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veis in the Interior of the United States,” by Jolin Bradbury, F. L. S., an entertaining and instructive book. Mr. Morris Birkbeck's “ Notes of a Journey in America, from the coast of Virginia to the territory of Illinois, with the exception of some Jacobin slang against England and her institutions, will be found a valuable and interesting little work.
Let it not be imagined, that I seek, by thus censuring many of the writers who have treated of this country, to recommend to the notice of the reader the opinions contained in the present work. It is merely desired to state the simple fact, that the people of this country have been grossly misrepresented ; and some publications have been referred to, as proving the correctness of this statement. The chief intention of the following pages is to show, that the truth, as is
generally the case in all human opinions and transactions, lies between the two extremes, which have been chosen by the calumniators and panegyrists of the United States ; that this country is neither the garden of Eden nor the valley of Tophet; that the Americans themselves are neither angels nor fiends, but human beings, clothed with flesh and blood, possessing the appetites and passions, the powers and frailties of mortality; and greatly influenced in their feelings, sentiments, and conduct, by the peculiar circumstances in which they are placed. It is wished, “nothing extenuating, nor setting down aught in malice,” to give a faithful portrait, a living likeness of the habits and condition of an enterprising, intelligent, spirited, aspiring people, that must be, ere long, and that ought, before this period, to have been better known, and more justly appreciated by the potentates and nations of Europe.
On the Aspect, Agriculture, Population, &c. of the
It is not intended, in the following pages, to give a minute detail of the agriculture, commerce, finances, politics, religion, education, literature, habits, and manners of the United States ; but merely to present a brief outline of their resources and character, such as they appear, from an inspection and examination during several years. The reader who wishes for more ample information upon the statistics of this country, is referred to the second edition of Mr. Pitkin's very valuable work, entitled “ A statistical View of the Commerce of the United States of America ; its connexion with Agriculture and Manufactures,” &c. giving an account of the public debt, revenues, and expenditure of the United States, &c. to Mr. Tench Coxe's “ View of the United States of America,” exhibiting the progress and present state of civil and religious liberty, population, agriculture, exports, imports, fisheries, navigation, ship-building, manufactures, and general improvements; to Mr. Blodget's “ Economica, a Statistical Manual for the United States of America ;" to Mr. Jefferson's “ Notes on Virginia," in answer to certain questions proposed by M. Barbe de Marbois; to the Western Gazetteer, or Emigrant's Directory,” containing a geographical description of the Western States and Territories, including the States of Kentucky, Indiana, Louisiana, Ohio, Tennessee, and Mississippi, and the Territories of Illinois, Missouri, Alabama, Michigan, and Northwestern ; out of which may be carved at least
twelve new states, each as large as the United Kingdom of Great-Britain and Ireland. And, finally, the reader may consult Dr. Morse's “ American Universal Geography,” which contains much valuable information, respecting the United States generally, and each separate state in particular.
The United States possess prodigious physical capabilities of wealth and greatness, in a home territory, spread out to an enormous extent, and fertile in most of those productions which minister to the necessities and gratifications of man ; in navigable rivers, capacious and convenient ports, and the Atlantic main, which connects them with the other portions of the world. All these advantages, brought into exercise by the spirit and
perseverance of an intelligent and enterprising people, afford the means and facilities of acquiring ample power, and permanent strength. Indeed, the whole aspect of Nature here, in America, has a direct tendency to enlarge and elevate the mind of the sensible and refined spectator. Little are the feelings of that being to be envied, whose heart does not swell with sublime emotions, when he sees with what a bold and magnificent profusion the living God has scattered the great works of his creation in this quarter of the globe ; on how vast and awful a scale of grandeur He has piled up the mountains, spread out the vallies, planted the forests, and poured forth the floods.
