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tators to the action and movements of the power which crushes them. The more intelligent and better informed, however, (for it is these only who keep pace with or are watchful of the occurrences of the day,) are fully aware that we have outlived
age of contempt, and have reached, or are reaching, that of power-a power that is not confined to our own limits, is not derived from physical strength, and is not made up of the usual elements of political force, but which comes from the . moral energy of a truth that is every day still farther expanding and developing itself—that men can be free without danger to themselves. This capability, which has been so denied and derided, has assumed a position from which there is no retreat. It has been moulded to a form so plain and practical as to defy all mockery, and now must, at any rate, be fully worked out. There must be a complete demonstration of its possibility, or a complete refutation--for the truth lies in one of these extremes.
It seems impossible to check or impede the heady flood of men's demands; to throw back again what are considered rights and principles, founded on nature and justice, among the whims, the follies, or the errors of time. The despots and monarchists of the old world are aware of this. They see the hand upon the wall tracing, with an awful and mysterions movement, the fate that they feel to be rushing on, and bearing down barriers which ages had reared, and superstition and ignorance cemented. They are conscious that they are now mere automata, worked by a will utterly resistless; whose power confuses by its unperceived, yet constant and steady progress; confounds by its energies; and, like the gradual approach of the tide, sometimes flatters, as it retreats, with the hope of disappearing, but, in its return, dashes still farther on the shore; with each flow making new ruins, and with each ebb mingling these trophies of its strength with the wreck it has already created. They are conscious, too, among other elements of injury, that the governed, from the habit of looking on their governors with awe, respect, or veneration, now regard them with suspicion or aversion; that, from considering them as existing by a right of their own-as wielding an authority as unquestionable as that of the Divinity—they have ascended to the more correct idea, that they are only useful instruments, or necessary evils.
With such opinions, advancing and strengthening themselves as they do, day by day, how wide will be the sweep of the sceptre—or how stable stand the throne—how long-continued will be the reign of that state of things, in which the possession of power is confounded with the right to hold it? And whence has originated this strange knowledge—this novel and sudden
acquaintance with principles, which, although they now appear sufficiently evident, were never before asserted by the oppressed, or acknowledged by the oppressor ? Where have they been forged—where have they been wrought into form, and made motives of action ? They have not come by the instinct of nature; for this is as strong at one time as another. They have not risen by permission, or the voluntary support and approval of those who could oppose them. They do not appear one of those violent, arbitrary, and unexpected convulsions of sentiment, to which men are liable; nor one of those tumultuous excesses of passion, in which all is controlled and overwhelmed by impulse; but they seem rather the result of latent energies, whose germ was in the minds of all, and which has swollen to ripeness by the increased activity and incessant collision of thought. They have come with time shaking off its errors; with custom submitting to common sense; with right and justice taking the place of will; and with law destroying the usurpation of selfdirected authority.
It is this country that has set the example in this career of liberality, that stands forward as representing, in its practice, the true spirit of the age, while other people are struggling vehemently, and some hopelessly, únder its influence, to attain the same privileges. In this way, America has drawn on herself the eyes of the civilized world, who are now watching, some with friendly anxiety and others with hostile impatience, our movements, our success, and our errors. It is this peculiar situation that has brought the curious to examine and report on our condition—to laud and abuse—to detract, vilify, and exaggerate, in accordance with their principles and their objects.
But a traveller in this country, who is to form a correct opinion of its present condition and future character, should possess many, uncommon properties, for he does not come among a people who have a history to guide him towards their future career, or one whose whole pretensions and reputation are established, and who can live upon their fame without loss or depreciation among the nations of the earth. There is, therefore, no resting place for his mind—no long array of facts on which he can raise his speculations, unless he go back to far ages, and choose them from among the doubtful annals of nations, whose institutions resemble ours only in name, and all whose history partakes of the fable and mystery with which time obscures every record. He should be, then, a philosopher, with the sagacity and foresight that belong to the character with his power of deducing consequences from passing events -his habit of distinguishing the results of situation from confirmed errors-of separating the control of circumstances from accident-of balancing temporary expressions of feeling with
decided opinions. And he should, too, be a man of the times; with the power of throwing off all allegiance to the past, and ridding himself of its influence—with the faculty of looking calmly and without suspicion on all changes, and all sudden convulsions, at all recessions and vacillations in popular feeling, and the violence with which it shows itself.
Instead of an individual, or individuals, possessing such qualifications as these, with that knowledge of human nature which makes them aware that although institutions modify they do not obliterate the prevailing features of men's characters; an acquaintance with the workings of other systems than their own; habits of observation and reflection, a capacity for combining, comparing, and judging, and, above all, the power of throwing their view beyond the shadows that lie near them, into the bright lights that rest farther on; we have had bigoted partisans of a state of things totally the opposite of ours; men whose vision was obscured and paralyzed by their prejudiceswhose feelings, and habits of thought, incapacitated them from appreciating the nature or the greatness of the novel experiment their aversion or idle curiosity brought them to visit.
