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ton, Jay, Rush, Adams, Rittenhouse, Madison, Monroe, and a thousand other high-minded gentlemen, soldiers, orators, sages, and statesmen, was accounted a hive of pickpockets and illiterate hinds.
Mr. Jefferson affords a splendid elucidation of a remark contained in my last letter,—that the literary strength of America is absorbed in the business of the state. In early life, we find this distinguished philosopher and elegant scholar, called from his library into the senate, and from that moment engaged in the service, and finally charged with the highest offices in the commonwealth. Had he been born in Europe, he would have added new treasures to the store of science, and bequeathed to posterity the researches and generous conceptions of his well-stored and original mind, not in hasty "notes," but in tomes compiled at ease, and framed with that nerve and classic simplicity which mark the " Declaration" of his country's " independence." Born in America,
"The post of honour is a public station;" to this therefore was he called; and from it he retires, covered with years and honours, to reflect upon a life well spent, and on the happiness of a people whose prosperity he did so much to promote. The fruits of his wisdom are in the laws of his country, and that country itself will he his monument.
The elections which raised Mr. Jefferson to the chief magistracy, brought with them a change both of men and measures. The most rigid economy was carried into every department of government; some useless offices were done away; the slender army was farther reduced, obnoxious acts, passed by the former congress, repealed, and the American constitution administered in all its simplicity and purity.
The policy of Mr. Jefferson, and that of his venerable successor, Mr. Madison, was so truly enlightened and magnanimous, as to form an era in the history of their country. The violence of the fallen party vented itself in the most scurrilous abuse that ever disgraced the free press of a free country; it did more,— it essayed even to raise the standard of open rebellion to that government of which it had professed itself the peculiar friend and stay.
It may now be said, that the party once misnamed Federal has ceased to Monthly Mao. No. 363.
exist. There is indeed a difference of political character, or what will express it better, a varying iutensilyof republican feeling discernible in the different component parts of this great Union; but all are now equally devoted to the national institutions, and in all difference of opinion, admit the necessity of the minority yielding to the majority. And, what is yet more important, these differences of opinion do not hinge upon the merits or demerits of foreign nations, French or English, Dutch or Portuguese. The wish of your venerable friend is now realized;—his countrymen are Americans. Genet may now make the tour of the states, and Henry of New-England, with infinite safety to the peace of their citizens ; and even Massaehussets herself would now blush at the name of the Hartford convention.
<>enet is, or was at least when the author was last in Albany, a peaceable and obscure citizen of thestateof New York. It is curious in a.democracy, to see'how soon the factious sink into insignificance. Aaron Burr was pointed out to me in the Mayor's court at New York, an old man whom none cast an eye upon except an idle stranger. In Europe, the bustling demagogue is sent to prisou, or to the scaffold, and metamorphosed into a martyr; in America, he is left to walk at large, and soon no one thinks ahout. him.
I must here refute a strange assertion, which I have seen in I know not how' many foreign journals, namely, that the United States' government is chargeable with the diffusion of black slavery. Every act that this government has ever passed regarding it, has tended to its suppression; but the extent and nature of its jurisdiction are probably misunderstood by those who charge upon it the black slavery of Kentucky or Louisiana; and they must be ignorant of its acts who omit to ascribe to it the merit of having saved from this curse every republic which has grown up under its jurisdiction.
There are at present twenty-two republics in the confederacy; of these, twelve have been rendered free to black and white; the remaining ten continue to be more or less defaced by negroslavery. Of these five are old states, and the other five either parted from these, or formed out of the acquired territory of French Louisiana. Thus, Kentucky was raised into an inde4 K pendent pendent state by mutual agreement between herself and Virginia, of whieh she originally formed a part. TenesseC, by mutual agreement between herself and Carolina, to which she was originally attached. Mississippi was surrendered to the general government by Georgia, to be raised when old enough into an independent state; bat with a stipulation that to the citizens of Georgia should be continued the privilege of migrating into it with their slaves. Louisiana proper, formed out of a small portion of the vast territory ceded under that name, came into the possession of the United States with the united evils of black slavery in its most hideous form, and the slave trade prosecuted with relentless barbarity. The latter crime was instantly arrested; and under the improving influence of mild laws and mental instruction, the horrors of slavery have been greatly alleviated,
In 1787, the congress passed an act, establishing a temporary government for the infant population settled on the lands of Ohio; and the government then established has served as the model of that of all the territories that have since been formed in the vacant wilderness. The act then passed contained a clause which operated npon the whole national territory to the north-west of the Ohio. By this, "slavery and involuntary servitude'' were positively excluded from this region, by a law of the general government. Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Michigan, have already sprung up in the bosom of this desert; the three first independent states, and the latter about to pass from her days of tutelage to assume the same character.
