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(May, 1820.) An Appeal from the Judgments of Great Britain respecting the United States of America. Part
First. Containing an Historical Outline of their Merits and Wrongs as Colonies, and Strictures on the Calumnies of British Writers. By Robert WALSH, Esq. 8vo. pp. 505. Philadelphia and London: 1819.*
OnE great staple of this book is a vehe- deed, on the score of this author's imputament, and, we really think, a singularly un- tions, or had any desire to lessen the just effect just attack, on the principles of this Journal. of his representations, it would have been Yet we take part, on the whole, with the au- enough for us, we believe, to have let them thor:--and heartily wish him success in the alone. For, without some such help as ours, great object of vindicating his country from the work really does not seem calculated to unmerited aspersions, and trying to make us, make any great impression in this quarter of in England, ashamed of the vices and defects the world. It is not only, as the author has which he has taken the trouble to point out in himself ingenuously observed of it, a very our national character and institutions. In this clumsy book," heavily written and abominapart of the design we cordially concur-and bly printed, -but the only material part of it shall at all times be glad to co-operate. But -the only part about which anybody can now there is another part of it, and we are sorry to be supposed to care much, either here or in say a principal and avowed part, of which we America is overlaid and buried under a cannot speak in terms of too strong regret and huge mass of historical compilation, which reprobation--and that is, a design to excite would have little chance of attracting readers and propagate among his countrymen, a gene- at the present moment, even if much better ral animosity to the British name, by way of digested than it is in the volume before us. counteracting, or rather revenging, the ani- The substantial question is, what has been mosity which he very erroneously supposes the true character and condition of the United to be generally entertained by the English States since they became an independent naagainst them.
tion, and what is likely to be their condition That this is, in itself, and under any circum- in future? And to elucidate this question, stances, an unworthy, an unwise, and even a the learned author has thought fit to premise criminal object, we think we could demon- about two hundred very close-printed pages, strate to the satisfaction of Mr. Walsh him- upon their merits as colonies, and the harsh self, and all his reasonable adherents; but it treatment they then received from the mother is better, perhaps, to endeavour, in the first country! Of this large historical sketch, we place, to correct the misapprehensions, and cannot say, either that it is very correctly dispel the delusions in which this disposition drawn, or very faithfully coloured. It prehas its foundation, and, at all events, to set sents us with no connected narrative, or interthem the example of perfect good humour and esting deduction of events—but is, in truth, a fairness, in a discussion where the parties mere heap of indigested quotations from comperhaps will never be entirely agreed; and mon books, of good and bad authority-inarwhere those who are now to be heard have the tificially cemented together by a loose and strongest conviction of having been injuriously angry commentary. We are not aware, inin sroprosentext. If we felt any soreness, in- deed, that there are in this part of the work
either any new statements, or any new views * There is no one feeling-having public con- or opinions; the facts being mostly taken cerns for its object--with which I have been so from Chalmers' Annals, and Burke's European long and so deeply impressed, as that of the vast Settlements; and the anthorities for the good importance of our maintaining friendly, and even conduct and ill treatment of the colonies, cordial relations, with the frep, powerful, moral, and industrious States of America:-a condition upon
being chiefly the Parliamentary Debates and which I cannot help thinking that not only our own Brougham's Colonial Policy. freedom and prosperity, but that of the better part But, in good truth, these historica, recollecof the world, will ultimately be found to be more tions will go but a little ray in determining and more dependent. I give the first place, there that great practical and most important ques. fore, in this concluding division of the work. !o an tion, which it is Mr. W.'s intention, as well earnest and somewhat importunate exhortation to this effect--which I believe produced some impres. as ours, to discuss-What are, and what ought sion at the time, and I trust may still help forward to be, the dispositions of England and Amerithe good end to which it was directed.
