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usurers, whose exactions augmented what the law made sufficiently high;—the bankers, whom Athenian insolence made at once their convenience and contempt—the corn-jobbers, who played upon the hopes and fears of Athens, precisely as the stock-jobbers do upon those of London or Paris: we have yet to take a walk in Peiraeus, ' smelling strong of pitch' in one part, and not less the residence of fashionable opulence and luxury in another. We have not afforded ourselves a single glance at the legal pleadings of Demosthenes, and thus put Athenian character, as it appears in his private speeches, in opposition with Athenian character as it appears in his political speeches; and above all, we have not yet found our way into the Ecclesia, that' warm region where thunder and lightning were compounded,' or treated of the political oratory of the Greeks, and the sort of persons whose office it was to furnish it. All this must be reserved till we can retrace our steps, and throw out some reflexions on what has already passed before us.
Art. III.—Memorable Days in America, being a Journal of a
Tour to the United Stales, principally undertaken to ascertain,
by positive Evidence, the Condition and probable Prospects of
British Emigrants; including Accounts of Mr. Birkbeck's
Settlement in the Illinois. By W. Faux, an English Farmer.
* T IKE the Minerva of the ancients, the American people have sprung,
at once, into full and vigorous maturity, without the imbecility of
infancy, or the tedious process of gradual progression.
'The American walks abroad in the majesty of freedom; if he be innocent, he shrinks not from the gaze of upstart and insignificant wealth, nor sinks beneath the oppression of his fellow-man. Conscious of his rights and of the security he enjoys, by the liberal institutions of his country, independence beams in his eye, and humanity glows in his heart. Has he done wrong? He knows the limits of his punishment, and the character of his judges. Is he innocent? He feels that no power on earth can crush him. What a condition is this, compared with that of the subjects of almost all the European nations!
'Most happily and exquisitely organized, the American constitution is, in truth, at once " a monument of genius, and an edifice of strength and majesty;" an unprecedented and perfect example of representative democracy, to which the attention of mankind is now enthusiastically directed. As long as it is preserved, the country will become the home of the free, the retreat of misery, and the asylum of persecuted humanity.'
We stumbled on this passage on opening the volume at random, and supposing that we had before us a mere counterpart of that prostitute rhapsody reviewed in a former Number, (LIII.)
were were about to consign it to our ' Limbo of Fools,' when our eye caught the name of ' Waterstone, Congressional Librarian of Washington,'—to whose pen Mr. Faux (who appears to have a lofty idea of the writer's understanding1) says, he stands indebted for it. This altered the case, and made us curious to see how far this modest delineation of the Minerva of the moderns was borne out by the Farmer's own experience.
It is not altogether, perhaps, 'a matter of such small moment,' as Mr. Faux pretends, that his readers should know ' who he is, and what he is;' in fact, he scarcely appears to think so himself, if we may judge from the ostentatious inscription of his book 'To His Grace the Duke of Bedford,' and ' To Thomas William Coke, Esq.' as their ' admirer and friend;' and the ambitious desire he invariably manifests of showing how well he made his way, in every part of America, among the first and most respectable of its inhabitants. 'My peregrinations, visits and visitations,' says he, ' to many points and intersections of the compass, and to all ranks of native and adopted citizens, on this continent, are little short of eight thousand miles;'—in the course of which he boasts of enrolling among his acquaintances,' grandees, excellencies, right honourables, honourables, generals, majors, captains, judges and squires.' The motives which induced him to leave behind ' a venerable father, a beloved wife, and one dear and only child,' originated, he says, 'in many favourable prepossessions for America, and in a strong desire to ascertain the naked truth in all particulars relating to emigration to that land of boasted liberty. When I saw (he adds) thousands of my countrymen hurrying thither, as though they fled for life, from the city of destruction, I became very anxious to know the real nature of their prospects.—Upon those subjects to which my inquiries were directed, I may, perhaps, be allowed to say that I was in some measure qualified to judge by experience, and by the habits of my life:' he affirms that, ' throughout the whole of his enterprize, he was, in a great degree, influenced by a sense of patriotic duty;' and he trusts, and so do we, 'that the truth, so long perverted and concealed, may contribute to destroy the illusions of transatlantic speculation, and to diffuse solid, homebred satisfaction amongst his industrious countrymen.'
