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of the most distinguished British statesmen ; particularly in relation to the negotiation at Ghent.
Our pretensions upon the subjects of search and impressment, a prominent part of the “new code of maritime law” imputed to us, have been so fully and frequently discussed, that we will here only say, that the difference between us, as to the power of the British government over their own subjects, does not consist so much in any principle of the law of nations, as in relation to the inevitable, and sometimes wanton abuses that have been practised under it, to our insufferable wrong and injury. We have the authority at least of one British statesman, for saying, that from the similarity between the people of the two nations, it is impossible to exercise this power without abuses so dangerous to the harmony desirable to both, that it is better for England to give up the inconsiderable benefits she might derive from it, than to keep up disputes and irritations, which grow out of the abuse of it, and constantly endanger the peace of the countries.
The desire and endeavours of the American Government, to suppress by treaty and contract, privateering as a legitimate mode of warfare, falls under the severe censure of the critic; it is called a novel “ doctrine;" it is a part of our new maritime code, as if we were asserting it as a principle of the “ established law of nations.” Here is a very uncandid and absurd misrepresentation of the whole affair. This is not the occasion to discuss the question of the policy or morality of this species of warfare. The Reviewer doubtless knows, that learned and enlightened jurists have condemned it as being, at once, immoral and impolitic. Assuredly, it is liable to strong objections on both grounds. It is placing a business in the hands of individuals, to be pursued for their own gain, and very much at their own discretion, which properly belongs to national hands and national objects. Abuses of this power must ensue; and outrages have frequently been committed by privateers, which national ships could not have committed. Vessels of war of this description now bear the softened denomination of "privateers ;" but in past times they were called freebooters, and even pirates. It is true, they bear commissions from their governments; but it nevertheless is true, that they are not, and cannot be under the same discipline and control as national ships, commanded by national officers, directly and severely responsible to the Government for any misconduct or violation of duty. These topics may not now be dilated; it is enough for our present purpose to say, that on this subject, the United States have put forth no “ claims of an unreasonable nature;” nor of any kind; no "extravagant pretensions”- or "new doctrines;” nor offered a “new code of maritime law.”_When and where has the American Government advanced as a principle of the maritime law, that " belligerents should abstain from commissioning privateers?”—when such an assertion was made by a Journal having much authority in its own country, and respected every where, it should have produced the proof, or been ready to do so. If we have introduced this restriction in treaties al. ready made with independent governments, and professed our willingness to do the same with others, as a matter of mutual agreement, can it be said, with any propriety, that we are putting forth pretensions, or advancing new doctrines of national law ?-Are we chargeable with a “frigid and exacting temper,' particularly towards Great Britain, for proposing such a compact to her ; which she is at full liberty to receive or reject at her pleasure? A moment's reflection must satisfy the most prejudiced, that, on this subject, at least, self-interest has not predominated ; and that if there be an error in proposing to abolish privateering, it is because our interest is directly opposed to the measure. Our national navy being small, in comparison with those of Europe, it is important that we should obtain force on the Ocean from every source in our power; particularly for the annoyance of the commerce of the enemy. For this purpose, none is more effectual than privateering. It has always been a most formidable engine of war in our hands; we have peculiar facilities for employing it; and, if self-interest governed the question, we would never consent to abandon it.
The Reviewer slightly touches some questions now under negotiation between our governments; such as the boundary line; our claim to Columbia river, &c. which we shall leave to be settled by the proper authorities, who will not be much enlightened by any thing the critic has said, or we could say, concerning them.
As he proceeds with his subject, the liberality with which he commenced his labours, seems to be entirely exhausted. He falls into all the absurd and vulgar slang which characterizes the opinions and language of an English Journalist, when he speaks of the United States. Our “stupid Germans ;” our political parties; whiskey elections ; licentiousness of the press; all furnish gratifying topics of contempt and reproach; as if such things are entirely unknown in Great Britain. In spite of himself, the Reviewer, in composing his article, had been compelled to contemplate the increasing importance and strength, wealth, resources and improvements of these United States ; to look at the glowing and undisturbed happiness of the people, living in ease, plenty and safety; and to compare their condition with the starving and squalid misery that is devouring a large portion of the British empire. The “ London Times” has just informed us, that "a paper has been printed, by order of the House of Commons, which exhibits but a melancholy picture of poverty in the lower VOL. III.-NO. 6.
orders of the English nation.” This paper is a return of the funds levied by parishes under the poor rate system for the year ending in March 1827. It is with grief, and “no slight alarm," the Editor finds the poor rate, during that year, amounted to nearly eight millions of pounds sterling ; and this in the thirteenth year
of peace; and that the increase since the preceding year, was seven hundred thousand pounds. Now all the travellers and journals of the United Kingdom” may combine their zeal and labours to calumniate this country, by picking up private scandal in ale-houses, and heaping ridicule and contempt upon our public character and institutions; on our President, Congress, Courts, and Elections, and we will rest the comparison of our national prosperity and happiness on the single fact above mentioned. To reproach us with the licentiousness of our elections and press, is really an effort of audacity we did not expect. What is so gross, so turbulent, so openly corrupt, as an English election ? Our “Congress candidates” have no such “serious ordeals to go through,” as peltings with mud and stones ; spitting in their faces, and compelling them to save their limbs and life, by Might and concealment.
