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Its mountains are more gigantic, its, rivers more majestic and extensive, and its lakes by far more numerous and spacious, than any thing the eastern hemisphere can boast. Corresponding to these in magnitude and grandeur are its natural productions. The richness, depth, and majesty of an American forest are unparalleled in any other quarter of the globe. The same thing is true with regard to our vegetable kingdom in general. For variety, beauty, and excellence it is without a rival. So exuberant are our mines of the precious metals, that compared to them the mines of other countries shrink into poverty and dwindle to a name. Our climate, though in some places variable and subject to extremes, is in other parts equable, mild, and delightful. And on the score of health, though we will not assert that we surpass the countries of the old world, yet, were the present a proper occasion for engaging in the enterprize, we would not shrink from the task of proving by unquestionable documents that we are not inferior to them. This fceble picture, however militant it may be with the pride and partialities of Europe, is notwithstanding true to nature.
Is the new world, then, in all respects equal--in most points, superior to the old, in beauty, grandeur, and excellence, and does it sustain such a blot in its chief glory, the character of its inhabitants? Has it come from the hand of nature, the chef d'æuvre of her power and skill, to be peopled only by a race of men but half made up-a race belittled and degraded, profligate and rude? Has it been made, in many parts, but little less than a terrestrial paradise, that it might be occupied and half cultivated only by a description of human beings but little superior in their standing to brutes? Is its natural scenery striking, romantic, picturesque and bold? And cannot this, as in other countries, elevate the human mind to a corresponding level, and imprint on it somewhat of a corresponding character? Is the sun in his passage over the Atlantic shorn of his beams? Can he not infuse into the souls of Americans as liberal a portion of his ethereal fire as he imparts to the inhabitants of the old world? Is not the serene heaven, the pure elastic air of the new world as likely to cherish the infant spark and ultimately evolve the flame of genius, as the liazy sky and "foggy atmo
sphere of Britain, and certain parts of the continent of Europe? Are not many tracts of country in America mountainous, rugged and healthful-alpine in appearance, alpine in character? And are not these capable, as elsewhere, of producing and nourishing an alpine race?
-A race of men active, hardy, vigorous, and intrepid ?-Free and ethereal minded themselves, formed to become the soldiers and guardians of freedom to others? Have we within, and contiguous to, the new world, rivers, lakes, seas, and oceans of unparalleled extent? And must not these as in other places, engender, have they not already engendered, all the unshrinking hardihood and dauntless enterprize of maritime adventure? Have we not, through the medium of commerce, an extensive and unrestrained intercourse with the most civilized, polished, and cultivated nations of the world? And must we not hence become assimilated to them in manners? Must we not become master of their learning, their knowledge, their refinements and all their improvements that are worthy of adoption?-Will not vigour of mind and vigour of body smens sana in corpore sano"-will not also cultivation of intellect, manners and taste, spring from the same sources in the west as in the east? Are the laws of nature so far suspended or perverted in relation to the new world, that the same causes which are effective elsewhere prove inoperative here-or, if they act at all, produce only effects inferior or opposite? Either these glaring inconsistencies, these palpable contrarieties in the operations of nature--these manifest deviations from her uniforn principles of action, must occur in the continent of America, or else the man of the west is physically and morally on a level with the inhabitant of the east-the natives of the new world with the natives of the old. For we repeat, that as far as the whole range of physical causes can be operative in the production of human excellence whether corporeal or mental, our own country may proudly challenge a comparison with any other inhabited section of the globe. To this not even ancient Greece, the once famed nursery of all that is elegant in form, marvellous in strength, daring in spirit, and exalted in intellect, presents an exception. So much, then, for physical and first principles, according to the fairest interpretation of which Ameri, cans, instead of being constitutionally a race of degraded mortals, are second to no people that have ever existed in their chance for attaining the summit of human perfection. It will, we trust, appear hereafter, that the tendency of most other causes, whether national or local, moral or political, to which we are subject, is to rear us to the same elevated standing. But to return to the Letters of Inchiquin.
These Letters are eight in number. The first four, though in no ordinary degree entertaining, and necessary to complete the fabric of the work, are notwithstanding greatly inferior to those that follow. Indeed like a well written and orthodox tragedy, the interest and real importance of the piece rise by degrees till we are conducted to the close. The judicious reader, therefore, who is pleased with the first part of the performance, will be delighted with the last.
