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liberal and reasonable part of the nation to which they relate, our avowal of regret for having employed them, would not be received as a sufficient atonement. Even in private life, and without the provocation of public controversy, there are not many men who, in half the time we have mentioned, do not say some things to the slight or disparagement of their best friends'; which, if all set in a note-book, conned and got by rote,' it might be hard to answer :--and yet, among people of any sense or temper, such things never break any squares—and the dispositions are judged of by the general tenor of one's life and conduct, and not by a set of peevish phrases, curiously culled and selected out of his whole conversation. But we really do not think that we shall very much need the benefit of this plain consideration, and shall proceed straightway to our answer.
The sum of it is this—That, in point of fact, we have spoken far more good of America than ill—that in nine instances out of ten, where we have mentioned her, it has been for praiseand that in almost all that is essential or of serious importance, we have spoken nothing but good ;-while our censures have been wholly confined to matters of inferior note, and generally accompanied with an apology for their existence, and a prediction of their speedy disappearance.
Whatever we have written seriously and with earnestness of America, has been with a view to conciliate towards her the respect and esteem, of our own country; and we have scarcely named her, in any deliberate manner, except for the purpose of impressing upon our readers the signal prosperity she has enjoyed—the magical rapidity of her advances in wealth and population—and the extraordinary power and greatness to which she is evidently destined. On these subjects we have held but one language, and one tenor of sentiment; and have never missed an opportunity of enforcing our views on our readers-and that not feebly, coldly, or reluctantly, but with all the earnestness and energy that we could command; and we do accordingly take upon us to say, that in no European publication have those views been urged with the same force or frequency, or resumed at every season, and under every change of circumstances, with such steadiness and uniformity: We have been equally consistent and equally explicit in pointing out the advantages which that country has derived from the extent of her elective system—the lightness of her public burdens—the freedom of her press—and the independent spirit of her people. The praise of the Government is implied in the praise of these institutions ; but we have not omitted upon every occasion to testify, in express terms, to its general wisdom, equity, and prudence.
the character of the people too, in all its more serious aspects, we have spoken with the same undeviating favour; and have always represented them as brave, enterprising, acute, industrious and patriotic. We need not load our pages with quotations to prove the accuracy of this representation our whole work is full of them; and Mr W. himself has quoted enough both in the outset of his book and in the body of it, to satisfy even such as may take their information from him, that such have always been our opinions. Mr W. indeed seems to imagine, that other passages, which he has cited, import a contradiction or retractation of these; and that we are thus involved, not only in the guilt of malice, but the awkwardness of inconsistency. Now this, as we take it, is one of the radical and almost unaccountable errors with which the work before us is chargeable, There is no such retractation, and no contradiction. We can of course do no more, on a point like this, than make a distinct asseveration; but, after having perused Mr W's book, and with a pretty correct knowledge of the Review, we do say distinctly, that there is not to be found in either, a single passage inconsistent, or at all at variance with the sentiments to which we have just alluded. We have never spoken but in one way of the prosperity and future greatness of America, and of the importance of cultivating amicable relations with her-never but in one way of the freedom, cheapness, and general wisdom of her government-never but in one way of the bravery, intelligence, activity, and patriotism of her people. The points on which Mr W. accuses us of malice and unfairness, all relate, as we shall see immediately, to other and far less considerable matters.
Assuming, then, as we must now do, that upon the subjects that have been specified, our testimony has been eminently and exclusively favourable to America, and that we have never ceased earnestly to recommend the most cordial and friendly relations with her, how, it may be asked, is it possible that we should have deserved to be classed among the chief and most malignant of her calumniators, or accused of a design to excite hostility to her in the body of our nation ? and even represented as making reciprocal hostility a point of duty in her, by the excesses of our obloguy? For ourselves, we profess to be as littlé able to answer this question, as the most ignorant of our readers ;—but we shall lay before them some account of the proofs on which Mr W. relies for our condemnation; and cheerfully submit to any sentence they may seem to justify: There are a variety of Counts in our indictment; but, in so far as we have been able to collect, the heads of cur offending are as follows. Ist, That we have noticed, with uncharitable and undue severity, the admitted want of indigenous literature in America, and the scarcity of men of genius; 2d, as an illustration of that charge, That we have laughed too ill-naturedly at the affectations of Joel Barlow's Columbiad, made an unfair estimate of the merits of Marshall's History, and Adams's Letters, and spoken illiberally of the insignificance of certain American Philosophical Transactions ; 3dly, That we have represented the manners of the fashionable society of America as less polished and agreeable than those of Europe,—the lower orders as impertinently inquisitive, and the whole as too vain of their country ; 4th, and finally, That we have reproached them bitterly with their negro slavery.
