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a recent act, they could not do so, even with the in- , for, and admirers of, America-not taking our ideas truding tradesman's consent ; but the moment he was froin the overweening vanity of the weaker part of the tried, ihey would push him in with redoubled energy, Americans themselves, but from what we have ob. and leave him to tread himself into a conviction of served of their real energy or wisdom. It is very nathe barbarous institutions of his corporation-divided tural that we Scotch, who live in a little shabby scrag. country.
gy corner of a remote island, with a climate which Too much praise cannot be given to the Americans cannot ripen an apple, should be jealous of the aggres. for their great attention to the subject of education. sive pleasantry of more favoured people ; but that All the public lands are surveyed according to the di. | Americans, who have done so much for themselves, rection of Congress. They are divided into townships and received so much from nature, should be flung inof six miles square, by lines running with the cardi- to such convulsions by English reviews and maga. nal points, and consequently crossing each other at zines, is really a bad specimen of Columbian juveniliright angles. Every township is divided into 36 sec- ty. We hardly dare to quote the following account of tions, each a mile square, and containg 610 acres. One an American route, for fear of having our motives section in each township is reserved, and given in per- misrepresented and strongly suspect that there are petuity for the benefit of common schools. In ad. but few Americans who could be brought to admit that dition to this, the states of Tennessee and Ohio have a Philadelphia or Boston concern of this nature is not received grants for the support of colleges and acade. quite equal to the most brilliant asseinblies of London
The appropriation generally in the new states or Paris. for seminaries of the higher orders, amounts to onefifth of those for common schools. It appears from
"A tea party is a serious thing in this country; and some of
those at which I have been present in New York and elseSeybert's Statistical Annals. that the land in the states
where, have been on a very large scale. In the modern houses and territories on the east side of the Mississippi, in
the two principal apartments are on the first floor, and commuwhich appropriations have been made, amounts to
nicated by large folding doors, which on gala days throw wide 237,300 acres ; and according to the ratio above inen their ample portals, converting the two apartments into one. tion d. the aggregate on the east side of the Missis. At the largest party which I have seen, there were about thirty sippi is 7,900,000. The same system of appropriation
young ladies present, and more than as many gentlemen. applied to the west, will make, for schools and colle.
Every sofa, chair, and footstool were occupied by the ladies, ges, 6.600,000; and the total appropriation for literary
and little enough room some of them appeared to have after
all. The gentlemen were obliged to be content with walking purposes, in the uew states and territories, 14,500,000
up and down, talking now with one lady, now with another. acres, which, at two collars per acre, would be Tea was brought in by a couple of blacks, carrying large trays, 0 dollars. These facts are very
one covered with cups, the other with cake. Slowly making quoted by Mr. Hodgson ; and it is impossible to speak the round, and retiring at intervals for additional supplies, the too highly of their value and importance. They quite ladies were gradually gone over; and after much patience the put in the back ground every thing which has been
gentlemen began to enjoy the beverage " which cheers but
not inebriates;" still walking about, or leaning against the done in the Old World for the improvement of the
wall, with the cup and saucer in their hand. lower orders, and confer deservedly upon the Ameri
"As soon as the first course was over, the hospitable trays cans the character of a wise, a reflecting, and a virtu
again entered, bearing a chaos of preserved-peaches, pineapous people.
ples, ginger, oranges, citrons, pears, &c. in tempting display. It is rather surprising that such a people, spreading A few of the young gentlemen now accompanied the revolution rapidly over so vast a portion of the earth, and culti
of the trays, and sedulously attended to the pleasure of the vating all the liberal and useful arts so successfully,
ladies. The party was so numerous that the period between
the commencement and the termination of the round was suffishould be so extremely sensitive and touchy as the
cient to justify a new solicitation : and so the ceremony contiAmericans are said to be. We really thought at one
nued, with very little intermission, during the whole evening. time they would have fitted out an armament against Wine succeeded the preserves, and dried fruit followed the the Edinburgh and Quarterly Reviews, and burnt down wine, which, in its turn, was supported by sandwiches, in Mr. Murray's and Mr. Constable's shops, as we did name of supper, and a forlorn hope of confectionary and frostthe American Capitol. We, however, remember no
work. I pitied the poor blacks who, like Tantalus, had such a other anti-American crime of which we were guilty,
profusion of dainties the whole evening at their finger-ends,
without the possibility of partaking of them. A little music than a preference of Shakspeare and Milton over Joel
and dancing gaye variety to the scene,- which, to some of us, Barlow and Timothy Dwight. That opinion we must
was a source of considerable satisfaction; for when a number still take the liberty of retaining. There is nothing in of ladies were on the floor, those who cared not for the dance Daright comparable to the finest passages of Paradise had the pleasure of getting a seat. About eleven o'clock I did Lost, nor is Mr. Barlow ever so humorous or pathetic, myself the honour of escorting a lady home, and was well as the great bard of the English stage is humorous or
pleased to have an excuse for escaping.'-Duncan's Travels, pathetic. We have always been strenuous* advocates
