Page images

nation. I am not the panegyrist of the inhabitants of the new world, though I feel a catholic and conciliating spirit towards them; and I trust that I am not singular in my predilection for a nation identified with our own by a common extraction, a common language, a common literature, and similar political institutions. The gradual colonization of the United States, and the incessant intercourse between the Atlantic coast and the mother country, has admitted of so little rariation of national character, that the Euglishman of America is not to be distinguished in form or feature, in temper or intellect, from the Englishman of Europe. A native of the North American Union is, both in his physical and moral attributes, more an Englishman than either a Welchman, an Irishman, or a Scot. Were you, Sir, to travel from London to the Lakes in the company of a man of each country, your discernment could be at no loss in assigning to the triumvirate of Britons their respective soils beyond the Severn, the Saint George's Channel, and the Tweed; but the American would defy-four subtlest aintavelling of national character to give him for the Fand of his nativity any other than that of England:

If I can engage your belief: sir; in the fidelity of this picture, with what indignation will ġuti not recur to that which the Quarterly Reviewers have drawn of the counterparts of your own countrymen. Viewing the Americans through the fog and haze of rancorous party hatred, they have depicted the nation as a collection of miserable out-casts who have survived a general mutation of their muscles, ligaments, and osteology; without one moral virtue to redeem the hideousness of their physical deformity. With a total indifference to human feelings, they represent the Americans as a nation of clothed savages;" who, on their part, have opposed to the calumny only an upshaken silence. Not but that Americans have real hearts of flesh and blood beating in their bosoms : not that apathy has embowelled them of their natural entrails : not that they have been drawn, and trussed like birds in a museum. If you prick them, they bleed ; if you tickle them, they laugh. They preserve the whole of their feelinys native and entire, but accompanied by an understanding, which knows how to distinguish between the clamours of an insolent and profligate faction, and the voice of a great and magnanimous people. They regard the Quarterly Reviewers as a cabal of little, shri. velled, meagre, hopping, though shrill and troublesome insects of the hour :

τετίίγεσσ» έoικότες, διτε καθ'ύλην Δενδρέω εφεζόμενοι έπα' λεύριόεσσαν πείσει

as grasshoppers keeping up a céy from the foliage of the British oak, while thousands of great cattle, reposed beneath its spreading branches, chew the cud and are silent.

In the 27th Volume of their periodical Calumnies, their abuse against the American States has assumed every shape which the ability of the writers could give it. The

* The utriusque linguæ docti of my readers will preserve the integrity of the context interpreting Resposoo av not suavem, but gracilem.

article is entitled Views, Visits,' and Tours in North America. It may be considered as a sort of digest of the dirt raked off from the filthy travelling-boots of Harris, Welby, Flower, and the pseudo English Woman; and its mephitio exhalation has been severely felt ever since the accumulated load was thrust through the kennel of the Quarterly Review into the nose of the public. In mat. ters soʻridiculous, it is hard to be grave. The enormity of the misrepresentation is adapted only to the palate of the knight in Pantayruel, who could swallow a chimera for his breakfast, provided it was cooked by a critic. The Reviewer begins by drawing the most aggravated, hideous, and deformed picture of the state of religion in Anierica, which his vilifying temper, aided by the arbitary dominion'he assumes over fact, is capable of exhibiting Religion, says the Reviewer, seems to be at a' “ lower ebb in Philadelphia than at New York; it is “ made a jest of intthe United States, and the churches

are filled witlf.fapatics; hypocritesy ånd: buffoons. The religious duties of thee Presbyterians äåd Episcopa

lians, who are very qumesqus in: New York, seem to “ be performed without one-sivigle spark of devotion.

They go to particiylarcbgranes. Vjerause their great“grandmothers went there before them, or (which is the

weightiest reason of all) because it is their interest.” This is sufficient for a specimen of the orthodox and pious rage of the devout and zealous critic. If any one be willing to see to how much greater lengths he carries this supercilious wrath of summary condemnation, he will recur to the Review ; where after begging the question, through twenty pages with impunity, and asserting with

out thinking himself obliged to prove, he concludes his querulous eloquence with this charitable sentence, “ WE “ fear there is very little Religion of any kind in the

greater portion of the United States !" An American might justly retort on the fantastic arrogance of this spiritual tyrant by admonishing bim that there is A REVIEWER OF REVIEWERS, before whose tribunal he will have to appear; and hope, in the meeknees of christianity, that at the closing scene of death, if bis lungs be not decayed with scurrility, he may dictate to some Burnet at his bed-side, not only the recantation of his errors, but his repentance for those dark deods which have acquired infinite aggravation, from the insidiousness and baseness of a lurking-hole and a mask.

To these invectives of the Quarterly Reviewers I shall oppose the testimony of a man who bad emancipated his mind from the fetters of systematic theology ; a testimony composed not to gratify a rancorous party spirit, but to instruct the impartial. “ It is a glorious example that this country is now settling to the christian world, shewing not only the perfect safety, but many positive advantages, not only of universal to tion, but of the exclusion of any establishment of religion whatever; the civil government baving no more to do with it than with philosophy or medicine. Here are Catholics, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, with seceders of various kinds, from Scotland, Independents, Baptists general and particular, Quakers, Universalists, Lutherans, Calvinists, Mennonists, Dunkers, Moravians, Methodists, Sandemanians, Swedenborgians, Unitarians, and Jews, which are probably more than can be found in any other christian


country. And yet they all live, and have intercourse together, in perfect harmony; give no disturbance to the State, and are ready to render to each other every office of good neighbourhood and humanity. At the same time there is, I believe, as much real religion and Christianity in the United States as in any part of Europe; and fewer professed unbelievers than in any other christian country.'

At page 89 the Reviewers give an affecting detail of the calamities which await the arrival of an Englishman in America: “ To replunge into that state of life from which we happily escaped so many centuries ago ;- to forego all the comforts and all the blessings of civilization ;-to be set down for life in the midst of a lonely and pestilential wilderness, surrounded with disease and death ;-to be devoured by fleas, and bugs, and mosquitoes within doors, and to live in the constant dread of snakes, scorpions, and scolopendras without;t-to meet the face of

* This picture of Religion in North America is drawn by Priestly; Burke has employed his masterly pencil on the same subject, “ Religion, always a principle of energy, in this new people, is no way worn out or impaired; and their mode of professing it is also one main cause of their free spirit. The people are Protestants; and of that kind, which is the most adverse to all implicit submission of mind and opinion.” I leave the reader to his own reflexions over the harshness and the malignity of the Quarterly Reviewer.

+ The f***s and b**s (to expunge the vowels from these indecorous words Cynthius aurem vellit, et admonuit) are not indigenous, but imported with the emigrants frae the North. The mosquitoes have vanished.-stings and all; and snakes are nearly as scarce in the United States, from the cultivation of the soil, as they are said to be in Ireland through the interference of a Saint. North America is not a land of terror; and the dread of being devoured in it could enter only

« PreviousContinue »