Mineral Springs --Lewisburg. --Language. --Periodical Press. --Stage Passengers. --Charleston Salt --Works. --Guyandott. --Cholera. --Orthography and Orthoepy. --School Prejudices. --National Fallacies. --Kentucky. --Usury Laws. --Lexington. --Inquisitive Traveller. --Lunatic Asylum. --Colored Preacher. --Stage Regulations. --Slave System. --Planter convert to Abolition. --Character of Kentuckians. --Frankfort. --Louisville.
Fifteen miles further, we came to the Sulphur Springs. There were a few visitors here. Upwards of 300 might be accommodated. There is no hotel or tavern, but a building where the meals are taken. The company reside in small houses, called cabins. The proprietor of this establishment has shewn no little ingenuity in promoting social intercourse among his guests; for the wretched dog-holes he has provided for them are such, that they must necessarily seek the common room, to get out of their own.
On leaving the springs, we were much incommoded by the dust, which a man in a gig before us purposely raised in our faces. If we slackened our pace, he drew in; if we pushed on, he flogged his horse. This lasted for a considerable time --till we arrived at the Greenbrier river, where there is a handsome covered bridge of wood. Here he stopped, to water his horse. I took the opportunity of requesting he would have the goodness either "to go a-head," or let us pass him. He offered the latter, but I begged he would take the lead; though, I added, we shall probably go faster than yourself. "I doubt it," was his reply, --shewing at once that he might have spared us the annoyance, though he had just denied that it was intentional. He then walked his horse through the right archway, in strict accordance with the directions stuck up on the bridge, vanished on the other side, and we saw him no more.
On alighting from the stage at Lewisburg, the master of the hotel where we stopped desired the waiter to shew me into a quiet comfortable room. I was ushered into a small chamber, containing six or seven beds, (I had some difficulty in counting them,) all likely to be fully occupied; for I was at the same time informed that there was a "smart chance" of travellers on the road. As I prefer making stagecoach acquaintances by day, I contrived, with a little coaxing, to get a bed-room to myself.
At this place, I was again complimented on my language; though it was far from being American-proof. It is no such easy matter, indeed, to get rid of the prejudices of early education. It seems unjust that "rotatory" should be deprived of a whole syllable to enrich "preventive"; while "representative" remains untouched: "plenty"*
has work enough in all conscience, as a substantive, without doing duty as an adjective; and to "learn", most of us have good reason to know, is the business of the pupil, and not of the master. An English ear does not recognise afterwards as an anapaest; and frets like a heretic, though orthodoxy itself pronounce levee an iambus. It may be very convenient to talk of your "right", when you are under an obligation; and many a man's opinion is "contemptible" when he means it to be "contemptuous." For my part, I am contented with deposit and euphonous; as I cannot see what claim the former can have to another letter, or the latter to another syllable. The recollections of boyhood make me cherish the quantity of my Latin as its stock diminishes. If I were to talk of abdomen or umbilicus, I should fancy I heard my old master bawling out --"booby! the word is as long as my arm"; and giving me, at the same time, the length of the latter as a measure. I may be in error: but I can plead that I was born on the wrong side of the Atlantic; that my judge is at once plaitiff, counsel, and witness; and that I am not to be tried by a jury de medietate linguae.
* Most of the peculiarities adverted to (not, I trust it will be believed, with any ill-natured motive) are common to America and England; with this difference, that no one in the latter country is likely to boast of an accomplishment which he does not possess, and which, in both countries, is as easy to a well-educated man, as agility to a well-trained runner, or gracefulness to an opera-dancer.
The Americans seem to think that the omission of the aspirate in pronunciation is a national custom in England. If it were so, instead of being confined to those whose education has been defective, it might be defended, on the same plea which is offered in favor of their own practice. Why should usage be allowed to deprive "herb" and "humble" of the rights they enjoy with us, while the same privilege is denied it when applied on a large scale? The difference is in degree only; and those who have adopted the same pronunciation that, in other instances, characterises the class alluded to, should be the last to ridicule a practice, which, however limited, equally distinguishes them from what are called the refined portion of English society? These peculiarities are said to have prevailed during the era of Swift and Addison. Be it so: that is no reason why we should change our modes and manners, in deference to times with which we have little in common, and which are not to be considered as a standard for us, because they are so for another nation. Our mechanics and tradesmen might as well maintain that they merely imitate their ancestors, when they affix or discard the aspirate, and when they change w into v. Arguments, no doubt, could be found in support of the position. It may be said, for example, that the word "topsy-turvy", which is well known to be a corruption of top-side-t'other-way, proves that the w was formerly pronounced as v now is. When our friends over the water laugh at the cockneys for confounding these letters, they forget that they themselves, are obnoxious to the same treatment, for substituting z in the place of s, &c., in several words, such as design, consign, discern, &c., which they pronounce dezign, conzign, diszern, &c. Yet they do not make the same alteration in the word "sign", from which the former are derived. This mode is necessary in the word "resign", to give up, in order to distinguish it from the word "resign", to repeat the signature, --a distinction which is generally observed by well-educated persons in England. I do not say that its non-observance is incorrect: I merely say that they who claim a right to deviate from an established standard, --and it will be difficult to prove that it is not established, at least among us, have no right to blame others for doing the same thing. Wherever the deviation lies, one set of men are as much entitled to choose their own style of pronunciation as another; unless it be that the people are everything on one side of the Atlantic, and nothing on the other: And this, I am inclined to think, will afford the best explanation of the matter. The American "people" are to be flattered in everything; and foreigners, who cannot speak our language correctly, tell them that they ought to exclude English books from their country, lest their mother tongue should be debased and corrupted. O rem ridiculam et inficetam!
"Some few years hence," says the United States' Gazette, July, 1834, "the inhabitants (of England) will look to the United States for a dictionary, by which they may read the classics of their ancestors, Steele, Johnson, and Addison." In the same manner, doubtless, the French will seek for commentators on Moliere and Boileau in Canada; the Spaniards visit Mexico to understand Quevedo and Cervantes: and the posterity of the present Americans will take a trip to Liberia, that they may relish the polished pages of the Courier and Inquirer, and study modesty from the liberal columns of the United States' Gazette.
It is fortunate for Europe that, as her different communities experience the inadequacy of the language they speak to express their wants, or gratify their literary tastes, there should be found, beyond "the watery main;" a superior race, that are sprung from the same stock, and can restore, by their example, its primitive purity and richness to their common tongue; affording, by the revision of their vernacular vocabulary, some consolation under the many evils which decline and decrepitude bring with them.
