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ment Whatever gratification we might experience from being made acquainted with the author of so distinguished a performance, we cannot suffer our want of knowledge on that head to effect any serious discount on the pleasure and instruction to bé derived from his labours. On such an occasion, instead of inquiring “too curiously,” we hold it is wisest to follow the advice of the Grecian minstrel, and “ take the good the gods provide
When we quench our thirst in the pure and translucent waters of the rill, the refreshment thence received is nothing the less from our not having leisure to trace the stream to its source, and gratify our curiosity by a view of the chrystal fountain from whence it issues. Whether the original manuscript of the work in question was purchased in the streets of Antwerp or in a book-store in Newyork-whether it was written by an Irish jesuit, or an American statesman by a hermit of Nev. jersey pining in a cave, or a gentleman of Philadelphia coin. fortable in his closet--from whatever source it may have originated, from whatever quarter of the world it may
have are matters of no consequence. It is sufficient that the work is now before us, with all its faults and all its excellencies, capable of analysis and inviting attention.
With what may be called the machinery or plot of this little work, we have nothing to do. Though it is a pretended correspondence carried on by four individuals, and though the leto ters under the signatures of the several characters differ materially from each other in style and manner (a circumstance which bespeaks a happy and commanding versatility in the talents of the writer) the whole is evidently the production of the same pen. Nor does this slight embroidery of fiction which the author has contrived to throw around his plan, tend in any measure to detract from its merit. On the other hand we think it rather adds to its excellence, certainly to the interest with which it is perused, inasmuch as it brings before the public in a more pleasing and attractive form, and thereby renders more distinct and impressive, the several points proposed for discussion.
Viewing the Letters of Inchiquin surrounded, brightened, and enhanced by all the circumstànces and considerations which tend to give them character, ae hail their appearance
with a peculiar welcome. We will treat them with courtesy; but it shall not be courtesy unmingled with justice. A work of the kind has been long wanted long a desideratum in American literature. We have only to regret that the production before us is not more extensive--that it does not conduct us through the entire field which was unquestionably in the view, and might have been so easily embraced in the scope of the writer. Its limited range is, in our view, its greatest fault.
Attached as we are to the United States by every tie that can bind an individual to the land of his nativity-the land in which the ashes of his forefathers are inurned, we cannot without emotions of scorn and indignation listen to the flippant slanders, the ill-contrived falsehoods, the wanton defamation, which for thirty years past have been heaped on our country by foreign writers. We cannot without an abhorrence of the profligacy and a contempt for the shallowness of those engaged in the nefarious and pitiful plot, witness the various attempts that have been made, and are still making, to degrade in the eye of the world our fellow citizens and all that is American, from that proud and honourable standing to which we know them to be justly entitled, and which we are confident they will ultimately acquire and retain.
On this head even the philosophers and statesmen of the old world are sufficiently faulty. But having never visited the western hemisphere themselves, and being, no doubt, misled by the fictions of travellers, they have fallen into a venial transgression. They have not sinned voluntarily-have not outraged the evidence of their senses. We therefore excuse their errors, and pity their weakness, while we regret their prejudices, and blame their credulity. The principal wrongs our country has sustained in its reputation have been inflicted by a different and very dissimilar class of writers. We allude to that turba proterva, that malapert and profligate gang of tourists, whom, like the recrement of the pool, or the spume of the troubled ocean, poverty, disappointment, the dread of justice, a stagnation of wholesome employment, a spirit of state intrigue, the commotions of Europe, or a temperament of mind habitually discontented, have from time to time discharged on our stores,
imagination bounded in its range only be
We allude to such idle visionaries as Brissot, such wordy gossips as Liancourt, such disgusting obloquists as Bulow, such unprincipled ingrates as Weld, whose tongue could drop venom on the hospitable hand that fed him, such contemptible fictionmongers as Ashe, who slandered and lied, as if by profession, till even he himself grew sick of his calling-and to that suing, wooing, amatory, half-prose, half-verse, licentious defamer, Anacreon Moore. Against this latter tourist, in particular, it becomes us to point arrows of scorn trebly keen, and level bolts of indignation “red with uncommon wrath.” To the distinguished and fascinating beauties of his pen, when worthily employed, we bear no reluctant testimony. In some respects we think him unrivalled. With all the stores of classical literature at his command_stores calculated to purify the heart, chasten the morals, refine the taste, and elevate the mind with an
