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us proceed to remark upon one or two incidental matters connected with the
reasons, we had determined to pursue. Yet, when the offense was brought to her attention, and brought, we are happy to say,* in a manner alike forbearing and respectful, it was not met, as such an offense should be, by a prompt and indignant denial, nor by a sincere apology (which would have been abundantly satisfactory to our government and people); but it was diplomatically shuffled away, half disclaimed and half extenuated; and the very fact of our asking redress for violated laws, was made the ground of our own arraignment on the score of laxity of principle. Lord Clarendon's replies were neither statesmanlike, manly, nor honest. A manifest wrong was laid before him-a wrong, about the nature of which, or the commission of which, there could not be, under the circumstances, two opinions-but, instead of frankly confessing it, and tendering the customary satisfaction, he went on refining, and accusing, and postponing, until there was no recourse for our government but the peremptory dismissal of the English representatives who had offended. All the while the British press was allowed to ring the changes of abuse on Brother Jonathan for his unconscionable obstinacy in refusing to be satisfied. "Between gentlemen," exclaimed Lord Palmerston, "when a real or fancied wrong is handsomely acknowledged or explained, there is an end"-leaving it to be inferred that Jonathan was no gentleman. But he concealed the important incident, that no apology had ever been offered to this government. Up to this time, as far as the correspondence has appeared, no such apology has been rendered. A good deal of the sinuosity of the British cause is to be excused on the ground of the traditional indirection of diplomacy, which allows it to say nothing plainly, that by any possibility can be disguised or twisted; but the world should understand, at the same time, that there has been nothing unreasonable, nor arrogant, nor headstrong, in the demands of the American government.
Leaving the details of these controversies, however, to the politicians, let
main dispute. It is a favorite practice of the British writers, whenever one of these chronic disagreements occurs, to charge the American people with cherishing a rooted antipathy to England. Now, we emphatically repel the charge. We believe that the greater part of our people entertain the most friendly dispositions towards her. There is a considerable number of Irish citizens among us, who conceive that they have no love to lose on the British government, and who, being voters, influence a certain class of political men to the same way of thinking; but the majority of us do not share their prejudices, whether well or ill founded. We estimate the character of the English nation from a stand-point of our own. Its robust and sterling virtues we sincerely admire its glorious literature has fed our hearts and minds with their best impulses and their best thoughts-and its grand example of political freedom, when compared with the condition of the rest of Europe, causes us to thank God that there is yet one mighty bulwark of constitutional government opposed to the encroaching despotisms of the Continent. Our extensive commercial relations, too, have knit innumerable lesser ties of friendship, which it would be hard to sever. Meanwhile, we are not insensible to the defects and weaknesses of our ancestral relatives. We perceive in them certain peculiarities of temperament, which it would not be wise to ignore. The same personal and national traits which have rendered them almost universally unpopular among French and Germans, are noted in this country. What those characteristics are, it were needless to specify; but we may hint, that the description given by Lord Bolingbroke, in his letters on the "Study of History," of the Romans in the days of Regulus, viz., that they were impelled by an insatiable thirst of military fame, an unconfined ambition of extending their empire, an extravagant confidence in their own courage and force, an insolent contempt of their enemies, and an impetuous, overbear
Let us here echo the sentiment of the whole nation, in commending the ability, firmness, dignity, and moderation. with which Mr. Marcy has conducted this controversy. At a time when the heavens have seemed to rain the smallest order of officials upon us, it is some consola tion that there is one man, at least, in the government who is truly a statesman.
ing spirit, with which they pursue all their enterprises,”—would be regarded by many as not untrue if applied to his own countrymen. The energy which has enabled the inhabitants of an insignificant island to extend their dominion to every part of the globe, until there is hardly a creek unploughed by their ships, or a land unspotted by their colonies, must ever be a theme of wonder and admiration to mankind; but it must also be a cause of unceasing solicitude and watchfulness.
