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when complaining of the illiberal severity with which Mr Barlow's work had been treated. For, the truth is, that we have given it fully as much praise as he, or any other intelligent American, can say it deserves; and have been at some pains in vindicating the author's sentiments from misconstruction, as well as rescuing his beauties from neglect. Yet Mr W. is pleased to inform his reader, that the work seems to have been committed to the • Momus of the fraternity for especial diversion; and is very surly and austere at the exquisite jokes' of which he says it consists. We certainly do not mean to dispute with him about the quality of our jokes: though we take leave to appeal to a gayer critic-or to himself in better humour-from his present sentence of reprobation. But he should have recollected, that, besides stating, in distinct terms, that his versification was generally both soft and sonorous, and that there were many passages of rich and vigorous description, and some that might lay claim even to the praise of magnificence,' the critics had summed up their observations by saying, that the author's talents were evidently respectable; and that, severely as they had been obliged to speak of his taste and his diction, in a great part of the volume, they considered him as a giant in comparison with many of the paltry and puling rhymsters who disgraced our English literature by their occasional success; and that, if he would pay some attention to purity of style and simplicity of composition, they had no doubt that he might produce something which English poets would envy, • and English critics applaud.'
Are there any traces here, we would ask, of national spite and hostility?--or is it not true, that our account of the poem is, on the whole, not only fair but favourable, and the tone of our remarks as good-humoured and friendly as if the author had been a whiggish Scotchman? As to Marshall's Life of Washington,' we do not think that Mr W. differs very much from the Reviewers. He says, he does not mean to affirm that the story of their Revolution has been told absolutely well by this author;' and we, after complaining of its being cold, heavy and tedious, have distinctly testified, that it displayed industry, good sense, and, in so far as we could judge, laudable impartiality; and that the style, though neither elegant nor impressive, was yet, upon the whole, clear and manly.' Mr W. however thinks, that nothing but national spite and illiberality can account for our saying, that Mr M. must not promise himself a reputation commensurate with the di*mensions of his work;' and that what passes with him for dignity, will, by his readers, be pronounced dulness and fri
gidity: And then he endeavours to show, that a passage in which we say that Mr Marshall's narrative is deficient in
almost everything that constitutes historical excellence,' is glaringly inconsistent with the favourable sentence we have transcribed in the beginning; not seeing, or not choosing to see, that in the one place we are speaking of the literary merits of the work as an historical composition, and in the other of the information it affords. But the question is not, whether our criticism is just and able, or otherwise; but whether it indicates any little spirit of detraction and national rancour -and this, it would seem not very difficult to answer. If we had taken the occasion of this publication to gather together all the foolish and awkward and disreputable things that occurred in the conduct of the revolutionary councils and campaigns, and to make the history of this memorable struggle a vehicle for insinuations against the courage or integrity of many who took part in it, we might, with reason, have been subjected to the censure we now confidently repel. there is not a word in the article that looks that way; and the only ground for the imputation is, that we have called Mr Marshall's book dull and honest, accurate and heavy, valuable and tedious, while neither Mr W., nor anybody else, ever thought or said anything else of it. It is his style only that we object to.-Of his general sentiments-of the conduct and character of his hero-and of the prospects of his country, we speak as the warmest friends of America, and the warmest admirers of American virtue could wish us to speak. We shall add but one short passage as a specimen of the tone of this insolent and illiberal production.
History has no other example of so happy an issue to a revolu tion, consummated by a long civil war. Indeed it seems to be very near a maxim in political philosophy, that a free government cannot be obtained where a long employment of military force has been necessary to establish it. In the case of America, however, the military power was, by a rare felicity, disarmed by that very influence which makes a revolutionary army so formidable to liberty: For the images of Grandeur and Power-those meteor lights that are exhaled in the stormy atmosphere of a revolution, to allure the ambitious and dazzle the weak-made no impression on the firm and virtuous soul of the American commander.
As to Adams's Letters on Silesia, the case is nearly the same. We certainly do not run into extravagant compliments to the author because he happens to be the son of the American President: But he is treated with sufficient courtesy and respect; and Mr W. cannot well deny, that the book is very fairly rated, according to its intrinsic merits. There is no ridicule, nor any
attempt at sneering, throughout the article. The work is described as easy and pleasant, and entertaining, '--as containing some excellent remarks on Education,-and indicating, throughout, that settled attachment to freedom which is worked into the constitution of every man of virtue who has the fortune to belong to a free and prosperous community.' As to the style, we remark, certainly in a very good-natured and inoffensive manner, that though it is remarkably free from 'those affectations and corruptions of phrase, that overrun the compositions of his country, a few national, perhaps we might still venture to call them provincial, peculiarities, might be ' detected;' and then we add, in a style which we do not think can appear impolite even to a minister plenipotentiary, that if men of birth and education in that other England which they are building up in the West, will not diligently study the great authors who fixed and purified the language of our common 'forefathers, we must soon lose the only badge that is still worn
of our consanguinity.' Unless the Americans are really to set up a new standard of speech, we conceive that these remarks are perfectly just and unanswerable; and we are sure, at all events, that nothing can be farther from a spirit of insult or malevolence.