ca towards each other? And the general facts
as to the first settlements and colonial history , ter the general feeling, and to keep alive the of the latter, in so far as they bear upon this memory of animosities that ought not to have question, really do not admit of much dispute. been so long remembered. At last came peace, The most important of those settlements were —and the spirit, we verily believe, but unfor unquestionably founded by the friends of civil tunately not the prosperity of peace; and the and religious liberty-whó, though somewhat distresses and commercial embarrassments of precise and puritanical, and we must add, not both countries threw both into bad humour; a little intolerant, were, in the main, a sturdy and unfortunately hurried both into a system and sagacious race of people, not readily to of jealous and illiberal policy, by which that be cajoled out of the blessings they had sought bad humour was aggravated, and received an through so many sacrifices; and ready at all unfortunate direction. times manfully and resolutely to assert them In this exasperated state of the national against all invaders. As to the mother coun. temper, and we do think, too much under its try, again, without claiming for her any ro- influence, Mr. Walsh has now thought himmantic tenderness or generosity towards those self called upon to vindicate his country from hardy offsets, we think we may say, that she the aspersions of English writers; and after oppressed and domineered over them much arraigning them, generally, of the most inless than any other modern nation has done credible ignorance, and atrocious malignity, over any such settlements—that she allowed he proceeds to state, that the EDINBURGH and them, for the most part, liberal charters and QUARTERLY Reviews, in particular, have been constitutions, and was kind enough to leave incessantly labouring to traduce the character them very much to themselves;-and although of America, and have lately broken out into she did manifest, now and then, a disposition such "excesses of obloquy,' as can no longer to encroach on their privileges, their rights be endured; and, in particular, that the proswere, on the whole, very tolerably respected pect of a large emigration to the United States -so that they grew up undoubtedly to a state has thrown us all into such “ paroxysms of of much prosperity and a familiarity with spite and jealousy," that we have engaged in freedom in all its divisions, which was not a scheme of systematic defamation that sets only without parallel in any similar establish- truth and consistency alike at defiance. To ment, but probably would not have been at counteract this nefarious scheme, Mr. W. has tained had they been earlier left to their own taken the field-not so much to refute as to guidance and protection. This is all that we retort—not for the purpose of pointing out our ask for England, on a review of her colonial errors, or exposing our unfairness, but, rather, policy, and her conduct before the war; and if we understand him aright, of retaliating on this, we think, no candid and well-informed us the unjust abuse we have been so long pourperson can reasonably refuse her.
ing on others. In his preface, accordingly, he As to the War itself
, the motives in which fairly avows it to be his intention to act on the it originated, and the spirit in which it was offensive—to carry the war into the enemy's carried on, it cannot now be necessary to say quarters, and to make reprisals upon the honany thing—or, at least, when we say that hav- our and character of England, in revenge for ing once been begun, we think that it termi- the insults which, he will have it, her writers nated as the friends of Justice and Liberty have heaped on his country. He therefore must have wished it to terminate, we con- proposes to point out,-not the natural comceive that Mr. Walsh can require' no other plexion, or genuine features, but the sores explanation. That this result, however, should and blotches of the British nation,” to the have left a soreness upon both sides, and scorn and detestation of his countrymen; and especially on that which had not been soothed having assumed, that it is the “ intention of by success, is what all men must have ex- Great Britain to educate her youth in sentipected. But, upon the whole, we firmly be- ments of the most rancorous hostility to Amer, live that this was far slighter and less durable ica,” he assures us, that this design will, and than has generally been imagined; and was must be met with corresponding sentiments
, on likely very speedily to have been entirely ef- his side of the water! faced, by those ancient recollections of kind- Now, though we cannot applaud the gen. ness and kindred which could not fail to recur, erosity, or even the common humanity of and by that still more powerful feeling, to these sentiments—though we think that the which every day was likely to add strength, American government and people, if at all of their common interests, as free and as com- deserving of the eulogy which Mr. W. has mercial countries, and of the substantial con- here bestowed upon them, might, like Cromformity of their national character, and of well, have felt themselves too strong to care their sentiments upon most topics of public about paper shot—and though we cannot but and of private right. The healing operation, feel that a more temperate and candid tone however, of these causes was unfortunately would have carried more weight, as well as thwarted and retarded by the heats that rose more magnanimity with it, we must yet begin out of the French revolution, and the new in- by admitting, thai America has cause of comterests and new relations which it appeared plaint;—and that nothing can be more despifor a time to create :—And the hostilities in cable and disgusting, than the scurrility with which we were at last involved with America which she has been assailed by a portion of herself—though the opinions of her people, as the press of this country—and that. disgracewell as our own, were deeply divided upon ful as these publications are, they speak the both questions-served still further to embit- sense, if not of a considerable, at least of a