Thus saved from the disgraceful and ruinous contagion of African servitude, this young family of republics have started in their career with a vigour and a purity of character that has not an equal in the history of the world. Ohio, which twenty-five years since was a vacant wilderness, now contains half a million of inhabitants, and returns six representatives to the national congress. In the other and younger members of the western family, the rati© of increase is similar. It is curious to consider, that the adventurous settler is yet alive, who felled the first tree to the west of the Alleghanies. The log-hut of Daniel Boon is now on the wild shores of the Missouri, a host of firmly established republics stretching betwixt him and the habitation of his boyhood.
Among others I mention, with plea» sure, that brave and adventurous North Carolinian, who makes so distingnished a figure in the history of Kentucky, the venerable Col. Boon. This respectable old man, in the eighty-fifth year of his age, resides on Salt river, up the Missouri. He is surrounded by about forty families, who respect him as a father, and who live under a kind of patriarchal government, ruled by his advice and example. They are not necessitous persons, who have fled for their erimes or misfortunes, like those that gathered nnto David in the cave of AdulIura: they all live well, and possess the necessaries and comforts of life as they could wish.
Thelx)rd of the wilderness, Daniel Boon, though his eye is now somewhat dimmed, and his limbs enfeebled by a long life of adventure, can still hit the wild fowl on the wing with that dexterity which, in his- earlier years, excited the envy of Indian hunters; and he now looks upon the " famous river" Missouri with feelings scarce less ardent than when he surveyed with clearer vision, " the famons river Ohio." The grave of this worshipper of nature, wild adventure, and unrestrained liberty, will be visited by the feebler children of future generations with such awe as the Greeks might regard those of their earlier demigods. The mind of this singular man seems best pourtrayed by bis own simple words. "No populous city, with all the varieties of commerce and stately structure, could afford so much pleasure to my mind as the beauties of nature that I find here."
LIBERTY OF THE PRESS.
The Americans are certainly a calm, rational, civil, and well-behaved people; not given to quarrel or to call each other names; and yet, if you were to look at their newspapers, you would think them a parcel of Hessian soldiers. An uurestricted press appears to be the safety-valve of their free constitution; and tl try seem to understand this; for they no more regard all the noise and spatter that it occasions than the roaring of the vapour on board their steam-boats.
Were a foreigner, immediately upon landing, to take up a newspaper, (especially if he should chance to land just before an election,) he might suppose that the whole political machine was about to fall to pieces, and that he had just come in time to be crushed in its ruins. But if he should not look at a newspaper, he might walk through the streets on the very day of election, and never find out that it was going on, unless, indeed, it should happen to Iiim, as it happened to me, to see a crowd collected round a pole surmounted by a cap of liberty, and men walking in at one door of a house, and walking ont at another. Should he then ask a friend hurrying past him " What is going on there?" lie may receive for answer, "The election of representatives: walk on: I am just going to j^ve in my vote, and I will overtake you."
But if the declamation of the press passes unregarded, its sound reasoning, supported by facts, exerts a sway beyond all that is known in Europe. Here there is no mob. An orator or a writer must make his way to the feelings of the American people through their reason. They must think with trim before they will feel with him; bnt, when once they do both, there is nothing to prevent their acting with him.
It would be impossible for a country to be more completely deluged with newspapers than is this; they are to be had not only in the English but in the French and Dutch languages, and some will probably soon appear in the Spanish, It is here not the amusement but the duty of every man to know what his public functionaries are doing: he has first to look after the conduct of the general government, and, secondly, after that of his own state legislature. But besides this, he must also know what is passing in all the different states of the Union: as the number of these states has now multiplied to twenty-two, besides others in embryo, there is abundance of home-politics to swell the pages of a newspaper; then come the politics of Europe, which, by-the-bye, arc, I think, often better understood here than on your side of the Atlantic. But, independent of politics, these multitudinous gazettes and journals arc made to contain a wonderous miscellany of information; there is not a conceivable topic in the whole range of human knowledge that they do not treat of in some way or other; not unfrequently, I must observe, with considerable ability; while the facts that they contain, and the general principles that they advocate, are often highly serviceable to the community.
