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their recent destruction of internal revenue, and occupation of
Importance of the United States.-Misrepresentations
of Travellers, &c.
THE resources and character, the present power, and future prospects, of the United States, are very imperfeetly appreciated or understood by the nations of Europe. Nay, one of the great British critics has recently informed us, that the Americans themselves have not yet told their own story well; nor sufficiently directed their mind towards fathoming the capabilities of their own country.
To ascertain and exhibit the resources of this extended and rapidly-rising empire, is worthy the attention of every one who feels a deep interest in the wellbeing of the republic. Indeed, no object can be presented more worthy of the contemplation of all the nations of the globe, than the growing capacities of a commonwealth which has borne itself triumphantly through two severe and bloody conflicts, against the most fearful odds; and run a career of peace, unexampled in enterprise and prosperity throughout the history of the world.
Humanly speaking, no circumstances can prevent these United States from becoming, eventually, and at no distant period, a great and powerful nation, in
fluencing and controlling the other sovereignties of the world ;- :-seeing that they are secure from the dread of powerful neighbours ; that they are not composed of detached and distant territories ; but that one connected, fertile, wide-spreading country is the goodly heritage of their dominion ; that they are blessed with a vast variety of soils and productions, and are watered with innumerable streams for the delight and accommodation of their inhabitants; that a succession of navigable rivers forms an ocean-chain around their borders, to bind them together; while the most capacious waters, running at convenient distances, present them with so many highways for the mutual transportation and exchange of all their various commercial commodities, both rude and manufactured ; and also for the easy communication of all friendly aids, political and military.
In addition to the Atlantic States, exhibiting upwards of two thousand miles of sea-coast, with innumerable bays, creeks, rivers, ports, and harbours, and covering a surface of nearly one million of square miles,
a displaying every variety of soil and produce,-a new empire has suddenly sprung up within the bosom of the union, like an exhalation from the earth. I mean that immense region called the Western
Country; bounded on the north by the great lakes Erie, Huron, and Superior, and the chain of waters between the Grand Portage and the Lake of the Woods; on the west by the Rocky Mountains ; on the south by the Gulf of Mexico; on the east by the Alleghany Hills ; comprising full fifteen hundred thousand square miles, and more than fifty thousand miles of internal ship and boat navigation. It contains two thousand miles of lake; one thousand miles of gulf; and one hundred thousand miles of river coast. The whole country is one continued intersection of rivers, communicating with each other.
These vast territorial domains are held by a population, free as the air they breathe-a population, powerful in physical activity and strength; patient of toil,
MISREPRESENTATIONS OF TRAVELLERS.
and prodigal of life ; brave, enterprising, intelligent, and persevering ; presenting, both in body and in mind, the noblest materials for the formation of national greatness, prosperity, and influence.
There are many and obvious reasons why the nations of Europe are unacquainted with the resources and character of the United States; which present institutions political and social, altogether unique, and unparalleled in the annals of humankind. It is sufficient merely to mention one very broad source of European ignorance, with respect to this country; namely, the opposite, but equally erroneous views which the various travellers from Europe have given of the American Republic. By far the greater portion of these writers have fallen into the vitious extreme of unbounded praise, or of indiscriminate censure.
Many persons, frustrated in their pernicious hopes at home, and sometimes smarting from the recent scourge ; men who have been arraigned at the bar of justice in their own land, as traitors and felons, and have exchanged the well-merited gallows for an ignominious exile, have generally depicted this country as the seat of uncontaminated purity, and uninterrupted happiness. If we may believe the assertions of these political philosophers, the soil every where teems with spontaneous plenty; the air is balmy and fragrant; the soft delights of perpetual spring dwell upon the land ; the form of government, as it is written down upon paper, and appears in a printed book, is the model of all human perfection ; the rulers are, of necessity, all virtue, wisdom, and strength; and the people, who elect, and from the midst of whom are elected these rulers, are, invariably, all incorruptible in their political integrity, pure in their personal conduct, simple and refined in their social manners. Vice knows no habita. . tion here ; and Paradise is again restored on earth, as it existed, in all the bloom of innocence and love, before the fall of our primeval parents.
Another set of writers, either rankling under the disappointment of their too sanguine expectations of suc
cess in this country; or, from a very slight and superficial view of what they did not understand, and under the guidance of that self-sufficient malignity, which is the inseparable concomitant of dulness and ignorance, and measuring every thing they saw here by the habits and manners of the people in their own country, and resolutely condemning whatsoever differed from the standard to which they themselves had been accustomed; without ever once reflecting upon the very different states of society which must necessarily take place in an old, long-established, and fully peopled country, and in one which Jabours under all the peculiar circumstances of national infancy-a thin and a scattered population over an immense extent of territory. The unfinished condition of its social habits, the fluctuation of its political institutions, the uncertainty of its popular movements, have taken upon themselves to represent these United States as cursed with a barren and inhospitable soil; an ungenial and dreary clime; a government full of weakness, fraud, and violence; a people made up and compounded of the sweepings and refuse of Europe -"the taint of anarchy, and the blast
“ of crime,”-fickle and turbulent in their politics, rude and coarse in their behaviour, and steeped in all the vulgar brutality of vice and faction.
Gilbert Imlay, and M. St. John de Crevecoeur, author of “ The American Farmer," and of pretended “ Travels in Upper Pennsylvania and the State of New York,” have exceedingly exaggerated the excellencies of the United States, by representing them as the abode of more than all the perfection of innocence, happiness, plenty, learning, and wisdom, than can be allotted to human beings to enjoy. A far greater number of writers, however, have outraged decency, by loading the American people with abuse and calumny. Among the vilest and silliest of these, are Parkinson, an English farmer; Ashe, a soi-disant military officer ; and one Jansen, a non-descript.
These writers, as appears from their own confession, never herded with any other companions than the