II. 279, 230.
The coaches must be given up; so must the roads, Treadmill, before Trial. It would have been a very easy and so must the inns. TE y are of course what these thing for us to have hung Mr. Headlam up as a spectacle to
accommodations are in all new countries;, and much the United Kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland,
| like what English great-grandfathers talk about as exthe principality of Wales, and the town of Berwick-onTweed: but we have no wish to make a worthy and resisting in this country at the first period of their recol. pectable man ridiculous. For these reasons we have not lection. The great inconvenience of American inns, even looked at his pamphlet, and we decline entering into however, in the eyes of all Englishmen, is one which
point, where, anong men or sense more sociable travellers must feel less acutely-we and humanity (who have not heated themselves in the dis
mean the impossibility of being alone, of having a pute,) there cannot possibly be any diference of opinion.
room separate from the rest of the company. There All members of both houses of Parliament were unanjinous in their condemnation of the odious and nonsensical prac-is nothing which an Englishman enjoys more than the tice of working prisoners in the treadmill betore trial. It | pleasure of sulkiness,-of not being forced to hear a haid not one single advocate. Mr. Headlam and the magis- word from any body which may occasion to him the trates of the North Riding, in their eagerness to save a necessity of
g. It is not so much that Mr. Telic of their prison system, forgot themselves so far as to Bull disdains to talk, as that Mr. Bull has nothing to be entrusted with the power of putting prisoners to work
say. His forefathers have been out of spirits for six or before trial, with their own consent--the legislature was,
seven hundred years, and, seeing nothing but fog and • We will not trust you,'-the severest practical rebuke ever received by any public body. We will leave it to vapour, he is out of spirits too ; and when there is no others to determine whether it was deserved. We have no doubt the great body of magistrates meant well. They must America: but circumstances differ. American institutions are have meant well--but they have been sadly misled, and too new,-English institutions are ready to our hands. If we have thrown odium on the subordinate administration of I were to build the house afresh, we might perhaps avail ourjustice, which it is far from deserving on other occasions, selves of the improvements of a new plan ; but we have have no in their hands. This strange piece of nonsense is, how- sort of wish to pull down an excellent house, strong, warm and ever, now well ended-Requiescat in pace!
comfortable, because, upon second trial, we might be able to * Ancient women, whether in or out of breeehes, will of alter and amend it,-a principle which would perpetuate decourse imagine that we are the enemies of the institutions of molition and destruction. Our plan, where circumstances are our country, because we are the admirers of the institutions of I tolerable, is to sit dowp and enjoy ourselves.
selling or buying, or no business to settle, he prefers country ?"-"Well, my friend, you have guessed right at last, being alone and looking at the fire. If any gentleman and I am sure you deserve something for your perseverance; was in distress, he would willingly lend an helping ! and now I suppose it will save us both trouble if I proceed to
the second part of the story, and tell you where I am going. hand; but he thinks it no part of neighbourhood to
I am going to New Orleans." This is really no exaggerated talk to a person because he happens to be near him.
picture: dialogues, not indeed in these very words, but to this In short, with many excellent qualities, it must be ac
effect, occurred continually; and some of them more minute knowledged, that the English are the most disagree and extended than I can venture upon in a letter. I ought, able of all the nations of Europe,-more surly and mo however, to say, that many questions lose much of their familrose, with less disposition to please, to exert them- iarity when travelling in the wilderness. “Where are you selves for the good of society, to make small sacrifices, I from?" and "whither are you bound ?" do not appear imper
tinent interrogations at sea, and often in the western wilds I and to put themselves out of their way. They are
found myself making inquiries which I should have thought content with Magna Charta and trial by jury ; and
very free and easy at hoine..-Hodgson's Letters, II. 3235. think they are not bound to excel the rest of the world in small behaviour, if they are superior to them in In all new and distant settlements the forms of law great institutions.
must, of course, be very limited. No justice's warrant We are terribly afraid that some Americans spit up- is current in the dismal swamp; constables are er. on the floor, even when that floor is covered by good ceedingly puzzled in the neighbourhood of the Missiscarpets. Now, all claims to civilization are suspended sippi ; and there is no treadmill, either before or after till this secretion is otherwise disposed of. No Entrial, on the little Wabash. The consequence of this glish gentleman has spit upon the floor since the Hep- is, that the settlers take the law into their own hands, tarchy.
