Page images

will come, however, when the lasting it will enable you to see one secret will speak."

of our comparative success, and to These sentiments are not singular judge whether France can possibly among us. I am agreeably surprised come to any thing as good. The by the great moderation of our people founders of this republic were not and of our press. When the tidings Frenchmen, but Englishmen; I mean of the outbreak reached us, it produced they were of English stock, and had excitement, of course; but there was learned all their notions of liberty no echo of the French howl, and re- from the history of England. Each markably little enthusiasm, all things province of America had taken shape considered. You have seen reprinted under the British constitution; and in England some of the most foolish when the provinces became indethings that were said in our most pendent, the general government was worthless prints. The press in gene- organised in such wise as to supply ral behaved with great reserve and the place of that constitution. Its caution. Successive steamers brought founders did not frame a new and continual abatements to the degree of untried constitution, a priori, accordconfidence, or hope, that had been ing to their own schemes ; they simply inspired in the minds of the more modified the great principles of British ardent; and so general was the can- constitutional law to suit a new state doar of the newspapers, that when of things, and a peculiar people. A those of the Clay party were pet- monarchy was out of the question ; tishly accused of a sympathy with but they did not intend to make a tyranny, the charge was easily. met democracy. They only made a reby quotations from democratic news- public. The democratic spirit came in papers, equally liable to the imputa- with Jefferson and French politics at tion, if a manly reprobation of revolu- the beginning of the present century. tionary misrule and excess be sufficient It has become dominant, but by no to prove it. The truth is, our country means triumphant; and its great obwas caught in the trap in 1792. Then, stacle has been the constitution. In the pulpit and the press strove together the several states it has changed the in glorifying France; and the remorse constitutions one after the other, inand burning shame that were the con- troducing universal suffrage, and sequence, have left a very salutary other democratic features. But the impression.

national constitution has not been so În fact, the violent democracy of easily reached; and it is the strength Paris is exerting a beneficial effect of the great party with which Clay upon our people. We see the de- and Webster are identified, and which grading spectacle, and learn to value is a constant check on the popular ourselves for a love of law and order. party. It is republican, but not There is a reluctance to reduce our simply democratic. The executive selves to the level of such a republic as magistracy is elective; but the electors has sprung up like a mushroom in a are not the people, directly, but elecnight, and is likely to perish in the same toral colleges, appointed by the several way. Our own revolution was not states; and the office itself is endowed one of drunken riot, and street-singing with prerogatives, some of which are blouse-men: our constitution is not more unlimited than the corresponding a mere poetical theory of liberty and rights of the British crown. Our senate equality, nor a socialist's dream of is a mere modification of the House of brotherhood. We now learn the Lords : it is a body more select than secret of our strength, and of that the lower house, and not so immedicomparative durability which has ately responsible to constituents; and almost surprised ourselves. We are, its practical working shows the great after all, a transplanted slip of old importance of such a balance-wheel England; nor are we so essentially in any government. There is no workchanged, my Basil, as even you. ing without it, in spite of what your imagine. The spirit of our people is Roebucks may say. The House of indeed democratic ; but the spirit of Commons reappears in our House of our constitution is imbued with a Representatives, which, like its great stronger element. The facts concern- original, is the safety-valve of popular



feeling, and gives sonorous vent to a and South, and East and West, by the mighty pressure of steam and vapour, introduction of Mexican and Texan which would otherwise blow us to states, and the power which it will atoms, with a much less endurable throw into the hands of a few persons noise. The whole fabric of our law at the seat of government, is even is a precious patrimony derived, with now our most alarming danger. We our blood, from England. Our new know, from what we see among ourstates are filling up with emigrants selves, that governments must take from the continent of Europe, but form, not from human devices, but they all adopt the law of their older from God's providences. We oursisters; and thus the institutions of selves are the results of circumstances: the immortal Alfred may be found no scheming patriot could have made among the Swedes and Danes of us what we are; and no imitative Wisconsin. These, then, are the Frenchman can give to his country a elements of our strength; and you government like ours; nor, if he could, observe they partake of the strength would it survive beyond the lifetime of the British empire, which has been of some individual, whose popularity legitimately and naturally imparted would supply a temporary strength to us, like the mother's life-blood to to its essential weakness. An imthe daughter of her womb. We have ported constitution must be a sickly indeed characteristic peculiarities. one, in any country on earth. We have tried some new experiments; For us, then, there is a legitimacy but let not France suppose she can in our institutions which makes them imitate them. We are a new country, durable, and dear to all classes of our a sparso population, and our people people. But to be loyal to our own have their heads full of subduing republic is by no means to be comthe soil, and setting water-wheels in mitted to universal republicanism, far streams, and making roads and canals. less to be delighted with universal We have no natural taste for insur- anarchy. You must pardon our tastes. rection and confusion, for we have We are young, and we think a jacket nobody that is idle enough to want and shako becoming. We wear our such work. Our new wine, then, has appropriate costume as gracefully as been put into new bottles ; and the