But Englishmen are notoriously the worst observers, and, of course, the worst of travellers. Their pride, reserve, and insolence, cloud the distinctness of their perceptions; and, what is still worse for their purposes, place them in a false position towards the citizens of the country, whose character and peculiarities they are endeavouring to catch and study. And then they possess what, under other circumstances, is very laudable, but which is an absurd and unfortunate disposition for one who comes to view the action of a new form of government, and make himself familiar with a strange people. Their minds and hearts are ever wandering towards their home, and they cannot tolerate, nor do they wish to imagine, any excellence that, in the comparison, would depreciate the land they have left.
Thus the eye loses its keenness, the feelings their liberality; and though at home liberals, radicals, or reformers, they become here sturdy John Bulls, with all the narrowness, and stationary spirit, that has ever belonged to the name.
The beautiful theory of liberty, towards whose perfections they have been alive, and for the gaining of which their energies have been directed even to the levelling of social order, when brought fully before them in practice, loses the charm it had acquired in the glow of the imagination; and from want of the excitement of opposition, sinks into something far too homely, plain, and real, to rouse admiration or enthusiasm. The man who has been, for half his life, battling for what he thinks to be popular rights; who has been the inveterate foe of all abuses, of rotten boroughs, and the corrupVOL. XX.-NO. 40.
tion they involve; who assaults the established church; who goes to the utmost limits of radicalism, in all his designs and actions ; here, where popular rights are in full play he turns aristocrat; where rotten boroughs are unknown, he cannot understand how men of talent can be brought into the service of the country, where their merits are left to the discrimination of a mob; and where the choice of a creed, and the support of religion, is left to the option of the individual, he cannot see how men can be made moral, or prevented from the avowed advocacy of infidelity or atheism.
Some part of this is due to the instinctive aristocratic feeling that belongs to the man born under a monarchy; in part to being obliged to drop or subdue the pride which he strongly, though insensibly, possesses, acquired, as it has been, by the habit of valuing origin, and from looking on a large body of his countrymen as inferiors, and which he now feels to be absurd and burdensome, though the love of opposition, and the love of self, forbid him to surrender it. With such persons, it requires time to be accustomed to the claims of equality put forward by the humble and the poor, though it is for these, and these same privileges, he has been struggling.
There are still deeper reasons, well founded in human nature, to account for these inconsistencies. There is a display of patriotism in contending with a government for things it is not willing to grant; there is a magnanimity in the disinterested struggle; there is popular admiration to be secured, and all its exciting notoriety ; the whole of which appear ridiculous in a country where the principles contended for are the established code of opinions, and those contended against, are unknown, or too remote from the common habits of thinking to seem other than absurd. Besides, the ideal excellence, with which he had elevated and heated his fancy, grows dimmer and colder in the contact with the unconcealed and bare reality.
There is no longer speculation, but practice; there is no longer the agitation of hope-of interested and excited passions ---but all is dwindled to the test of experience, and the calm and dull movements of detail. This is enough to make the revolutionist despair, while the radical and reformer sadden under the listlessness of inaction, and hopelessness of making or finding excitement, where all their desires are anticipated, and the love of change is cooled by a ready assent and examination of their doctrines and proposals. But the tory, the lover of order, who clings to old things as if change were ruin, and looks on decay as the source of new life and beauty, and despairs of improvement or advancement in affairs of government, gropes among the bristling energies of popular feeling, as if he were on the crater of a volcano, or the witness of its convulsion, so that both
extremes of English spirit are, for this very reason, unfit to take a clear view of this republic. Yet it is this bigoted affection, even for things that are in themselves bad, that has made the British nation the most loyal and patriotic of people; but as individuals, at a distance from their roast beef and sea-coal fires, has, at the same time, filled them with the disposition to find fault where there is no occasion, and made them grumbling, irascible, and splenetic tourists—the most captious and doubtful of journalists.
But there are foibles in the nature of Englishinen, of whatever party, that render them less at their ease in this country than any other. They cannot, to any advantage, display the importance they love to affect, or inflate themselves with the vanity and self-esteem with which they endeavour to put forward their pretensions. They feel themselves to be among a people, that, however simple, are still clear and accurate judges of the worth of the character before them ; who are not imposed on by artificial or conventional distinctions; who acknowledge no inequality; and who are in the habit of piercing beyond and examining more than the mere surface exposed to them. This at once establishes a false relation between the individuals of the two countries; for the one has been in the habit of regarding certain conditions in life as creating an inferiority; and, of course, freedom of address and independence of expression, and a total want of deference, is more or less difficult of endurance from him, who, though humble in his sphere of life, acknowledges no superior in rank, or those distinctions which the forms, prejudices, and necessities of a monarchy exact.
Such is the wide space between the English traveller and his American acquaintance: and the moderation; the entire negation of all pretensions; the throwing aside of all open love of self; the good-humour, by which the unpleasant position might be changed--it does not seem to belong to the British islander's character, or to be in his power, to bring forth on those occasions where they are, in a great degree, necessary, and where the results might be both fortunate and important.
It should be remembered, too, by these travelling cavillers, that the assault upon us returns, in a great degree, on themselves; for we are still Englishmen–exiles and emigrants, but yet sons of the British soil—with many points of character, developed by different circumstances, that remain in the old country, in the germ, repressed but not destroyed. Our defects, our errors, are no more than exaggerations of English imperfections. The parallel lies between us in every thing, except in those that are the results of time and different institutions. Whence comes any difference of character, but through difference of condition and how does an English emigrant differ