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The above remarks will testify, that travellers in America have great difficulties to contend with, and that their channels of information have been chiefly those of the drawing-room or dinner-table. Had I worked through the same, I should have found them very difficult of access; for the Americans had determined that they would no longer extend their hospitality to those who returned it with ingratitude-nor can they be blamed. Let us reverse the case. Were not the doors of many houses in England shut against an American author, when, from his want of knowledge of conventional usage, he published what never should have appeared in print? And should another return to England, after his tetchy, absurd remarks upon the English, is there much chance of his receiving a kind welcome? Most assuredly, not; both these authors will be received with cantion. The Americans, therefore, are not only not to blame, but would prove themselves very deficient in a proper respect for themselves, if they again admitted into their dornestic circles those who eventually requited them with abuse.
Admitting this, of course I have no feelings of ill-will towards them for any want of hospitality towards me; on the contrary, I was pleased with the neglect, as it left me free, and unshackled from any real or fancied claims which the Americans might have made upon me on that score. Indeed, I had not been three weeks in the country before I decided upon accepting no more invitations, even charily as they were made. I found that, although invited, my presence was a restraint upon the company ; every one appeared afraid to speak; and when any thing ludicrous occurred, the cry would be--"Oh, now, Captain Marryat, don't put that into your book.” More than once, when I happened to be in large parties, a question such as follows would be put to me by some " free and enlightened individual :" “Now, Captain M., I ask you before this company, and I trust you will give me a categorical answer, Are you, or are you not about to write a book upon this country ?" I hardly need observe to the English reader, that, under such circumstances, the restraint became mutual ; I declined all farther invitations, and adhered to this determination, as far as I could without cause of offence, during my whole tour through the United States.
But if I admit, that after the usage which they had received, the Americans are justified in not again tendering their hospitality to the English, I cannot, at the same time, but express my opinion as to their conduct towards me personally. They had no right to insult and annoy me in the manner they did, from nearly one end of the Union to the other, either because my predecessors had expressed an unfavourable opinion of them before my arrival, or because they expected that I would do the same upon my return to my own country. I remark upon this conduct, not from any feeling of ill-will or desire of retaliation, but to compel the Americans to admit that I am under no obligations to them; that I received from them much more of insult and outrage than of kindness; and, consequently, that the charge of ingratitude cannot be laid to my door, however offensive to them some of the remarks in this work may happen to be.
And here I must observe, that the Americans can no longer anticipate lenity from the English traveller, as latterly they have so deeply committed themselves. Once, indeed, they could say, “We admit and are hospitable to the English, who, as soon as they leave our country, turn round, and abuse and revile us. We have our faults, it is true ; but such conduct on their part is not kind or generous." But they can say this no longer :
they have retaliated, and in their attacks they have been regardless of justice. The three last works upon the Americans, written by English authors, were, on the whole, favourable to them ; Mr. Power's and Mr. Grund's most decidedly so ; and Miss Martineau's, filled as it is with absurdities and fallacies, was intended, at all events, to be favourable.
In opposition to them, we have Mr. Cooper's remarks upon England, in which my countrymen are certainly not spared ; and, since that publication, we have another of much greater importance, written by Mr. Carey, of Philadelphia, not, indeed, in a strain of vituperation or ill feeling, but asserting, and no doubt to his own satisfaction and that of his countrymen, proving, that in every important point, that is to say, under the heads of " Security of Person and Property, of Morals, Education, Religion, Industry, Invention, Credit,” (and consequently Honesty,) America is in advance of England and every other nation in Europe!! The tables, then, are turned ; it is no longer the English, but the Americans, who are the assailants; and such being the case, I beg that it may be remembered, that many of the remarks which will subsequently appear in this work have been forced from me by the attacks made upon my nation by the American authors ; and that, if I am compelled to draw comparisons, it is not with the slightest wish to annoy or humiliate the Americans, but in legitimate and justifiable defence of my own native land.
America is a wonderful country, endowed by the Omnipotent with natural advantages which no other can boast of; and the mind can hardly calculate upon the degree of perfection and power to which, whether the states are eventually separated or not, it may in the course of two centuries arrive. At present all is energy and enterprise ; every thing is in a state of transition, but of rapid improvement--so rapid, indeed, that those who would describe America now, would have to correct all in the short space of ten years; for ten years in America is almost equal to a century in the old continent. Now, you may pass through a wild forest, where the elk browses and the panther howls ; in ten years, that very forest, with its denizens, will, most likely, have disappeared, and in their place you will find towns with thousands of inhabitants ; with arts, manufactures, and machinery, all in full activity.
In reviewing America, we must look upon it as showing the developement of the English character under a new aspect, arising from a new state of things. If I were to draw a comparison between the English and the Americans, I should say that there is almost as much difference between the two nations at this present time, as there has long been between the English and the Dutch. The latter are considered by us as phlegmatic and slow; and we may be considered the same, compared with our energetic descendants. Time to an American is every thing, * and space he attempts to reduce to a mere nothing. By the steamboats, rail-roads, and the wonderful facilities of water-carriage, a journey of five hundred miles is as little considered in America, as would be here a journey from London to Brighton. “Go ahead” is the real motto of the country; and every man does push on, to gain in advance of his neighbour. The American lives twice as long as others ; for he does twice the work during the time that he lives. He begins life sooner: at fifteen
* The clocks in America--there rendered so famous by Sam Slick-in. stead of the moral lessons inculcated by the dials in this country, such as • Time flies," &c., teach one more suited to American feeling :
“ Time is money!"
he is considered a man, plunges into the stream of enterprise, floats and struggles with his fellows. In every trifle an American shows the value he puts upon time. He rises early, eats his meals with the rapidity of a wolf, and is the whole day at his business. If he be a merchant, his' money, whatever it may amount to, is seldom invested; it is all floating -his accumulations remain active ; and when he dies, his wealth has to be collected from the four quarters of the globe.