We are yet the growing, fool that attempts to decant it into perhaps the awkward, but still the the old vessels of Europe, will ruin it active boy. But when Europe befools and them together.

itself, in its dotage, with republican Our newspapers have pointed out attire, we lads have a right to laugh. another secret of our strength, which It will do for us to play leap-frog, or France cannot possibly enjoy. In cut any other caper that we choose ; spite of that wild prophecy of Lady but who can restrain derision when TIester Stanhope to Lamartine—so . corpulent imbecility assumes an unmuch of which has come true-Paris skirted coat, and submits its uncovered is France, and will be France while proportions to hootings and to kicks, France holds together. The city of or throws a ponderous summersault Washington is not America ; and its that less demonstrates agility than great acres of unoccupied building exposes nakedness ! lots are the best thing about it. The I speak for myself, and for many, very State governments, which could not many of my countrymen. Our mere have been planned beforehand, but populace are of course possessed with are a natural product of old events, the idea that a universal Yankeewhich dispose of all local matters, and doodle is the panacea for all the mise. prevent sectional jealousies, which ries of the world. It has been told them divide and balance power, and satisfy so often by demagogues, that they are small ambition,—these are the helps, pardonable. But even they would without which our national existence probably allow that the Chinese, for could not have been prolonged beyond instance, are not yet quite ready for the lifetime of Washington himself. liberty-poles and ballet-boxes, and by The threatened disturbance of the ad- degrees might be brought to confess mirable equilibrium which has hereto- as much for any country less remarkfore been maintained between North able and astonishing than our own.

we can.

But there is a solid mass of good sense government is the best for ourselves, among us that is not so deceived. It and few of us have any fear for that of ccnsists of those who would rejoice to England. On British matters we do see a rational republic in France, or not feel bound to judge by our own in any other country ; but who know experiences. We are free to theorise that, with the exception perhaps of on broader principles; and many of Holland, such a thing is impossible, us form our own opinions, not as cool and that, in France, reason is more and critical foreigners, but as having likely to reappear as the divinified har- a deep interest in the preservation of lot of Notre Dame than in any more the institutions of our ancestors. Why respectable form. As to Great Bri- should we not? The study of history tain, even our schoolboys have learned carries us, at once, beyond the narrow that, with all the stability of empire, limits of threescore years and ten, it unites the freedom of a republic; which is the age of our national exisand in spite of some feeling against tence, and as soon as we pass that John Bull, I scarcely know the man boundary we too are Britons. The who would not be sorry to see it blood of our forefathers ran in Engsuddenly or violently revolutionised. lish veins, or flowed for British freeOn Irish affairs opinion is not so sane dom and sovereignty. This fact is among us. Few of us know any enough to make our educated and thing about them; and for the sake of reflecting men speculatively conserthe starving peasantry of Ireland, vative as to British politics. We there is some sympathy with its tur- know the past, and do not feel the bulent Gracchi. Believe it, the gene- party-heats of the present in England. ral tone of sentiment on this side the Hence I am far from being alone Atlantic, among reflecting men, is far among my countrymen, in looking at more conservative than you imagine. English matters with an English heart. Indeed, all classes stand amazed at Even our commercial class have a the democracy of Europe. Our wildest reason for wishing internal peace and enthusiasts are outdone, even by prosperity to England; and I believe some who sit in the House of Com- there is generally something better mons; and the rampant socialism of than selfishness in the prevalent goodParis is as unlike the worst excesses will toward her. I wish you could of our elections, as the ferocity of a have watched, as I did, the feelings of tiger is unlike the playfulness of a our whole people, while lately, bekitten. Young as we are, we are tween the arrivals of two steamers, better mannered ; and I must say, there was a solemn feeling of surprise dear Basil, that when the older nations as to what would be the results of of the world are allowing themselves the Chartist demonstration! Till the such license, we have a right to regard news came, the stoutest of us held ourselves as taking new rank, and our breath. I assure you, Basil, the deserving more credit than has here- peril of England was observed with a tofore been given us, as, after all, a law deep anxiety. During all that time I loving and law-maintaining people. met not a respectable man who wished