and give notice to a justice-proof delinquent to quit The curiosity for which the Americans are so much the territory; if this notice is disobeyed, they assem. laughed at, is not only venial, but laudable. Where ble and whip the culprit, and this failing, on the se. men live in woods or forests, as is the case, of course, cond visit, they cut off his ears. In short, Captain in remote American settlements, it is the duty of Rock has his descendants in America. Mankind can. every man to gratify the inhabitants by telling them not live together without some approximation to jus. his name, place, age, office, virtues, crimes, children, tice ; and if the actual government will not govern fortune, and remarks; and with fellow-travellers, it well, or cannot govern well, is too wicked or too weak seems to be almost a matter of necessity to do so. to do so-then men prefer Rock to anarchy. The fol When men ride together for 300 or 400 miles through lowing is the best account we have seen otthis systein the woods and prairies, it is of the greatest importance of irregular justice; that they should be able to guess at subjects most! After leaving Carlyle. I took the Shawneetown road, that agreeable to each other, and to multiply their common branches off to the S. E., and passed the Walnut Hills, and topics. Without knowing who your companion is, it Moore's Prairie, These two places had a year or two before is difficult to know both what to say and what to been infested by a notorious gang of robbers and forgers, who avoid. You may talk of honour and virtue to an attor had fixed themselves in these wild parts in order to avoid jos. ney, or contend with a Virginian planter that inen of a tice. As the country became more settled, these desperadoes fair colour have no right to buy and sell men of a dus. I became more and more troublesome. The inhabitants, there
fore, took that method of getting rid of them that had been ky colour. The following is a lively description of
adopted not many years ago in Hopkinson and Henderson the rights of interrogation, as understood and practis.
counties, Kentucky, and which is absolutely necessary in new ed in America.
and thinly settled districts, where it is almost impossible to
punish a criminal according to legal forms, *As for the inquisitiveness of the Americans, I do not think On such occasions, therefore, all the quiet and industrious it has been at all exaggerated.--They certainly are, they pro- men of a district form themselves into companies, under the fess to be, a very inquiring people, and if we may sometimes name of "Regulators." They appoint officers, put themselves be disposed to dispute the claims of their love of knowing to under their orders, and bind themselves to assist and stand by to the character of a liberal curiosity, we must at least admit each other. The first step they then take is to send notice to that they make a most liberal use of every means in their l any notorions varahond.. nower to gratify it. I have seldom, however, had any difficulty I certain number of days, under the penalty of receiving a in repressing their home questions, if I wished it, and without domiciliary visit. Should the person who receives the notice offending them; but I more frequently amused myself by put refuse to comply, they suddenly assemble, and when udexting them on the rack, civilly, and apparently unconsciously, pected, go in the night time to the rogue's house, take him out, eluded their inquiries for a time, and than awakening their tie him to a tree, and give him a severe whipping every one of gratitude by such a discovery of myself as I might choose to the party striking him a certain number of times, make. Sometimes a mam would place himself at my side in This discipline is generally sufficient to drive off the culthe wilderness, and ride for a mile or two without the small- I prit; but should he continue obstinate, and refuse to avail est communication between us, except a slight nod of the head. himself of another warning, the Regulators pay him a second He would then, perhaps, make some grave remark on the visit, inflict a still severer whipping, with the addition probably weather, and if I'assented, in a monosyllable, he would stick to of cutting off both his ears. No culprit has been known to my side for another mile or two, when he would commence his remain after a second visit. For instance, an old man, the attack. “I reckon, stranger, you do not belong to these father of a family, all of whom he educated as robbers, fixed parts?"_" No, sir; I am not of Alabama,"-"I guess you are himself at Moore's Prairie, and committed numerous thefts, from the north?".No, sir; I am not from the north."-"I &c. &c. He was hardy enough to remain after the first visit, guess you found the roads mighty muddy, and the creeks when both he and his sons received a severe whipping. At the swimming. You are come a long way, I guess ?"--"No, not so second visit the Regulat
second visit the Regulators punished him very severely, and very far we have travelled a few hundred miles since we cut off his ears. This drove him off, together with his whole turned our faces westward."-"I guess you have seen Mr.