Our critique on the volume of American Transactions is perhaps more liable to objection; and, on looking back to it, we at once admit that it contains some petulant and rash expressions which had better have been omitted-and that its general tone is less liberal and courteous than might have been desired. It is remarkable, however, that this, which is by far the most offensive of our discussions on American literature, is one of the earliest, and that the sarcasms with which it is seasoned, have never been repeated-a fact which, with many others, may serve to expose the singular inaccuracy with which Mr W. has been led, throughout his work, to assert that we began our labours with civility and kindness towards his country, and have only lately changed our tone, and joined its inveterate enemies in all the extravagance of abuse. The substance of our criticism, it does not seem to be disputed, was just-the volume containing very little that was at all interesting, and a good part of it being composed in a style very ill suited for such a publication.
Such are the perversions of our critical office, which Mr W. can only explain on the supposition of national jealousy and malice. As proofs of an opposite disposition, we beg leave just to refer to our lavish and reiterated praise of the writings of Franklin-to our high and distinguished testimony to the merits of The Federalist-to the terms of commendation in which
we have spoken of the Journal of Messrs Lewis and Clarke; and, in an especial manner, to the great kindness with which we have treated a certain American pamphlet, published at Philadelphia and London in 1810, and of which we shall have a word to say hereafter,-though each and all of these performances touched much more nearly on subjects of national contention, and were far more apt to provoke feelings of rivalry, than anything in the Philosophical Transactions, or the tuneful of the Columbiad.
3. We come now to the ticklish Chapter of Manners; on which, though we have said less than on any other, we suspect we have given more offence--and, if possible, with less reason. We may despatch the lower orders first, before we come to the people of fashion. The charge here is, that we have unjustly libelled those persons, by saying, in one place, that they were too much given to spirituous liquors; in another, that they were rudely inquisitive; and in a third, that they were absurdly vain of their constitution, and offensive in boasting of it. Now, we may have been mistaken in making these imputations; but we find them stated in the narrative of every traveller who has visited their country, and most of them noticed by the better writers among themselves. We have noticed them, too, without bitterness or insult, and generally in the words of the authors upon whose authority they are stated. Neither are the imputations themselves very grievous, or as can be thought to bespeak any great malignity in their authors. Their inquisitiveness, and the boast of their freedom, are but excesses of laudable qualities; and intemperance, though it is apt to lead further, is, in itself, a sin rather against prudence than morality. Mr W. is infinitely offended, too, because we have said that the people of the • Western States are very hospitable to strangers-because they ⚫ are seldom troubled with them, and because they have always 6 plenty of maize and hams;' as if this were not the rationale of all hospitality among the lower orders throughout the world, -and familiarly applied, among ourselves, to the case of our Highlanders and remote Irish. But slight as these charges are, we may admit, that Mr W. would have had some reason to complain if they had included all that we had ever said of the great bulk of his nation. But the truth is, that we have all along been much more careful to notice their virtues than their faults, and have lost no fair opportunity of speaking well of them. In our 23d Number, we have said, The great body
of the American people is better educated, and more comfortably situated, than the bulk of any European community; and "possesses all the accomplishments that are anywhere to be
• found in persons of the same occupation and condition.' And more recently, The Americans are about as polished as 99 out of 100 of our own countrymen, in the upper ranks; and quite • as moral, and well educated, in the lower. Their virtues are such as we ought to admire; for they are those on which we value ourselves most highly.' We have never said any thing inconsistent with this:-and if this be to libel a whole nation, and to vilify and degrade them in comparison of ourselves, we have certainly been guilty of that enormity.
As for the manners of the upper classes, we have really said very little about them, and can scarcely recollect having given any positive opinion on the subject. We have lately quoted with warm approbation, Captain Hall's strong and very respectable testimony to their agreeableness-and certainly have never contradicted it on our own authority. We have made however certain hypothetical and conjectural observations, which, we gather from Mr W., have given some offence-we must say, we think, very unreasonably. We have said, for example, that the Americans are about as polished as 99 in 100 of our own countrymen in the upper ranks.' Is it the reservation of this inconsiderable fraction in our own favour that is resented? Why, our very seniority, we think, might have entitled us to this precedence: and we must say that our monarchy-our nobility our greater proportion of hereditary wealth, and our closer connexion with the old civilized world, might have justified a higher per-centage. But we will not dispute with Mr W. even upon this point. Let him set down the fraction, if he pleases, to the score merely of our national partiality;—and he must estimate that element very far indeed below its ordinary standard, if he does not find it sufficient to account for it without the supposition of intended insult or malignity. Was there ever any great nation that did not prefer its own manners to those of any of its neighbours ?--or can Mr W. produce another instance in which it allowed that a rival came so near as to be within one hundredth of its own excellence?
But there is still something worse than this. Understanding that the most considerable persons in the chief cities of America, were their opulent merchants, we conjectured that their society was probably much of the same description with that of Liverpool, Manchester and Glasgow:-And does Mr W. really think there is any disparagement in this? Does he not know that these places have been graced, for generations, by some of the most deserving and enlightened citizens, and some of the most learned and accomplished men that have ever adorned our nation? Does he not know that Adam Smith, and Reid and