« ПретходнаНастави »
and ashes for having held out such temptations to the utterly depraved. Is this punishment for the vilest of crimes—amusements and entertaining books and conversations? Is it any punishment to be contined in a comfortable room, with good clothing, in a warm room in winter, and a cool one in summer, with plenty of wholesome food, and the blessed privilege of working moderately at a trade already known, or, still better, to enjoy the excitement of learning a new one? Is it any punishment to have food and water, all brought in the most regular manner; clean clothes on Sunday, with religious worship; and at the end of the term-say ten years—to know that the constitution is strengthened and the pocket well lined, to begin a new career.; must there be amusement and entertainment too!
All these comforts and privileges a criminal enjoys in the Philadelphia penitentiary, added to which, they are, according to their own showing, treated with respect by their keepers. We repeat the term "respect,” because Miss Martineau uses it; but we believe that the true term is humanity. We are particular in thus clearing up this point, because such is human nature—the superintendents of malefactors may feel it incumbent on them to observe or preserve this respectful carriage, and at length get to the height of pulling off their hat and scraping their leg to them. Shame on us, for jesting with a subject so serious.
There is much of radical and political economy slang in this woman's writings—such, for instance, as this—“An enormous amount of wrong must remain in a society where the elaboration of a vast apparatus for the infliction of human misery, like that required by the system of solitary imprisonment, is yet a work of mercy."
We can tell this weak, vain woman, with her inflated bombast, that a more enormous amount of wrong will be perceptible should her scheme of amusing criminals ever take placeshould good women stand face to face with a parricide, and tell him pleasant stories. Heaven forbid that her predictions will ever be verified, that“ milder and juster methods of treating moral infirmity will succeed, when men shall have learned to obviate the largest possible amount of it."
But, with her extreme tenderness for foul criminals, see how bitter she is against paupers! paupers who rarely, if ever, commit acts that entitle them to the penitentiary--mere idlers, whose indolence takes an annual sum in the form of a tax from the industrious. If the "good woman" would seek out these feeble-minded, broken down creatures, and encourage them to help themselves, some few might shun the almshouse ; but Miss Martineau despises them too much to care for their preserva
tion-they may die and rot, for nothing is to be apprehended by the increase of their numbers but the abstraction of a small annual sum from our pockets.
She says—“ The amount of pauperism altogether is far from commensurate with the charity of the community; and it is to be hoped that the curse of legal charity, at least to the ablebodied, will be avoided in a country where it certainly cannot become necessary within any assignable time. I was grieved to see the magnificent pauper asylum near Philadelphia, made to accommodate luxuriously twelve hundred persons, and to have its arrangements pointed out to me as yielding far more comfort to the inmates than the labourer can secure at home by any degree of industry and prudence."
Miss Harriet is as foolish and short-sighted as she is mischievous. This Philadelphia pauper asylum-almost all almshouses require that the inmates shall labour according to their strength and capacity; there is little idleness amongst the sound in health and limb. But, if there are but fev, asylums necessary for American paupers, what is to be done with the English paupers who come over by hundreds—with the Irish paupers who come over by thousands-what is to be done with the vast hordes that are now starving about the streets—strong, able-bodied men, women, and children? The Philadelphia asylum will hold twelve hundred of them ; let them fall on their knees, and return thanks to God for infusing a portion of his gracious, benevolent, and all-wise spirit into the hearts of that community which has saved them from the misery of dying of hunger in the streets !
How long is the American world to be tormented by the jealous spite of English bookmakers-insignificant and harmless in themselves, individually, but mischievous in the extreme when they give their spite utterance in print. A few rightminded, thinking, benevolent persons, such as Howard and Fry, exposed the defects and miseries of the prison and pauper institutions. The mass of mankind only wanted to be informed, that the errors might be corrected. Reform has been effected, not only by an attention to the health and morals of the prisoners and paupers, but also by an attention to the architecture of the buildings, thereby adding to the improvement of the cities and neighbourhood where these asylums are placed. An asylum need not look like a charnel house, or a bastille; and if any thing shows the improved morals and taste of the American community, it is the exterior adornment of their public buildings. Miss Martineau and her agrarian friends forget that a taste for the arts is a preventive to that large amount of vice, immorality, and pauperism that she so loudly anathematizes. Whoever it was that pointed out the “arrangements of the Philadelphia asylum
as superior to what the labourer can hope to attain at home by any degree of prudence and industry," must have had but crude notions of the adaptation and fitness of things—but we dare say the remark came from Mrs. Jack Straw.
But we must have done with following this foolish yet mischievous radical Malthusian any longer. As to the serious question of agrarianism, it has worked out its fate in a reasonably short time; the bubble burst while Miss Martineau was expecting her book money from America. The agrarian principle has levelled our banking system to cart loads of neat little promissory notes to the amount of a penny and upwards, with some stout, able-bodied Jack Cades and Jack Straws-her friends-as drawers and endorsers. She can have no objection to receive her compensation in funds of her own advising and creating
With respect to the still more serious question of immediate emancipation, that may be fully discussed hereafter. So shall her slanderous attempts to injure the character of the southern planters, by stating, in the most indecent manner, that they oblige their female slaves to become the mistresses of their sons, that they may profit by the sale of the illegitimate children!
