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way by some rugged obstacle, and now dammed up, until the weight of its waters broke down the impediment; thus sometimes free, and sometimes checked, until its channel becomes broad and deep, and its waters expand into a glorious flood. It is this long agony with toils — it is these stolen marches by night, and this warring by day - it is this self-construction of character and fortune, which constitute an extraordinary nation- -a most extraordinary nation ; but can America pretend to the same distinction ? What has been her career? Like another Minerva, she sprang into existence a perfect goddess ; and, as the brain of Jove alone could have conceived the first, the greatness of England alone could have conceived the second. What did the ground of the quarrel of America with the parent state imply? A sensitive love of liberty, and a practical acquaintance with its elements. But such a knowledge infers a high degree of social and intellectual excellence. So primed and seasoned for self-government, she was fully able to go on her course alone; nor was she at all embarrassed which path to choose. A less enlightened government than that of England she could not take ; one more suited, if possible, to her peculiar circumstances, could only be devised by modifying the fundamental principles of that one so as to suit the new society to which it was to be applied. All that was to be done was to disown and disconnect the British constitution-and she did it. The great difficulty in England has been to combine the artificial distinctions of society with one great action, to connect them by a common interest. In America these distinctions did not exist. Society there presented a plain, uniform surface, without irregularities, without difference of materials- no one point of which required a different kind or weight of superstructure from the rest. The American Republic, therefore, instead of being a bold innovation, is, after all, only a close copy with local amendments. There is a President, a Senate, and a House of Representatives humble imitations of our King, Lords, and Commons. Viewed at a distance, through the mist of European prejudice, the American Republic seems a chimera; viewed near at hand, at a distance from those prejudices, it was plainly a necessity. Up to this point, then, there is confessedly nothing in their career to surprise us. Trained,
from their earliest colonization, in the practice and principles of constitutional liberty, they no sooner resolved to be independent, than they became so: no sooner became so, than with a noble display of easy and dexterous strength, they wielded the sceptre they had seized! It was doubtless an imposing application of a great principle; there never certainly was any on which Fortune more kindly smiled. Placed, as it were, in the midst of a political world, they had no neighbor to harrass or obstruct them- to excite their cupidity, their ambition, or their revenge. Even the feverish excitement that survives a revolution, found a natural issue in their commercial activity and skill. Then came the mad wars of Europe, taxing their enterprise to the utmost; goading, compelling them to wealth — and then came Fulton !
The first steamboat that ascended the Hudson ploughed away centuries of delay to the growing prosperity of the States, and eventually of the world. It was as important in its immediate results to the navigation of America, as the compass, in its remote results, to the navigation of the world; and then, as if she were to have the benefit of extent without the obstacle of distance, the railroad appears -- and separation vanishes ! And now I ask, if, under this complication of advantages --if, with this early infusion of sound political, social, and moral knowledge — if with a territory of inexhaustible fertility, and mechanical invention that enables her to subsidize every part of its vast surface - if, with appeals and encouragements to her industry, such as no nation was ever before in a situation to receive — if, with all these things, there be anything in the brilliancy and swiftness of her course to puzzle or confound us ? With great means she has done great things. In many and most respects she may challenge our applause — in some she provokes our censure and rebuke — in none our wonder.
Greenbank's Lectures on America.
THERE is a singular raciness - a peculiar pith, in the language of the Indian, which often far surpasses the studied words and labored efforts of the learned. It is the more beautiful from its very simplicity and brevity. Whoever heard the Red man adopt an object for comparison, but it conveyed forcibly and truly the idea he wished to express? Himself the child of nature, he speaks her eloquent language. He has no far fetched and pointless expressions poor and insufficient similies; but, without circumlocution, or apparent endeavor to betray the orator, he images forth his eloquence in every sentence. How many authors have dwelt on the thought of old age, not less in sober prose, than lengthened rhyme. We have been told that our memory would become like a broken chain, as the twilight of age gathered around us; that strength and hope would vanish in the evening of life, and that we should be as though we had not been. From many a labored page have we learned this, in melancholy sweetness long drawn out. But an Indian bas told us the same in a very few words; and perhaps the most learned author that has ever written, could not improve the sentiment or refine the language. “I am", said the venerable Oneida chief, Skenandoah, to the savages of his tribe assembled in council —“I am an aged hemlock, (a large and beautiful American tree,) the winds of a hundred winters have whistled through the branches, and I am dead at the top !”
The following speech of Logan, a Mingo chief, to the Governor of Virginia, is probably unequalled in our language for pathetic simplicity.
“I appeal to any white man, if ever he entered Logan's cabin hungry, and he gave him not to eat; if ever he came cold and naked, and he clothed him not. During the course of the last long and bloody war, Logan remained idle in his cabin, an advocate for peace. Such was my love for the whites, that my countrymen pointed as they passed, and said, Logan is the friend of white men. I had
even thought to have lived with yon, but for the injuries of one
Colonel Cresap, the last spring, in cold blood, murdered all the relations of Logan, even my women and children.
“There runs not a drop of my blood in the veins of any living creature.—This called on me for revenge.- I have fought for it.I have killed many.—I have fully glutted my vengeance. -For my country I rejoice at the beams of peace — but do not harbor a thought that mine is the joy of fear.—Logan never felt fear.--He will not turn on his heel to save his life.- Who is there to mourn for Logan ? not one!”
Greenbank's Lectures on America.
ACCUSTOMED as we are from early life to hear with interest the representations of others concerning great curiosities; there is treasured up in the mind a prepossessed opinion : but, when the sight bursts on our astonished view, a quick recollection recurs, which not unfrequently produces disappointment, in proportion to the dissimilitude of the picture. So, in an eminent degree, is the contrary experienced with respect to the Cataract of Niagara. Whatever idea before existed — whatever the fondness for decorating in vivid colors the terrific splendor, and the amazing wonders of this scene; all is but faintly conceived, all lost in the dazzling glow of astonishment. The power of fancy has fled from hier aerial castle, surprise and pleasure have usurped the place of disappointment; while the senses, grasping at the opening expanse presented at one view, are bewildered in extacy; and, with incessant ardor, plunge into an unfathomable ocean of ever-widening sublimity.
Greenbank's Lectures on America,
Permit me to inform you, my friends, what are the inevitable consequences of being too fond of glory ; — Taxes — upon every article which enters into the mouth, or covers the back, or is placed under the foot — taxes upon every thing which it is pleasant to see, hear, feel, smell, or taste — taxes upon warmth, light, and locomotion — taxes on every thing on earth, and the waters under the earth, on everything that comes from abroad or is grown at hometaxes upon the raw material — taxes on every fresh value that is added to it by the industry of man taxes on the sauce which pampers man's appetite, and the drug that restores him to healthon the ermine which decorates the judge, and the rope which hangs the criminal—on the poor man's salt, and the rich man's spice-on the brass nails of the coffin, and the ribbons of the bride — at bed or board, couchant or levant, we must pay.
The schoolboy whips his taxed top—the beardless youth manages his taxed horse, with a taxed bridle, on a taxed road—and the dying Englishman, pouring his medicine which has paid seven per cent, into a spoon that has paid fifteen per cent, Alings himself back upon his chintz bed which has paid twenty-two per cent, makes his will on an eight pound stamp, and expires in the arms of an apothecary, who has paid a licence of an hundred pounds for the privilege of putting him to death. His whole property is then immediately taxed from two to ten per cent. Besides the probate, large fees are demanded for burying him in the chancel; his virtues are handed down to posterity on taxed marble; and he is then gathered to his fathers to be taxed no more.