The general purport of the four first letters is, to exhibit a view striking and practical of national attachments and national prejudices--to make manifest the tendency of the amor patriæ to bind men to the land of their fathers and kindred, even in the midst of privations, dangers, and distresses, and to demonstrate in them the existence of a disposition to under-rate and disparage other countries, though superior to their own in every possible point of comparison. But the particular intention of these four letters, and that with which we are, at present, more immediately concerned, is to present to the reader a living picture of some of the gross errors under which Europeans labour, and the unwarrantable prejudices which they consequently cherish, in relation to America.
With this twofold object in view, and keeping his eye fixed on these never-failing springs of national sentiment and affection, Inchiquin represents his correspondents from France as not only attached to their native, soil, but glorying in their birthright, and giving a decided and proud preference over every other to the state of things in that devoted country. Even the Conscription itself, the most galling and oppressive establishment that the spirit of mischief in hostility to man, ever devised and put in operation, is spoken of in terms of approbation and applause. In the hands of Napoleon, who is extravagantly, yet
not uncharacteristically likened to the cloud-compelling Jove, it is pronounced to be an engine of state, wise, salutary and powerful; to the individual not burthensome, and contributing essentially to the security and glory and happiness of the empire. But though thus dazzled with the splendour, and intoxicated with the fancied felicity of France, Charlemont and Pharamond (for such are the names of Inchiquin's Gallic correspondents) are not so entirely absorbed in transatlantic visions of bliss as to render them insensible to the supposed unhappy and degraded condition of America. Accordingly, with a want of courtesy scarcely characteristic of a well bred Frenchman, one of these Savans (for such he evidently deems himself) speaks rather sneeringly of the “education, manners, faces, figures, costume, and curiously heterogeneous" criscross origin of the “females" (not ladies) of the United States. He presumes that the breed of all of them is “infinitely mixed," participating of the English, the Indian, the Mulatto, the Creole, the African, and other crosses, and that therefore they must be most lamentably « streaked” and marked by no “predominant complexion." He is persuaded that “few of them can be fair, and none ruddythat a torrid Sun has gilded them with his cadaverous hues, driving the roses from their cheeks, with the verdure from their fields." He has further understood that they marry early, breed fast, fade soon, and die young." Having thus, not indeed, in the genuine spirit of an ancient French cavalier, or a modern French gallant, hurried them rather rapidly and uncourteously under the sod, here ends his creed respecting the American fair.
After stating his supposition that nothing which deserves the name of society," exists at present in the United States, or indeed in any part of the new world, he closes his letter with a philippic on the men, which for ignorance, illiberality, and ill nature, is a counterpart to that he had previously bestowed on the women of America.
The other wise man of France, not concealing, nor even attempting to conceal, the emotions of pity, scorn, and regret,
, which divide between them the empire of his bosom, declares that at the close of our revolution, we were a prudent and a
warlike-a characterized people. But that now we are become ignoble and rapacious—that commerce is our national bond of union, and knavery our predominant national characteristic. That consisting as we do, of a population composed of heterogeneous and militant materials, it is absurd to count on our continuance as a nation. He quotes an opinion of Aristotle unfavourable to the permanent existence of a mixed people in a national compact, and declares that this, “ when applied to the American States, is prophecy in the full train of verification.”
This enlightened philosopher and tender hearted philanthropist, deeply deploring the condition of a people fated to groan under the scorpion lash of that brace of evils, pestilential fever and political faction, takes his leave under a full concurrence in belief with that amiable vision-monger, the Abbé Raynal, that the population of America can never exceed ten millions o souls.
Inchiquin's third correspondent is his brother Clanrickard, who writes from London, though, like our author himself, he is one of the unfortunate sons, and might almost be regarded as an exile, of Erin. This writer, in common with those who had preceded him in the correspondence, is a mere composition of errors and prejudices, national attachments and national antipathies. What appears most remarkable in his history is, that though an Irishman, beggared in his fortune and ruined in his prospects, by an unlooked for and disastrous event, bearing evidently some relation to politics, he is still enthusiastically attached to the British government. Though we have ground to believe this to be by no means a common, perhaps scarcely a natural, trait in the character of a hot blooded Hibernian, under such circumstances, yet we are far from pronouncing its occurrence impracticable. But we ought probably to be the less surprized atit here, considering that it takes place in so neara kinsman of Inchiquin. That gentleman, with a host of good qualities, has evidently in his composition certain whims and eccentricities not a little remarkable-whims and eccentricities, the want of which would be no detraction from his worth. Perhaps he is descended from a family distinguished by some obliquity of disposition. And if so, this may show itself in his brother