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at the accession of his party to office! Then his sincerity could not have been doubted! Then his repentance could not have been accounted apostacy! Then the palm of martyrdom, political and religious, might have bent gracefully from his hand! Really there is no concession. It is the Puseyite doctrine dressed for the times. And doubtless his ripeness of intellect would have been more acknowledged had he conserved his work for a Horatian term. He has taken to it upon the nonce. It is illconsidered and ill-digested. A mind like his needs much deliberation to supply the lack of comprehension and strength, ere it grapple with such themes. Instead of being the nine years' labour, it will be the nine days' wonder. Tories say he is doctoring the pulse of the nation for the Whigs,-churchmen, that he is unsaying all he ever spoke,— quid nuncs, that he knows what he is about !
'Who is that faithful and wise' servant of God and man that will give his mind to this cause? Who will bring its urgency before the public and upon the public? It cannot be a very profound theorem. Recalling our schoolboy distinctions, we rather think of it as a problem, not what is to be demonstrated, but to be done. It is an art rather than a science, though like every art founded on one. There is a philosophy in it. We would not separate them. Only in paragogic description an indefinite something,-call it culture, call it training, call it development–is hailed, invisible or dimly scanned, an intangible vision, and, in the meanwhile, the sentimentalist desponds, and the progressionist stands still. We must deal with it as with the diamond—the harder it is, the sharper must be our tools ; and the more costly it is, the more strenuous must be our labours. A crust is to be removed, the essential splendour is to be elicited,—but circumstances are uot to be despised—the surface is to be multiplied, and the setting to be provided. The soul of man is that gem, and a true education is like the lapidary's craft, who polishes its roughness, varies its aspect, and unfolds its beauty. He who thus 'winneth souls is wise,' he
makes wise unto salvation.' Other orders of educationists may have their temples on the sides of the hill; but of him can it only be said, Eis cxpov laudelas enacexws,--He has been borne to the towered height of education.
withstand the more to be removednot to be despis
Art. III.-Recollections of Mexico. By Waddy Thompson, Esq.,
late Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States at Mexico. New York and London : Wiley and
Putnam. 1846. 8vo. pp. 304. We have read this volume with considerable pleasure. It is a book of sterling value, and as attractive as it is valuable. It is altogether different from the trashy productions of many continental tourists, and may be perused with advantage by all who are concerned to know the condition, resources, character and prospects of the Mexican republic and people. In the present state of the American continent the information it supplies is peculiarly opportune; and if the leaning of the author may occasionally be detected, there is, on the whole, an honesty and candour in his views which cannot fail to please. The rupture which has taken place between the United States and Mexico, though long foreseen, must be deeply regretted by every benevolent mind; and we shall be glad to learn that the information supplied by Mr. Thompson has served to call up the better and more peaceful feelings of his countrymen. It is well adapted to effect this, and the more so from its being written prior to the breaking out of hostilities. The issue of the struggle, should it be continued, does not admit of doubt; but where will be the fruits of victory? No honour can be gathered in such a field, and any nominal extent of territory will be more than counterbalanced, by the want of compactness and the utter absence of harmony and co-operation. As an independent republic, aided in the progress of civilization, Mexico may be of immense advantage to the United States. In any other character she will be a source of weakness and irritation, the perplexity and disgrace of the statesmen of America.
It was on the 10th of April, 1842, that Mr. Thompson entered the harbour of Vera Cruz, as minister plenipotentiary of the United States. The climate of the city is its most effectual protection. The yellow fever prevails along the whole Atlantic coast of Mexico without intermission, and is marked by special malignancy during two-thirds of the year. The city is rendered more unhealthy than other localities by some large swamps in its rear, and is visited by various diseases equally fatal with the yellow fever. The present city is about six miles from the town settled by Cortes, and its streets are broad and reasonably clean.
Negroes are represented by our author as numerous in Vera Cruz; and we regret to find in his allusion to this race, the same low-minded an'i disgraceful prejudice by which so many of his countrymen are distinguished. The general tone of his volume would have led us to give him credit for exemption from this vice. In other points he is superior; but in hatred of the African he yields to none in the blind bitterness of his zeal.
• The negro in Mexico,' he tells us, as everywhere else, is looked upon as belonging to a class a little lower than the lowest-the same lazy, filthy, and vicious creatures that they inevitably become when they are not held in bondage. Bondage or barbarism seems to be their destiny-a destiny from which the Ethiopian race has furnished no exception in any country for a period of time long enough to constitute an epoch. The only idea of the free negro of liberty, in Mexico, or elsewhere, is exemption from labour, and the privilege to be idle, vicious and dishonest; as to the mere sentiments of liberty, and the elevating consciousness of equality, they are incapable of the former; and for the latter, no such equality ever did or ever will exist.
Such is the style in which an American gentleman, boasting of his republicanism, can seek to cover over and to justify the abominations of the slave system. A philosophy so shallow may well awaken the contempt, as it must draw down on the American people the scorn of mankind. The argument is as old as tyranny. It is power pleading against weakness; first degrading by its oppressions, and then appealing to the debasement of its victim in justification of its misdeeds. We deny, however, the assumption which Mr. Thompson's language involves. His facts are as erroneous as his philosophy is abhorrent. But let it pass. There are other and better things in his volume, or we should throw it aside as a libel on our common nature, and a vile reflection on the God who made us.