1 gang; and travellers can now pass in perfect safety w bere it or General ?" (mentioning the names of some well-known was once dangerous to travel alone. individuals in the middle and southern states, who were to “There is also a company of Regulators near Vincennes, serve as guide-posts to detect our route); but, “I have not who have broken up a notorious gang of coiners and thieves the pleasure of knowing any of them," or, “I have the pleas- / who had fixed themselves near that place. These rascals, ure of knowing all." equally defeated his purpose, but not his before they were driven otr, had parties settled at different hopes. "I reckon, stranger, you have had a good crop of cot-distances in the woods, and thus held communication and ton this year?"_" I am told, sir, the crops have been unusu-l passed horses and stolen goods from one to another, from the ally abundant in Carolina and Georgix."-"You grow tobacco, Ohio to Lake Erie, and from thence into Canada or the New then. I guess?" (to track me to Virginia.) "No; I do not England States. Thus it was next to impossible to detect tbe grow tobacco." Here a modest inquirer would give up in de- robbers, or to recover the stolen property. spair, and trust to the chapter of accidents to develope my 'This practice of Regulating seems very strange to an Euroname and history; but I generally rewarded his modesty, and pean. I have talked with some of the chief men of the Regu excited his gratitude, by telling him I would torment him no lators, who all lamented the necessity of such a system. They longer.
very sensibly remarked, that when the country became more The murove of thorough-bred Yankee* would rise with thickly settled, there would no longer be any necessity for his difficulties; and after a decent interval, he would resume: such proceedings, and that they should all be delighted at "I hope no offence, sir; but you know we Yankees lose noth being able to obtain justice in a more formal manner. I forgot ing for want of asking. I guess, stranger, you are from the old to mention, that the rascals punished, have sometimes prose
cuted the Regulators for an assault. The juries, however, * In America, the term Yankee is applied to the natives of knowing the bad character of the prosecutors, would give but New England only, and is generally used with an air of pleas-trifling damages, which, divided among so many, amounted to antry'
next to nothing for each individual.'-Excursion, pp. 233-236.
The same traveller mentions his having met at ta- | from it. It does, however, seem ominous of evil, that so little ble three or four American ex-kings-presidents who ceremony is at present used with the constitutions of the varihad served their time, and had retired into private lous states. The people of Connecticut, not contented with life; he observes also upon the effect of a democrati
having prospered abundantly under their old system, havo
lately assembled a convention, composed of delegates from all cal government in preventing mobs. Mobs are created
parts of the country, in which the former order of things has by opposition to the wishes of the people: but when been condemned entirely, and a completely new constitution the wishes of the people are consulted so completely manufactured; which, among other things, provides for the as they are consulted in America, all motives for the same process being again gone through, as soon as the profaagency of mobs are done away.
num vulgus takes it into his head to desire it.* A sorry legacy
the British Constitution would be to us, if it were at the mercy It is, indeed, entirely a government of opinion. Whatever of a meeting of delegates, to be summoned whenever a majothe people wish is done. If they want any alterations of laws, rity of the people took a fancy for a new one, and I am afraid tariffs, &c., they inform their representatives, and if there be that if the Americans continue to cherish a fondness for such a majority that wish it, the alteration is made at once. In repairs, the Highlandman's pistol, with its new stock, lock, most European countries there is a portion of the population and barrel, will bear a close resemblance to what is ultimately denominated the mob, who, not being acquainted with real produced.'-Duncan's Travels, Il. 335, 336. liberty, give themselves up to occasional fits of licentiousness, But in the United States there is no mob, for every man feels In the Excursion there is a list of the American na. himself free. At the time of Burr's conspiracy, Mr. Jefferson vy. which, in conjunction with the navy of France, said, that there was little to be apprehended from it, as every will one day or another, we fear, settle the Catholic man felt himself a part of the general sovereignty. The event proved the truth of this assertion; and Burr, who in any other
question in a way not quite agreeable to the Earl of country would have been hanged, drawn, and quartered, is at Liverpool for the time being, nor very creditable to present leading an obscure life in the city of New York, de- the wisdom of those ancestors of whom we hear, and spised by every one.'- Excursion, p. 70.
from whom we suffer so much. The regulations of
the American navy seem to be admirable. The states It is a real blessing for America to be exempted from lare making great exertions to increase this navy; that vast burthen of taxes, the consequences of a long and since the capture of so many English ships, it has series of foolish, just, and necessary wars, carried on become the favourite science of the people at large. to please kings and queens, or the waiting maids and Their flotillas on the lakes completely defeated ours waiting lords and gentlemen, who have always go- during the last war. verned kings and queens of the Old World. The Fanaticism of every description scems to rage and Americans owe this good to the newness of their go flourish in America, which has no establishment, in vernment; and though there are few classical associ- about the same degree which it does here under the nose ations, or historical recollections in the United States, l of an established church ; they have their prophets and this barrenness is well purchased by the absence of all prophetesses, their preaching encampments, female the feudal nonsense, inveterate abuses, and profligate preachers, and every variety of noise, folly, and nondebts of an old country.