Some political writers and moral philosophers have asserted, that assemblages of the grander objects of nature tend directly to elevate the minds of those who live in their vicinity, and to give them a magnanimity of thought and action, which we look for in vain from the inhabitants of less favoured regions. And the elevation of mind, which is supposed to characterize the Scottish Highlander and the peasant of Switzerland, is referred to the effect produced by the sublime scenery which the rugged mountains, the winding streams, the sunken glens, and the roaring torrents of their respective countries continually offer to their per: eeption and contemplation. This position, however,
ASPECT OF THE UNITED STATES.
ought to be restricted in its application, and considered as relating only to those who are endowed with quick perceptions and acute feelings; for all experience proves, that upon ordinary minds, upon the great and grosser mass of human animals, no such exalting effect is produced, by the contemplation of nature in any of her visible forms, either of magnificence or beauty.
The great majority of mankind, either employed in providing for the necessities of the passing day, or intent upon the pursuit of wealth, or engaged in administering to the gratification of the grosser senses, have neither the inclination nor the ability to derive pleasure from surveying the calm or the agitated ocean; or from observing the various beauties of nature that adorn the fair face of the earth. All that the sea can present of value or delight to them is contained in her depths, or wafted on her bosom, in the shape of marketable commodities; and all of satisfaction or comfort that they can derive from the earth is either pent up within her bowels, in the form of the more precious minerals or metals, or appear upon her surface, in all the variety of those animal and vegetable productions that can be converted into nutriment or profit. Much stress, therefore, is not to be laid upon the grand disposition of natural scenery in the United States, as regulating or affecting the moral and political character of the American people.
President Montesquieu, and other political philosophers (besides M, Brissot de Warville and Mr. Gilbert), do, indeed, attribute much of national character to physical circumstances, as scenery, soil, climate, &c. But the physical circumstances of Greece and Rome are the same now as in the days of Pericles and Plato, of Cæsar and Cicero. Yet how different now are the Men of Athens and Rome, quantum matatus ab illo Hectore! Such is the quickening power of liberty, not only to render man, individually, great and powerful, but also, to render his country, for its allotted hour, lord of the ascendant over other nations, while despotism debases the individual citizens into slaves, and makes their country the vassal of vassals.: Witness
Greece, once the pride and terror of the world, now à bondwoman to the ignorant and barbarous Turk; wit. ness Rome, once mistress of the earth, now the miserable asylum of a cumbrous superstition, decaying even to the last faint gleam of extinction.
Prior to the reign of the Imperial Charles the Fifth, Spain was the freest nation in Europe: the her kings was guardedly limited; all orders were admitted to an equal representation in the diet; she maintained an entire independence on the Roman Church; she engaged and excelled in every walk of literature, science, and erudition; she influenced and controlled every other European sovereignty. Now, she is the forlorn and abject slave of papal superstition, the victim of the inquisition, dark, ignorant, helpless, a prey to the most despicable civil and religious bondage. Yet the plains of Castile and Arragon show as wide a champaign, and the range of the Pyrenees, the chain of the Sierra Morena, and the Mountains of the Asturias, lift their heads as proudly to the skies, now in the darkest hour of Spanish thraldom and degradation, as in her brightest day of civil and religious liberty, chivalric heroism, and mental illumination. The character
: of nations, therefore, is formed, not by physical, but by moral causes and influences, as government, religion, laws, and education, which will, hereafter, be shown at length.
The United States are situated between 25° 50' and 49° 17' north latitude, and between 10° east and 48° 204 west longitude from Washington. The most northern part is bounded by a line, running due west from the northwest corner of the Lake of the Woods, and the southern extremity is the outlet of the Rio del Norte. The eastern extremity is the Great Menan Island, on the coast of Maine, and the western extremity is Cape Flattery, north of Columbia River, on the Pacific Ocean. Their greatest extent from north to south is 1,700 miles, and from east to west 2,700. Their surface covers more than 2,500,000 square miles, or 1,600,000,000 acres ; and their population is ten