In the genuine triumphs of British civilization, every American of advanced opinions takes an interest; but he does not feel called upon, on that account, to waste his friendly sympathies on schemes of British aggrandizement, or upon British political alliances, which reflect no honor. When England, for example, joins hands with the most unprincipled despot and usurper of modern times-when she compels that fair and lustrous queen to buckle on the garter of a foul upstart, whose hands reek with the blood of his countrymen, and whose lips are hot with perjuries-and all for no great or humanitary purpose, as we can see, but with a problematic design of checking a power quite as good as either of her allies-this republic must stand aloof. When that alliance is further heralded by ominous outgivings of a general purpose to undertake the police of the world, strong as the ties of consanguinity may be with us, numerous and vital as are the bonds of interest and intercourse which influence us, we must beg to be excused from any active participation in the union. At least, we shall desire first a complete understanding of the objects it contemplates, with an assurance that the tremendous forces which are organized will not, sooner or later, direct their energies towards our own devoted heads. For it is scarcely possible to disguise the fact, that although the interests of the British people are substantially the same as the interests of the American people, the policy of their oligarchy, to which they have often exhibited such a servile devotion, is linked in, by the prejudices and prospects of caste, with the policy of more despotic rulers. Constitutionally, we may admit the government of England to be on the side of freedom, and that the tendency of opinion, among the middle and laboring classes, is favorable to democratic
rather than absolute institutions; but the actual control of affairs is in the hands of privileged gentlemen, whose love of the popular cause is not overweening or conspicuous. They associate with kings and their representatives; the perpetuity of their order depends very much upon the maintenance of the existing status, on the Continent as well as at home; and it is not to be supposed. that in the conflicts, which must inevitably arise, as the condition of society now is, between the few and the many, their sympathies will run in the same direction in which those of a large majority of our people must flow. It is with no unfriendly feeling, therefore, but under a paramount sense of what is due to our own security, and to that side of the great humanitary cause to which we are committed, that we often withhold from England a too eager and spontaneous support.
Let it be remarked, at the same time, that if our feelings towards England were even acrimonious, which they are not, there has been much, in the habitual attitude of that nation towards us, to awaken ungenerous sentiments. On two occasions, it has waged aggressive wars upon us, which left deep traces of those unhappy passions incident to a state of war-deeper, in fact, than the enmities ordinarily aroused, by the mere or remote encounter of armies; because they were accompanied by an actual invasion of our soil. The hatreds engendered by a conflict between the regular forces of two nations, and on some distant field, perhaps, are not half so rancorous as those which are produced by a nearer and more immediate grapple, when one party molests the other in its very home, and excites, besides the usual animosities of patriotism, the keener malice of personal resentment. For a long while after our Revolution, and for a short while after our second war, the name of Englishman was a hissing and reproach among us, because the turf was yet green upon the graves of our relatives and friends, and the wounds of the battle yet unhealed; but these remembrances gradually passed away, until now few vestiges of them remain. Nor, we are persuaded, would there have been a single vestige remaining, had the writers of Great Britain pursued subsequently a more amicable course, in their discussions of our na
tional peculiarities and manners. But their Fidlers, Halls, Trollopes, and Dickenses, have delighted in exposing us to the ridicule of the world. It is true that much of their banter has been richly deserved-it is true that our sensitiveness has been excessive and puerile -and that if we had possessed a genuine self-respect, we should have despised all their ill-natured flings, and been grateful for those which really disclosed our faults. But our society was immature and young, ambitious to stand well in the opinions of others, and conscious, in the midst of all its short-comings, of some desert—while it was less the special criticism of such writers, than the general animus in which that criticism was sure to find an echo, which disturbed our serenity. The jealous selflove of the popular body fancied that it saw in these incessant attacksoften quite regardless of justice foregone determination to abuse. could laugh, with the rest of the world, at the amusing pictures of vulgarity, conceit, slave-driving, and what not, which were drawn at its own expense; but, as no large collection of men is ever wholly abandoned of the gods and graces, it did hope to discover, somewhere in the representation, some recognition of an energy which was fast redeeming a continent, and of a virtue which upheld a very grand social experiment. It looked, however, in vain for this solace; and it is only within the last ten years since it has been shown that the United States has grown more rapidly in population and wealth than any other nation-since her productive industry has become immense, her tonnage superior to all, and her military power most formidable-that the exasperating tone of foreign remark has been somewhat modified. Even now, that quiet assumption of moral superiority, which accosts every American in England, even in the most refined and friendly circles-an assumption so ludicrous that it ought to provoke mirth rather than offense--is scarcely laid aside by men of intelligence and liberality, while it swells and bristles in the journals, in all its original insolence.