From such a man, and with such objects in view, one practical page is worth all the radical trash of the Halls, the Wrights*
* Author of' Views of Society and Manners in America,' vol. xxvii. p. 71. We then flattered ourselves that nothing so base and degenerate in the shape of an Englishwoman would be found; but the sad reality has since appeared ; a Miss Wright, an, adopted daughter (as she says) of Jeremy Bentham, having prefixed her name to ir. Lieut. Hall escaped us at the time, and it is now too late to revert to his flippant farrago of impiety, malevolence and folly. ... '- • .
310 Faux—Memorable Days in America.and the Tell Harris's, in enabling us to form a just estimate of an emigrant's prospects in the ' land of boasted liberty;' for, to use his own words, 'I have endeavoured to take the reader with me, that he may see, taste, and know, things as they are; the rough with the smooth; the bitter with the sweet; the good with the evil; that he may go where I go; hear all, see all, and, by evidence judging all, form his own resolutions and conclusions.' (Pre/, viii.)
We cannot compliment our farmer on his talents as a writer; nor, to do him justice, does he appear to expect it. It was his study, he says, ' to avoid every thing which might savour of systematic arrangement;' and he has succeeded to admiration. Nothing can be more desultory than his wanderings; nothing more heterogeneous than the contents of the same page—radicals and rye-coffee, slavery and green pease, bugs and statistics! Nor is the want of method in the matter, at all compensated by the style, which is rude and homely, though seldom deficient in force. And now we are on the point of faults, it may not be amiss to notice the incautious manner (we might use stronger terms) in which he brings before the public, not only the frank and confidential conversations, but even the secret histories of many of the families under whose roof he found hospitable entertainment. We would willingly believe that he is not aware of the evils to which this conduct may lead in his own person, or the inconveniencies to which it may subject future travellers. With
/'air this, however, we hope (in his own phraseology) that' he will take a great many readers with him;' and in that case, we shall be very much disappointed if his book be not attended with the happiest effects, by giving a check to hasty and thoughtless emigration, and thereby diminishing those scenes of heart-rending distress, which the alluring misrepresentations of unprincipled English land-jobbers, in particular, have brought upon many respectable families, who were weak enough to be the dupes of their artifices. That Mr. Faux is an honest man, and tells the truth to the best of his knowledge and belief, we cannot for a moment permit ourselves to doubt;—indeed there is scarcely a word or a fact in his book for which he does not produce his authority :— nor are we at all displeased to find that he is somewhat of a growler, and has a kind of taste, as Launcelot says, for modern whiggery; notwithstanding the ' honour' which, on his arrival at the Isle of Wight, he had, ' of presenting to his most gracious sovereign a precious relic—a cedar-cane, cut from the grave of
V General Washington.'
Our 'English farmer' embarks in the Ruthy, Captain Wise, 'a young man of very energetic habits, possessing an eye and a voice which creates or annihilates, which says be or not be.'—>~ This energetic youth, before we have gone through three pages, turns out a godless reprobate, a brutal and ferocious tyrant, a thief and a swindler. What he created does not appear; but he annihilated our author's hopes and comforts; who was fortunately rescued from him, when on the point of starving, and taken on board 'the good ship Hamilton,' where he was kindly and even liberally treated for the remainder of the voyage.
While on board the Ruthy he learned that' navigators up the Mississippi frequently steal from ten to twenty sheep at once from the farmers, and think it no crime; it being more convenient to steal than to buy.' No doubt; and it seems a very hard measure to hang men (as is sometimes done in this country) for merely consulting their own ease. Captain Wise, however, evinced on some of these occasions a degree of probity that must have edified his crew surprizingly. He told them, he says, to roast the mutton which they stole, without saying any thing to him about it when it came to table, p. [)• 'Poor honesty,' exclaims the farmer,' how art thou discarded!'
