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sublime. The ranges of tents, the fires reflecting light amidst the branches of the towering trees; the candles and lamps illuminating the encampment; hundreds moving to and fro, with lights or torches, like Gideon's army; the preaching, praying, shouting, all heard at once, rushing from different parts of the ground, like the sound of many waters, was enough to swallow up all the powers of contemplation. Sinners falling, shrieks and cries for mercy, awakened in the mind a lively apprehension of that scene, when the awful sound shall be heard: * Arise, ye dead, and come to judgment.'"
These then are the people, who not only would deprive the Indians of their pure unadulterated theism, but who send Missionaries even into the remote parts of Asia, and who, though their own orgies exceed in absurdity every thing ever done by conjuror, priest, or Mumbo-Jumbo, among the most uncivilized nations, pretend that they alone are the elect of God, and blaspheme his holy name by saying that He inspires their abominable fanaticism!
The friends of an established state religion, and of the impracticable doctrine of Uniformity, may point to the scene above described, and suggest that it proves the want of a national church. I would however desire them to look at home, and see if the Methodists, Jumpers, Ranters, and Muggletonians of England, are not almost or fully as contemptible as their brother fanatics in America. I would also appeal to every one who has read history, and who is acquainted with the progress of superstition and religious enthusiasm, whether the attempt to put down such extravagances by coercion, or in other words; by persecution, has not always produced the contrary effect, viz. that of strengthening and confirming them.
As is the case in England, the United States abound in societies for propagating Christianity in foreign parts, and for distributing bibles and prayer books. The parent societies have ramifications all over the country, and are busied day and night, in collecting every farthing they can lay their hands upon; from the penny intended for the purchase of gingerbread, and nevertheless contributed to the "Children's Mite Society," up to the large sums of hundreds of dollars, subscribed by the wealthy enthusiast.
The Missionaries, and those striving to convert the Jews, the American Indians, the Hindoos, &c. have indeed adopted such an extensive system of begging, that they strongly resemble the Capuchins, and may be termed a Mendicant Order.— To such a length had public contributions for religious purposes been carried, and to such vexation and annoyance, was a man exposed for refusing to contribute to them, that the legislature of Connecticut passed a law in 1823, forbidding contributions for religious purposes, unless when expressly permitted by the legislature, and announced by a proclamation from the governor. This excellent regulation has in a great measure liberated the community, from a heavy tax, and a most offensive nuisance. What renders it still more remarkable is, that it should have been enacted by the very State which was once governed by the "Blue Laws." In the days of that pious code, if a person had presumed to say, that it would be better to spend any superfluous money, in adding to the comfort of the people at home, than in attempting to educate the Tartars, he would I suppose have been looked upon universally as a heathen man and a publican.
Leaving Boston, where I had been staying at the only truly comfortable hotel I found in all my travels, I passed through a fine cultivated country to Providence. This is the capital of the State of Rhode Island, and is a flourishing town, containing, according to the last census, 11,767 inhabitants. The exterior of the houses in this neighbourhood, as well as throughout the whole of New England, is so neatly painted, that the inhabitants may be supposed firm believers in the old Dutch proverb, that "paint costs nothing." Many indeed of the houses which I saw in Massachusetts, were neater in this respect, than even those which attracted my admiration, when I was travelling on the canals near Amsterdam.
At Providence I went on board the steamboat, and descended the beautiful bay of Narraganset. Newport, at which we touched, is celebrated for the beauty of the women; and certainly to judge from the few specimens I saw, this character is very well deserved. Indeed the women of New England are as superior to those of the other States in beauty, as they are in education.
After sailing down Long Island Sound I again landed at New York. Here I embarked on board one of the packet ships for Liverpool: and without meeting with any circumstance worth mentioning returned to my native country. But before I conclude the account of my Transatlantic travels, the reader may say to me: "Now that you have returned home, what is your calm and unbiassed opinion with regard to the character of the Americans?" I reply without hesitation, that there is no subject upon which the people of England have been more completely misinformed, than upon that of the American character. The writings of interested or ignorant individuals have raised a cloud of prejudice against the inhabitants of the United States, that superior information is only just beginning to dissipate. I myself, before visiting the country, had imbibed a great deal of this erroneous opinion; and on landing on the American shore I expected to find a people, very little civilized compared with Europeans, and so rough and brutal in their manners towards strangers, that when they knew I wae an Englishman, they would be almost certain to insult me. Judge then of my astonishment, when my own experience proved to me, that the people were kind and hospitable; that the manners of the higher classes were nearly as polished as could be found in any European country; and that the name of an Englishman, far from provoking insult, was a certain passport to the kindness and attention of every one.