There is perhaps no country in the world, where the periodical press is less marked by independence of principle, and integrity of purpose, than in the United States. Sumit aut ponit arbitrio popularis aurae. It is a mirror that reflects public opinion in all its changes and diversities of form and pressure The editors "cannot afford to keep a conscience," amid the struggles of party warfare, the sneers of opponents, and the solicitations of subscribers. Like the "condottieri" and "conducti" of modern and ancient Italy, their joy and their sorrow belong to those who hire them; and their hostility, or their sympathy is paid for.
If I am not misinformed, a joint stock fund in the South takes off 500 copies of the Courier and Inquirer (the cost of each copy for the year being ten dollars). These are distributed among the hotels and places of public resort. Hence that candid specimen of "the people's best instructor" is an advocate for slavery. Its expectation of favors to come measures its gratitude for favors received; and its zeal in the cause attests its attachment and its sincerity. The degraded state of the press may be seen in the proposals and prospectuses occasionally issued by its conductors. The assumption of exclusive integrity proves its rarity, while it excites a doubt of its probability. "Again: --be it understood," says the Aurora, on its revival last year, "that no compromise will be made of principles for subscriptions or advertisements; nor any private or public interference submitted to, incompatible with the social interests and the freedom of the press."
At the hotel where I lodged at Lewisburg, there were sixteen people at breakfast, and about the same number at table the evening before. Very commendable patience was exhibited on both occasions, while waiting for the meal, till the second bell rang; when there was a simultaneous rush to the room and the hot rolls. No time was lost in choosing seats or settling precedence; not a voice was heard. The whole passed in dumb show; and the same rapidity of movement marked the three acts of the performance. It was: intrant omnes, --edunt omnes, --exeunt omnes. At dinner the same eagerness to commence and retire was displayed; and no one remained, as on the other side of the ridge, to cool his heels and heat his head in the taproom.
I had proof here of the little that is often known in one State of what is going on in another. An elderly man, who was lodging at the inn, declared in the presence of several persons, and repeated the assertion at least a dozen times, to as many parties, that the neighboring State of Ohio had driven away all its colored citizens but three, whom the governor was about to expel. I had at the time conclusive evidence to the contrary in my pocket; having brought a letter from one of this class at Washington to his brother at Cincinnati, in answer to a communication he had received, that there were a great many persons of color there, who were endeavoring to improve their condition. I did not contradict him, as he had just before assured the company, that I was decidedly wrong in saying that Catholics were admitted as members, to the British House of Commons. He was a lawyer, and appeared to be the oracle of the place.
On the 22d, I left Lewisburg for Guyandott, on the Ohio, and went as far as the Falls (sixty-four miles). There was no one inside the stage but a young farmer, who had never been out of Virginia. At Mount Pleasant, where we stopped to breakfast, my fellow traveller observed to me that he had paid for his meals, during his journey on horseback, but half what he was now charged as a stage passenger. I now saw how the tavernkeeper and the stage proprietors arrange the matter between them. The price of the meal is enhanced as the charge at the booking-office is diminished; and the consumer pays, one way or another, in the fare.
We proceeded on our way with few objects and incidents to diversify and enliven the day. There were scarcely any of those springs, at which during the previous days I had drunk the most delicious water. The sources were less frequent and more scanty. The Ohio has less need to draw on the Alleghany than the James river.
Towards noon we took up a woman with a little girl and a boy of eight or ten years of age. As soon as they were seated, I made a sad blunder. I asked her if the lad was her grandson. He was her son. I had mistaken a female of forty for an old woman of sixty: such is the rapidity with which the fair sex too often lose every appearance of youth, at an age when their sisters in Europe still retain no small portion of their freshness and beauty. I felt very much embarrassed; and tried to "make it up" with the good lady by taking notice of her children; and, I believe, I succeeded pretty well, as she wished me "good afternoon," when she left the stage: --a piece of civility not always observed towards each other by travellers; --with whom to take leave is often as rare as to ask it.
When we arrived within fourteen or fifteen miles of the Falls, the scenery improved, and there were more signs of social life than the few log-huts we had hitherto seen. There were farmhouses and green fields and orchards. Seven miles further we came to an elevated spot, known by the name of the "Hawk's Nest." From hence the view is truly magnificent; the New River winding its way below at a depth of several hundred feet, and forming three or four distinct curves, as the mountains, which rise precipitously on each side, approach or recede from its bed; from the waters of which their woody sides are reflected. The scenery became exceedingly beautiful as we descended the mountain, with the river far below on our left; each turn and every opening of the wood, with which the sides were profusely covered, affording us now a glimpse, now a full view, of the stream below. Such varied and charming combinations of water and rock, and trees are to be found in few countries. Many parts bear a striking resemblance to the banks of the Wye in the neighborhood of Piercefield; but none can rival Windcliff in beauty. At the foot of the mountain, we crossed over in a ferry, at the point of junction between the New River and the Gauley, which here lose their distinctive titles, and are lost in the Kanawha, a tributary of the Ohio. At seven, P.M., we reached the Falls; where we remained for the night. They are hardly worth the trouble of a walk, though but of a quarter of a mile; their height not exceeding twenty feet.
We started the next morning at an early hour. The "full-orb'd moon" was reflected from the Kanawha; between which and the impending rock our route lay; the light breeze, "the herald of the morn," was springing up; and the fire-fly, as he flitted among the trees that skirted the road, "began to pale his ineffectual fires." As the day broke, the scenery gradually unfolded itself. Light wreaths of mist rose slowly from the surface of the water, and remained suspended midway on the bosom of the mountains. The river had now enlarged its bed, and deepened its current; the mountains assumed a conical form; and the valley, that lay between the opposite ridges, and afforded a passage through which the Kanawha. "wanders his silver winding way," added fertility of soil to beauty of situation. The road continued along the banks of the river, through the same sort of country as we had traversed in the morning. At eleven A.M. we arrived at Charleston, thirty-six miles from the Falls. Here are some valuable salt-springs, extending for ten or twelve miles on both sides of the river. They give employment to nearly 1500 workmen; more than one half of whom are hired slaves from the other side of the blue ridge. It was supposed that salt to the amount of two millions of bushels would have been made here in the year 1834, if the President's "experiment" had not paralysed commerce by shaking credit. A branch which is established here of the Virginia Bank at Richmond, had been compelled to curtail its discounts. Like the mimosa, it had drawn in its leaves at the touch of the intruder. There are few regions where Nature has been more lavish of her gifts. The water, from which the salt is obtained, is found at the depth of three or four hundred feet; and the neighboring mountains abound in coal, which is dug out from the sides by means of horizontal shafts. If slavery were abolished, and more capital were invested in these works, the rate of wages, which the difficulty of finding white laborers who will work with slaves keeps up, would fall; the rude machinery of wooden troughs and vats would give way to a more profitable, though more costly, apparatus; and the command of a wider market would soon invite and remunerate speculation. Here indeed is "the potentiality of growing rich" to anyone, who with a large capital would be contented with small profits, till the removal of those obstacles, which now repel enterprise or weaken its efforts, shall drive every competitor from the field. What might not Charleston become with inexhaustible sources of raw material and fuel in close neighborhood, and an easy access by water to market for their products?