sense, like ourselves. Among the most singular of The good effects of a free government are visible through
these fanatics, are the Harmonites. Rapp, their foun. out the whole country. There are no tithes, no poor-rates, no der, was a dissenter from the Lutheran church, and excise, no heavy internal taxes, no commercial monopolies. therefore, of course, the Lutheran clergy of Stutgard An American can make candles if he have tallow, can distil
11 he have tallow, can distil (near to which he lived brandy if he have grapes or peaches, and can make beer if he white sheets, to prove him guilty of theft, parricide, have malt and hops, without asking leave of any one, and treason, and all ihe usual crimes of which men dismuch less with any fear of incurring punishment. How would a farmer's wife there be astonished, it told that it was contrary
senting from established churches are so often guilty; to law for her to make soap out of the potass obtained on the and delicate hints were given respecting faggots ! farm, and of the grease she herself had saved! When an Stutgard abounds with underwood and clergy; and American has made these articles, he may build his little ves-away went Mr. Rapp to the United States, and, witb. sel, and take them without hindrance to any part of the world ; , a great multitude of followers, settled about twentyfor there is no rich company of merchants that can say to him, four miles from our countryman Mr. Birkbeck. His “ You shall not trade to India ; and you shall not buy a pound people have here built a large town, and planted a of tea of the Chinese ; as, by doing so, you would infringe upon
vineyard, where they make very agreeable wine. our privileges.” In consequence of this freedom, all the seas are covered with their vessels, and the people at home are
They carry on also a very extensive system of hus. active and independent. I never saw a beggar in any part of bandry, and are the masters of many flocks and herds. the United States; nor was I ever asked for charity but once They have a distillery, brewery, tannery, make hats, -and that was by an Irishman.'—Excursion, pp. 70, 71, shoes, cotton and woollen cloth, and every thing ne America is so differently situated from the old go
cessary to the comfort of life. Every one belongs to vernments of Europe, that the United States afford no
some particular trade. But in bad weather, when there
no is danger of losing their crops, Rapp blows a horn, and political precedents that are exactly applicable to our old governments. There is no idle and discontented!
Si calls them all together. Over every trade there is a
led head man, who receives the money and gives a receipt, population. When they have peopled themselves up to the Mississippi, they cross to the Missouri, and will
signed by Rapp, to whom all the money collected is
transmitted. When any of these workmen wants & go on until they are stopped by the Western Ocean ;) hat or a coat. Rapp signs him an order for the gar. and then, when there are a number of persons who have nothing to do, and nothing to gain, no hope for They have one large store where these manufactures
oment, for which he goes to the store and is fitted. lawful industry and great interest in promoting chang-lare deposited. This store is much resorted to by the es, we may consider their situation as somewhat si.
neighbourhood, on account of the goodness and the milar to our own, and their example as touching us
cheapness of the articles. They have built an excel. more nearly. The changes in the constitution of lent house for their founder, Rapp-as it might have the particular states seen to be very frequent, very hoor radical, and to us very alarming ;-they seein, how..
| been predicted they would have done. The Harmoever, to be thought very little of in that country, and
nites profess equality, community of goods, and celi. to be very little heard of in Europe. Mr. Duncan, in th:
bacy; for the men and women (let Mr. Malthus hear
this) live separately, and are not allowed the slightest the following passage, speaks of them with European int
intercourse. In order to keep up their numbers, they feelings.
have once or twice sent over for a supply of Germans, * The other great obstacle to the prosperity of the American as they admit no Americans, of any intercourse with nation, universal suffrage,* will not exhibit the full extent of whom they are very jealous. Harmonites dress and its evil tendency for a long time to come ; and it is possible live plainly. It is a part of their creed that they should that ere that time some antidote may be discovered, to pre-l do so. Rapp. however, and the head men have no vent or alleviate the mischief which we might naturally expect such particular creed for themselves ; and indulge in
* In the greater number of the States, every white person, wine, beer, grocery, and other irreligious diet. Rapp 21 years of age, who has paid taxes for one year, is a voter; in others, some additional qualifications are required, but they * The people of the State of New York have subsequently pre not such as materially to limit the priviloge.
taken a similar fancy to clout the cauldron. (1822)
One thing that I could vot help me want of all those games is long; Mr. Bentham invenis new and alarming ex
is both governor and priest ;-preaches to them in | BENTHAM ON FALLACIES. (EDINBURGH RE. church, and directs all their proceedings in their
VIEW, 1825.) working hours. In short, Rapp seems to have made! The Book of Fallacies: from Unfinished Papers of Jeremy use of the religious propensities of mankind, to per
Bentham. By a Friend. London, J. and H. L. Hunt. 1821. suade one or two thousand fools to dedicate their lives to his service ; and if they do not get tired and fling THERE are a vast number of absurd and mischie. their prophet into a horse-pond, they will in all proba. vous fallacies, which pass readily in the world for bility disperse as soon as he dies. Unitarians are in sense and virtue, while in truth they tend only to for. creasing very fast in the United States, not being kept tify error and encourage crime. Mr. Bentham has down by charges from bishops and archdeacons, their enumerated the most conspicuous of these in the book natural enemies.
