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peace of mind. But upon the good sense of the people of Europe we think this powerful work will make an impression as general and lasting as that noble task' of Milton of which as he himself expressed it, “all Europe rung from side to side.” The circumstances and temper of those times indeed bear a considerable analogy with the present. It is true we did not make war against the person of a king, but we took the liberty to extricate ourselves from the fetters of a monarchy, and our experiment in republicanism. has so far been attended with signal success.
This fact is of itselfsufficient to account for much of the ill treatment we have received from European writers. Government is a business by which a greater or less number of the human race get their bread. Those who derive their subsistence from pursuing it in a certain routine, are sure to look with ill will upon any new establishment by which labour and expense are saved. Now 'a republic, as Milton observes, “is the most frugal of all governments, for the trappings of a monarchy might set up an ordinary commonwealth.' All the adherents of monarchies are therefore interested in crying dawn' republics. Nothing, they know, can be more fatal to their prospects than the general extension of that system of frugality in paying public officers which no other than a republican government :cap enforce. When therefore direct means of violence fail, they have recourse to the measure of vilifying and traducing. For the purpose of retaining the support of the people in an age where Pyblic opinion is of importance, they exaggerate the defects of a republic, conceal its virtues, and take every opportunity to throw ridicute and opprobrium upon its members. The letter of MithFidates to the king of the Parthians in which he flouted the origin of the Romans and charged them with aiming at the subversion of all kingdoms, and with contempt of every thing sacred or civil, seems to have been the text book of monarchical writers in sucçeeding times. Republicans have no similar reasons for becoming the assailants in a war of words and obloquy. Their institutions 'ara sufficiently conformable to the natural disposition of mankind, to require no factitious support. They have nothing to gain by libelling other forms of governments or the people who choose to live under them.
We are probably no favourites at any court, and it is natural enough that we are not. But in England ill will to this country, which in the rest of Europe probably exists only in the vicinity of the palace, seems to have spread its roots in every quarter. We have the authority of all their political writers for the fact that the war against our independence was popular with a great majority of all classes. From the king to the pauper, and from Dr. Johnson to the newspaper hack, the character and pretensions of the young nation were, with the exception of a few parliamentary orators, the subjects of dislike and hostility. The pressure of taxes and the final conviction of the folly of prosecuting the contest VOL. XIV.
when no prospect of success remained, led to a change of sentiment in England, which no affection for us as kinsmen had been able to produce. We have the express assertion too of the Edinburgh Review that the Americans are not popular in England,' and when Dr. Johnson exclaimed that he could love all mankind, except an American, he spoke the sentiments of no small portion of the English, It is unnecessary however to quote authority on this subject when the pages of British history, abound with proof of the fact, that every measure of their government by which it put itself in opposition to the rights or feelings of America, received the general approbation of the people. No system indeed was ever marked in more legible characters than that of Great Britain, towards her American colonies. Indifference and neglect while they were struggling with the hardships of a new settlement, oppression and monopoly when there was any thing to be gained by oppressing and monopolizing, and opprobrium and vituperation, when it was no longer in her power to use more open weapons. Time which generally softens animosities appears to add new vigour to this unaccountable spirit of hostility. Every breeze wafts over to us some new libel more scurrilous than its predecessors, and the thin partitions, by which we formerly distinguished the animosity of the whigs of England from that of the tories, becomes every day less discernible. Since the termination of the European war both the number and virulence of our assailants, have increased in a tenfold degree. The labour and talent that were formerly engaged in the regular warfare of the press against France being now in some measure out of employment, have probably turned their arms against us, and it would seem as if peace which has made pirates and buccaneers of the disbanded military, had let loose an irregular gang of marauders upon our character and fame. As a nation we have been charged with mental incapacity and moral profligacy, with irreligion and fanaticism, with political ambition, and public corruption, and in a word with faults, deficiencies, and crimes of which did we possess but a tithe we should justly deserve to be a reproach and a byword, a taunt and a curse, among the nations of the earth,
The hostility of the British writers to this country seems generally admitted, and there are few we believe of our countrymen, whose national feelings have not been wounded by their wanton and unprovoked calumnies. But the propriety of noticing their accusations, has been questioned by some, who have contended that the opinions of travellers and their reviewers make little impression on the public mind, and that to answer them will be to give them currency and notoriety, and to perpetuate feelings of hostility between two nations who ought to entertain no other sentiments for each other than those of kindness and good will. These ideas are we think derived from a mistaken view of the subject. It might perhaps be a sufficient answer to the objection to borrow the words of Milton: 'If these antagonists of ours who have thus chosen to interfere in the affairs of a foreign state had published the same things here, no man would have thought it worth while to return an answer to them, but would partly despise them as common, and exploded over and over again, and partly abhor them as sordid and tyrannical maxims not to be endured by the meanest of slaves. But since they have given them a considerable bulk and dispersed them among foreigners, who are altogether ignorant of our affairs and constitution, it is fit that they who mistake them should be better informed, and that they who are so very forward to speak ill of others, should be treated in their own kind.'—'Nature and laws would be in an ill case, if slavery should find what to say for itself, and liberty be mute; and if kings should find men to plead for them, and republics should not be able to find advocates.