bounds our knowledge of creation-with the whole paradise of fancy open to his curious eye and discriminating choice—with all that belongs to the elegant scholar combined with all the witchery of the poet, he could be at no loss for subjects to adorn by his powers of song--at no loss for materials to weave for his brow an unfading chaplet. At proh pudor ! quantum mutatus ab illo ! how disgracefully changed ! how ingloriously fallen! He, whom nature had formed to be a swan in song and the bird of Jove in the strength of his pinions, has stooped from his sphere to calumniate in obscene ribaldry and pitiful doggerel a people entitled to the costliest tribute his gratitude could pay-A people who had received him to their bosom with parental affection, and whose hospitality and attention had strewed flowers on his path. What terms of scorn and indignation can recompence the meanness and profligacy of such a character, when he wantonly assails such a people in a strain of invective imbued with all the aconite of his nature, and composed of a tissue of cold blooded false
! Nor, to finish our catalogue, must we omit to mention infidel Volney, who, though superior in intellect, yet a match for his colleagues in moral depravity, cohors fratrum nobilis, Arcades omnes, could descend to pollute with statements which he knew to be untrue, the page which might have been other
wise the repository of his glory-It is to these writers we al.. lude it is these et omnia ejusmodi pecora we would delibe. rately immolate on the altar of detestation, when we complain that our country has been flagitiously defamed. And it is for his spirited and masculine stand against the deluge of obloquy which has flowed from their pens, that Inchiquin is entitled to the gratitude of Americans.
These writers have all visited the new world, have travelled through a part of it, and, if not blinded by prejudice, have beheld it as it is. They have had an opportunity to survey the grandeur of its outline, and the magnificence of its stupendous and imposing features-Its natural productions in all their immensity, variety and beauty could not have failed to attract their notice--They have had time, at least before writing they should have taken time, to study the character of its inhabitants, in relation to morals, manners, industry, literature, and civil polity.-They ought to have become perfectly acquainted with the powers and state of cultivation of their minds, the virtues and charities of their hearts, and with all their qualities and endowments whether personal, social, or intellectual, calculated to contribute to the worth and dignity of the individual, the comfort and polish of society, and to the strength, security, and wellbeing of the state. Of all these circumstances, besides a variety of others of minor consideration, it was the indispensable duty of the tourists in question to have acquired an intimate and commanding knowledge, by accurate observation and a series of deliberate attention and study, before they had presumed to offer instruction to the world on the subject of America. Having accomplished this, it was their last, their first, their most sacred duty, to discard from their minds prepossession and prejudice and every consideration that might enlarge or diminish or distort the features of their narrative.
But is it probable that this motley corps of writers (some of whom were evidently hired and had covenanted to conceal and violate the truth, while others were almost famishing for bread) Is it probable, we say, that thus circumstanced, these writers submitted to so laborious a system of discipline to prepare themselves for the performance of the tasks they had in view?
Did they in a spirit of candour and fidelity make an actual collection of materials for their work? And having made such coltection, were they, while writing, careful to discriminate between the result of observation and the illusions of fancy--the discolourings of prejudice and the dictates of truth? Were they solicitous to represent nature and society truly, as they appeared to the eye of unclouded discernment? Or did they not rather draw the distorted picture from images engendered in their own jaundiced vision and alienated minds? Did they not rather give a dark and disgusting portrait of their own wishes, their own prejudices, their own evil passions and ungenerous feelings, than of nature and society in the western world? After the most attentive perusal of their writings, and a careful comparison of them with every thing around us, we deliberately and firmly believe that they didWe believe that these works exhibit a picture of their authors; we are sure it is not a picture of America.
Let us take a momentary survey of the physical circumstances of the western hemisphere, and judging from the well known laws and immutable principles of nature, say, if the continent of America could have been intended by its Creator to be in any respect inferior to the other quarters of the globe? If we are not deceived, such a survey will convince us, that, as far as appearances are to be trusted, as far as they are to be received as the language of nature, it is stamped with the characters of a decided superiority-characters which announce it to be intended as the place, where the greatness and excellence of man are destined to reach their highest perfection on earth.
In contemplating the mighty fabric of the American continent, we perceive that it greatly surpasses the continents of the old world in the boldness and illimitable extent of its outline. Running from north to south, it feels the influence of four zones, and seems to have meditated the formation of a solid highway from pole to pole. With this intent it shoots its highlands into the vast austral Pacific, far beyond the southernmost extremes of Asia or Africa, while its northern boundary lies concealed in the impassible regions of frost. Nor are its internal features less stupendous and magnificent than its external dimensions.