betore us. The author of the Excursion remarks upon the total Whether it is necessary there should be a middle. absence of all games in America. No cricket, foot. man between the cultivator and possessor, learned ball, nor leap-frog-all seems solid and profitable. economists have doubted; but neither gods, inen, nor
booksellers can doubt the necessity of a middle-man
ol between Mr. Bentham and the public. Mr. Bentliam the Americans in general, is the total want of all those games and sports which obtained for our country the appellation of
is long; Mr. Bentham is occasionally involved and " Merry England.” Although children usually transmit stories obscure ; Mr. Bentham invents new and alarming ex. and sports from one generation to another, and although many pressions ; Mr. Bentham loves division and subdivi. of our nursery games and tales are supposed to have been im- sion--and he loves method itself more than its conse. ported into England in the vessels of Hengist and Horsa, yet
quences. Those o herefore, who know his ongi. our brethren in the United States seem entirely to have forgot-nality. his knowledge, his vigour, and his boldness, ten the childish amusements of our common ancestors. In will recurto the worlds themselves. The great mass America I never saw even the schoolboys playing at any game whatsoever. Cricket, foot-ball, quoits, &c., appear to be utter
of readers will not purchase improvement at so dear ly unknown; and I believe that if an American were to see a rate ; but will choose rather to become acquainted grown-up men playing at cricket, he would express as much with Mr. Bentham, through the medium of reviewsastonislımcut as the Italians did when some Englishuen played after that eminent philosopher has been washed, at this finest of all games in the Cascina, at Florence. Indeed, trimmed, shared, and forced into clean linen. One that joyous spirit which, in our country, animates not only great use of a review, indeed, is to make men wise in childhood, but also maturer age, can rarely or never be seen among the inhabitants of the United States.'-Excursion, pp.
ten pages, who have no appetite for a hundred pages; 502, 503.
to condense nourishment, to work with pulp and es.
sence, and to guard the stomach from idle burden and These are some of the leading and prominent cir. unmeaning bulk. For half a page, sometimes for a cumstances respe
respecting America, mentioned in the va- whole page, Mr, Bentham writes with a power which rious works before us: of which works we can recom- few cal equal ; and by selecting and omítting, an admend the Letters of Mr. Hudson, and the Excursion mirable style may be formed from the text. Using into Canada, as sensible, agreeable books, written in this liberty, we shall endeavour to give an account of a very fair spirit.
Mr. Bentham's doctrines, for the most part in his own America seems on the whole, to be a country poswords. Wherever any expression is particularly ha sessing vast advantages, and little inconveniences;py let it be considered to be Mr. Bentham's—the dull. they have a cheap government and bad roads; they ness we take to ourselves. pay no tithes, and have stage coaches without springs. Our Wise Ancestors--the Wisdom of our Ancestors They have no poor laws and no monopolies--but their the Wisdom of Ages-venerable Antiquity-Wisdom inns are inconven and travellers are teased with
th of Old Times - This mischievous and absurd fallacy questions. They have no collections in the fine arts ; springs from the grossest perversions of the meaning but they have no lord-chancellor, and they can go to of words. Experience is certainly the mother of wislaw without absolute ruin. They cannot make Latin dom, and the old have, of course, a greater experience verses, but they expend immense sums in the educa. than the young; but the question is, who are ihe old ! tion of the voor. In all this the balance is prodigiously and who are the young? Of individuals living at the in their favour : but then comes the great disgrace same period, the oldest has, of course the greatest ex. and danger of America-the existence of slavery, perience ; but among generations of men the reverse which, if not timously corrected, will one day entail of this is true. Those who come first (our ancestors) (and ought to entail) a bloody servile war upon the are the young people, and have the least experience. Americans_which will separate America into slave We have a
ce of states and states disclaiming slavery, and which re- many centuries; and, therefore, as far as experience mains at present as the foulest blot in the moral cha- goes, are wiser, and more capable of forming an opi. racter of that people. A high-spirited nation, who nion than they were. The real feeling should be, not cannot endure the slightest act of foreign aggression, can we be so presumptuous as to put our opinions in and who revolt at the very shadow of domestic tyran.
