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II. TO THE REFORMERS OF ENGLAND.-By John G. Whittier
VI. SYNTHETIC PHILOSOPHY. Second Article.-By O. A. Brownson
A BEAUTIFUL practical application of the most difficult of the Christian precepts is exhibited by a large portion of our American press. Let it no longer be said that for our poor human nature it is a sublime impossibility to "love your enemies; bless them that curse you; do good to them that hate you; and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you." Let an Englishman come to this country and write an abusive book of his travels, be it never so false, never so flippant, never so crammed with crude absurdities and impertinences, it is sure of a "general circulation" among the British public, and from the British press welcome, commendation, daily reference and copious quotation. On the other hand, let an American undertake to present, to the indignant sympathies of his countrymen and the world, even an imperfect picture of all those hideous horrors of wrong and wretchedness, growing out of the oppression of the many by the few, which lie within the whited sepulchre of England's external greatness and glory, let him bring to the task the heart of a man and the spirit of an
American, which will not be restrained from a strong utterance of the feelings necessarily excited by the sickening spectacle, and from a large portion of the American press he may expect to receive the neglect of total indifference when he is fortunate enough to escape the frown of positive hostility. Thus it is, that while on the one side the abusive lie against America is welcomed and applauded in England, on the other the indignant truth respecting England is disregarded or derided in America. We do not mean that this is a very remarkable instance of the spirit of the precept which commands the return of good for evil, and the offer of the left cheek to the smiter of the right, but it is at least a signal performance of its letter.
The fact is, and there is no denying it, that the number is not small among us who have really more sympathythough they are scarcely conscious of it themselves, and would never confess it to others-more sympathy with the aristocratic institutions of England, than with the democratic genius of their own country and government. We have no desire to take the occasion
The Condition and Fate of England. By the Author of "The Glory and Shame of England." 2 vols. 12mo. Second Edition. New York: J. & H. G. Langley, 57 Chatham street. 1843.
Histoire Criminelle du Gouvernement Anglais, depuis les premiers massacres de l'Irlande jusqu'à l'empoisonnement des Chinois; par Elias Regnault. Paris: Pagnerre, Editeur, Rue de Seine, 14 Bis. 1841. New York: In Press of J. S. Redfield.
to say a word grating harshly on the ears of our opponents in our division of parties, and will by no means pretend that all the American spirit, all the democratic feeling, is on our side, and all the aristocratic sentiment, the un-American spirit, on theirs; though we do insist that there is more, vastly more, of the former on ours, and of the latter on theirs, than vice versa. At all events, there is a very strong and widely diffused anti-democratic principle and sentiment among us, manifesting itself continually in a great variety of modes and occasions, social and political. There is as much distrust and fear of "the People"-as much dislike of universal suffrage-as much dread of it when it does not exist, and regret for its existence where it has been irrevocably established-as much of that spirit which has little faith in human nature, and less love for it, and which aims always to govern the "lower classes" by strong law and plenty of it-which delights to stand above and aloof, and to whose ears the words Equality, Liberty, Brotherhood, are either unmeaning sounds or harsh discords as much of all this among us, we are almost tempted to say, as in England itself. All those in whom this spirit exists, incline strongly with all the grain of their bias in favor of the aristocratic principles of the English system, even though they may concede that it is there carried somewhat too far. They receive with no favor, with no sympathy, democratic versions of the real character of that system, as illustrated by its desolating consequences upon those wretched masses of the agricultural and manufacturing operatives, on whose degradation and destitution is reared all that gorgeous structure of the nobility of England. Is this spirit-strong as it is, though latent, latent often even from the consciousness of those most deeply tinged with it is this spirit confined to a few? Would that it were. It is at least sufficient almost entirely to paralyze the natural impulse and tendency which we might expect to witness in the American heart in sympathy toward that same cause of liberty in our mother-country which our revolution established in triumph for us, and which our example has taught and stimulated the Reformers of England to strive and struggle for, even under
all the superincumbent weight of social and political disadvantages, under which they can but heave and toss like the giant whose sighs are the hot breath, and whose groans the fearful mutterings of Etna. What do we care for or about English Radicalism or Chartism, or any movement of the kind, or anybody connected with them? What attention do we pay to them? What cheer of encouragement, what word or token of sympathy, to say nothing of more substantial aid, do they ever get from us-do we ever dream of sending? An occasional cold and careless paragraph among the ample columns devoted by our leading newspapers to the foreign news brought by each packet a day or two later than its predecessor, is all the notice their cause or their movements ever receive from our press. We know little or nothing of their men. Their papers are never quoted from; we doubt much if any of ours exchange with them. In a word, wrapped up in the selfish satisfaction of our own possession of all they are so painfully contending for, we seem to take less interest in their struggles and sufferings than we should do in the affairs of the people of the moon--if there are any thereand if we had access to any knowledge of their sayings and doings.
