« ZurückWeiter »
Her father, too, is well described ; but as our limits will not permit us to analyse every character in the work, we will barely mention one or two faults in the author before we conclude.
There is a great carelessness in the composition. Many violations of grammatical rules, and some few of historical truth—such as miscalling William Rufus the grandfather of John. Rufus had no children, and was the brother of John's great grandfather. We also think, though it may seem bold to make such an accusation against such an author, that he has condescended to borrow from Godwin's novel of St. Leon. Page 277, Isaac uses the same language with the Jew, who afforded St. Leon a shelter from the inquisitors. Front De Bæuf has the same outlines, though he is a far inferior character to Bethlem Gabor. His interview with the Jew greatly resembles the conference between Bethlem and St. Leon; and the destruction of their castles, and the escape of their prisoners, have so much resemblance, as to warrant a belief, that the author of Ivanhoe had the story of St. Leon fresh in his mind, when he was composing this part of his romance.
These, however, are trivial faults, and we would forgive them, though ten times more numerous, to be as much excited as we were, while reading this book. We could hardly persuade ourselves that the scenes were unreal; that we were reading a romance, instead of witnessing a tournament; and our first feelings were regret, that we did not live in those times, when, as the gallant Froissart observed of Sir Reginald De Roye, a man's being “young, and in love, made all his affairs prosper.”
But the days of chivalry and knight-errantry have gone by. Men now seriously apply themselves to business, and neglect everything which has not some immediate relation to their interest. No generosity can now be shown to an enemy, without incurring the charge of fool-hardiness. An unsuccessful officer would be cashiered, if he should refuse to take odds. This apparent selfishness compares but poorly with the frankness and fearlessness of our ancestors, and our feelings are highly excited by the boldness, generosity, and hardihood of men,
whose situation was calculated to elicit the ruder virtues. This author possesses great talent in describing such characters, and has given interest to Scotland, and conferred much honour upon the Scottish character, by his celebrated novels, whose stories are laid in that country.
He is now about to give the same glory to England. And have we no genius, who, possessing himself of the requisite knowledge, will employ his pen in perpetuating the rude manners of our own immediate ancestors ? Is America, the younger sister of the family, to be without her fairly acquired fame ?
While we give due praise to the scenery and customs of other countries, let us not forget that our own are equally interesting. The religious enthusiasm, the enduring fortitude and firmness of our New-England ancestors, make them not inferior to the persecuted Cameronians.
To see them quitting their country, their wives, and their children, and seeking religious freedom in a wilderness, notwithstanding the terrors of the ocean and of savage cruelty, shows no less courage and reliance upon Providence, than the lifting up of a standard against Charles the Second by Burley and his brethren. Even the poor Indians, who once inhabited this country, but who now, alas, have vanished at the approach of civilization, like the mist of the valley before the morning sun; their hunting grounds have been turned into cultivated
; fields, their little wigwams removed to give room for our populous cities; they have long since joined their fathers beyond the great lake, and the place which once knew them knows them no more. These hunted and persecuted people have characters, which may vie in intent with those of the proudest and most ancient European nations. Sassacus, Canonicus, and Nanunthenoo, Indian chiefs, display magnanimity, fortitude, and patriotism, which would cast even Roman virtue in the shade. In what do Robin Hood or Rob Roy surpass Philip, Sachem of the Wampanoags, who, by his valour and policy, brought the colonies to the very brink of destruction? In what part of European or Asiatic history do we find men, the workings of whose minds were more powerful or productive of greater results, than those of our revolutionary fathers? Why should the names of Hancock, Adams, Henry, and Randolph, be less dear to us than Scotch and English heroes ?
Is there less originality in the American character ? By no means. Captains Church and Standish, Roger Williams, Cotton Mather, William Penn, Old Putt, and Mad Antony, as the old soldiers used to call Wayne, with many others whom we could mention, display as strong and marked outlines, as much boldness and originality of character, as any of the most interesting personages in any other countries. .
Our history, too, is equally stored with interesting events. The assault of the Narraganset fort; the battles of Lexington and Bunker Hill are not inferior to those of Loudon Hill and Bothwell Brig. The manner of fighting is as personal and singular, the feelings of the combatants as much excited, and greater interests depending upon the result of the conflicts.
The persecutions of the Quakers, the condemnation of the witches, and the warlike preparation which the first settlers were obliged to make, even when then they went to the house of prayer, afford additional materials also for such novels. Neither is our scenery uninteresting. Nature has formed every thing in this country upon the grandest scale. She has piled up mountains and poured down cataracts with a bounteous hand. She has left us nothing to complain of. Whether we view the broad swelling Catskills, or the towering White Mountains, which are cloven down to their base, and afford a channel for the Saco, whose precipitous banks are there several thousand feet high; whether we fearfully listen to the thundering, foaming Niagara, or watch the stream of the Catskills, which reaches the bottom of an immense precipice in the form of dew; whether we linger on the verdant banks of the lovely Housatonick, or admire the lordly Hudson, as he rolls his swelling flood through a bold and romantic region, we find fresh cause of exultation, and are ready to exclaim, with the patriotic Syrian, “ Are not Pharphar and Abana, rivers of Damascus, better than all the rivers of Israel.”
THE HOME LEAGUE, Τ
PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES.
On the first of July next, a new era commences in the history of the United States. Unless some modification shall be made at the next session of Congress, on that day the impost system of the United States will be placed upon a basis as yet untried in this, and, as we believe, in any other civilized country. From that time all discriminating duties are to be abolished the protection hitherto extended to the manufacture of articles essential to the independence of the country, is to be laid aside—the legislation of other nations adverse to our national interests is to be disregarded, and under a fixed and permanent duty of 20 per cent., the navigation, manufactures, and agriculture of the United States, so far as they are affected by foreign trade, are to be committed to the caprice and hostility of foreign legislation ; and to be regulated, prohibited, or encouraged, as the interests of other governments shall prescribe. How far such a departure from the established national policy of the United States is justified by a recurrence to our past history, or by sound maxims of government, is well worthy of consideration.
The American people are fully aware of the grasping and monopolizing character of the policy adopted by the nations of Europe, for the government of this continent. That knowledge
grows out of their public history. It is identified with their recollection of the councils and achievements of the revolution, which was in itself an effort to emancipate this continent from the shackles of the colonial and commercial system of Europe. So far as related to the territory of the United States, that attempt was successful.
The establishment of our independence put an end to all direct control and interference on the part of England, with the industry and commerce of the United States. The indirect control of the colonial policy was as great as
So far as related to our commerce with the territories and islands adjacent to the United States, we were still in a state of vassalage. It is true that we could trade with Europe, and we had an equal voice in the regulation of the trade between the United States and the colonial possessions of European powers; but their jealousy forbade all intercourse which was not exclusively regulated by them for the interest of the mother countries, and in this manner the United States were isolated and debarred from intercourse with all neighbouring colonial possessions.
The southern part of this continent was in possession of Spain, and her jealousy excluded all trade with those colonies. On the north, England exercised a similar control, and with the same hostility to American commerce. The vast and fertile valley of the Ohio was denied all access to the ocean, because the mouth of the Mississippi was owned by Spain ; and the equally extensive and fertile shores of the great lakes were subjected to the same inconvenience, because the St. Lawrence flowed past one of those military out-posts with which the commercial policy and grasping ambition of England have encircled the globe.
Even when under the pressure of war any European power opened her colonial ports to our commerce, it was deemed an infringement of the principles of the colonial system: and our vessels have been subjected to capture and condemnation for participating in a trade, which was stigmatised as a violation of the European law of nations. The resources and commerce