The happy results of industry are already visible in the substantial houses, the trim gardens, and well-tilled fields, that meet the eye of the traveller as he enters the town on either side. And such might the whole State be, if the balance between production and consumption were in favor of the former; if the physical powers of the cultivators were directed by the will; and labor were considered as the self-interested coadjutor of capital, and not a mere piece of brutal machinery. Better would it be for the western section of Virginia, if it were at once to separate from a companion, that arrests its progress and endangers its tranquillity. Should the eastern part continue its blind opposition to the schemes proposed for their mutual benefit, it is not improbable that the influence it exercises in the legislature will induce the west to sever the tie that unites them, and form a State by itself --to follow the example of Kentucky, and, moving in its own orbit, cease to be the satellite of a falling and fading planet.
Hints of this nature have often been thrown out; and the conflicting interests, which difference of manners and of habits has created, are likely to stimulate the feelings from which they spring, into determined action. Should such an event be ever realized, the new State would, before long, outstrip its rival, and take its place among the richest and most important of the confederation.
In quitting Charleston, which communicates with the Ohio, at sixty miles distance, by means of the Kanawha, we crossed the river by a ferry, and proceeded about ten miles; when the road and the river, after a short separation and reunion, parted company; and we saw no more of the latter. As we approached the Ohio, the mountains were less elevated, and more marks of cultivation appeared. Nothing occurred on the journey, but the departure of my fellow traveller, who shook me very cordially by the hand, and invited me to visit him at his house. The former piece of civility I returned, --the other is credited to his countrymen.
About six P.M. the stage arrived for the night at a place called Morris's Tavern, sixty-four miles from the Falls. Had not the inn at Charleston been full, I should have remained there a day or two, and the next stage would have taken me up. Such are the regulations on the road, that, when once you have taken your place by a stage, you may stop as long as you please by the way, and resume your journey and your seat at your leisure. You have a lien upon the place you have paid for, --a kind of usufruct, of which you may divide or delay the enjoyment. The next morning we got to Guyandott at seven, the distance being but eighteen or twenty miles. The road was, in most parts, as good as M'Adam himself could have made it; and the driver, while dashing down the mountains, skewed great dexterity in managing one of the prettiest teams of long-tailed greys imaginable.
Guyandott is a small place, containing two or three hundred souls, and is situated on the banks of the Ohio, which lands or receives some of its numerous steamboat travellers here, and gives to the village what little animation it possesses. It may boast of a good hotel, which has not long been erected, and is conducted with great attention to the comfort and convenience of its guests; who are, at times, in such abundance, as to be obliged to sleep on the floor, in the dining-room, and passage. It may afford a smile or a joke to see a small room stuffed with beds, and half a dozen men performing their ablutions with a pewter basin and a round towel: but it should be remembered, that when the population of a country is small and scattered, and the number as well as the arrival of travellers uncertain, it would be unreasonable to expect accommodations, the cost of which could never be covered by such charges as would be willingly paid.
Much alarm had been felt at this place, from the appearance of the cholera; of which a man, about a fortnight before, had died at the hotel. The disease came on after a hearty supper on board a steamboat; and he was landed, within eight or ten hours, at this place. The master of the inn did himself great honor on this melancholy occasion; for he not only received him into his house, when almost every one in the village kept aloof, and several of his guests left the hotel, but he rendered the patient, both before and after his death, those services which usually fall to the lot of the nurse and the undertaker. The only aid he could obtain in this benevolent and generous office, was from the driver of the stage, who seconded him most nobly in his efforts to soften the dying man's sufferings, by allowing him to rest his feet on his breast, and derive what relief was to be had from the pressure, to the cramps by which he was tormented. He was a Presbyterian minister, on his way to the general assembly at Philadelphia.
Few people in this part of the country believe in the doctrine of contagion; though from what took place, both here and at other places, it would seem that, while they are non-contagionists in principle, they are contagionists in practice.
As there were very few persons in the house, I was put into a well-furnished room in front. As I lay in bed, I could see the hills rising on the opposite side, at a short distance from the river, which is here about half a mile across; and the whole breadth of the Ohio was before me, rolling the united tribute of the Alleghany and the Monongahela to the Mississippi, with a rapidity that a journey before him of nearly 1000 miles might seem to demand.
While I was waiting at Guyandott for a steamboat, I borrowed some English works of the landlord, to amuse me. They were American editions; and I observed that some of the words had been adapted in the reprint, to the transatlantic mode of spelling. I have frequently found this to be the case with republications in the United States. Thus "visitor" is changed into "visiter"; although "contractor", "director", "orator", and other words with the same termination, retain their old garb; and "deposit" has an e tacked to the end of it; while "transit'', "deficit", "visit", &c., have not had the same compliment paid them as their congener. Every nation has, of course, a right to give currency to what sort of language it pleases; but it has no right to recoin what it imports from another, and pass it off as genuine. An English author may appear in an American dress, without becoming a citizen: --he may fairly object to letters of naturalization*.
I may perhaps be pardoned for recurring to the subject of pronunciation. If it were true, as most people in North America suppose, that all the English omit or employ the aspirate in a manner directly the reverse of what is practised in the former country, it would by no means follow that the practice were inelegant, or incorrect. The French never pronounce the "h", with the exception of a few words, such as "hero", "hara", &c. Suppose their Canadian brethren, who, by the by, boast of speaking a purer dialect than the people of their mother country, were to introduce a different style of pronunciation, and employ the aspirate as we do, would it not be extremely absurd in them to ridicule the Parisians for a peculiarity, and call that a deviation, which would, in fact, be the standard from which they had themselves deviated? If, in all language custom be a guide, "Quem penes arbitrium est, et jus et norms loquendi", why should it be sought on the other side of the ocean? --or, if it is to be sought there, on which side is it to be found? The truth is, the charge involves the accusation of vulgarity; that want of refinement, which those who make the imputation, are so apt to resent as an insult, or an injustice, when made against themselves: --an attempt to prove disqualification to judge, while jurisdiction is denied: --a retaliatory plea, contra judicem coram non judice.