conspicuous and active party in the nation.* , ceived under our protection, as a refuge from All this, and more than this, we have no wish, military despotism. Since that hope was lost, and no intention to deny. But we do wish it would have satisfied them to find that their most anxiously to impress upon Mr. W. and republican institutions had made them poor, his adherents, to beware how they believe and turbulent, and depraved—incapable of that this party speaks the sense of the British civil wisdom, regardless of national honour, Nation-or that their sentiments on this, or on and as intractable to their own elected rulers many other occasions, are in any degree in as they had been to their hereditary soveaccordance with those of the great body of reign. To those who were capable of such our people. On the contrary, we are firmly wishes and such expectations, it is easy to persuaded that a very large majority of the conceive, that the happiness and good order nation, numerically considered, and a still of the United States—the wisdom and aularger majority of the intelligent and enlight- thority of their government -- and the unened persons whose influence and authority paralleled rapidity of their progress in wealth, cannot fail in the long run to govern her coun. population, and refinement, must have been cils, would disclaim all sympathy with any but an ungrateful spectacle; and most especipart of these opinions; and actually look on ally, that the splendid and steady success of the miserable libels in question, not only with by far the most truly democratical governthe scorn and disgust to which Mr. W. would ment that ever was established in the world, consign them, but with a sense of shame from must have struck the most lively alarm into which his situation fortunately exempts him, the hearts of all those who were anxious to and a sorrow and regret, of which unfortu- have it believed that the People could never nately he seems too little susceptible. interfere in politics but to their ruin, and that
It is a fact which can require no proof, even the smallest addition to the democratical inin America, that there is a party in this coun- fluence, recognised in the theory at least of try not friendly to political liberty, and deci- the British Constitution, must lead to the imdedly hostile to all extension of popular rights, mediate destruction of peace and property, —which, if it does not grudge to its own peo- morality and religion. ple the powers and privileges which are be- That there are journals in this country, and stowed on them by the Constitution, is at least journals too of great and deserved reputation for confining their exercise within the narrow- in other respects, who have spoken ihe lan. est limits—which never thinks the peace and guage of the party we have now described, well-being of society in danger from any thing and that in a tone of singular intemperance but popular encroachments, and holds the and offence, we most readily admit. But need only safe or desirable government to be that we tell Mr. W., or any ordinarily well-inof a pretty pure and unincumbered Monarchy, formed individual of his countrymen, that supported by a vast revenue and a powerful neither this party nor their journalists can be army, and obeyed by a people just enlightened allowed to stand for the People of England ? enough to be orderly and industrious, but no —that it is notorious that there is among that way curious as to questions of right — and people another and a far more numerous never presuming to judge of the conduct of party, whose sentiments are at all points optheir superiors.
posed to those of the former, and who are, Now, it is quite true that this Party dislikes by necessary consequence, friends to America, America, and is apt enough to decry and in- and to all that Americans most value in their sult her. Its adherents never have forgiven character and institutions-who, as Englishthe success of her war of independence--the men, are more proud to have great and gloloss of a nominal sovereignty, or perhaps of a rious nations descended from them, than to real power of vexing and oppressing — her have discontented colonies uselessly subjected supposed rivalry in trade--and, above all, the to their caprice—who, as Freemen rejoice to happiness and tranquillity which she now see freedom advancing, with giant footsteps, enjoys under a republican form of govern- over the fairest regions of the earth, and nament. Such a spectacle of democratical pros- tions flourishing exactly in proportion as they perity is unspeakably mortifying to their high are free—and to know that when the drivelmonarchical principles, and is easily imagined ling advocates of hierarchy and legitimacy to be dangerous to their security. Their first vent their paltry sophistries with some shadow wish, and, for a time, their darling hope, was, of plausibility on the history of the Old World, that the infant States would quarrel among they can now turn with decisive triumph to themselves, and be thankful to be again re- the unequivocal example of the New-and
demonstrate the unspeakable advantages of * Things are much mended in this respect since free government, by the unprecedented pros1820 ; persons of rank and influence in this country perity of America ? Such persons, too, can now speaking of America, in private as well as in be as little suspected of entertaining any public, with infinitely greater respect and friendli. ness than was then common; and evincing. I think, jealousy of the commercial prosperity of the a more general desire to be courteous to individuals Americans as of their political freedom ; since of that nation, than 10 foreigners of any other de- it requires but a very moderate share of unscription. There are still, however, publications derstanding to see, that the advantages of among, us, and some proceeding from quarters trade must always be mutual and reciprocal tinue to keep up the tone alluded to in the text, and ---that one great trading country is of necessity consequently to do mischief, which it is still a duty the best customer to another—and that the therefore to endeavour to counteract.