You will say, as was said to the trum- to see a revolutionary result. It was peter in Æsop—“No, no,-you make the talk of all circles. Our merchants all the mischief; others cut throats, trembled for England; our scholars but you have set them on.” But hoped for her; a clerical gentleman is the democratic spirit really of Ame- assured me that he daily prayed for rican origin? Our Plymouth orators her. The press very generally pre--the men who annually glorify our dicted a triumph of order, but there earliest colonists-usually trace it to were some specimens of newspaper the Puritans, and through them to literature that ventured an opposite Genera. At all events, it now infects augury. I wish you could have seen the world, and those are the happy this city when the result was known. and the permanent governments which The news was received with a thrill. are prepared for its violence, by con. There was some laughing at the parstitutional vents and floodgates. It turient mountain and the still-born is not to be stifled, or dammed up. mouse, but a graver cheerfulness was We believe, therefore, that our own the reigning emotion. We deeply felt that, by the mercy of God, the ties, which are inevitable, and cannot world had been spared from a con- be withstood. But is the unchrisflagration which the match of a mad- tianising of the state to be spoken of man could light, but which only side by side with even the destrucanother deluge could extinguish. For tion of colonies, and the discourageone, I was as a watcher by the sea- ment of agriculture ? As it strikes side, who, after a night of tempest, me, it is not a thing of a class, it waits for the fog to rise, and then stands out a portent, a harbinger, thanks God to see the good old ship a phenomenon of its own kind. Not coming home, in season, her masts all that it surprises me.

From Lord standing, and her flag untorn. John Russell nothing that argues

I had felt fears, my Basil. What was fatuity and lack of political principle not imaginable, when Europe present should surprise any one. To carry out ed the appearance of a table on which the plans to which he has committed empires had fallen in a day, like card- himself, he must consistently pander to houses blown down by the breath of infidels, foster heretics, and subsidise children! I knew that neither France, Jews. To the reforms of the last nor Prussia, nor Austria, nor Italy, score of years, there could be no more were any thing like England, which is fitting sequel than this coalition founded on a rock, and knit together with à people loaded with the by joints and bands : but I felt that hereditary burthen of the saving England is no longer what she was. blood of the Crucified. I only marvel With a Whig government she is never that the bill goes on so slowly. The herself.* The Whigs are more than half Baron should have been long since in Frenchmen. I tell you you seem to me his place, and the Easter holidays not half enough afraid of your Whigs; should have been disregarded, out of they are worse than your Radicals. respect to his feelings. It is astonishYou show some uneasiness under the ing that he is not already an ecclesiJewish Disabilities Bill, but I wish astical commissioner. The times are you could see it as it strikes a looker- not now as during a former French

If time has on you the effect revolution, when a British statesman which distance has on me, you will yet could say |—" the Jews in Change look back on that measure as you now Alley have not yet dared to hint their look back on the great mistake of 1829. hopes of a mortgage on the revenues It will haunt you like a nightmare, and belonging to the see of Canterbury." you will regard it with less of anger You are always praising your church, than of shame and remorse ; with Basil, but allow me to ask, Why you the deep conviction that, if the friends may not live to see a Jewish rabbi of the constitution had done their nominated to a bishopric. As I unduty, it never would have disgraced derstand it, the obsequious chapter a Christian state. True, the Whigs would be obliged to perform the elecare responsible for inflicting the blow; tion, and close all by anthems to but what has been done to avert it? Almighty God, ascribing to Him the So far as I know, nothing commensu- glory of a gift so felicitous and so rate with the greatness of the evil. auspicious to the church! It would You seem to give way to it as only not be the first time, I believe, that one of many inroads upon old proprie. Lord John has set the Te Deum of


We fully agree with our correspondent as to the danger of Whiggery in our councils, but are so far reconciled to the Whigs being in office at the present crisis, by the knowledge that, bad they been in opposition, they would, to a certain extent, have fraternised with French Republicans and English Chartists. Who could doubt that such would have been the conduct of the men who headed physical force processions, and hounded on window-breaking vagabonds in the Reform riots of 1830 ? What amount of profligate partisanship might not be expected from the men who, when thirsting for office, solemnly denounced as unconstitutional and unjust the course pursued by a conservative government towards O'Connell, which identical course they now, when in power, adopt towards Mitchell, a much less dangerous criminal ?