* The year before the last, there were published, in the United States, 274 new literary works of native growth, and 206 reprinted from foreign authors: --the former, in 306 volumes, for 375 dollars, 47 cents; the latter, in 303 volumes, at 816 dollars, 99 cents. European works reappear in a smaller type, and at a lower price. The exotics are more closely packed: the consumption is increased in proportion. It is ridiculous to complain that the home-grown article is discouraged, when there is a bounty upon importation. Under such discouragements, few men of talent will be contented with the barren laurels of literature. The rest prefer "cash" to "credit", and turn their attention to more profitable employment.
The Americans are systematically taught in their earliest years, that the diction they employ is superior to that in use elsewhere. "The English language," says an American writer on Geography, "is spoken in far greater purity of idiom and intonation with us than in Great Britain."
As the work I have quoted is recommended to teachers by some of the most respectable men in the country, I shall take the liberty of citing some more passages from it. The excellent character of the writer will secure a candid reception to the remarks I may make, as it recommends to the minds of youth those feelings and opinions which seem to call for them.
"Knowing that Asia," says the Author, "is sunk in ignorance and gross superstition, the young reader will at once discover the cause of our moral superiority over the dull Asiatics, as well as the great mass of their more enlightened neighbors of the European part of the Eastern continent. It needs scarcely to be repeated, that it is owing to the influence of the press shedding its rays of knowledge over the minds of a free people, and yielding instruction to every person capable of reading: --and who is there in this country that cannot read? The number is very small, and fast diminishing."*
I will say nothing of the enormous mass of ignorance to be found among the Africo-Americans. I will leave it to a writer in the American Annals of Education (Nov. 1833) to answer the above. "More than a million of free white children in the United States are left even without a common school education. Another million of our youth between fifteen and twenty, find no place provided for their instruction, beyond the mere elements of knowledge, which they may have acquired; and a large part of these future citizens have no means of paying for education." --"So reckless in New England itself," says another writer in the Register, "are the guardians of our schools in regard to their organization and discipline, and the character of the teachers, that large numbers of the most respectable men in the community regard them as direct nurseries of evil, and refuse to commit their children to them, even to save the tax which they pay for them. In New York this is not only true, but there is reason to believe that from 50,000 to 80,000 children are destitute of all instruction, besides the flood of adult foreigners that inundate this State. In New Jersey, 11,000 adults were found unable to read and write ; and in Pennsylvania, only 150,000 children out of 480,000 receive any instruction.
* Geographical Exercises, &c., by Joseph C. Hart. New York, 1830.
"Speaking of England, the author of the "Geographical Exercises" calls it a nation, "that has spent millions and sacrificed armies to entail slavery" on the Americans, who "have been twice obliged to beat" it "into an acknowledgement" of their "rights and liberties." He had just before stated, that at New Orleans "was fought the celebrated battle which gained for General Jackson a great reputation, and terminated the last war with Great Britain." Peace had been signed some time previously. " It is probable," says the author, "that Cuba (the most important of the West Indies, but at present a harbour for pirates) will, at no distant period, belong either by purchase or conquest to the United States." This is a singular idea to instil into the minds of those who are one day to be self-governed citizens of a nation, that has always repudiated aggressive wars and accession of territory by conquest. It is somewhat remarkable that a quaker, should "endorse" the testimonials that are printed in front and in favor of a book containing these and the following sentiments. They were suggested by a narrative, from the author, of very atrocious conduct alleged to lave been committed by some British officers against the captain and crew of an American brig. "These cowardly and unblushing monsters deserve a brazen monument, to give to their baseness a becoming immortality; and their names, while they yet live, are now recorded in an American school-book, that American children may learn to appreciate the superiority of their own national character, and to apply, on proper occasions,--
"This people", says the author, speaking of the English, "are fond of running after great names, and following in the train of royalty. As an evidence of their acquiescence in the inequality of mankind, it is a standing maxim, that 'the king can do no wrong'; which signifies that he is placed above the reach of the civil power and the operation of law." The author is not aware, that the maxim he quotes has no more to do with natural inequality than his country's declaration of rights has to do with natural equality. It might as well be said, we believe in the king's immortality, because, by a similar legal fiction, we say, "the king never dies". It is this principle that secures us from the evils of an interregnum, and it was the want of the other that destroyed both the monarchy and the monarch. The writer may see a similar principle in operation nearer home. In all civilized communities, idiots, infants, and lunatics are irresponsible to the civil power for their actions. In the eyes of the law they "can do no wrong". There is this important difference, however, that no one is necessarily responsible for them; whereas some one, by whom alone the executive of our government can act, is always responsible for him.
Another American teacher of youth, assures his readers, that "the number of instructors and students in the celebrated universities of Europe is greater than in ours (the American), the course of instruction more extensive, and the libraries much larger; but far less attention is paid to the conduct and improvement of the pupils."*
In another passage he says: "It is the remark of an European writer, concerning the United States, that 'the great body of the American people is better educated than the bulk of any European community'." The words "better educated" are printed in italics.
* Woodbridge's Rudiments of Geography, p. 536.
"In most countries of Europe," says the same author, "vice is more prevalent among all classes, and morality and piety are less regarded than in the United States." This is, certainly, a most wonderful country. There is no end of testimonies to its greatness --present or future. I must quote one more. "It is the happiness of America, that almost every thing in her condition invites her to look forward with hope. Her perfect freedom, her rapid progress, the elastic energy of her national character, the boundless extent of her territory, her situation, far from the contentions of European nations, and safe from the dangers both of their friendship and of their hostility, --all awaken and justify the confident hope, that she is destined to reach a height of prosperity which no other nation of ancient and modern times has attained." --Preface to Memoir of Roger Williams. The Author could hardly mean that Europeans are more prone than other people to cut one another's throats; that there is no connexion between national prosperity and national arrogance, no tenacity of possession, or desire of acquisition, arising from extension of territory; and that man "in leaving his dear native land behind" for the new world, leaves behind him his pride and his pugnacity. The citizens of the United States are so often told, in fourth of July orations, in sermons, and speeches, and reviews, and magazines, and newspapers, and prefaces to literary works, that they are the greatest people under the canopy of heaven, that it is no wonder they believe what is so gratifying to the self-love of human nature, and what is confirmed, in their own minds, by the very ridicule with which it is treated by other nations. As for the exemption from war, which is here claimed as the peculiar blessing of the country, it would perhaps be nearer the truth to say, that its inflictions are more likely to be felt in America than in Europe.
