Puslapio vaizdai

looked on the map of Connecticut he would have seen that New Haven is not near the mouth of the Thames.

But we are not ound to ke a table of errata for our author. We leave the rest, therefore, for his own revision, assuring him, that they are many, and that there is scarce a page of the three volumes, on which some error is not to be found either his own or his printer's. Those of his own might be classed into such as proceed from recent incorrect information, from following ancient descriptions of parts of the country, which change every day, and from disregarding the alterations made in the state constitutions and laws by the constitution of the United States. It is certainly matter of surprise, that a book, written by a citizen of the United States, should inform us, that the authors of literary works are secured in the exclusive right thereof in Virginia for twenty one years, and that the delegates to Congress from North Carolina are chosen annually by ballot of the General Assembly, as is stated volume ii. pages 207 and 352.

In the third Part the author returns to his view of the United States collectively. Many of the chapters in this part treat the subjects, upon which Mr Seybert, in his excellent Statistical Annals, has given the most particular details, and a late number of our journal* entered so fully into a consideration of them, in the remarks upon that work, that we do not think it necessary now to take them up again. The forty-eighth and fortyninth chapters, which treat of the state of education, knowledge, manners, the arts, and the state of religion are entitled to more particular attention. We search through these chapters in vain for the account, which we might expect to find of the system of education and of the state of intellectual culture in our country. It is true, unfortunate as it may be for the coun{ry, that education is not a subject of national legislation, but it is none the less a national concern, and we shall discover, perhaps, at some future day, that no real national feeling and character can exist without its influence. Mr Warden should have given us a view of our primary and higher schools, and of our colleges, universities, and all other establishments of education, whether elementary or professional, and told us of the number of instructers employed, and of students taught in all ihese institutions. It is not enough, that he has done this, or

• North American Review, vol. ix, p. 217.

partly done it, as the fact is, in the description of the individual states; we wanted a general and national view of the subject. The reason he assigns for not doing it is, that it would have been a repetition, but he has been less scrupulous on this point in respect to most other subjects. Let us now see what is the amount of the information we obtain from him.

• The education of youth, which is so essential to the well being of society, has always been a primary object in the United States. Since the year 1802, especially, great additions have been made to the number of schools and academical institutions; to the funds for supporting them, and to all the means for providing instruction, and disseminating information. In 1809, the number of colleges had increased to twenty-five, that of academies to seventy-four. These institutions are incorporated by the legislature of each state, and are subject to its inspection, though placed respectively under the direction of boards of trustees. vol. iii.

p. 453.

We are left equally ignorant of the state of literary and scientific knowledge in the country. On this subject the most we learn is, that there are some societies established for the advancement of learning and science, that the American Philosophical Society at Philadelphia has published six volumes, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences of Boston one, neither of which statements is correct; that there are academies at New York and Philadelphia for the cultivation of the fine arts, and that a liberal spirit fosters these establishments, which is perhaps not more correct; that we republish English works at less than a quarter of the original price, which we may well afford to do, as we have nothing to pay for the copy right, and print on such miserable paper. He mentions, however, two facts, which we were glad to observe, that Knickerbocker's New York brought 3000 dollars, and Judge Marshall's Life of Washington 100,000 dollars to their authors. A few more instances of such rewards for literary labors, and our presses would have employment enough in printing original productions, and our own authors soon occupy a respectable portion of our libraries. We are not wanting in patronage to one sort of literary publication, to judge from Mr Warden's account of our newspapers ; for of them he says there were five hundred in May 1817, and 250,000 printed weekly. Nor are we wanting in talent for dramatic composition, if the number of our dramatic productions be a proof to the con

trary, of which a long list (of most of which we never heard before) is given in the work before us. As to manners, habits, and national character, we ought to be obliged to Mr Warden for the favorable representation he makes of us, and as we are so unaccustomed to see any thing of the kind, we cannot but treat our readers with an extract.

• The people of the United States have not that uniform character, which belongs to ancient nations, upon whom time and the stability of institutions have imprinted a particular and individual character. The general physiognomy is as varied as its origin is different. English, Irish, German, Scotch, French and Swiss, all retain something of the first stamp, which belongs to their ancient country. A marked distinction, however, exists between the inhabitants of the maritime and commercial towns and those of the country. The former resemble the citizens of the great towns of Europe. They have all the luxury and vice of an advanced civilization.* Those of the country, who lead an agricultural life, enjoy all that happiness which is preserved from the exercise of the social virtues in their primitive purity. Their affections are constant; felicity crowns the conjugal union; respect for paternal authority is sacred ; infidelity on the part of the wife is almost unknown; crime is rare ; mendicity and theft uncommon.' vol. üi, p. 476.

