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disorders are requisite to keep alive the national spirit. But are they not evils, which necessarily grow out of the exercise of the privileges of freedom? Are they not the rank weeds of a fertile soil, which can hardly be eradicated without injury to the valuable product? The very circumstance mentioned by the author, that the English are not sensible of the inconvenience is of itself evidence, that it is not very great. Probably nothing would excite stronger indignation among the English, than an attempt, on the part of the government, to interfere in cases like those enumerated by the author, and the immediate sufferers would be likely to be the first to discover their resentment. The question is not, whether this or that trifling abuse might be reformed by a more rigid system, but whether they are prepared to submit to a continental police, with its spies and informers, its gens d'armes, and lettres de sureté ; for to this the proposed measures must inevitably lead. It is for them to choose whether they will submit to the inconvenience of occasional tumults, or enter every place of resort for the purposes of recreation, of scientific and literary information, and even of religious worship, between soldiers with fixed bayonets, as occurs constantly at Paris. What is the occasional inconvenience from rogues and vagabonds on the high road, in comparison with the vexatious system of passports and police officers? Public opinion is the censor of English manners and the engine of reform, the laws rarely interfering, unless they are violated. Self-interest is the strongest incitement to correct conduct, for in every occupation there are competitors to take advantage of the least deviation. It is to these, that all free states must confide; and when they are no longer under their control, they may adopt a military police, for they have no longer a character to lose.
In his chapter on education in England the author bestows great praise on the plan pursued during infancy and childhood, which he prefers to that of the continental nations. He also notices a peculiarity in English education, which we strongly recommend, in the hope that it may not be lost upon
• A singular maxim of English education is that a stripling is never invested with the dignity of a man, and no difference obtains in the penal laws of the higher and lower classes. А scholar of the first form at Eton, who already indulges himself with the fond hopes of running a brilliant carreer at Cambridge
and Oxford, receives the chastisement of the rod, for any transgression, as certainly as the naughty boy of eight years old, who refuses to submit to lawful discipline.'
What a contrast do our seminaries exhibit, where the rod is barely spoken of as an antiquated instrument of torture, and boys of twelve and fourteen assume the airs and consequence of men.
Of the more advanced stages of education in England, the writer seems to entertain a very different opinion, and of the universites he speaks with a degree of contempt hardly becoming a foreigner, who admits that his information is procured at second-hand.
• It will be inferred then, perhaps,' he says, that English schools and universities possess an eminent degree of merit. Quite the contrary; in all the different branches of instruction, they are inferior to the other noted seminaries in Europe, by a remove of least two centuries.'
We know of no better standard of the merit of seminaries than the characters and acquirements of those who are taught in them, and we certainly think it savors a little of paradox, to extol a nation in one breath as the only one on the globe which has discovered the true secret of greatness, and in the next to charge her public seminaries with more than monkish degeneracy. We would by no means be understood to defend the practice of the English universities. The objections of a too close adherence to antiquated studies, and an extreme devotion to the classics, to the exclusion of other branches equally important, are in a degree well founded. He might have added, what we think a still stronger objection, that the benefits of an academical education are too exclusive. The expense attending a residence at the university, and the interest necessary to procure admission, deprive a great proportion of the nation of the enjoyment of this advantage, and what is still more to be lamented, the common branches of instruction in England are within the reach of, comparatively, very few. Happily in this country the case is reversed; in New England and some other portions of the United States, vo individual, however humble, has to complain that he cannot procure a competent school education. But it is conceded that our praise must stop bere ; in the higher departments of education, particularly in classical learning, we are still far in the rear of European nations. What Johnson wittily said of learning in Scotland, that it
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was like bread in a besieged town, where every man gets a share, but no man has a full meal,' may with some truth be applied to the actual situation of this country. This remark is not made by way of reproach; on the contrary, we think it reflects the highest honor on a people, that their first object should be to scatter with an equal hand the blessing of knowledge. The effect of this system on the character of our population, is its highest eulogium. It is however to be regretted, that many among us are not only disposed to rest satisfied with what has already been done, but to look with jealousy on every attempt to introduce a more thorough course of classical instruction. Some men of enlightened minds, and otherwise liberal views, have been known to urge against any innovation, that we have done very well hitherto with our present allowance of Greek and Latin ; and why change a system of which we have no cause to complain? Nothing is so unreasonable, as contempt for what we do not understand, and consequently no prejudice is so difficult to overcome. Ignorance in itself is not disgraceful, for it may be unavoidable ; but to persist in keeping posterity in darkness, because we ourselves are not enlightened, is the surest index of barbarism It by no means follows, that, because some are learned, the mass is necessarily ignorant. My taper is not extinguished by the brightness of my neighbour's torch. On the contrary, nothing tends so much 10 stimulate to exertion, to encourage merit, and to refine and exalt the character of a nation, as a numerous and respectable body of men of learning. One of the first steps toward the attainment of so desirable an end, is to encourage
learned foreigners to come among us. By a strange perversity, for which we can give no good reason, our citizens have uniformly shown an aversion to employ foreigners as instructers of youth, at the same time they have held out every lure to adventurers of all descriptions. This prejudice, we have reason to think, is gradually wearing away, and we hope that the example set by the national government, in the excellent academy at West Point, where several very respectable foreign gentlemen are employed, will have a good effect throughout the union.