The education of youth, which may
be said to form the basis of American government, is, in every state of the Union, made a national concern. Upon this subject, therefore, the observations that apply to one may be considered as, more or less, applying to all. The portion of this wide-spread community, that paid the earliest and most anxious attention to the instruction of its citizens, was New England. This probably originated in the greater democracy of her colonial institutions. Liberty and knowledge ever go hand in hand.
The state of Connecticut has appropriated a fund of a million and a half of dollars to the support of public schools. In Vermont, a certain portion of land has been laid off in every township, whose proceeds are devoted to the same purpose. In the other states, every township taxes itself to such amount as is necessary to defray the expense of schools, which teach reading, writing, and arithmetic to the whole population. In larger towns these schools teach geography, and the rudiments of Latin. These establishments, supported at the common expense, are open to the whole youth, male and female, of the country. Other seminaries of a higher order are also maintained in the more populous districts; half the expense being discharged by appropriated funds, and the remainder by a small charge laid on the scholar. The instruction here given fits the youth for the state colleges; of which there is one or more in every state. The university of Cambridge, in Massachussets, is the oldest, and, I believe, the most distinguished establishment of the kind existing in the Union.
Perhaps the number of colleges founded in this wide-spread family of republics, may not, in general, be favourable to thegrowth of distinguished universities, it best answers, however, the-object intended, which is not to raise a few very learned citizens, but a well-informed and liberal-minded community.
The child of every citizen, male or female, white or black, is entitled, by right, to a plain education; and funds sufficient to defray the expense of his instruction are raised either from public lands appropriated to the purpose, or by taxes sometimes imposed by the legislature, and sometimes by the different townships.
The American, in his infancy, manhood, or age. never feels the hand of oppression. oppression. Violence is positively forbidden in the schools, in the prisons, on ship-board, in the aruiy ;—every where, in short, where authority is exercised, it must be exercised without appeal to the argument of a blow.
Not long since a master was dismissed from a public school, in a neighbouring state, for having struck a boy. The little fellow was transformed in a moment from a culprit to an accuser. "Do you dare to strike me? you are my teacher, but not my tyrant." The school-room made common cause in a moment: the fact was enquired into, and the master dismissed. No apology for the punishment was sought in the nature, of the offence which might have provoked it. As my informer observed, "it was thought, "that the man who could not master his own passions was un6t to coniroul the passions of others; besides, that he had infringed the rules of the school, and forfeited the respect of his scholars." By this early exemption from arbitrary power, the boy acquires feelings and habits which abide with him through life.
In the education of women, New England seems hitherto to have been peculiarly liberal. The ladies of the eastern states are frequently possessed of the most solid acquirements, the modern, and even the dead languages, and a wide scope of reading; the consequence is, that their manners have the character of being more composed than those of my gay young friends in this quarter. I have already stated, in one of my earlier letters, that the public attention is now every where turned to the improvement of female education. In some states, colleges for girls are established under the eye of the legislature, in which are taught all important branches of knowledge.
I must remark, that in no particular is the liberal philosophy of the Americans more honourably evinced than in the place which is awarded to women. The prejudices still to be found in Europe, though now, indeed, somewhat antiquated, which would confine the female library to romances, poetry, and belles lettre's, and female conversation to the last new publication, new bonnet, and pas sent, are entirely unknown here The women are assuming their place as thinking beings, not in despite of the men, but chiefly in consequence of their enlarged views and exertions as fathers and legislators.
It is impossible to apply any genera/ rule to so wide spread a community as this. Perhaps Selden's were the best: "Religion is like the fashion. One man wears his doublet slashed, another laced, another plain, but every man has a doublet. So every man has his religion. They differ about trimming." Hut we cannot subjoin another axiom of the same philosopher: "Every religion is a getting religion." It gets nothing; and so, whatever it be, it is sincere and harmless.
Some contend that liberality is only indifference; perhaps, as a general rule, it may be so. Persecution undoubtedly fans zeal, but such zeal as it is usually better to be without. I do not perceive any want of religion in America. There are sections of the country where some might think there is too much, at least that its temper is too stern and dogmatical. This has long been said of New England, and, undoubtedly, the Puritan ancestry of her citizens is still discernible, as well in the coldness of their manners, as in the rigidity of their creed. But it is wonderful how fast these distinctions are disappearing. An officer of the American navy, a native of New England, told me, that when a boy he had sooner dared to pick a neighbour's pocket on a Saturday, than to have smiled on a Sunday. "I have since travelled through all parts of the Union, and over a great part of the world, and have learned, consequently, that there are all ways of thinking; and I find now that my fellow-countrymen are learning the same."