New States are naturally jealous of one another, and where their governments are created and controlled by the people, are little inclined to listen to reason when aggressors, or content themselves with remonstrance when aggrieved. If they are secure from the craft of crowned heads, who seek in foreign hostilities a diversion to internal complaints, they are deprived of the check which regal policy often places upon national animosity, and have no ground, in an independent administration of public affairs, to offer or accept an excuse for injury or insult. The propensity of European sovereigns to war is often counteracted by the poverty and discontent of those from whom the means and instruments of its gratification are to be obtained; while neither the one nor the other exists among communities in which the democratic principle increases with the wealth it elicits and accumulates. If we add to these considerations, that there is not a political body throughout the whole American continent, the West India islands, the vast extent of Asia, and Africa, and the Pacific, that does not find itself excluded by the disqualification of many, and, in most cases, of all its members, from those social and civil privileges which it extends itself to the citizens of the United States; it may, without exaggeration, be said, that no nation on the face of the globe has assumed such an hostile attitude as this great republican empire, none have ever given such cause of offence and provocation, --and none have adopted a course of policy calculated to produce so much exasperation and disgust among countless millions fast emerging into refined civilization and commercial importance.*
On the 25th I left Guyandott by a steam-boat, that was passing down the river, and arrived at Maysville, in Kentucky, in the evening. The distance is about 100 miles. The banks of the Ohio appeared tame and uninteresting in comparison with western Virginia. Maysville is a flourishing town. The year before it is supposed to have contained 4000 inhabitants; when the cholera made its appearance. Its number was soon reduced, by flight to 500; of whom fifty died of the disease. Lower down the river, and twenty miles above Cincinnati, where, in a small district, out of three physicians, one died of the complaint, another fled, and the third alone remained, the greater part of the population removed, and left the care of the sick and the dying to a few devoted men, who undertook to administer the medicines they were instructed to give. One of these men told me, that calomel, given in large quantities, was the only effectual remedy of all that were applied. Many people shut themselves up in their houses, and others refused to see their nearest relatives; but it was observed that the greatest number of victims was among those who gave way to immoderate fear.
* A Chinese, whom I met at Philadelphia, complained to me of the Americans.-- They insult me," he said, "because of my skin. They will not let me be in the same room with them." He was going back to his own country, and seemed little likely when he got home to forget or forgive what he had seen and felt on his travels.
The next day I quitted Maysville, at nine A.M., for Lexington; and though the distance is but sixty-four miles, the stage did not reach the latter place till half past ten at night. About two-thirds of the road were macadamized, and in excellent order; but the remainder was infinitely worse than any I had yet seen. When the new road, of which the construction has been undertaken by a turnpike company, is completed, it will be one of the best in the Union.
Maysville, is prettily situated in a hollow, completely surrounded by mountains; the sole current of air being along the river, which divides them. The chief produce of the county in which it lies, consists of hemp, of which large quantities are grown, both for home manufacture and for exportation. After passing Washington, ten miles from Maysville, the soil begins to deteriorate, and continues of an inferior quality for some distance. It improves afterwards.
Our vehicle was heavily loaded with its full complement of passengers, and an extra quantity of luggage. I found the Kentucky drivers, with the exception of two, who were from the free States, very inferior to the fraternity in Virginia. One of these men had been a long time in the State, but had been unable to reconcile himself to the people or their slave-system. The other had been employed, when a young man, as an overseer on a plantation in Louisiana, and had been so shocked with the cruelties he had witnessed, that the offer of a thousand dollars a year, with a horse and a slave, could not tempt him to remain; and he had ever since retained his hatred of slavery. By his account, the women are so worn down by the toils of the field, that if it were not for importation, the race could hardly be continued in many places. His employer, when he informed him of his intention to quit him, asked him what he expected to lay by as a stagedriver. "100 dollars a year," was the reply. The observation this answer elicited was very remarkable: --"If what you tell me be true, what must be your opinion of me?"
There was something romantic about this man's history. His father and mother were of English birth. The former was poor; and the latter, whose family was in affluent circumstances, was too young and affectionate to look upon his want of wealth as a proof of want of merit. They were married; and paternal displeasure drove them beyond the ocean. Here they lived contentedly for many years, forgetting, and, as they thought, forgotten by the world. The death of the wife's father, however, announced to them that he had not subdued a father's feelings. He bequeathed a small estate to their only child. The grandson had never taken possession of it, as his lawyer had died before the claim had been finally settled, and the claimant had neglected to take further steps in the business. He was meditating a trip to England; and, as but seventeen or eighteen years had elapsed since the death of his grandfather, he may still recover his property. He was a prudent man, and had saved a good deal of money. I asked him what interest he got for it. His answer shows how high want of capital has raised profits in this part of America; and how easy it is to evade enactments, which would interfere with the equitable mode of dividing them between the borrower and the owner of the capital, that has produced them. "When I have saved up fifty dollars," he said, "I take them to an hotelkeeper, whom I can trust, and he finds me a man who will give me for the loan of them a bill for sixty dollars, payable at the end of six months, and properly endorsed. I lent a blacksmith the other day this very sum on these terms. He had an opportunity of getting some iron at a reduced price, owing to the pressure of the times, and he was unwilling to raise the money by the sale of a slave, who might have been exposed to hard treatment in the south. This is the way we manage these matters; and I would ask you, after this, what is the use of usury laws?"
He told me several stories of "whipping", and mentioned that nearly all the Kentuckians, of whatever rank and condition, carried pistols or dirks, and sometimes both, with them.
One of the other drivers had all the appearance of a rufian of the highest order about him; and his language corresponded with his garb. He had left Virginia to escape the consequences of a brawl, in which he had been engaged. "I whipped a man decently," said he, "in his own bar." "And what became of him?" I asked. "Oh! he recovered: but the officers were after me; and so I came off to Kentuck." He wanted me to get inside, as the road was very bad, and it was growing dark. Though he had not been more than seven or eight months in that part of the country, two or three persons who were sitting by his side had, he told me, been thrown off, and much hurt. As he seemed to be drunk, I remained where I was, with the hope of checking the fury with which he drove. I expected every minute to be upset, and thought myself very fortunate to have escaped with no other loss but that of my great coat, which slipped from under me during one of the concussions we underwent.