1 to those of our ancestors ? but can such ny_beat with cart whips, and bind with chains, and young, ignorant, inexperienced persons as our ances murder for the merest triftes, wretched human beings iors necessarily were, be expected to have understood who are of a more dusky colour than themselves; and a subject as well as those who have seen so much have recently admitted into their Union a new state, more, lived so much longer, and enjoyed the experiwith the express permission of ingraft
atro-ence of so many centuries? All this cant, then, about cious wickedness into their constitution ! No one can our ancestors is merely an abuse of words, by transadmire the simple wisdom and manly firmness of the ferring phrases true of contemporary men to succeed. Americans more than we do, or more despise the piti. ing ages. Whereas (as we have before observed) of ful propensity which exists annong government run. living men the oldest has, cæteris paribus, the most ex. ners to vent their small spite at their character; but perience; of generations, the oldest has, cæteris pari. on the subject of slavery, the conduct of America is, bus, the least experience. Our ancestors, up to the and has been, most reprehensible. It is impossible to Conquest, were children in arms; chubby boys in the speak of it with too much indignation and contempt; time of Edward the First ; striplings under Elizabeth; but for it, we should look forward with unqualified men in the reign of Queen Anne; and we only are the pleasure to such a land of freedom, and such a magni. white-bearded silver-headed ancients, who have trea. ficent spectacle of human happiness.
sured up, and are prepared to profit by, all the expe. rience which human life can supply. We are not dis. puting with our ancestors the palm of talent, in which they may or may not be our superiors, but the palm of experience, in which it is utterly impossible they can be our superiors. And yet, whenever the chancellor comes forward to protect some abuse, or to oppose some plan which has the increase of human happiness for its object, his first appeal is always to the wisdom
of our ancestors; and he himself, and many noble | learned, not only among crowned but among uncrowned heads, lords who vote with him, are, to this hour, persuaded marking out for prohibition and punishment the practices of that all alterations and amendments on their devices | devils and witches, and without any the slightest objection on are an unblushing controversy between youthful te. I the part of the great characters of that day in their high rituamerity and mature experience
tions, consigning men to death and torment for the misfortune
and so, in truth, they of not being so well acquainted as he was with the composition are-only that much-loved magistrate mistakes the of the Godhead. young for the old, and the old for the young-and is Under the name of exorcism the Catholic liturgy contains a guilty of that very sin against experience which he at- form of procedure for driving out devils:--even with the help tributes to the lovers of innovation.
of this instrument, the operation cannot be performed with We cannot of course be supposed to maintain that the desired success, but by an operator qualified by holy orour ancestors wanted wisdom, or that they were ne
ders for the working of this as well as so many other wondcessarily mistaken in their institutions, because their
ers. In our days and in our country the same object is attain
ed, and beyond comparison more effectually, by so cheap an means of information were more limited than ours. instru
nan ours. instrument as a common newspaper: before this talisman, not But we do confidently maintain that when we find it I only devils but ghosts, vampires, witches, and all their kindred expedient to change any thing which our ancestors tribes, are driv have enacted, we are the experienced persons, and touch of the holy water is not so intolerable to them as the cot they. The quantity of talent is always varving in bare smell of printers' ink.-(pp. 74-77.) any great nation. To say that we are more or less able than our ancestors, is an assertion that requires
Fallacy of irrerocable Laus.- A law, says Mr. Ben. 10 be explained. All the able men of all ages, who
tham, (no matter to what effect), is proposed to a le. have ever lived in England, probably possessed, if
gislative assembly, who are called upon to reject it, taken altogether, more intellect than all ihe able men
upon the single ground, that by those who in some now in England can boast of. But if authority must
former period exercised the same power, a regulation be resorted to rather than reason, the question is,
was made, having for its object to preclude for ever, what was the wisdom of that single age which enact:
or to the end of an unexpired period, all succeeding leed the law, compared with the wisdom of the age
gislators from enacting a law to any such effect as
that now proposed. which proposes to alter it? What are the eminent
Now it appears quite evident that, at every period men of the one and the other period? If you say that
of time, every legislature must be endowed with all our ancestors were wiser than us, mention your date and year. If the splendour of names is equal, are the
those powers which the exigency of the times may re. circumstances the same? If the circumstances are:
quire: and any attempt to infringe on this power is
inadmissible and absurd. The sovereign power, at the same, we have a superiority of experience, of which the difference between the two periods is the
any one period, can only form a blind guess at the
ineasures which may be necessary for any future pe. measure. It is necessary to insist upon this; for upon sacks of wool and on benches forensic, sit grave men,
riod : but by this principle of immutable laws, the goand agricolous persons in the Commons, crying out
verment is transferred from those who are necessari. "Ancestors, Ancestors ! hodie non! Saxons, Danes,
ly the best judges of what they want, to others who save us! 'Fiddlefrig, help us! Howel, Ethelwolf,!
