« НазадПродовжити »
mon spectacle, which is now placed before each of us for our instruction. We are permitted to see one, who, by the mere force of principle, by plain and resolved integrity, has passed with perfect consistency, through more remarkable extremes of fortune, than any man now alive, or, perhaps any man on record. We are permitted to see one who has borne a leading and controlling part in two hemispheres, and in the two most important revolutions the world has yet seen, and has come forth from both of them without the touch of dishonour. We are permitted to see that man, who first put in jeopardy his rank and fortune at home, in order to serve as a volunteer in the cause of Free Institutions in America, and afterwards hazarded his life at the bar of the National Assembly, to arrest the same cause when it was tending to excess and violence. We are permitted to see the man, who, after three years of unbroken political triumph, stood in the midst of half a million of his countrymen, comprehending whatever was great, wise, and powerful in the nation, with the oriflamme of the monarchy at his feet, and the con. fidence of all France following his words, as he swore in their behalf to a free constitution; and yet remained undazzled and unseduced by his vast, his irresistible popularity. We are permitted to see the man, who, for the sake of the same principles to which he had thus sworn, and in less than three years afterwards, was condemned to such obscure sufferings, that his very existence became doubtful to the world, and the place of his confinement was effectually hidden from the inquiries of his friends, who sent emissaries over half Europe to discover it; and yet remained unshaken and undismayed, constantly refusing all appearance of compromise with his persecutors and oppressors. We are, in short, permitted to see a man, who has professed, amidst glory and suffering, in triumph and in disgrace, the same principles of political freedom on both sides of the Atlantic; who has maintained the same tone, the same air, the same open confidence, amidst the rains of the Bastille, in the Champ de Mars, under the despotism of Bonaparte, and in the dungeons of Olmütz.
We rejoice, too, no less in the effect which this visit of General Lafayette is producing upon us as a nation. It is doing much to unite us. It has brought those together, who have been separated by long lives of political animosity. It helps to break down the great boundaries and landmarks of party. It makes a holiday of kind and generous feelings in the hearts of the multitudes that throng his way, as he moves in triumphal procession from city to city. It turns this whole people from the bustle and divisions of our wearisome elections, the contests of the senatehouse, and the troubles and bitterness of our manifold political dissensions ; and instead of all this, carries us back to that great period in our history, about which opinions have long been tranquil and settled. It offers to us, as it were, with the very costume and air appropriate to the times, one of the great actors, from this most solemn passage in our national destinies; and thus enables us to transmit yet one generation further onward, a sensible impression of the times of our fathers; since we are not only permitted to witness ourselves one of their foremost leaders and champions, but can show him to our children, and thus leave in their young hearts an impression, which will grow old there with their deepest and purest feelings. It brings, in fact, onr revolution nearer to us, with all the highminded patriotism and selfdenying
virtues of our forefathers; and therefore naturally turns our thoughts more towards our posterity, and makes us more anxious to do for them what we are so sepsibly reminded was done with such perilous sacrifices
All the events in this interesting memoir, are described in a chaste and elegant style. Mr. Ticknor has told the story of the life of Lafayette with a simplicity of manner, which leaves the reader his whole mind to contemplate the character of a great man, and his whole heart to admire the virtues of a good man. And we are sure, he will always receive the thanks of his readers, for not attempting to divert their attention, or share their admiration. General Lafayette has passed a long life of trials and of sufferings. He has been tried, and has suffered the full measure which human nature can bear. But if a good man ever enjoys his reward this side of Heaven, Lafayette has now that reward in a most eminent degree, in the gratitude of a numerous, enlightened, and free people.
John Bull in America; or the New Munchausen. New York,
1825. 12mo. pp. 226. In our remarks upon this work, we propose to depart from our usual custom of instructing and delighting our readers with a preliminary disquisition on the subject in general. We shall rather let the author take precedence of the critic, and without further circumlocution, allow him to speak for himself as follows.
On the fifth day of August, 1824, a rather genteel looking stranger arrived at the Mansion Hotel in the city of Washington, where he inquired for a retired room, and expressed his intention of staying some time. He was dressed in a blue frock, striped vest, and gray pantaloons; was about five feet ten, as is supposed, and had a nose like a potato. The evening of the following day there arrived in the stage from Baltimore, a little mahogany-faced foreigner, a Frenchman as it would seem, with gold rings in his ears, and a pair of dimity breeches. The little man in dimity breeches expressed great pleasure at meeting the stranger, with whom he seemed to be well acquainted; but the stranger appeared much agitated at the rencontre, and displayed nothing like satisfaction on the occasion. With the evident intention of avoiding the little dark-complexioned man, he, in a few minutes, desired the waiter to show him into his room, to which he retired without bidding the other good night.
It appears from the testimony of the waiter, that on going into his chamber, and observing a portmanteau, which had been placed there in his absence, the stranger inquired to whom it belonged. The waiter replied: "To the French gentleman. As you seemed to be old acquaintance, I thought you would like to be together, sir.” This information seemed to cause great agitation in the mind of the stranger, who exclaimed, as if unconscious of the presence of the waiter, “I am a lost man!” which the waiter thought rather particular. The stranger, after a few moments' apparent perplexity, ordered the waiter to bring him pen, ink, paper, and sealing-wax and then desired to be left alone. It is recollected that the dark-complexioned foreigner retired about ten, requesting to be called up at four o'clock, as be was going on in the stage to the south. This is the last that was seen, either of the stranger, or the dark-complexioned foreigner. On knocking at the door precisely at four o'clock the next morning, and no answer being given, the waiter made bold to enter the room, which to his surprise he found entirely empty. Neither trunks, nor stranger, nor dark-complexioned foreigner, were to be found. Had the stranger and his friend previously run up a long score at the Mansion Hotel, their disappearance would not have excited any extraordinary degree of surprise. But the stranger was indebted but for two days' board and lodging, and the darkcomplexioned foreigner had paid his bill over night. A person who slept in the next room, recollected hearing a stir in that of the stranger, as he thinks, about three o'clock, but supposing it to be some one going off in the mail, it excited no particular observation.”