A little time after our arrival at Lexington, I was inquiring in the hotel for my portmanteau, which I began to fear had shared the fate of my coat, when a young man, whom, though one of the passengers, I had not before observed, accosted me: "What part of England do you come from, if it is a fair question?" Having obtained a suitable answer to his fair question, he proceeded: "I reckon London is one of your largest States." "London is not a State," I replied, "but a city." "Oh! I know that well enough: --a pretty smart place, I take it: --as large, perhaps, as Philadelphia?" "You must consider," said I, "that London has long been the seat of government, and a mart for the most extensive commerce in Europe. It probably contains more than six times the population of Philadelphia." "Is not Liverpool near London?" was the next question. I told him the distance. "I always thought", he said, "that it was only fifty miles. You are going", he added, "to see the largest city to be found in the interior of any country in the world." "What city do you mean?" "Why, Lexington." "Is not Cincinnati larger?" "Yes! but then Cincinnati is on the Ohio. I mean a city not situated on a river." He continued running on from one subject to another. "Your people are before us in the arts and sciences, and are more refined; but then, you know, we work with slaves." I disclaimed any superiority for my country, but what others might obtain with similar advantages; and he betook himself to the register of arrivals, in search of my name. Having examined the book a few minutes, he suddenly turned round, and addressed me abruptly. "How do you spell your name?" he ejaculated. This was going rather beyond the limits of privileged curiosity; and as I thought he would be better employed in deciphering the name than in catechising its owner, I took my leave, and left him the register.
I found the Eagle tavern, at which I put up, one of the best conducted I had seen in America; and the proprietors as attentive to their guests as if they were doing the honors of a private house. The company, too, were gentlemanly in their manners, and of an obliging disposition.
Upon my inquiring about a lunatic asylum, which is established about a mile from the town, Mr. Postlethwaite (one of the proprietors) very politely procured me an order, and drove me over in his barouche, with two of the directors. There are accommodations for 150 patients; though but 71, of whom nearly one-half were women, were then in the house. The sleeping chambers, of which each patient has one, are lofty and well-lighted: each has a window, opposite to the door, over which, communicating with a spacious passage, is another; every window in a cast-iron frame, so that no sign of coercion or confinement is visible. Through each door is an aperture, with a slide, by means of which the keepers are enabled to see what is passing within. There are four yards, divided equally between the sexes, and admitting patients, according to the nature of their case. Some of them had irons on their legs or arms, --a mode of punishment or restraint of very equivocal effect any where. How it is at this place I could not learn, as neither superintendant nor doctor was within; and the keeper who attended us seemed contented with the performance of his duty, without speculating on the best mode of combining with it the chance of restoring health and a sound mind to the patients. Another kind of discipline is applied in the shower-bath, which is said to be efficacious in cases of violence or insubordination. There is a garden attached to the house, with some land, where the inmates are permitted and encouraged to work. The directors had applied to the legislature for more land; sufficient for the salutary purposes contemplated not having been granted. The establishment, which evinced throughout a most commendable attention to the comfort of the invalids, is supported at the expense of the State, with the exception of what is derived from those who can afford to pay for their board, or any particular indulgence. Some of these are sent from other States; the rest belong exclusively to Kentucky.
While strolling about the town, and admiring the neatness of the houses, I fell into conversation with a colored man, who proved to be a minister of the Baptist persuasion, a native of Virginia, in which State he had obtained his freedom, and had subsequently settled at this place; respected both by whites and blacks. One of the former, however, actuated by some malicious or malevolent motive, had endeavored to enforce the law, which prohibits free blacks from other States from settling in Kentucky. Much to the credit of the Lexington people, a petition, in behalf of the colored preacher, signed by many of the most respectable whites in the town, was sent to the legislature; and an express enactment was passed by them, empowering him to remain, and to enjoy all the privileges of a white man, except the elective franchise. He has had a church here since 1822, --the only place of worship in the State, supported and managed by Africo-Americans, and served by one of their own race. There are about 500 of them, who are free, in Lexington, --a large proportion, out of a population amounting, in 1830, to 6026. They had just established a school for their children; of whom there were thirty-two under instruction. They were under the care of a white man, from the State of Tennessee, who has devoted what little remains of life, (for he is now an old man,) to the improvement of those whom the pride of his countrymen has abandoned to neglect and opprobrium. He is, perhaps, the only white man in the town, if not in the State, who is willing, not only to give his time and toil for the slight remuneration that the objects of his kindness can afford, but to treat them as brethren, and as men possessing the same rights, and entitled to the same respect, as himself.
He told me the people of Tennessee were much more kind to their slaves than the Kentuckians,while the latter are superior, in this respect, to the Virginians. Had he been a Kentuckian, he would, perhaps, have reversed the order of their demerits. I sat for some time talking with him and the preacher, while the wife of the person with whom he lodged, a well-dressed, pleasing woman, was attending to a sick boy. The sitting-room was well furnished, and might have vied with our neatest cottages in cleanliness and comfort. I had been struck with the decent and even elegant appearance of the place as I passed, and longed to become acquainted with its sable inmates, before I fell in with their associate. The free men meet with a certain degree of respect, if they conduct themselves well, and though not so secure against insult as they would be in Europe, are far better treated at Lexington, than they would be at Philadelphia or New York. I believe it will be found that, with some exceptions, the slaves in the South have less reason to complain in the cities and towns, than in the country districts; while the reverse is the case with the free blacks in the North.
I had taken my place by the stage, and had paid my fare for Cincinnati, when I was advised to change my route, and visit Frankfort and Louisville. On applying at the office, the money was immediately returned, though no sort of connexion existed between the proprietors of the one line of road, and those of the other. I found everywhere a ready wish at the coach-offices to accommodate travellers. The cholera, on its visit to Lexington, swept off between five and six hundred of its inhabitants. Many of them were victims of the extraordinary panic it created; having given themselves up to despair, on the first attack. The town, as the disease spread, was almost entirely deserted. Large doses of calomel were administered to the patients. The consumption of brandy was very great as a preventive, and drunkenness was often the consequence.