Mr. Faux first sets foot on the ' free earth of America* at Boston; where he was delighted to see so many gay, cheerful, free, easy, good-looking faces (except those of the women, who were all old and ugly) 'gazing, and guessing who the foreigners could be, whence coming, whither going, and for what purpose.' The appearance of the town, 'though full of melting snow,' warmed our farmer's heart, on the recollection that it ' preferred liberty to English tea, sweetened with taxation and the milk of maternal monarchy.' Mr. Faux, it will be perceived, is sometimes metaphorical, and often facetious. He attended a Caucus, and, to his utter dismay, discovered that the Federalists and the Democrats hated each other as cordially as the Whigs and Tories of England—a little more, perhaps. He also discovered that' the people are thankful for nothing,' meaning, we presume, that they are not thankful for any thing; and that, notwithstanding their * gay and cheerful faces,' ' nobody is satisfied:' while, to him, every thing seemed ' elegant and mighty fine;' except, indeed, the Supreme Court of Justice, which appeared * undignified, and like a vestry-meeting in England;' the lawyers colloquial, wigless and gownless; ' the judges by no means awful.'
After a week's residence, Mr. Faux left, as he says, the good Yankee town of Boston, ' full of blessings on it and America,' and embarked on board the packet for Charleston: his fellow passengers were 'a colonel, and six of the most respectable order of the middle class, all comical creatures, of untleanly manners and habits, and grossly indelicate in language.' They
were we're caught by a tempest, which our farmer says, somewhat in the style of old Stannyhurst, was accompanied with 'loudsounding, crackling, rattling, crashing thunder;' and with ' blue forked lightning which might almost be handled, and which the captain called " double-twisted ropy."' The vessel reached Charleston, however, in safety, where he washed off his ' marine impurities' in a warm-bath, and hurried away to take a walk. He immediately felt strongly impressed with 'the respectable, happy and healthy appearance of the slaves, with which the city seemed to swarm.' 'I have now,' says he, 'six or seven males and as many females, in constant attendance,' all quite happy. Troubles, however, soon came thick upon him; the first night, he was horribly bitten by mosquitoes; the next, a gentleman was stabbed by a Spaniard at the theatre; and almost every day, * robberies, burglaries and attempts at murder disgraced and alarmed the city.' One morning ' a poor fellow was found lying in the street in a hot broiling sun, 110° by the thermometer,' with both legs broken, and dreadfully bruised, having been robbed of all he had. He had lain there all night, equally unnoticed ' by the nightly watch and the open day humanity of the citizens; and had not an old Prussian colonel offered a dollar to have him removed as a nuisance, he would have been suffered to roast and be devoured by flies.' (p. 46.)
These were by no means agreeable occurrences; but' worse remains behind.' At the tavern where he lodged was a crackbraiued colonel who, desirous of fighting a sea captain, prevailed on our farmer to be his second, which he seems not at all to have relished—a meeting was fixed for the following morning, but his principal had cooled and fled. 'This young gentleman,' (a duellist by profession,) ' naturally witty and highly gifted, has married and abandoned three wives, and yet is only twenty-two years of age!' He must be awfully smart. At the same tavern were two Germans, one a Jew, the other a quack-doctor; they had a quarrel about a horse; and as no quarrel in Charleston can be settled without a brace of pistols or rifles, the two combatants waited upon our farmer, requesting that he would 'make a duel' between them. He declined, he says, turning ' manufacturer of duels;' and, indeed, a friend had somewhat alarmed him by the information that, not long before, a company of thirteen persons met together at the very same tavern, eleven of whom had each killed his man. We shall not repeat the many murderous stories which were told to Mr. Faux, and from which he is led to conclude, somewhat oddly, that the point of honour is maintained in 'high perfection' in America. 'A scoundrel,' he says,' who has / cheated his creditors, if reproached with it, calls out his man and