I can know little or nothing about the matter. The
thirteenth century decides for the fourteenth. The protect us.'- Any cover for nonsense-any veil for
fourteenth makes laws for the fifteenth. The fifteenth irash-any pretext for repelling the innovations of
hermetically seals up the sixteenth, which tyrannizes conscience and of duty !
over the seventeenth, which again tells the eighteenth "So long as they keep to vague generalities—so long as the how it is to act, under circumstances which cannot be two objects of comparison are each of them taken in the lump foreseen, and how it is to conduct itself in exigencies -wise ancestors in one lump, ignorant and foolish mob of mod- which no human wit can anticipate. ern times in the other-the weakness of the fallacy may es. cape detection. But let them assign for the period of superior
• Men who have a century more of experience to ground wisdom any determinate period whatsoever, not only will the their judgments on, surrender their intellect to men who had a groundlessness of the notion be apparent (class being compar-century less experience, and who, unless that deficiency coned with class in that period and the present one), but, unless stitutes a claim, have no claim to preference. If the prior the antecedent period be comparatively speaking a very mod- gentleman were, in respect of intellectual qualification, cver ern one, so wide will be the disparity, and to such an amount
so much superior to the subsequent generation-if it under io favour of modern times, that, in comparison of the lowest
stood so much better than the subsequent generation itself the class of the people in modern times, (always supposing them interest of that subseouent generation could it have been in proficients in the art of reading, and their proficiency employ-au equal degree anxious to promote the interest, and conseed in the reading of newspapers), the very highest and best
quently equally attentive to those facts with which, though in informed class of these wise ancestors will turn out to be order to form a judgment it ought to have been, it is impossigrossly ignorant.
ble that it should have been acquainted ? In a word, will ity Take, for example, any year in the reign of Henry the love for that sub pauen
e reign of Henry the love for that subsequent generation be quite so great as that Eighth, from 1509 to 1546. At that time the House of Lords
Lords same generation's love for itself? would probably have been in possession of by far the larger Not even here, after a moment's deliberate reflection, will proportion of what little instruction the age afforded: in the the assertion be in the affirmative. And yet it is their prodiHouse of Lords, among the laity, it might even then be a ques- gious anxiety for the welfare of their posterity that produces tion whether, without exception, their lordships were all of the propensity of these sages to tie up the hands of this suine them able so much as to read. But even supposing them all
posterity for evermore to act as guardians to its perpetual in the fullest possession of that useful art, political science be- and incurable weakness, and take its conduct for ever out of in the science in question, what instruction on the subject its own hands. could they meet with at that time of day?
If it be right that the conduct of the 19th century should On no one branch of legislation was any book extant from be determined not by its own judgment. but by that of the which, with regard to the circumstances of the then present 18th, it will be equally right that the conduct of the 20th centimes, any useful instruction could be derived: distributive
be derived: distributive tury should be determined, not by its own judgment, but by law penal law, international law, political economy, so far that of the 19th. And if the same principle were still pursued, from existing as sciences, had scarcely obtained a name: in all what at length would be the conscquence that in process of those departments, under the head of quid faciendum, a mere time the practice of legislation would be at an end. The conblank: the whole literature of the age consisted of a meagreduct and fate of all men would be determined by those who chronicle or two, containing short memorandums of the usual neither knew nor cared any thing about the matter; and the occorrences of war and peace, battles, sieges, executions, rey
aggregate body of the living would remain for ever in subjecels, deaths, births, processions, ceremonies, and other external
tion to an inexorable tyranny, exercised as it were by the agevents; but with scarce a speech or an incident that could en
uden gregate body of the dead.'-(pp. 84-86.) ter into the composition of any such work as a history of the human mind-- with scarce an attempt at investigation into The despotism, as Mr. Bentham well observes, of causes, characters, or the state of the people at large. Even Nero or C a, would be more tolerable than an ir. when at last, little by little, a scrap or two of political instruc-i revocable law. The despot, through fear or favour, or tion came to be obtainable, the proportion of error and mis- in a lucid interval. might relent: but how are the Par. chievous doctrine mixed up with it was so great, that whether
liament, who made the Scotch Union, for example, to a blank unfilled might not have been less prejudicial than a
“be awakened from that dust in which they reposeblank thus filled, may reasonably be matter of doubt.
If we come down to the reign of James the First, we shall the jobber and the patriot, the speaker and the door. find that Solomon of his time eminently eloquent is well as keeper, the silent voters and the men of rich allusions