To return, the author has given several anecdotes in illustration of a defect in English education, of which perhaps almost every traveller in England might furnish similar instances.
• There is, perhaps, no country where the ordinary science of geography is so little cultivated. In their daily conversation they constantly utter the most ludicrous absurdities, as to foreign parts. They are, in particular, strangely perplexed in forming an adequate conception of Germany. Most of them consider the states of the empire as a sort of parliament, destitute of energy, public spirit, orators, and debates. A well bred Englishman once expressed to me his astonishment, that we (Germans) could have deliberately given such a constitutional preponderance to the House of Peers, “ for,” added he, “I have never yet heard speak of the German House of Commons.” By a strange association of ideas, he had metamorphosed the aggregate sum of all the Electors, and of all the great and petty Princes of the empire, into a House of Peers. The English are most conversant with the geography of France, and are the least acquainted with that of the north of Europe. For example, a Russian banker once told me that in a brilliant assembly at London, an English lady asked him, with much apparent solemnity, whether at Petersburg, the inhabitants were not exposed to danger in the streets, on account of the white bears ? It is partly owing to the defective reports of their travellers, who seldom know any thing beyond what they glean in coffee-houses and at places of public resort, that these mistaken notions become radical and inveterate.
The religious dispositions, the jurisprudence, and the political divisions of the English nation, occupy separate chapters, which, as may be supposed, contain nothing particularly new or edifying to American readers. A distinct chapter is devoted to English literature, on which point some idea may be formed of the value of the author's opinions, when it is stated, that he places Ossian first on the list of British poets, speaks with no little contempt of Johnson and his works, and expresses his surprise, that the nation should have been so long insensible to the merits of Darwin and Brown. We must here except the remarks on the English stage, which are very judicious. The justice of the following observations will be generally acknowledged.
• The English give currency to Johnson's aphorism, that the theatre must be a school of morals, without annexing a more exalted idea to this conception, than is usual among ordinary pedagogues. Whoever is desirous to have positive evidence upon this fact need only glance at their theatrical censors. It is indeed somewhat surprising, that among a people whose characteristical distinctions do not proceed from the narrow circumference of a school room, but from an enlarged and liberal survey of mankind, such a doctrine should gain ground; as if common place observations, which may be collected every day in the street, were sacred apothegms to instruct and edify our minds. But this standard has been universally adopted, to ascertain the moral excellence of dramatic poetry. When a character is nicely fashioned after some approved system of morality, when it is richly surcharged with the tinsel and embroidery of moral sentences, and is furbished up with such high coloring, that the spectator cannot divine the whole plot at the very first glance ; then all demands are satified. I shall only citě a single performance, which has been universally extolled as a perfect model of this sort, the West-Indian of Cumberland. I have seen it performed at Drury Lane, before a very large audience; and have witnessed to my no small astonishment, the tumultuous applause bestowed upon the trivial sentences interwoven in the body of the piece. Whenever the actor, with a solemn accent, pronounced one of those choice scraps of morality, all the bystanders began to clap their hands, as if the goddess of wisdom herself were promulgating her oracles, for the illumination of mankind.
Independently of the poets who thus regale the public with the quintessence of morality, there exists at present in this country a certain description of dramatists, who elude the malignity of criticism by usurping the province of ordinary punsters. Never has the temple of wit been more sacrilegiously profaned, than by these petty retailers of bon-mots. One can hardly conceive it possible, that such pitiful conceits should dare to appear upon a stage, where Shakspeare's majestic image may be imagined to reside; but this has actually occurred, and the public has taken them under its protection. The applause bestowed upon the vile productions of an O'Keefe and a Morton, and other poetasters of the same stamp, affords at once a lamentable and an irrefragable proof of this assertion.'
The remarks on the state of the fine arts in England, form one of the most interesting and masterly portions of the book. We believe that the progress of good taste within the last twenty years has had a tendency to confirm the truth of most of the author's opinions in this particular. We shall quote as an example, his judgment of the merits of West, who is, perhaps, better known in this country than most English artists, though we ought to observe thạt Mr Gæde visited England at a period anterior to the production of Mr West's most distinguished works,