trade of America, consisting chiefly in the exportation of raw produce and the importation, he now complains for his country—and that of manufactured commodities, is, of all others, from the same party scribblers, with whomi the most beneficial to a country like England we are here, somewhat absurdly, confounded
That such sentiments were naturally to be and supposed to be leagued. It is really, we expected in a country circumstanced like think, some little presumption of our fairness. England, no thinking man will deny. But that the accusations against us should be thus Mr. Walsh has been himself among us; and contradictory—and that for one and the same was, we have reason to believe, no idle or in- set of writings, we should be denounced by curious observer of our men and cities; and the ultra-royalists of England as little better we appeal with confidence to him, whether than American republicans, and by the ultrathese were not the prevailing sentiments patriots of America as the jealous defamers among the intelligent and well educated of of her Freedom. every degree? If he thinks as we do, as to This, however, is of very little consequence. their soundness and importance, he cannot What we wish to impress on Mr. W. is, that well doubt that they must sooner or later in they who daily traduce the largest and ables fluence the conduct even of our Court and part of the English nation, cannot possibly be Cabinet. But, in the mean time, the fact is supposed to speak the sense of that nation, certain, that the opposite sentiments are con- and that their offences ought not, in reason, to fined to a very small portion of the people of be imputed to her. If there be any reliance Great Britain—and that the course of events, on the principles of human nature, the friends as well as the force of reason, is every day of liberty in England must rejoice in the pros. bringing them more and more into discredit. perity of America. Every selfish, concurs Where then, we would ask, is the justice or with every generous motive, to add strength the policy of seeking to render a quarrel Na- to this sympathy; and if any thing is certam tional, when the cause of quarrel is only in our late internal history, it is that the with an inconsiderable and declining party of friends of liberty are rapidly increasing amot the nation?—and why labour to excite ani- us;- partly from increased intelligencemosity against a whole people, the majority of partly from increased suffering and impa. whom are, and must be, your sincere friends, tience-partly from mature conviction, and merely because some prejudiced or inter- instinctive prudence and fear. ested persons among them have disgusted the There is another consideration, also arising great body of their own countrymen, by the from the aspect of the times before us, which senselessness and scurrility of their attacks should go far, we think, at the present moupon yours?
ment, to strengthen those bonds of affinits. The Americans are extremely mistaken, It is impossible to look to the state of the Old too, if they suppose that they are the only World without seeing, or rather feeling, that persons who are abused by the only party that there is a greater and more momentous condoes abuse them. They have merely their test impending, than ever before agitated share of that abuse along with all the friends human society. In Germany—in Spain—in and the advocates of Liberty in every part of France—in Italy, the principles of Refom the world. The Constitutionalists of France, and Liberty are visibly arraying themselves including the King and many of his ministers, for a final struggle with the principles of Es meet with no better treatment;-and those tablished Abuse, --Legitimacy, or Tyrannywho hold liberal opinions in this country, are or whatever else it is called, by its friends or assailed with still greater acrimony and fierce- enemies. Even in England, the more modi
Let Mr. Walsh only look to the lan- fied elements of the same principles are stirguage held by our ministerial journals for the ring and heaving, around, above and beneath last twelvemonth, on the subjects of Reform us, with unprecedented force, activily, and and Alarm-and observe in what way not terror; and every thing betokens an approachonly the whole class of our own reformers ing crisis in the great European commonand conciliators, but the names and persons wealth, by the result of which the future of such men as Lords Lansdowne, Grey, Fitz- character of its governments, and the struc william, and Erskine, Sir James Mackintosh, ture and condition of its society, will in all and Messrs. Brougham, Lambton, Tierney; probability be determined. The ultimate re. and others, are dealt with by these national sult, or the course of events that are to lead oracles, — and he will be satisfied that his to it, we have not the presumption to predict. countrymen neither stand alone in the mis- The struggle may be long or transitory--san. fortune of which he complains so bitterly, guinary or bloodless; and it may end in a nor are subjected to it in very bad company, great and signal amelioration of all existing We, too, he may probably be aware, have had institutions, or in the establishment of one rast our portion of the abuse which he seems to federation of military despots, domineering as think reserved for America—and, what is a usual in the midst of sensuality, barbarism, little remarkable, for being too much her and gloom. The issues of all these things advocate. For what we have said of her pre- are in the hand of Providence and the worb sent power and future greatness-her wisdom of time! and no human eye can yet forest in peace and her valour in war-and of all the the fashion of their accomplishment. Bu invaluable advantages of her representative great changes are evidently preparing and system-her freedom from taxes, sinecures, in fifty years-most probably in a far shorter and standing armies—we have been subjected time-some material alterations must hare to far more virulent attacks than any of which taken place in most of the established govemo