The reader needs no ghost to tell him, that the gentleman in the blue frock &c. left a manuscript. This turns out to be an account of travels in America, by an Englishman, whom the author, or according to the courtesy of Utopia, the editor, imagines to be one of the writers in the Quarterly. He favors the public with sundry weighty reasons for supposing him to be the reviewer of the - Memorable Days of Wiliam Faux,” the gentleman from Somersham. From the style of this preface, we formed high expectations of the work. We expected to find in it, a lively representation of Mr. Bull, as he occasionally appears among us with his London broadcloth, Brummagem dignity, and talent for silence. We anticipated great amusement from a full length picture of him, as he marches through our republic, listening, with the gravity of a hogshead, to all the queer inventions, which the waggish natives are pleased to palm upon him, mentally comparing the contemptible tinkle of every village cow-bell with the sounding honours of Bow, and growling inarticulate indig. nation at beef-steaks which have no relish of sulphur.
The writer of this book has taken a course a little different, having contented himself with a kind of parody of the romances of Faux, Fearon, and others, who have come over
the good people of their native island, with an occasional octavo volume, to the great comfort and exultation of the gulls, and the proportional improvement of their own temporal concerns.
Though our expectations were somewhat disappointed by this method of proceeding, we have nevertheless derived much amusement from these Travels, and if the author be, as we suspect, a gentleman, whose name is familiar to the lovers of humor, he deserves to touch something more solid than the pension of moonshine, which Mr Faux so liberally bestowed on him, for his patriotic labours in tickling his countrymen at the expense of Mr Bull.
We proceed to give some account of the doings and sayings of our traveller. He sails in a British brig for Boston, on his way to New Orleans, which would not occur to every one as the most direct route. But he was probably of opinion with an emigrant of whom we recollect to have heard, that to hit somewhere upon the broadside of America, was as much as could come within the compass of reasonable expectation. Notwithstanding the favourable opinions, which he entertained concerning America, he finds, in the very outset, much that disgusts him with the state of society. The great proportion and cruel treatment of the slaves in Boston; excite the most distressing feelings in his mind, as indeed they must in that of any person, who has ever witnessed them. He is informed by Governor Hancock, of many instances of this barbarity, beside what he himself has occasion to observe. The weakness and credulity of the people, who swallow with avidity the absurd witch-stories of their most popular living author, the Rev. Cotton Mather, astonish him, although he was of course prepared for much ignorance and its concomitant, superstition.
From Boston our traveller crosses the Potomac to Charleston, South Carolina, where he has an opportunity of dining with Judge D-, whom, by the way, he had lately observed in the street, “ amusing himself with the niggers." He tells us that
The dinner was, in the main, good enough. That is to say, there was a plenty of things naturally good, but what was very remarkable, it was brought up in wooden dishes, out of which they all helped themselves with their fingers, knives and forks not being in use in America, except among a few English people. There was a very suspicious dish on the table, which they called terrapin soup, in which I obseryed what had exactly the appearance of the fingers and toes of little
negroes. I afterwards learned that this was exactly the case, and that terrapin is the cant name for black children, as papoose is for those of the Indians. During the desert, an unlucky slave happened to let fall a knife to which he was helping his mistress, who snatched it up in a great passion and gave him a deep gash in the face. I dropped my knife and fork in astonishment, but nobody else seemed to notice this horrible incident.
We have not room to notice many of the observations on this, or indeed any other city, through which the gentleman in gray pantaloons has occasion to pass in his way to New Orleans. We shall only endeavour to give something like a general sketch of his route, with a few of its more remarkable circumstances. From Charleston, he proceeds to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in the stage.” We suspect here either an error of the press, or of some careless transcriber. We think it must have been originally written “coach,” “ mail coach,” or stage coach ;" since it is scarcely in character for our journalist to be guilty of a Yankee-ism so soon after his arrival. But let that pass. In the stage then, or the coach, he goes, with a driver, drunk of course, who is a member of Congress, judge, colonel, justice, deacon, constable, and jailer. During this jaunt, he is introduced to the little Frenchman, alluded to in the preface. It will be seen by the following extracts, that Monsieur himself had some notion for grumbling at the customs of the country, and truly we admit that his complaint was not without foundation.
“ Diable!” exclaimed the little Frenchman in broken English ; “these democrat yankees have as many offices as their citizen hogs have hind legs." Why, how many legs have our citizen bogs, as you call them, Monsieur?" replied the communicative passenger. Why, eight at least," said the other, “or they could never furnish the millions of hams which I sce every where. Diable! I have breakfasted upon ham—dined upon ham-and supped upon ham, every day since I arrived in this country. Yes, sir, it is certain your pigs must have at least eight hams a piece;" upon which he politely offered me a pinch of snuff, which I refused with cold dignity. If I know myself, I have no national prejudices; but I do hate Frenchmen.
He witnesses in Portsmouth the following shocking catastrophe.
It seems a fellow of the name of Ramsbottom, a man-milliner by trade, and a roaring patriot, had taken offence at a neighbour, whose name was Higginbottom, because his wife had attempted to cheapen a crimped tucker, and afterwards reported that he sold his articles much dearer than bis rival man-milliner over the way, whose name was Winterbottom, and whose next door neighbour, one Oddy, was Winterbottom's particular friend. In the pure spirit of democracy, Ramsbottom