You. will conceive how great is the change wrought in the religious temper of the Eastern States, when I mention, that the Unitarian faith has been latterly introduced, and, in some parts, has made such rapid progress as promises, ere long, to supersede the doctrines of Calvin. There were, of course, some vehement pulpit fulminations in Massachussets when these mild teachers of morals and simple Christianity first made their appearance.
Philadelphia, and even New York, had their zealots as well as Boston. In the latter city they were few, but perhaps more noisy on that very account. It is some years since, a CalviDistic preacher here exclaimed to the nonelect of his congregation, "Ha! ha! you think to get through the gates of
heaven by laying hold of my coat; but I'll take care to hold up the skirts."
American religion, of whatever sect, (and it includes all the sects under heaven,) is of a quiet and unassuming character; no way disputatious, even when more doctrinal than the majority may think wise. I do not include the strolling metliodists and shaking quakers, and sects with unutterable names and deranged imaginations, who are found in some odd corners of this wide world, beating time to the hymns of Mother Ann, and working out the millennium by abstaining from marriage.
The Shakers, as they are called, emigrated to America some forty years ago. Ann Lee, or Mother Ann, their spiritual leader, was anieceof the celebrated General Lee, who took so active a part in the war of the revolution. She became deranged, as it is said, from family misfortunes; fancied herself a second Virgin Mary, and found followers, as Joanna Southcote and Jemima Wilkinson did after her.
There is a curious spirit of opposition in the human mind. I see your papers full of anathemas against blasphemous pamphlets. We have no such things here; and why? Because every man is free to write them; and because every man enjoys his own opinion, without any arguing about the matter. Where religion never arms the hand of power, she is never obnoxious ; where she is seated modestly at the domestic hearth, whispering peace and immortal hope to infancy and age, she is always respected, even by those who may not themselves feel the force of her arguments.
CLIMATE IN NEW JERSEY.
This is a climate of extremes; you are here always in heat or frost. The former you know 1 never object to, and as I equally dislike the latter, I should perhaps be an unfair reporter of both. The summer is glorious; the resplendent sun " shining on, shining on," for days and weeks successively; an air so pure, so light, and to me so genial, that I wake as it were to a new existence. I have seen those around me, however, often drooping beneath fervors which have given me life. By the month of August, the pale cheeks and slow movements of the American women, and even occasionally of the men, seem to demand the invigorating breezes of the Siberian winter to brace the nerves and quicken the current of the blood. The severe cold which succeeds to this extreme of heat, appears
to have this effect, and seldom to produce, excepting upon such as may be" affected with constitutional weakness of the lungs, any effect that is not decidedly beneficial. Most people will pronounce the autumn to be the pride of the American year. It is indeed fraught with beauty to all the senses; the brilliant hues then assumed by nature, from the dwarf sumac with his berries and leaves of vivid crimson, up to the towering trees of the forest, twisting their branches in extreme and whimsical contrasts of gold, red, green orange, russet, through all their varieties of shade; the orchards, too, then laden with treasures, and the fields heavy with the ripened maize; the skies bright with all the summer's splendour, yet tempered with refreshing breezes; the Min sinking to rest in crimsons, whose depth and warmth of hue the painter would not dare to imitate.
The winter;—those whom it likes, may like it. The season has its beauty and its pleasures. Sparkling skies shining down upon sparkling snows, over which the light sleighs, peopled witli the young and the gay, bound along to the chime of bells which the horses seem to bear well pleased. In country and city, this is the time of amusement; the young people will run twenty miles, through the biting air, to the house of a friend; where all in a moment is set astir; carpets up, music playing, and youths and maidens, laughing and mingling in the mazy dance, the happiest creatures beneath the moon. Is it the bright climate, or the liberty that reigns every where; or is it the absence of poverty, and the equal absence of [extreme wealth; or is it all these things together that make this people so cheerful and gay-hearted?
The spring:—there is properly no spring; there is a short struggle between winter and summer; who sometimes fight for the mastery with a good deal of obstinacy. We have lately seen a fierce combat between these two great sovereigns of the year. In the latter days of March, summer suddenly alighted on the snows in the full flush of July heat; every window and door were flung open to welcome the stranger, and the trees were just bursting into leaf, when angry winter returned to the field, and poured down one of the most singular showers of sleet I ever witnessed. The water, freezing as it fell, cased every branch and twig in crystal of an inch thick, so transparent