ments of Europe, and the rights of the Euro- rope for the last two hundred years. Had pean nations been established on a surer and England not been free, the worst despotism more durable basis. Half a century cannot in Europe would have been far worse than it pass away in growing discontents on the part is, at this moment. If our world had been of the people, and growing fears and precau- parcelled out among arbitrary monarchs, they tions on that of their rulers. Their preten. would have run a race of oppression, and ensions must at last be put clearly in issue; and couraged each other in all sorts of abuses. abide the settlement of force, or fear, or reason. But the existence of one powerful and flour
Looking back to what has already happened ishing State, where juster maxims were adin the world, oth recently and in ancient mitted, has shamed out of their worst times, we can scarcely doubt that the cause of enormities, given countenance and encourageLiberty will be ultimately triumphant. But ment to the claims of their oppressed subjects, through what trials and sufferings--what mar- and gradually taught their rulers to undertyrdoms and persecutions it is doomed to stand, that a certain measure of liberty was work out its triumph-we profess ourselves not only compatible with national greatness unable to conjecture. The disunion of the and splendour, but essential to its support. lower and the higher classes, which was In the days of Queen Elizabeth, England was gradually disappearing with the increasing the champion and asylum of Religious Freeintelligence of the former, but has lately been dom—in those of King William, of National renewed by circumstances which we cannot Independence. If a less generous spirit has now stop to examine, leads, we must confess, prevailed in her Cabinet since the setiled preto gloomy auguries as to the character of this dominance of Tory principles in her councils, contest; and fills us with apprehensions, that still, the effects of her Parliamentary Oppoit may neither be peaceful nor brief. But in sition—the artillery of her Free Press-the this, as in every other respect, we conceive voice, in short, of her People, which Mr. W. that much will depend on the part that is has so strangely mistaken, have not been taken by America; and on the dispositions without their effects ;-and, though some flawhich she may have cultivated towards the grant acts of injustice have stained her recent different parties concerned. Her great and annals, we still venture to hope that the dread growing wealth and population-her univer- of the British Public is felt as far as Peterssal commercial relations-her own impregna- burgh and Vienna; and would fain indulge ble security-and her remoteness from the ourselves with the belief, that it may yet scare scene of dissension—must give her prodigious some Imperial spoiler from a part of his prey, power and influence in such a crisis, either as and lighten, if not break, the chains of many a mediator or umpire, or, if she take a part, as distant captives. an auxiliary and ally. That she must wish It is in aid of this generous, though perhaps well to the cause of Freedom, it would be in- decaying influence-it is as an associate or decent, and indeed impious, to doubt-and successor in the noble office of patronising and that she should take an active part against it, protecting General Liberty, that we now call is a thing not even to be imagined :-But she upon America to throw from her the memory may stand aloof, a cold and disdainful spec- of all petty differences and nice offences, and tator; and, counterfeiting a prudent indiffer- to unite herself cordially with the liberal and ence to scenes that neither can nor ought to enlightened part of the English nation, at a be indifferent to her, may see, unmoved, the season when their joint efforts may be all little prolongation of a lamentable contest, which enough to crown the good cause with success, her interference might either have prevented, and when their disunion will give dreadful or brought to a speedy and happy termination. advantages to the enemies of improvement And this course she will most probably follow, and reform. The example of America has if she allows herself to conceive antipathts to already done much for that cause; and the nations for the faults of a few calumnious in- very existence of such a country, under such dividuals : And especially if, upon grounds so a government, is a tower of strength, and a trivial, she should nourish such an animosity standard of encouragement, for all who may towards England, as to feel a repugnance to hereafter have to struggle for the restoration make common cause with her, even in behalf or the extension of their rights. It shows of their common inheritance of freedom. within what wide limits popular institutions
Assuredly, there is yet no other country in are safe and practicable; and what a large * Europe where the principles of liberty, and I infusion of democracy is consistent with the
the rights and duties of nations, are so well authority of government, and the good order understood as with us—or in which so great a of society. But her influence, as well as her number of men, qualified to write, speak, and example, will be wanted in the crisis which act with authority, are at all times ready to seems to be approaching :-and that influence take a reasonable, liberal, and practical view must be paralysed and inoperative, if she of those principles and duties. The Govern- shall think it a duty to divide herself from ment, indeed, has not always been either wise England; to look with jealousy upon her
proor generous, to its own or to other countries;- ceedings, and to judge unfavourably of all the but it has partaken, or at least has been con- parties she contains. We do not ask her to trolled by the general spirit of freedom; and think well of that party, whether in power or we have no hesitation in saying, that the Free out of it, which has always insulted and reConstitution of England has been a blessing viled her, because she is free and independand protection to the remotest nations of Eu- lent, and democratic and prosperous :—But we