+ Burke's Reflections on the French Revolution.


In my

cathedrals going, like the whistles of a Who made him a knight? “A Jewjuggler's barrel-organ. Forgive me, ish knight,” said I, at the timeBasil; I am not mocking the agonies “hear it, ye dry bones,-ye crossof your church, but I am scorning a legged effigies--ye Paladins—ye Tem. British minister that can use for her plars ! Hear it, Du-Bois-Gilbert,-destruction the powers confided to him hear it, Richard Caur-de-Lion! Yes, for her nourishment and defence. I and thou, too, old Roger de Coverley ! have learned my notions of your poli- Hear it, thou true old English knight; tics from Edmund Burke, and I re- for they that bought thine old clothes member what he said in his Reflections now come for thine old spurs !” So on the French Revolution of 1792– said I-wondering that no one seemed for, by the way, revolutions in France to wonder. The nineteenth century must be always referred to by dates, had not time to stare. There was not and will soon be known, like police- even a London Punch to langh at such men, by letters and numbers. “The a Judy, and so Moses was belted and men of England,” said that great and spurred, no man gainsaying ; and honest man, “the men I mean of knighthood, that was Sidney's once, light and leading in England, would be is just the thing for Sir Peter Laurie ashamed, as of a silly deceitful trick, to profess any religion in name which, by And if a Jewish knight, why not a their proceedings, they appear to con- Jewish senator! True, there is sometemn.” Does not Lord John profess to thing grand in the idea of a nation be a Christian ? I must caution you, that never, since the Wittenagemote, too, against supposing that I dislike has seen a lawgiver unbaptised ; and the Israelites. Far from it.

then there is still a red cross in the own country I am glad that they flag of England ; and there has been labour under no disabilities, and I can a pleasing notion that the Christian testify to their good order, decencyfaith was part and parcel with the and propriety of behaviour as citizens. British constitution ; and even we in Bat we have " no past at our back," America, averse to church and state, and nothing in our system which de- have long allowed ourselves to admire mands a prior consideration. No, one exception to the rule, and to conBasil—I honoura Jew, however much fess the majestic figure made among I may pity him. Crying old clothes, the nations by a Christian empire, or lolling in a banker's chariot, the shining forth in splendid contrast to Jew is to me a man of sacred associa- surrounding kingdoms, some of them tions. And then—a Jewish gentle- infidel and some of them superstitious, man-he makes me think at once of but she alone the witness to reasonthe sons of Maccabæus and all the able faith, and faithful reason. But Asmoneans ; those Hebrews of the who regards it in this light? Who Hebrews, those Tories of Israel! What

among you stands up to warn his natural sympathy has a Jewish gentle- country of the glory that is departing ? man with a Whig? Were I merely Who has said any thing in parliament covetous of votes I would say-let the at all adequate to the turning-point of Jews in! I could trust their conscience; a nation's religion ? I have looked for I could appeal to their own feelings; someone to speak as Burke would have I would put it to them whether their spoken, of "uncovering your nakedliberalism would consent to eat pork ness, by throwing off that Christian with the Gentiles, or to call in the religion which has hitherto been your uncircumcised to make laws for the boast and comfort.” I have longed synagogue. We pity the blindness of to see his promise made good, -" we the Jews that offered their thirty shall never be such fools as to call in an pieces of silver—but we do not despise enemy to the substance of any system, them. Our contempt settles on the to remove its corruptions, to supply head of the Christian consented its defects, or to perfect its constructo take them at the bargain.

tion.” I read The Times, but as yet I You speak of this Jew bill as the have looked in vain. A few honest first step! Why, yes, the first step in remonstrances have indeed been ventragedy; there was

former one in tured amid cries of oh, oh! and vocifarce. There is Sir Moses Montefiore! ferations of buck-toothed laughter

« PreviousContinue »