The hiring and the breeding system prevail in this part of Kentucky; but the latter is rather auxiliary to the former, than the consequence and cause of exportation; the home demand being nearly adequate to the supply. The small farmers, as in Virginia, are gradually leaving the State, while pasturage is extending its limits. The surplus labor is chiefly absorbed by the rope and bagging factories, which employ a vast number of slaves. It is generally as a punishment for crime, or idleness, that transportation to the South is resorted to:another proof of those horrors and hardships, the "bare imagination" of which often leads to the sacrifice of the traders by the hands of the "droves." Both the species of traffic, however, and the condition of its victim, will be affected by a change of circumstances; and an exhausted soil, or a reduction of profits, will place the humanity of the Kentucky master in painful collision with his interest. It may be expected that all the slave States will run a similar career; and share the crisis as they have shared the crime. There is but one alternative before them. They must choose between coercion and concession, --they must suffer with Hayti, or be safe with Antigua; for it may be proved, almost to mathematical demonstration, that the self-love of man, if unchecked, leads inevitably to self-destruction: and that no society, whether its principles be "competitive" with Pope*,
or "co-operative" with Owen, can be permanently prosperous, where the head that speculates is to have all the profits, and the hand that works none of the wages of the industry that supports it.
* "Self love and social are the same.''-Essay on Man.
What is the state of morals among the "lords of the soil," may be seen by the number of mulattoes upon it. The "history" of the planters may be read. "in a nation's eyes." A great change in the policy of this State may be expected to take place in the course of a few years. The spirit of liberty has been for some time at work, and has recently received an extraordinary impulse from the conversion to its doctrines of a person, distinguished by literary attainments and high moral worth. Some letters written by Mr. Birney, formerly of Alabama, in favor of emancipation, and explaining his reasons for seceding from the colonization society, in which he had, officially, taken an active part, have attracted public attention to this important subject, and created a thirst for information and discussion, unexampled in its intensity and extension. Upwards of sixty thousand copies of his work have been published; and the example he has set of freeing his slaves, (combined with his accurate knowledge of the system, and the pure spirit of religious duty, with which he is known to be animated,) has given them a circulation, and an interest, that even the polished style, and sound logic of its author would hardly have produced. The work to be done requires a master-mind. There are many prejudices to be overcome, and fallacies to be exposed. Not the least prevalent of these is the assertion that emancipation would be ruin both to slave and master; and that freedom and idleness are convertible terms. It is only, however, when labor is dear, that slavery can exist. The very circumstance which makes its continuance profitable, takes away the danger of its abolition. What is valuable to the thief, must be doubly valuable to the rightful owner; and the obstinacy with which it is "kept back" enhances the wish, as much for its employment, as for its recovery. Widely as their conduct and its consequences may differ, both parties are actuated by similar motives. The desire of bettering his condition will lead the one to sell his physical powers, as it has led the other to rob him of them; and the same self-interest, which induces the planter to refuse high wages to his laborer will induce the latter to seek them. It will be said, perhaps, that the plantation will want hands, whether they be lazy or industrious; but this inconvenience is incidental to all new countries. Those who will not work must starve; and those who save money, will naturally move off, and leave their example, as well as their place, to others. Where labor is high-priced, land is generally cheap; but how is the latter to be obtained, except by the former? It is by industry alone that the free man can become a proprietor; and they surely should be the last to grudge him its rewards, who have grown rich by plundering him of its fruits. Since I left America, Mr. Birney's father has taken measures for the ultimate emancipation of his slaves; some of whom have already obtained their freedom, while the rest have been placed under the care of his son, subject to such regulations as may best meet the exigencies of the case.
I left Lexington for Frankfort, the seat of government, on the 28th. In quitting the town, the stage stopped at one of the best houses to take up two ladies, who had been "booked" the day before. After some minutes' bustle and delay, it was announced to the agent, who had accompanied the coach, that the ladies had declined going, as there were two colored men inside. He offered to place them on the back seats, so that the other passengers, who would then take the middle bench, might form a barrier between them and the hated objects. The proposal was not accepted; --the sensitive fair ones withdrew: and the stage proceeded on its journey --the agent declaring that he would not have returned the fare had it been paid, and that, in future he would take care they should be accommodated in the same way the next opportunity that might present itself. This little incident shews that the free blacks are too numerous and wealthy in Lexington to be slighted by the stage proprietors. At Boston or New York, they would have been ejected without notice to quit. One, of these men was married and had four children. "If my boys were like that lad," said he, pointing to the only other white passenger but myself, "I should be as happy as a king." "Is not your wife free then?" I asked. " No," was his reply. "I wish she were. We live together at present, and our children with us --all but one, whom her master has taken away." The fact was, the owner of this poor creature had had the meanness to saddle her husband with the cost of maintaining the children, and even allowed him to pay the poll-tax upon them --amounting to about a dollar and a half a year each, including the State and the town tax. As the children become valuable, for work or sale, he will claim them; and the father may look in vain for "compensation." No one will pay him for rearing them. I conclude he was a respectable man; as the master of the hotel at Versailles, where we stopped for dinner, took him very cordially, by the hand, and told me afterwards that he shewed more attention to him than to any other person of his race, because he was such a worthy fellow.
The country we were passing through was very rich; the soil being considered the best in the State. The prices of provisions, I was informed by several persons who answered my questions in the most obliging manner, are very low here. Beef is but four cents a pound; mutton rather cheaper; eggs average six cents the dozen; flour two dollars for 100 pounds, and pork two dollars three-fourths per cwt.
The Kentuckians are said to be irascible, but generous. The same hand, that unclasps the knife, is equally prompt to untie the purse-strings. An event that took place not long ago at Lexington, affords a striking illustration of both these qualities. One of the students at the college there shot another in open day in revenge for an imaginary affront. The deceased had made every concession to the murderer, and had imagined that all feeling of resentment, or animosity had ceased. He was poor, yet much beloved by his comrades; and they generously subscribed a sufficient sum to pay for the expenses of the prosecution; while the other, who was the spoiled child of a wealthy mother, made such good use of the advantage which money gave him, that the trial was removed to Versailles, where the public indignation against him was not so strong. A man, who had escaped punishment for a similar crime, was placed on the jury, to starve them into a verdict of acquittal; and the murderer is now at large. Several persons observed to me; "a rich man may commit any crime against a poor man here with impunity. Assassination is very uncommon with those who cannot afford to bribe justice." Several shocking cases, confirmatory of the remark, were related to me. Most of them might be traced to the unbridled indulgence in every passion, created, encouraged, and matured by the habit of commanding where resistance, or reluctance, is unknown, or unpardoned.
