth is no longer truth; evidence ceases to have any influence on his mind, and he is unable to distinguish between the most clear and settled facts, and the prejudices and nonsense of his national pride. Every mad-house abounds with such cases of partial derangement; and neither the philosopher nor physician has been able to account for it. Even now, when neither the writers nor the readers of the calumnies upon our country are really deceived by them, they cannot deny themselves the momentary pleasure of repeating and listening to them.

The "London Quarterly Review," from its earliest existence, has led the van in the political, moral, and personal phillippics that have been poured, without ceasing, upon us, ever since we set up in the world for ourselves; and, it must be confessed, it has led it like a valiant captain, a very Dalghetty, devoted, body and conscience, to his contracted service, and overleaping every impediment between him and the performance of his orders and bounden duty. It has denounced our goodly territory as the land of “despotism, poverty, and disease;" as if men and nature combined their worst influences to curse it; as if our atmosphere was never sweetened by the purifying sun; nor our earth refreshed by kind and fertile showers. And yet we do live on increasing and multiplying, not entirely crushed by our despot

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]


ism; nor famished by our poverty ; nor devoured by disease. Now, it is really too much to be reproached with poverty by the loyal subject of a monarchy, who.counts among his fellow subjects millions of paupers, maintained by an assessment on the community of nearly ten millions of pounds sterling. The author of this intrepid sentence must have looked around for an extraordinary burst of applause ; and probably received it from his happy and more prosperous countrymen.

In the review given in this British Journal of the travels of the child “ Frederick," there are several striking examples of English blindness to clear and unquestioned facts; and of a reckless audacity of assertion, in the very front of evidence and probability. It is our intention to notice some of these, because they come to the world under the sanction of an authority certainly much respected, and much entitled to respect, in its general bearing and character. Before we enter upon this duty, we have real pleasure in admitting, that the author of the article has not been backward in displaying the vast physical means of greatness enjoyed by the United States ; and in acknowledging the industry and ability with which they have been, and continue to be, brought into operation and use. We and our doings, in this respect, are spread before the world ; and have grown to a size not to be overlooked or safely misrepresented. The attack is made upon subjects not so important, so obvious, or extensively known and understood ; but still sufficient to gratify, in a degree, the morbid English appetite. We have outlived a host of the slanders and slanderers that once annoyed us; and every year narrows the ground of attack; it is gradually washed away by the power of truth and time. The narration of De Roos, and the work of some anonymous pseudo-German, entitled “North America and the United States as they are," are placed at the head of the article in the Quarterly, to which we are about to draw the attention of our readers. With these profound and brilliant travellers we have nothing to do ; our business is with the Review. er, who has used them merely as an introduction to his own sagacious and veracious remarks upon our country.

The Reviewer passes leniently enough, but certainly without approbation, over the pert nonsense of De Roos, endeavouring to cover him by a truism which has no application to the labours of that distinguished tourist. “ If,” says the indulgent critic, “ the book itself be good, and found to convey facts not known before," we should look “at the shortness of the time in no other light than as a proof of the activity and industry of the traveller." This appears to us to be very like arrant nonsense. A traveller tells me that he jumped fairly over St. Peter's, at Rome; and in common courtesy” I reply, if it is true, we should consider it“ in no other light than as a proof of his activity." We have thought there is a distinction between the possible and the impossible ; and no courtesy requires of me to confound them, and give a qualified credence to what I know cannot be true.

We entirely concur with the Reviewer in rejecting the statements of “the Fearons and Fauxes," although we cannot perceive that their observations were “meant to be complimentary;" and we also adopt his opinion, that “we are still in want of a clear, expanded, and intelligent view of this great and growing republic, from the pen of a gentleman.The four men of rank and admitted talent, who “ some two years ago traversed the greater part of the United States,” we believe, had better opportunities and better dispositions to speak of us as we are, than any of “the superabundance of English travellers," who have become the organs of calumnious misrepresentations, to widen differences between nations that every just and liberal feeling ought to draw together ; inflaming animosities which even self-interest would allay ; and planting prejudices and hatreds to misguide and afflict posterity. If we repel such attacks resentfully ; if we extend that resentment, beyond the immediate offenders, to the whole people by whom these vipers are cherished, and their poison greedily swallowed, we act but upon a natural feeling of self-defence, and a warranted retaliation. When English gentlemen, travelling through our country, shall render us more justice, and the English feeling be corrected on our subject, we shall cheerfully meet the conciliating spirit; and forbear from recriminations forced from us by goads and stings.

It is a truth, that there is among the people of the United States, no ungenerous hostility to those of England ; we feel, in the midst of injury and insult, the influence of a common ancestry ; a common language, religion and literature ; and they will have our kindness and respect whenever they shall choose to leserve and value them. If we are rivals in science, ingenuity, and industry, we well may be so, with a just and generous emulation, and not with a persecuting, indignant hostility. In proof of the general prevalence of our kind disposition towards Englishmen, we may refer to their various travellers who have visited our country; who, with the exception of some that were entitled to no respect in any country, agree in strong acknowledgments of the good treatment they received every where. One of them, a British officer, says that he landed in America expecting neglect and even insult wherever he should be known. On leaving us, he declares with great sensibility, that from the moment he set his foot on our shore, to that of his departure, he met with nothing but the most gratifying attention, liberality, and kindness. It should not be overlooked, that he travelled through our roughest western population. The four gentlemen of rank and talent, alluded to by the Reviewer, will doubtless bear the same testimony, for they frequently did so ; the most cordial hospitality was freely accorded to them; and their manner of receiving it, gave universal satisfaction. How often was it remarked, si sic omnes.- We assure the Reviewer, that if our“ national feeling,". towards England, “has generally been considered as any thing but friendly,” it is not our fault, but because Englishmen have, generally, manifested no disposition to engender or reciprocate a friendly feeling with us. Precisely in this spirit, we proceed to our remarks upon the review before us, eager to acknowledge every act or phrase which evinces any kindness ; and equally determined to repel in plain terins every attempt to injure or degrade us.

The Reviewer, after giving a cursory account of the improvements now in progress in the United States; and some well deserved compliments to the patriotism and long-sighted sagacity of the “ great and good” Washington on that subject ; offers his speculations on the probable permanency of our republican, united government. This is a favourite topic with foreign politicians, although it is the one of which they have the least knowledge. The foundation and structure of the European monarchies are so unlike those of our government; their political principles and social institutions so dissimilar; the modus operandi of political power in its practical application to the rights and business of the community, is so peculiar to ourselves, that a stranger, especially the subject of a monarchy, will always reason from false premises in his conjecture about the future condition of the United States. It is even useless to attempt an explanation to such a listener; we must trust to time and events to refute the prognostications of our disunion, as we have as to other confident prophecies of our ruin since our first existence; and we have no fears on this subject; and with the knowledge we have of the fixed and growing attachment of our people to their happy and prosperous government, we feel no more alarm from the gloomy forebodings of European theorists, than from the occasional menaces of some of our own heated politicians. We understand exactly how the machine works—what is its strength, and how it is balanced and regulated ; and the experience of half a century has confirmed our confidence in its fitness for all the purposes of a just, wise, and efficient administration of our affairs at home and abroad. The anticipations of the enemies of our republic have been utterly dissipated, and the best hopes of its friends more than realized.

The Reviewer has taken upon himself to furnish his readers with a piece of information, so important, that he should have favoured them with the authority from which he has derived it; and he has presumed too much on their credulity, when he offers nothing to support it, but the assertion that “it is well

« ПретходнаНастави »