From Vera Cruz to Jalapa, a distance by the road of about seventy miles, is almost one continued ascent, the elevation of which opens to the traveller extensive views of a country rich in natural productions, yet lamentably deficient in cultivation.
• The habitations (for houses they are not) which are seen on the road side, at distances of fifteen and twenty miles from each other, resemble rather chicken coops than the abodes of human beings. They are constructed of canes about ten feet long, the large end resting on the ground, standing upright and wickered together in one or two places, and covered with the leaves of the palm tree. In the villages the houses are generally small filthy bovels of ten or twelve feet square, built of unburnt bricks, with a small enclosure, in which the chili (red pepper), and a small patch of Indian corn for tortillas is cultivated. A Mexican village very closely resembles an American Indian village with the difference that the Mexican hovels are built of brick instead of being log cabins. The same idleness, filth, and squalid poverty are apparent.'-p. 12.
e is not," he tranger to consescarcely possikably clear, all
On the high lands the atmosphere is remarkably clear, all the tropical fruits thrive, and it is scarcely possible, our author informs us, for a stranger 'to conceive of a climate so elysian. There is not,' he tells us, 'a day and scarcely an hour in the year when one could say, I wish it were a little warmer or a little cooler. It is never warm enough to pull off your coat, and rarely cold enough to button it. The capabilities of such a country are not easily estimated, and Mr. Thompson luxuriates in the anticipation of what it will become when in the possession, as he terms it, of our race?' The policy of his government is distinctly intimated in his assurance, that 'the march of time is not more certain than that this will be, and probably at no distant day.'
The whole country presents indubitable evidence of volcanic formation; but the wretched system of agriculture which is maintained, prevents any very accurate opinion of the comparative productiveness of the soil. The plough in general use is of precisely the same construction as that of two thousand years ago; the hoe is a wooden staff with an iron spike in the end; and the ox is the only animal employed for purposes of husbandry. The condition of the people is just such as these facts would lead us to anticipate.
• Although (says Mr. Thompson) the whole road from the city of Vera Cruz to the city of Mexico passes through a country inexpressibly picturesque and beautiful, yet the ignorant, idle, and degraded population, the total absence of cultivation and improvement, and a general appearance of wildness and desolation, produced with me feelings partaking of gloom and melancholy. Neither in going nor returning did I see one human being, man, woman, or child, engaged at work of any sort. The great mass of the population doze out their lives with no higher thoughts or purposes than the beasts which perish around them.'-pp. 19, 20.
The roads, as might be expected, are infested with robbers, against whom the only sure defence is the appearance of foreigners well armed.
• They never attack the stage when two or three of the passengers are foreigners, and are known to be armed. When the stage stops for the night, or to change horses, some one of the robbers examines the baggage, and if it promises a rich booty and the passengers have the appearance of soft customers, they are certain to be attacked before the stage has gone five miles. But if the passengers are armed and there is a prospect of resistance, the robbers wait for an easier prey ; they wisely calculate that some one of then may be killed, and each of them knows that that one may be himself-upon the same principle that one brave man armed often repels a mob. At one of the little villages where we changed horses, I was very much
struck with the dashing and picturesque appearance of a man who rode by, richly and gaudily dressed, on a fine horse gaily capari soned. I asked the stage driver if he knew him ; he said that he did, and that he was the captain of a band of robbers who had plundered the stage several times since he had been driving. I asked him why he had not informed against him and had him punished; he replied, that if he had done so he certainly would have been shot by some others of the band the next time he had passed the road, and I have no doubt that he would have been, for no-where is the maxim of honour amongst thieves' more rigidly adhered to than amongst Mexican thieves.'-pp. 20, 21.
Gambling is almost universal amongst the lower classes of the Mexicans, and is pursued with intense passion. It is not, however, confined to them. Many of the higher orders are its slaves, and it is no uncommon thing for the bankrupt gamester to seek to replenish his exchequer on the road. A short time before Mr. Thompson left the country, the public stage was robbed near Puebla, the Lowell of Mexico, by a party whose dress and bearing were those of gentlemen. When they had rified the pockets and trunks of the passengers, one of their number addressed them in the following strain of mock politeness : Gentlemen, we would not have you to suppose that we are robbers by profession; we are gentlemen; but we have been unfortunate at monte, and that has forced upon us the necessity of thus incommoding you, for which we beg that you will pardon us.'
The wealth of the clergy is enormous. It is the accumulation of ages, and is cautiously concealed from the public eye. As in other catholic countries, it forms a criterion by which the ignorance and superstition of the people may be estimated, and serves to weaken the national resources, and to perpetuate the evils out of which it has grown. It is lamentable to observe how the principle of priestism, when weakened in its centre, has strengthened itself in the distant provinces of its empire. Since the Lutheran reformation, popery has been compelled to assume a somewhat modified aspect in Europe. The spread of intelligence throughout the European community has been skilfully respected, and popery has in consequence spoken a language and contented itself with contributions which would have been spurned in its palmy days. A compensation has been sought in other and more distant regions, where the same causes were in operation as constituted its strength in Europe in ancient times. Mexico, unhappily for itself, has been one of these regions, and a large portion of the property of the country is now in the hands of the clergy. Referring to this subject, Mr. Thompson says,—