I was unable to see the penitentiary at Frankfort, as the agent was out, and I was to leave the town early next morning. The system of discipline, I was told, was the same with that at Auburn. Attached to the prison is a store, where the proceeds of the convict-work are sold at prices so much below the market rate as to have driven away several tradesmen from the place. The agent, who has the contract, had so far put the profit above the expenditure, that he had realized, in the course of six or seven years, a considerable fortune; estimated, by one person, at 40,000 dollars, and by another at twice that sum. If the contract were open, there would be no just cause of complaint, and no room for such exaggeration; as the ordinary profits of the place would determine the benefit. The State House is a handsome building, with a dome, and a portico supported by Ionic columns. The staircase, which leads to the two legislative chambers, is lighted from above, and is ornamented in a simple and chaste style. The one in which the Senate sits, is a well-lighted and well-proportioned room, with chairs and desks for the members, and seats for the public. The other is larger and has a gallery above. There are also two rooms for the courts of justice.
Both at this place and at Lexington, the master of the hotel went round during the meals, to inquire if every one at table had what he wanted, and to see that proper attention was paid to all.
Frankfort, though the capital of the State, contained no more than 1682 persons in 1830. It stands, surrounded by steep hills, on the Kentucky, which is navigable for steam-boats to the Ohio, during the winter months, when the water is high enough to admit them. For exit and entrance it has the most execrable road to be seen at any town in the Union; and the bridge over the river is well worthy of the road which leads to it. For the first fifteen or twenty miles there was little or no improvement, the turnpike-road, which was in progress, not being practicable till within sixteen or eighteen miles of Louisville. Part of the way we travelled along a creek, which contained but little water, and like the piece of furniture described by Goldsmith, was "contrived a double debt to pay," --being a bed for the river during the winter, and a road for the stage during the summer. We met and passed a great number of wagons, which were going to Louisville with cotton-bagging, made of hemp, to be shipped for the southern market, or returning with a back cargo. Twenty or thirty of these wagons go every day, in the summer, along the road from Frankfort.
We passed though two or three neat-looking towns. At one of them (Shelbyville) a great concourse of people had assembled for a "preaching", which had already lasted six days. The whole place had the appearance of a fair. The windows were filled with young damsels decked out in their best attire; and the road leading to the town, exhibited others on horseback escorted by their cavaliers, and hastening to the spectacle --a spectacle themselves. The day's jaunt proved a very pleasant one. There were two or three good-tempered merry farmers of the party, who were equally disposed to take a joke and to make one. The vehicle was new, and tastefully furnished with green cloth at the top, and soft red morocco cushions at the sides and the seats. Our horses were young and high-spirited, and had they not been checked by a very steady, experienced hand, would have repeated a trick they had played a few days before, and carried us off full gallop into the woods. The last eight miles were performed at a trot in forty-eight minutes.
It was the time of the races, and Louisville was filled with company. I had no great desire to see the one or mix with the other. One of those tragical events had recently occurred, which disgrace while they mark the manners of society; --where worse than feudal vassalage has produced worse than feudal ferocity; --where one caste is exempted from the performance of its duties, and the other excluded from the enjoyment of its rights. The circumstance here alluded to, was an assassination committed openly before thousands of spectators,--in a petty squabble between two young men, one of whom had run the other through the body with a sword-stick, and killed him on the spot. No impediment occurred to the delinquent's escape, and no interruption to the sports of the day. Lame-footed justice (pede poena claudo) had not yet set out in search of the fugitive; and the sun shone as bright as ever over the gay city of Louisville.
This is a populous and an increasing place, most of the commerce of the State passing through it. The inhabitants, whose number was 10,341 at the last census, are a motley set, made up of French and Germans, and Americans, and people from other countries, attracted by the advantages its situation on the Ohio affords. A fall of twenty-two feet here obstructs the passage of vessels, and a canal of two miles has been made to facilitate the transport of goods.
By an act of the Kentucky legislature, passed two or three years ago, "every free person and his abettors, who shall maliciously destroy, or attempt to destroy, any of the locks of the Louisville and Portland canal, or the bridge over it, or injure or attempt to injure them, so as to obstruct the use thereof, shall, upon conviction, be sentenced to imprisonment in the State-gaol and penitentiary for a period of time not less than two, nor more than four years: if any slave be guilty of such offence, he shall, upon conviction, suffer death by hanging." Whether the free person here spoken of be white or not, it would be difficult to justify the infliction of such different punishments for the same offence.*
I was now about to quit the slave-States, where I had met with many indications of a wish to substitute voluntary for compulsory labor, But almost everywhere the idea of abolition was connected with that of expatriation; a scheme so utterly absurd and impracticable, as scarcely to deserve exposure or consideration. At New Orleans, wages are as high as forty, fifty, and even, in some cases, sixty dollars a month; owing, in a great measure, to the risk incurred in an unhealthy city. These high rates are exclusive of board and lodging. Most of these places are filled by colored people, who go thither from other States in search of employment. If these men were to emigrate to Liberia, wages would rise so high that business would be impeded, if not entirely destroyed. If the mad scheme of sending nearly three millions of people out of the country, could by any possibility be carried into effect, trade and commerce would be suspended; and those who are now urging their departure would be the first to wish them back.
* "A negro, on his own confession, is to be executed at Cahawba, on the 15th inst., hired by a white man to assist in a burglary. His evidence was conclusive as to himself, but not legal as against his companion and employer in the act." --Niles's Register, June 1822. The coolness with which this atrocity is recorded, shews that there was nothing extraordinary or worthy of remark in the occurrence.
The state of mind which could lead to such fears and feelings, is the same in slave-holding individuals and slave-holding governments; and it can excite no surprise that the policy of England towards her West Indian colonies, limited and partial as it is in the eyes of justice, should be viewed with suspicion and distrust by those who have shared the guilt, yet refuse the reparation; and that Congress should have adopted such sentiments as the following, from the secretary of the American navy, in his last report: "It may be well to reflect how justly it may be apprehended, that new perils will, ere long, await a portion of our trade, and the tranquillity of part of our maritime frontier, from the operations of a new course of legislation by some foreign powers, concerning an unfortunate portion of their population; and against which perils, as against the ordinary aggressions and piracies in peace, and much of the depredations which may threaten us in war, the navy, from the insular situation of our country, as to most of the world, must always be regarded as our safeguard."
"The thief doth fear each bush an officer,"
while "all Europe
rings from side to side" in honor of the little we have done for humanity,
America, to shew her "decent respect for the opinions of mankind", sees
danger in granting their "inalienable rights" and safety in withholding
them, --though there is no more connexion between peace and injustice,
than there is between cowardice and a good conscience.