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Towards the close of theyear 1809, when the result of the battle of Wagram had convinced the American public that the continent of Europe was finally subdued, and that England alone remained “ an easy prey to the all-conquering arms of the Great Napoleon, I ventured to oppose the headlong current of popular opinion; and in the “Hints on the National Bankruptcy of Britain, and on her resources to maintain the present contest with France,” (afterward republished under the title of “Resources of the British Empire,") undertook to demonstrate that the final destruction of the overgrown power of France was to be expected; First, from the nature of the French political and military institutions; Secondly, from the resistance of the people of continental Europe; and, Thirdly, from the resources of the British Empire.
This work was no sooner published than many profound politicians pronounced the author to be “a visionary fanatic, a mere closet recluse, unacquainted with men and things, deficient in judgment, and wanting common sense;" and persisted, with increased vehemence, as they inhaled fresh inspirations from the
sævi spiracula Ditis,"to prophesy that France“would soon stretch her sceptre over the whole of Europe, plant her tri-coloured flag on the Tower of London,
and establish a Gallic viceroy in the palace of St. James.” That controversy, I presume, is now closed, by the events of the years 1812, 1813, 1814, and 1815; and by the present residence of the Imperial and Royal Exile, whom those sagacious statesmen so long worshipped as the god of their idolatry.
In the advertisement to the “ Hints on the National Bankruptcy of Britain," it was said, “the consideration of the domestic policy, the foreign relations, the manners and habits, the laws, religion, morals, literature, and science of this very interesting and unparalleled country, whose institutions are almost entirely unknown to the people of Europe, and not sufficiently understood, at least in their remoter consequences, by the general body of our own citizens, I shall take up, as soon as I have leisure and opportunity to arrange the great mass of materials, facts, documents, and state-papers, re• specting these United States, with which I am furnished by the careful and diligent collection of more than three years, aided by the abundant and liberal communications of some American gentlemen, who have distinguished themselves as stetesmen of the highest order, by the zeal, fidelity, industry, and talent, with which they have discharged the most arduous political duties, both in their own country and in the courts of the most powerful European kingdoms,"
More than eight years have now elapsed, since it was then proposed to publish a “View of the resources of the United States." Those eight years have added very considerably to the bulk and interest of the collection then formed; and the following pages, selected and digesting from the voluminous masses of materials relating to our federative Republic, are offered to the reader as
an effort to redeem the pledge given so long since as October, 1809.
It is not intended in the present work to give a statistical view of the United States. This has been done already with so much ability and accuracy by the Honourable Mr. Pitkin, a member of Congress, from Connecticut, that the political economist has only to resort to his book for ample instruction on the commerce, agriculture, manufactures, public debt, revenues, and expenditures of the United States. To Mr. Pitkin's “ Statistical View” the following pages are much indebted ; and I beg leave to embrace this opportunity of presenting to that gentleman my grateful acknowa ledgments for his very kind and liberal offer to furnish me with his own collection of documents respecting the United States ; a collection unrivalled in extent and value, and containing, in more than a hundred printed volumes, besides innumerable manuscripts, all the necessary information respecting North America, from her earliest settlement; and, more especially, respecting these United States, from their first establishment to the present hour.
The object proposed in the following work, is merely to give a brief outline of the physical, intellectual, and moral character, capacity, and resources of the United States, with an entire determination to steer clear of all undue bias for or against either of the great contending political parties, which divide, agitate, and govern this ever-widening republic. As I have never received nor sought any favour or benefit from any one of the numerous parties which have had their day of triumph and defeat, in the quick succession and rapid
alternations which so peculiarly characterize all the movements of men and things under our popular institutions, I may perhaps be permitted to say, in relation to those parties, whether dominant or defeated,
“ Tros, Tyriusque mihi nullo discrimine agetur.”
After a few introductory remarks on the importance of a right acquaintance with the resources and character of the United States, and the grievous misrepresentation of them by European writers, the first chapter exhibits the territorial aspect, population, agriculture, and navigable capacities of the United States; the second, their commerce, home and foreign ; the third, their manufactures ; the fourth, their finances; the fifth, their government, policy, and laws; the sixth, their literature, arts, and science; the seventh, their religion, morals, habits, manners, and character. The work is concluded by an eye-glance at the present condition of Europe, particularly of Spain, France, England, and Russia, and the probable consequences of the present European coalition to these United States.
DEDICATION.---Advertisement---general conviction of the
---Mr. Pitkin's Statistics, vii.---plan of the present work, ibid.
Capacity and character of the United States not understood
TERRITORY, AGRICULTURE, POPULATION, AND NAVIGABLE
CAPACITY OF THE UNITED STATES.
Territorial aspect of the United States, 11-population of
COMMERCE OF THE UNITED STATES.
aggregate commerce of the world ; of the United States ; of