Another impression, common in England, which we desire to correct, is that which ascribes a decided warlike tendency to the American people. If the journalists of London are to be believed, the inhabitants of this country are
mainly intent on schemes for invading the territories of their neighbors, and provoking war at any and all hazards. There are certain effete maxims running through the speculations of some of the old publicists, as to the extreme restlessness and mobility of democratic society, which these writers appear to have adopted in full, and which they apply with so little thought, that they seem to have no other idea of a democracy, than of a horde of freebooters, whose chief occupation, when not quarreling among themselves, is making forays on all the rest of the world. The filibusterism of the United States, consequently, which is a mere sporadic symptom, confined to special places and men, they regard as a constitutional infection, under which the very government takes on a diseased action. As if the twenty-five millions of us had nothing else to do than to get up pleas ant excursions to Cuba or the Sandwich Islands! As if the mad propagandism of a few noisy pro-slavery zealots were the accepted gospel of our faith! Did these apprehensive gentlemen know the real nature of democracy-were they well acquainted with the prevailing pursuits of our people, they would see, that of all the nations of the earth, the United States is that which least desires war, and whose glory most largely consists in peace.
Nine-tenths of the people in this country are engaged in industrial occupations, either as planters, farmers, merchants, or tradesmen, whose entire interests are identified with the maintenance of friendly relations with other people. Our professional classes are dependent upon these, having very much the same hopes and fears; while there is no single class, no body of men, in fact-except a few military heroes, and the floating militia of crime and poverty, who gather in the large cities, and to whom any change is desirablewho could reap any benefit from a state of hostility. But, in addition to these lower influences of trade, it is the peculiar tendency of a democratic condition of society, to inspire all its subjects with a love for the arts of peace, whereby their social circumstances are improved, their minds enlarged, and their future prospects expanded. Where the means of high social success is in everybody's reach, and where intelligence is almost universal,
the prevailing motives of the nation must be peaceful, and not warlike.
We think, therefore, that it is no exaggeration to say, that in this country, with the large majority of its people, the very whisper of war is always heard with a feeling of aversion and horror. The settled sentiment pronounces the state of war a state of such unmitigated evil, so fraught with injustice, cruelty, and rapine, and so fruitful of individual and national distress, that no sane mind can regard it as other than one of the greatest human curses. It is felt to be a curse alike to the commercial prosperity, the public honor, the domestic peace, and the moral integrity of nearly all who are engaged in it; while it has few redeeming influences, and those of an incidental sort, more apparent among semi-barbarous nations, in which war is the alternative of despotism, than among more civilized people. For, as nations advance in knowledge and refinement, as their institutions grow more liberal and just, and the great ends of civil and religious liberty become more and more the pervading impulse of legislation and action, they must feel, all the more strongly, the inherent wickedness and folly of war, and the inestimable value of national concord. Now, it is the boast of our country that she is superior to all others in intelligence; that she has carried to the highest perfection, the practice of government, which is founded, not upon the advantage of any class, but the well-being of all classes; and, to be true to herself, she must maintain, that the noblest national aim, is not the triumph of her arms, but of her arts-not the manifestation of her power in deeds of violence, but in acts of beneficence-not the destruction of human life and happiness, but the elevation and the improvement of the masses of mankind.