These, we think, are the whole, and certainly they are the chief, of the charges against us; and, before saying anything as to the particulars, we should just like to ask, whether, if they were all admitted to be true, they would afford any sufcient grounds, especially when set by the side of the favourable representations we have made with so much more earnestness on points of much more importance, for imputing to their authors, and to the whole body of their countrymen, a systematic design to make America odious and despicable in the eyes of the rest of the world? This charge, we will confess, appears to us most extravagant-and, when the facts already stated are taken into view, altogether ridiculous. Though we are the friends and well-wishers of the Americans-though we think favourably, and even highly, of many things in their institutions, government and character,--we are not their stipendiary Laureates or blind adulators; and must insist on our right to take notice of what we conceive to be their errors and defects, with the same freedom which we use to our own, and all other nations. It has already been shown, that we have by no means confined ourselves to this privilege of censure; and the complaint seems to be, that we should have used it at all. We really do not understand this. We have spoken much more favourably of their government and institutions, than we have done of our own. We have criticised their authors with at least as much indulgence, and spoken of their national character in terms of equal respect: But because we have pointed out certain undeniable defects, and laughed at some indefensible absurdities, we are accused of the most partial and unfair nationality, and represented as engaged in a conspiracy to bring the whole nation into disrepute! Even if we had the misfortune to differ in opinion with Mr W., or the majority of his countrymen, on most of the points to which our censure has been directed, instead of having his substantial admission of their justice in most instances, this, it humbly appears to us, would neither be a good ground for questioning our good faith, nor a reasonable occasion for denouncing a general hostility against the country to ' which we belong. Men may differ conscientiously in their taste in literature and manners, and in their opinions as to the injustice or sinfulness of domestic slavery, and may express their opinions in public, without being actuated by spite or malignity. But a very slight examination of each of the articles of charge, will show still more clearly upon what slight grounds they have been hazarded, and how much more of spleen than of reason there is in the accusation.
1. Upon the first head, Mr W. neither does, nor can deny, that our statements are perfectly correct. The Americans have scarcely any literature of their own growth-and scarcely any authors of celebrity.' The fact is too remarkable, not to have been noticed by all who have had occasion to speak of them ;and we have only to add, that, so far from bringing it forward in an insulting or invidious manner, we have never, we believe, alluded to it without adding such explanations as in candour we thought due, and as were calculated to take from it all shadow of offence. So early as in our third Number, we observed that “ Literature was one of those finer Manufactures which a “ new country will always find it easier to import than to raise; -and, after showing that the want of leisure and bereditary wealth naturally led to this arrangement, we added, that the
Americans had shown abundance of talent, wherever inducements had been held out for its exertion; that their party
pamphlets were written with great keenness and spirit; and ! that their orators frequently displayed a vehemence, correct
ness, and aniniation, that would command the admiration of
any European audience. Mr W. has himself quoted the warm testimony we bore, in our 12th Volume, to the merits of the papers published under the title of The Federalist : And in our 16th, we observe, that when America once turned her attention to letters, we had no doubt that her authors would im
prove and multiply, to a degree that would make all our exer• tions necessary to keep the start we have of them.' In a subsequent Number, we add the important remark, that 'a. mong them, the men who write bear no proportion to those
who read;? and that, though they have but few native authors, the individuals are innumerable who make use of liter• ature to improve their understandings, and add to their hap. piness.' The very same ideas are expressed in a late article, which seems to have given Mr W. very great offence--though we can disccver nothing in the passage in question, except the
liveliness of the style, that can afford room for misconstruction. · Native literature,' says the Reviewer, the Americans have none: It is all imported. And why should they write books? when a six weeks' passage brings them, in their own tongue, our sense, science and genius, in bales and hogsheads ?'Now, what is the true meaning of this, but the following— The Americans do not write books; but it must not be inferred, from this, that they are ignorant or indifferent about literature. The true reason is, that they get books enough from us in their own language; and are, in this respect, just in the condition of any of our great trading or manufacturing districts at home, where there is no encouragement for authors to settle, though there is as much reading and thinking as in other places.' This has all along been our meaning—and we think it has been clearly enough expressed. The Americans, in fact, are at least as great readers as the English, and take off immense editions of all our popular. works; --and while we have repeatedly stated the causes that have probably withheld them from becoming authors in great numbers themselves, we confidently deny that we have ever represented them as illiterate, or negligent of learning.
2. As to our particular criticisms on American works, we cannot help feeling that our justification will be altogether as easy as in the case of our general remarks on their rarity. Ncthing, indeed, can more strikingly illustrate the unfortunate prejudice or irritation under which Mr W. has composed this part of his work, than the morose and angry remarks he has made on our very innocent and good-natured critique of Barlow's Columbiad. It is very true that we have laughed at its strange neologisms, and pointed out some of its other manifold faults. But is it possible for any one seriously to believe, that this gentle castigation was dictated by national animosity ?-or does Mr W. really believe, that, if the same work had been published in England, it would have met with a milder treatment? If the book was so bad, however, he insinuates, why take any notice of it, if not to indulge your malignity? To this we answer, first, That a handsome quarto of verse, from a country which produces so few, necessarily attracted our attention more strongly than if it had appeared among ourselves; secondly, That its faults were of so peculiar and amusing a kind, as to call for animadversion rather than neglect; and, thirdly, what no reader of Mr W.'s remarks would indeed anticipate, That in spite of these faults, the book actually had merits that entitled it to notice, and that a considerable part of our article is accordingly employed in bringing these merits into view. In common candour, we must say, Mr W. should have acknowledged this fact,