Another description is given in the Introduction, which is more discriminating and philosophical, from which we extract a few passages.

• It has been said that the Americans have no national character. Without stopping to inquire in what this consists, we may observe, that according to the testimony of travellers, the aspect of society in the United States is distinguished by many striking particulars from that of Europe. Though the number of learned and scientific characters is much smaller than in France and Britain, the mass of the population are better informed, than in either of the countries. They are not merely better educated, but they derive from their habits more practical sagacity and good sense. Placed often in situations where they have to work their way, and supply their wants without assistance from others, they are inven. tive, persevering, full of resources, not easily deterred by difficulties. The prejudices of birth and rank, which fetter industry in Europe, have little existence in America; men change their profession as often as it suits their interest, and never deem any honest occupation disreputable. Enjoying abundance and depending

• From the year 1797 to 1801, inclusive, 693 convicts entered the state prison of New York.'

on no man's patronage, they are free, open-hearted, unreserved and perhaps somewhat rough in their manners. Accustomed to rely much on their own arm, they are manly, brave, high spirited, and enterprising.' p. lxii.

To show that our author has an agreeable variety in his style of writing and to present one more of the pictures he has drawn of our manners and customs, we shall conclude our extracts with his account of the metropolis.

• The inhabitants of the district of Columbia are social and hospitable. At Washington, respectable strangers, after the slightest introduction, are invited to tea, balls, and evening parties. Tea parties have become very expensive, as not only tea, but coffee, negus, cakes, sweetmeats, iced creams, wines and liqours are often presented, and in a sultry summer evening, are found too palatable to be refused. In winter there is a succession of family balls, where all this species of luxury is exhibited.

• Both sexes, whether on horseback, or on foot, wear an umbrella in all seasons; in summer to keep off the sunbeams; in winter as a shelter from the rain and snow ; in spring and autumn, to intercept the dews of the evening. Persons of all ranks canter their horses, which movement fatigues the animal and has an ungraceful appearance. At dinner, and at tea parties the ladies sit together, and seldom mix with the gentlemen, whose conversation naturally turns upon political subjects. In almost all houses toddy is offered to guests a few minutes before dinner. Gentlemen wear the hat in a carriage with a lady as in England. Any particular attention to a lady is readily construed into an intention of marriage! Boarders in boarding houses, or in taverns, sometimes throw off the coat during the heat of summer; and in winter the shoes for the purpose of warming the feet at the fire; customs, which the climate only can excuse. In summer, invitation to tea parties is made verbally by a servant, the same day the party is given; in winter the invitation is more ceremonious. The barber arrives on horseback to perform the operation of shaving, and here as in Europe, he is the organ of all news and scandal. vol. iii, p, 218.

We cannot say but these things may have been so when Mr Warden was at Washington, nor in what particular circle he may have observed the practice of sitting without coat and shoes. A summary of the political and military history of the United States, since the year 1802, and an account of the Indians residing within our territory conclude the work. We are not willing to leave it without a few remarks on its general character, lest our opinion of it should be misunderstood. The author certainly deserves the thanks of every American for the diligence and fidelity with which he has collected materials for presenting a complete statistical view of the country. The distance, however, at which he was, when he made use of these materials, has occasioned many imperfections and errors, which would have been avoided if the book had been published here. It also presents itself under the disadvantage of having been printed in one country, while the author was in another, by which, and for the want of some person, acquainted with the subject to superintend the press, innumerable typographical errors are left uncorrected. It is also defective and confused in its system and arrangement, and awkward in the disposition of the subjects, many being brought into the same paragraph which have no connexion together; and the style is neither dignified nor elegant, nor always English. With all these defects, however, it contains more information about the United States of America, than is to be found in any other work, and is very deserving of our attention. We think it might serve for the ground work of an excellent book on our country, leaving out the two volumes which describe the individual states, and bringing down the information it contains to the present time.

The new census will furnish the necessary materials for a part of this work, and we hope some person will be found disposed and able to perform it.

Art. IV.-1. Sketches, Historical and Topographical, of the

Floridas; more particularly of East Florida. By James

Grant Forbes. 8vo. pp. 226, New York. 2. Memoir on the geography, and natural and civil history of

Florida, attended by a map of that country, &c. By Wil

liam Darby. 8vo. pp. 92, Philadelphia. The first discovery of Florida has been usually ascribed, not with much justice, to Sebastian Cabot. This discovery is supposed to have been made in 1496 or 1497, in Cabot's first expedition for the discovery of a north-west passage to China. In that voyage, Sebastian Cabot, or more probably John Cabot with his son Sebastian, for the latter was at that time but twenty years old, ran down the American coast from latitude 67°, where his seamen were alarmed at finding no

« AnkstesnisTęsti »