The pious Reviewer deplores the state of religion in the United States, and our want of a National Church. We thank him for his concern, so far as it is sincere. We are, however, content, without such an establishment; we get along without it, pretty well, in this world, and hope we shall not feel the loss of it in the next. The persecuting and malignant animosities produced in Great Britain, by this ecclesiastical pre-eminence, offer no encouragement to us to adopt it. We even imagine, that the good will, equality, and harmony that subsist here, among the various sects of Christians, are a recommendation to the whole system, and present the character of our religion in its true purity and beauty.
The Reviewer surpasses all preceding effrontery, in asserting, that “ the Court is as low as it possibly can be, and the Bar not much higher.” The refutation of this calumny, at large, would require more time than can now be given to it. An occasion may, and ought to be taken, in a review of Mr. Brougham's late speech on the administration of the law in England, to show how many of the evils and abuses complained of, have already received correction and amendment in the United States ; in part by our legislatures, but more by the Courts and Bar. There is not a Court on earth of more learning, intelligence, independence, purity, and industry, than the Supreme Court of the United States. The Superior Courts of the several states are also entitled to the highest respect; and the subordinate tribunals, generally, afford no ground of complaint. The volumes of Reports issued from our Courts, will altogether satisfy any lawyer, capable of appreciating them, of the ability of our Judges, and of our Bar; and we securely commit their reputation to their works. That some changes in the organization of the federal Courts might be beneficially made, as is suggested by Mr. Adams, is, we think, true; but they are required by the immense increase and ex. tension of our population, and not from any opinion entertained by Mr. Adams, or by any body, that “the Bench is as low as it possibly can be," or that it needs any improvement in the character or qualification of the Judges. Nothing was ever more uncandid, or pitiful, than the indistinct reference to Mr. Adams's suggestion, as if it would support the accusation against our Courts.
We now take our leave of the Reviewer, without any feeling of hostility to him, or his country, beyond the fair limits of a warranted self-defence; which, we think, no American should ever surrender to the arrogance of an adversary, or decline, from diffidence or indifference. We have pleasure in repeating, that, on many subjects treated in this article, we find more liberality and intelligence ; more knowledge of the real condition of our country, than has ever before been exhibited in the “ London Quarterly."
Art. X.--Narrative of an attempt to reach the North Pole,
in boats fitted for the purpose, and attached to His Majesty's Ship Hecla, in the year 1827, under the command of Captain WILLIAM EDWARD PARRY, R. N., F. R. S., and honorary member of the Imperial Academy of Sciences at St. Petersburgh. Mustrated by Plates and Charts. Published by authority of His Royal Highness, the Lord High Adiniral. London : 1 vol. 4to. pp. 229. 1828.
THERE has been no geographical problem more interesting, since that which led to the discovery of the continent we inhabit, than the discovery of a passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, along the northern coast of America, or a passage over the pole.
Malte Brun justly asks, “ Is not geography the sister, and rival of history?” The importance of this branch of learning has been acknowledged in all ages, and so vigorously have discoveries been pushed, within the last three or four hundred years, that we are now left but with one point, if we except part of Africa, and the islands off the Antarctic Sea, whither to direct our attention. The great and rapid discoveries made in this science within sixty years, have contributed much to physical science. Ex
peditions to the polar regions, have added very many new ob-
" These voyages have expanded the bounds of geographical knowledge, added greatly to the resources of the whale fishery, and above all, they have thrown a new splendour over the nautical glories of Great Britain, and enhanced the dignity and value of human nature. They have proved that man, enlightened by the arts, is more than a match for the obstacles of nature, in her wildest
On entering into an investigation of discoveries to the North, we are naturally led to the consideration of the voyages made at an early period, which had the remotest relation to those which subsequently took place. The hardy and adventurous sailors of Scandinavia, a country now known under the names of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, first carried their researches to the northward. A pirate, of this nation, by the name of Naddodd, pursuing his profession, which was actually regarded as honourable among his countrymen, was, perhaps, the first who made discoveries within the Arctic Circle. In the 9th century, about 861, while in pursuit of plunder, he was driven, by continued storms from the east, upon an uninhabited coast, which, from the quantity of snow visible on its mountains, he called Schneeland, (Snowland.) Fourteen years afterwards, this country was visited by a Swede, named Flocke, who, it is said, carried out ravens with him, which, when he approached that part of the ocean where the island lies, he set at liberty, and by their flight, was directed in his course to the land. To this country he gave the name of Iceland, which it has retained ever since that time. The Icelandic Chronicles mention, that wooden crosses, and some other pieces of workmanship, supposed to be British and Irish, were found there by the Norwegians, which, if true, would prove it to have been visited previously to 861. The activity and
energy of the settlers soon enabled them to carry their commerce to most parts of the north of Europe, and the island became celebrated for its learning ; and the geography, as well as the history of the North, is much indebted to its writers.
Forster informs us, that about the middle, or near the end of the tenth century, Gunbiorn, a Colonist, discovered an extensive country to the west of Iceland, which was a few years afterwards visited by Eric Rauda, who had fled from justice in Norway, to Iceland. After spending part of three years in exploring it, he returned to Iceland, where he gave a most extravagant account of the country, and called it Greenland. Soon after