The operation of this same spirit is very apparent in the reception which has been accorded by the greater part of the press-at least that of our Atlantic cities, so far as it has fallen under our observation—to the volume referred to at the commencement of this Article. Its author, during a recent visit to England, directed his attention less to the superficial splendors which usually fill the eye of the American traveller, than to the dreadful oppressions under which the wretched millions of the working population sigh and suffer, in a condition of which the permitted continuance seems almost enough to provoke an indignant denial of the existence of a ruling Providence of power and good. He looked into these things with the eye of a republican, and feeling for them with the heart of a Christian, he has denounced them, as well became him, in both capacities. He has seen with just regret the ignorance prevailing among his countrymen about the real facts and details of this sub
ject, and that consequent apathy in regard to them for which he has felt a natural surprise and shame; and his object has been to lay before them such a condensed summary of the terrible truth, as will at the same time supply their deficiency of information, and stimulate their slumbering sympathies. Mr. Lester's former hasty and slip-shod book, on "The Glory and Shame of England," was, indeed, disfigured by many faults, which laid it justly bare to criticism, though, as we remarked on its appearance, it contained a great deal for which we could most cordially thank him for his labors, and was animated by a feeling which went far to redeem worse offences of style and manner. The present one is altogether superior in every respect to the former; though, from the general similarity of subject, and the spirit in which it is treated, it perhaps suffers somewhat from a personal prejudice left on many minds by the other. It is better arranged and digested; and, though not free from literary faults which we have no desire to extenuate, is generally in better taste and style, and the evident product of more deliberate pains and more careful revision.
The greatest merit of the book is that which has been imputed to it as a defect, the copiousness of its quotations. Aware of the difficulty of finding credence for all he had to tell, even on the part of a favorably disposed audience, still more of the abuse and contradiction to be expected from adverse prejudice and national irritation, to every mere statement or description of his own, he has aimed at every step to fortify his progress by English authority and evidence, of a character beyond the reach of those assaults which he could hardly expect himself to be able to withstand. He has made English writers, English reviewers, English statisticians, English ministers, either tell or verify the sad story he desired to present to his country, of English misgovernment and wretchedness. In the points of fact which he has selected for illustration of his assertions, he has generally been careful to take such as are symptomatic in their character, and which present in a word a whole history of their antecedents and attendant circumstances as the fruit is the sufficient proof of the existence of root, trunk, branches, soil, sun,
air, and all the necessary causes and concomitants to its production. And, taken as a whole, the work presents a view of the condition of the People of England, as authentic in its evidences as it is dark in its shades and harrowing in many of its details, which we should be glad to see diffused in as wide a circulation on our side of the Atlantic, as any "American Notes for General Circulation" have received on the other. The information, we repeat, is wanted among us, and every year as it developes and accelerates the tendency now moving fast onward in England towards a radical reform or a terrible revolution, will increase its value and interest.
The work of M. Regnault, a strong liberal writer of the present day, in Paris, we are led to notice in the present Article, from having observed the announcement that it is shortly to be translated and republished here. Its title sufficiently indicates its character. "The Criminal History of the English Government, from the earliest massacres in Ireland to the poisoning of the Chinese," written by a Frenchman, is not likely to present a picture very gay in its colors, or drawn with a very delicate pencil. "The Criminal History of the English Government,” exclaims M. Regnault in his preface, "needs neither declamation nor hyperbole. The facts speak for themselves. To narrate is to accuse; to read is to condemn. In these hideous annals, where every page is a blot, every line a wrong, we are only embarrassed by the fecundity of crime and the perplexity of choice." Lamarque furnishes him one of the mottoes for his title-page,-" Punic faith has found its match in modern times in English faith;" and Cato the other, which follows as its cordial commentary, "Delenda Carthago!" The latter denunciation he seems no less anxious to carry into practical effect than was the stern old republican from whom he borrows it. He calls upon France to be the modern Rome to this modern Carthage. "In other times," writes M. Regnault, very ridiculously and very Frenchly, "when this same England, departing from the paths of Christianity, was gradually returning towards its former Saxon paganism, it was from the shores of France that those warriors issued who assembled at the voice