Let no one imagine for a moment, however, because we are trained and addicted to peace, without defenses and without an army, that we are wholly unfitted for war; for it is not so. At the outset of any contest, it is true, that the smallest maritime power of Europe could inflict upon us immense injuries. Its fleets might batter our towns, set fire to our cities, sink our merchantmen, and destroy property to an incalculable amount. The arrest of trade, VOL. VII.-35
consequent upon this, might drop thousands of our inhabitants into an abyss of misery. No one can well conceive how much the mechanics and traders of the sea-board cities, and of the nearer towns dependent upon them, would suffer. But the vast agricultural population of the interior would remain intact, the vast agricultural resources of the nation would soon repair the breaches in property, and, after the tremor of the first shock, our social system would recover itself with more than pristine vigor. There is such an elasticity in the energies of our democratic life-as it has been proved in many instances of serious calamity-such vivid force of recuperation, such readiness, quickness, fitness of action, that all disasters come before it as temporary. Famines, fires, bankruptcies, pestilences, which would leave great gaps in the development of other people, are here retrieved by the ever young life of the nation, almost as soon as they are felt. After the distresses of the first campaign, then, this nation, in any case of war, would show itself quite invincible. The victory, in protracted struggles, generally reverts to the side of money and men, and nowhere is there more available wealth, or more available muscle, than in the United States. Comparatively without debt, the two hundred millions of dollars which England, France, Austria, etc., each annually expend as the interest on past wars, and in preparations for future wars, we devote to the construction of rail-roads, and to the improvement of ships. Our very weakness, as some would consider it-the want of coast defenses and an established army-has been our strength. It has left us untouched and vast material resources, in place of staggering financial embarrassments, and a million of volunteer citizensoldiers, easily fitted for battle, in place of unwilling and unwieldy mercenaries, raised by conseription, and impelled only by force. It is the distinction of democracies, that the national cause is the individual cause; and, in the event of a contest, it may be said of them universally, as Tacitus said of the old Batavians, that "others go to battle, but these go to war." They make the quarrel their own, and their enthusiasm, their endurance, their energy, once quickened, only slacks with the final triumph.
Ir is with no small pleasure that we hear, from many booksellers, the announcement of a perceptible falling off in that class of books which go among the trade by the name of "sensation-books." They are generally of the sort advertised as "thrilling," exquisite," " intensely interesting," and which' are said to run through editions of twenty and thirty thousand copies in less than a month. We have so often, within the last year, taken occasion to let our readers know the character of these publications, that we have no need now to explain it at length. Suffice it to say, that they may be, for the most part, succinctly described as trash. Without original merit of any kind, and appealing merely to sensibilities and not to the reason and conscience, they were a species of debauched literature, and every one must be glad that the day for their disappearance has come. They engendered bad habits of writing among authors, and bad habits of thought and feeling among readers, and, unless something worse takes their place a result which we do not anticipate-it will be a happy riddance.
But what is likely to take their placeah! who can tell? What kind of reading will be furnished to that vast mass of readers who have been accustomed to waste their time on the wretched novels whose downfall we chronicle? It is impossible to say; the taste of the reading public is apt to be capricious, and, when it tires of one stimulant, readily looks about for another. But we can say what class of works ought to be advanced to the vacant niches; for the world already so abounds in good books, and men of genius, capable of writing good books, are so numerous, that no intellectual curiosity need be starved. There are capital novels extant, which, though not new, will prove, we warrant, a refreshment to those who undertake them-there are grand and exquisite poems in our English literature-there are histories, of all times, and almost all men, that have more interest than the most brilliant works of fiction-and there are innumerable essayists and travelers, whom to encounter, is to achieve a pleasure for life. Let the dis
consolate lovers of the paper-covered nonsense, now demised, turn to these for solace. They will find them less easy reading, at first, but infinitely better, in the end. They will find that their taste improves and grows by what it feeds on, until, having acquired a true appreciation of what is really good in books, they will wonder that they could ever have fed upon the sentimental husks which had once been their nutriment.
Nor need our young writers despair of a field for the proper exercise of their talent. Our whole American life is a comparatively untrodden ground; and if they must write fiction, let them try their hands upon the rich and suggestive materials lying everywhere about them. Have we, as yet, besides Uncle Tom, a genuine novel of American life? Has anything like justice yet been done to the peculiarities of the several parts of the nation? Are not the experiences of the emigrant and the settler full of tragic incident, full of pathos, full of stirring adventure, and not without their humorous side? Besides, how much of human history is to be rewritten-from the new modern stand-points-with a new sense of its picturesque effects, and a new philosophy of its bearing and significance? In fact, there is no end to the topics, which a skillful writer may make both entertaining and instructive, if he will but give his mind and his time to the task. The same expenditure of labor and thought, which is now given to some ephemeral romanceto a work which will scarcely outlive the proverbial nine days of wonder-if devoted to a nobler undertaking, would not produce, perhaps, so profitable a work for the nonce, but it would lead to a greater work in the end, and acquire for the author, instead of a transient and hollow notoriety, a lasting fame. Be this as it may, however, we are sure that the public would gain a great advantage, in the possession of a sounder, purer, and more vigorous literature.
We throw out these few words simply as hints. Our experience in the magazines here convince us that there is an almost incredible amount of intellectual activity