And it were a deplorable thing indeed, if the reason mankind is endued with all, and which is the gift of God, should not furnish more arguments for men's preservation, for their deliverence, and as much as the nature of the thing will bear, for making them equal with one another, than for their oppression and ruin under the domineering power of a single person.' Were it true in point of fact that the elaborate productions of our assailants, are held in little estimation in Europe, silence would undoubtedly be the course prescribed both by our dignity and interest. Had, for instance libels on our history or manners been confined to the pages of Parkinson, or Janson, or Ash, the leaden genius of these authors would have carried them down to oblivion without requiring any effort on our part to accelerate their progress. But when they are found in a book extensively read and quoted like that of Fearon, and professing to be written by an advocate of republican principles, as that author held himself out, when they are embodied in the splendid poetry of Moore, and stamped with the authority of the most celebrated literary journals, they assume a form and substance, which we ought by no means to despise. No periodical journals have probably ever had a more extended circulation than the Edinburgh and Quarterly Reviews. It is not in the British islands alone, or in the United States, that they find admirers. They are read with interest in every part of the reading world. From the ability with which they have been conducted, the masterly disquisitions on science and literature, with which their pages have abounded, their opinions have been looked upon as oracular in England, and are received with the highest respect on the continent of Europe. Since the days of the Spectator, no productions of a similar nature have commanded a greater share of public attention, or exercised a more controlling influence over the public mind. When it is considered too that the contributors are not merely celebrated as periodical essayists, but
distinguished as poets, orators and statesmen, when we find such men as Walter Scott, Southey, Jeffrey, Playfair and Brougham, in the ranks of our assailants, we must at once be convinced, that their opinions are not proper subjects for contempt. Now, these two great journals, differing from each other in almost every other point, unite in one subject, the misrepresentation and slander of this country. Till within a few years their notice of us confined to a passing sarcasm upon our republican simplicity and literary deficiencies. But of late it is difficult to open a number of either journal, without finding its pages sullied with the marks of a bitter and unsparing animosity. Nor are these effusions of malevolence and dislike confined to articles expressly treating of American concerns, In the midst of a grave discussion of a question of morals, or of an able article on political economy, the American reader is often startled by finding some sneer or invective against his country. It is impossible that this system should fail of producing some effect. The reiteration of calumny upon calumny, of line upon line, and precept upon precept, must in the end affect the opinions and dispositions of the people of Europe towards us, unless some steps are taken to counteract the poison. In England, where there appears to have been a pre-existing disposition to receive the contagion, the mischief is done already. No American can be long in that country without being sensible that he is breathing an air contaminated by the slander of his nation. Surely then it becomes American writers to efface the stigma cast upon
We are a young nation, and have yet to place our character on an elevation too exalted to be reached by the shafts of malice. A true regard for our dignity requires, we conceive, not a forward zeal, to vindicate ourselves at every insinuation, but a plain and manly exposition of the character of our history when assailed from a quarter to which mankind are in the habit of paying respect. National animosities, the prolific source of wars and misery, are, we freely admit, anxiously to be deprecated. But we do not perceive that they are necessarily to follow from such a review of our institutions and manners, as will place them distinctly before the eyes of the world, in comparison with those of other nations. If the people of England possess that magnanimity and virtue which they have attributed to themselves, and for which we in this country have so long been in the habit of giving them credit, they will cheerfully acquiesce in a vindication of the character of their kinsmen,' and find in it new motives for friendship and esteem. If however feelings of national dislike must unavoidably be sharpened by acts of self defence on our part, let the blame fall on those whose unprovoked calumnies led , to them: and if in the course of vindicacion it has become necessary to remove the veil which charity has hitherto drawn over the degeneracy of the land of Milton and Sydney, it may operate as a
suitable lesson to future libellers, and thus perhaps put an end to this war of words into which it is evident our writers have reluctantly entered.
We proceed now to give our readers some account of the important work which has led to the preceding remarks. It was originally the intention of the author, as we are informed in his preface' to prepare a survey of the institutions and resources of the American republic, and of the real character and condition of the American people.' But the delay incident to the collection of the necessary facts produced a change in his plan, and he resolved to make up in the interval, 'a preliminary volume which should embrace a review of the dispositions and conduct of Great Britain towards this country, from the earliest period, and a collateral retaliation, for her continued injustice and invective.' The work, it is added, is not offered as a digested book, but as a series of notes and illustrations; and it could not be other from the shortness of the time within which it has been composed.' With all proper allowance on this account we think that a better arrangement of the materials might have been adopted. The preface contains much that ought to have been embodied in the work, and the order in which the subjects are treated, is not, we conceive, the most lucid. The book opens with the political and mercantile jealousy of Great Britain. We then pass to a discussion of the merits and. wrongs of the colonists, and from that again to the commercial obligations of Great Britain.' This is followed by a section on the Dispositions from the peace of 1763,' and we are then led at once to the ' Hostility of the British Reviews, which, with considerations on slavery and the slave trade, occupies the remainder of the volume. An important interval, that from the peace of 1783, to the beginning of the present century, is left almost untouched, not we presume through want of materials, for what part of our national life has escaped the invective of our transatlantic brethren? It would have conduced greatly to the convenience of readers if a table of contents or an index of the subjects discussed had been added. For want of them, those who may have occasion hereafter to refer to the many valuable facts here collected will find themselves greatly at a loss.
These are considerations however which melt into thin air,' when put in comparison with the substantial merits of the book, with its excellence in a mere literary point of view, or its value as a triumphant vindication of this abused and insulted country, The reputation which Mr. Walsh has already acquired by his former admirable compositions will receive no diminution from the present production. Short as the time was within which it was composed, its strong but graceful style, the force and clearness of the reasoning, and the solid foundation of authentic facts by which it is supported, recommend it as a model for future writers. The American reader will be proud to find that it is in every