Upon the pestilent infidelity of her work, though abundantly inclined, we have not space to enlarge. We trust that the theme will not be omitted by the proper hands in the proper place. We would merely warn, seriously and solemnly, our readers against it. We feel confident, too, that there is good sense enough amongst them to prevent the inroad of the rankest deism over the sophistical and specious path of “ the Christian religion ; the root of all democracy—the highest fact in the rights of man."
We have done. As to her style and her descriptive powers, they fall short of what was expected from a knowledge of her English tales. We cannot descend to any criticism of these; we leave that for her admirerş—of which, unfortunately, the Thompson school will furnish enough. Neither shall we stop to comment on the many truths which her volumes contain. These truths are as familiar to us as to a foreigner ; they need not, therefore, be thus for ever thrust upon us gratuitously. Our own periodicals and daily gazettes—from which Miss Martineau abstracted much of her knowledge—abound with them, and a cure is now silently taking place.
In one way she has been of real service. So boldly, so unfeelingly, so unwomanly has she taken away all that was estimable in the character of our women-so falsely does she endeavour to fasten on them the beastly vice of intemperance, that, for the future, the mere bookmaker or tourist, male or
female, may have to depend, as Mrs. Trollope did, on innkeepers and servants for all the information they get of American society.
ART. III.-Farewell Address of Andrew Jackson to the People
of the United States. March 4, 1837. In times like the present, there is very naturally a disposition to see what our errors have been—to know by what mistakes and mismanagement we have been suddenly plunged from prosperity into ruin ; and why a people, who undertake the control of their own affairs, have been so far lulled into an inauspicious repose, as to lose all sense of danger, and all conception of its possibility. It will present a singular portion of our history and posterity will gather but perplexity from the task), the attempt to discover what influence it was that blinded the senses and benumbed the faculties of the men of this era; and how a nation, remarkable for its shrewdness and good sense, could have lost at once its wonted caution and watchfulness, and been thrown over the precipice without a thought of its proximity. It will not tell well for a popular government that this has happened, and the only plausible reply which can be offered in the shape of an excuse, is, that the people of the country are wanting in experience—that they are as yet only feeling their way; and that as their power enlarges, and affairs become more complicated, the difficulties which necessarily follow, come when least expected, and a crisis and convulsion like the present may ensue while men's hopes are at their height, and all their feelings under the spur and tumult of success. This want of experience is no doubt a fact-whether a sufficient apology for this rough check to our course, is a matter for debate. It will certainly not be satisfactory to the sufferers, and still less so to the friends of popular institutions ; for there is no cause of pride in the obligation to acknowledge that our missortunes arise, not from the chance medley of ordinary error or ill fortune, but from downright and gross ignorance. This would be placing our character and position in a little too strong relief. It would be hanging us in chains, as a warning for those who come after us. It would be opposed, too, to the usual practice—that of polishing our errors and smoothing down our sins, until they dazzle and glare in men's
eyes like beauties. Even if completely true, ought patriotism to confess instead of veiling it? And should not affection shroud all defects and deformities, and let the people run blind, until couched by the sharp edge of their own sorrow? This is the course with those who have an object in view, and prefer the continuance of the misrule of ignorance as a shelter behind which they may practise their arts, and play their game without the suspicion or risk of discovery.
It is, perhaps, one of the worst features of a popular government, that the people are exposed to danger by accepting as facts the flattery and falsehood of those who make use of them, and in whom they confide. Mere popularity, without suspicion or regard to the means by which it has been acquired, or without enquiring as to whether it is merited, carries away the great mass. It leads, indeed, a whole nation by the nose as triumphantly as if it possessed and embodied all the highest claims and attributes of real worth and great virtue; and, while in its zenith, bewilders or overbears even the most clear-sighted, the coldest, and the most cautious. There can then be no dispute as to its extreme danger, any more than there can be as to its power ; that while it lasts it cannot be resisted-principle being no barrier, and, what is still more to be dreaded under our institutions, its accessions are likely to be frequent. It is a new but less exceptionable form than others of a despotism, equally arbitrary and equally irresponsible, but more attractive and flattering, as it professes to act upon principle, and through the will of the people. It may be also equally destructive, though not perhaps equally crushing to men's spirits; for it acts through men's passions and interests, and leaves all the desolation in its track that can follow from their violent excitement. From its transient nature, however, it does not entirely strike out hope from the sphere of thought, but leaves this as the last chance for encouragement.
Among the many sources of despair, a popular government presents, then, the singular anomaly of a perfect tyranny, above all check or control-producing disorder and disaster-fooling its friends, and striking to the earth its foes; and yet permitted and preferred by its victims ; in other words, the people set over themselves a power which they have neither will nor desire to oppose, and look upon it with all the mental prostration and silly admiration with which men usually regard the idols of their own creation, and rejoice in all its acts, however absurd, with the same glee that the idiot rubs his hands and laughs with joy at the blaze of his own house which he has fired with his own hand. Though this appear a lack of wisdom, it is very natural, and very easily accounted for. Human nature in general, and democratic nature in particular, combine to make it perfectly