Now, all this energy and activity is of English origin; and were Eng. land expanded into America, the same results would be produced. To a certain degree, the English were in former times what the Americans are now; and this it is which has raised our country so high in the scale of nations; but since we have become so closely packed-so crowded, that there is hardly room for the population, our activity has been proportionably cramped and subdued. But, in this vast and favoured country, the very associations and impressions of childhood foster and enlighten the intellect, and precociously rouse the energies. The wide expanse of territory already occupied--the vast and magnificent rivers—the boundless regions yet remaining to be peopled--the rapidity of communication--the dispatch with which every thing is effected, are evident almost to the child. To those who have rivers many thousand miles in length, the passage across the Atlantic (of 3,500 miles) appears but a trifle; and the American ladies talk of spending the winter at Paris with as much indifference as one of our landed proprietors would, of going up to London for the season.
We must always bear in mind the peculiar and wonderful advantages of country, when we examine America and its form of government; for the country has had more to do with upholding this democracy than people might at first imagine. Among the advantages of democracy, the greatest is, perhaps, that all start fair; and the boy who holds the traveller's horse, as Van Buren is said to have done, may become the president of the United States. But it is the country, and not the government, which has been productive of such rapid strides as have been made by America. Indeed, it is a query whether the form of government would have existed down to this day, had it not been for the advantages derived from the vast extent and boundless resources of the territory in which it was established. Let the American direct his career to any goal he pleases, his energies are unshackled ; and, in the race, the best man must win. There is room for all, and millions more. Let him choose his profession-his career is not checked or foiled by the excess of those who have already embarked in it. In every department there is an opening for talent; and for those inclined to work, work is always to be procured. You have no complaint in this country, that every profession is so full that it is impossible to know what to do with your children. There is a vast field, and all may receive the reward due for their labour.
În a country where the ambition and energies of man have been roused to such an extent, the great point is to find out worthy incitements for ambition to feed upon. A virtue directed into a wrong channel may, by circumstances, prove little better than (even if it does not sink down into) actual vice. Hence it is that a democratic form of government is productive of such demoralizing effects. Its rewards are few. Honours of every description, which stir up the soul of man to noble deeds-worthy incitements, they have none. The only compensation they can offer for services is money; and the only distinction--the only means of raising hiinself above his fellows left to the American-is wealth : consequently,
the acquisition of wealth has become the great spring of action. But it is not sought after with the avarice to hoard, but with the ostentation to expend. It is the effect of ambition directed into a wrong channel. Each man would surpass his neighbour ; and the only great avenue open to all, and into which thousands may press without much jostling of each other, is that which leads to the shrine of Mammon. It is our nature to attempt to raise ourselves above our fellow-men; it is the main-spring of existence the incitement to all that is great and virtuous, or great and vicious. In America, but a small portion can raise themselves, or find rewards for superior talent, but wealth is attainable by all; and having no aristocracy, no honours, no distinctions to look forward to, wealth has become the substitute, and, with very few exceptions, every man is great in proportion to his riches. The consequence is, that to leave a sum of money when they die is of little importance to the majority of the Americans. Their object is to amass it while young, and obtain the consideration which it gives them during their lifetime.
The society in the United States is that which must naturally be expected in a new country where there are few men of leisure, and the majority are working hard to obtain that wealth which almost alone gives importance under a democratic form of government. You will find intellectual and gentlemanlike people in America, but they are scattered here and there. The circle of society is not complete : wherever you go, you will find an admixture, sudden wealth having admitted those who but a few years back were in humble circumstances ; and in the constant state of transition which takes place in this country, it will be half a century, perhaps, before a select circle of society can be collected together in any once city or place. The improvement is rapid, but the vast extent of country which has to be peopled prevents that improvement from being manifest. The stream flows inland, and those who are here to-day are gone to-morrow, and their places in society filled up by others who ten years back had no prospect of ever being admitted. All is transition, the waves follow one another to the far west, the froth and scum boiling in the advance.
America is, indeed, well worth the study of the philosopher. A vast nation forming, society ever changing, all in motion and activity, nothing complete, the old continent pouring in her surplus to supply the loss of the eastern states, all busy as a hive, full of energy and activity. Every year multitudes swarm off from the East, like bees : not the young only, but the old, quitting the close-built cities, society, and refinement, to settle down in some lone spot in the vast prairies, where the rich soil offers to them the certain prospect of their families and children being one day possessed of competency and wealth.
To write upon America as a nation would be absurd, for nation, properly speaking, it is not; but to consider it in its present chaotic state, is well worth the labour. It would not only exhibit to the living a somewhat new picture of the human mind, but, as a curious page in the Philosophy of History, it would hereafter serve as a subject of review for the Americans themselves.
It is not my intention to follow the individualizing plans of the majority of those who have preceded me in this country. I did not sail across the Atlantic to ascertain whether the Americans eat their dinners with twoprong iron, or three-prong silver forks, with chopsticks, or their fingers ; it is quite sufficient for me to know that they do eat and drink ; if they did not, it would be a curious anomaly which I should not pass over. My
so much from the works of English as from American writers. The opinions relative to the United States have been so conflicting in the many works which have been written, that I consider it most important that I should be able to quote American authorities against themselves, and strengthen my opinions and arguments by their own admissions.