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be deprecated. 'Governed, as we are, entirely by public opinion, the utmost care should be taken to preserve the purity of the public mind. Knowledge is power, and truth is knowledge; whoever, therefore, knowingly propagates a prejudice, wilfully saps the foundation of his country's strength.
• But, above all, let us not be influenced by any angry feelings, so far as to shut our eyes to the perception of what is really excellent and amiable in the English character. We are a young people, necessarily an imitative one, and must take our examples and models, in a great degree, from the existing nations of Europe. There is no country more worthy of our study than England. The spirit of her constitution is most analogous to ours. The manners of her people - their intellectual activity—their freedom of opinion-their habits of thinking on those subjects which concern the dearest interests and most sacred charities of private life, are all congenial to the American character and, in fact, are all intrinsically excellent; for it is in the moral feeling of the people that the deep foundations of British prosperity are laid ; and however the superstructure may be time-worn, or overrun by abuses, there must be something solid in the basis, admirable in the materials, and stable in the structure of an edifice, that so long has towered unshaken amidst the tempests of the world.
• Let it be the pride of our writers, therefore, discarding all feelings of irritation, and disdaining to retaliate the illiberality of British authors, to speak of the English nation without prejudice, and with determined candour. While they rebuke the indiscriminating bigotry with which some of our countrymen admire and imitate every thing English, merely because it is English, let them frankly point out what is really worthy of approbation. We may thus place EngJand before us as a perpetual volume of reference, wherein are recorded sound deductions from ages of experience; and while we avoid the errors and absurdities which may have crept into the page, we may draw thence golden maxims of practical wisdom, wherewith to strengthen and to embellish our national character.' pp. 104-116.
It is consolatory to the genuine friends of mankind to the friends of peace and liberty and reason to find such sentiments · gaining ground in the world; and, above all, to find them inculcated with so much warmth and ability by a writer of that country which has had the strongest provocation to disown them, and whose support of them is, at the present moment, by far the most important. We have already pledged ourselves to do what in us lies to promote the same good çaụsc;-and if púr labours are only seconded in America with a portion of the zeal and eloquence which is here employed in their behalf, we have little doubt of seeing them ultimately crowned with success. It is impossible, however, in the mean time, to disguise, that much more depends upon the efforts of the American writ:
ers, than upon ours; both because they have naturally the most weight with the party who is chiefly to be conciliated, and because their reasonings are not repelled by that outrageous spirit of party which leads no small numbers among us, at the present moment, to reject and vilify whatever is recommended by those who are generally opposed to their plans of domestic policy.
The aspect of the times has compelled us to oppose many of the measures of the party now in power in this country and the consequence has been, that their baser retainers make it a point of conscience to abuse all that we recommend, though no way connected with questions of politics or party; and we have thus acquired the extraordinary power of making our bitterest adversaries say any thing we please as often as we can bring ourselves to say just the contrary. The number of persons, however, who are above this miserable influence, and judge for themselves upon all general questions, is rapidly increasing in our land: and we have no doubt that we shall, every quarter, make more and more proselytes to all our doctrines that are right in themselves, and supported with temperance and reason.
In justice to the work before us, however, we should say, that a very small proportion of its contents relates either to politics, or to subjects at all connected with America. There is a Legend of Sleepy Hollow,' which is an excellent pendant to Rip Van Winkle; and there are two or three other papers, the localities of which are Transatlantic. But out of the thirtyfive pieces which the book contains, there are not more than six or seven that have this character. The rest relate entirely to England; and consist of sketches of its manners, its scenery, and its characters, drawn with a fine and friendly hand-and remarks on its literature and peculiarities, at which it would be difficult for any rational creature to be offended. As a specimen of the manner in which those Sketches are executed, we add the following account of the author's visit to a country church in an aristocratical part of the country.
The congregation was composed of the neighbouring people of rank, who sat in pews sumptuously lined and cushioned, furnished with richly-gilded prayer books, and decorated with their arms upon the pew doors ; of the villagers and peasantry, who filled the back seats, and a small gallery beside the organ; and of the poor of the parish, who were ranged on benches in the aisles.
The service was performed by a snuffling, well fed vicar, who had a snug dwelling near the church. He was a privileged guest at all the tables of the neighbourhood, and had been the keenest fox.hunter in the county, until age and good living had disabled him from doing any thing more than ride to see the hounds throw off, and make one at the hunting dinner.
• Under the ministry of such a pastor, I found it impossible to get into the train of thought suitable to the time and place; so have ing, like many other feeble Christians, compromised with my con, science, by laying the sin of my own delinquency at another person's threshold, I occupied myself by making observations on my neigh, bours.
" I was as yet a stranger in England, and curious to notice the manners of its fashionable classes. I found, as usual, that there was the least pretension where there was the most acknowledged title to respect. I was particularly struck, for instance, with the family of a nobleman of high rank, consisting of several sons and daughters. Nothing could be more simple and unassuming than their appearance. They generally came to church in the plainest equipage, and often on foot. The young ladies would stop and converse, .in the kindest manner, with the peasantry, caress the children, and listen to the stories of the humble cottagers. Their countenances were open and beautifully fair, with an expression of high refinement, but, at the same time, a frank cheerfulness, and an engaging affability. Their brothers were tall, and elegantly formed. They were dressed fashionably, but simply; with strict neatness and propriety, but with out any mannerism or foppishness. Their whole demeanour was easy and natural, with that lofty grace, and noble frankness, which be. speak free-born souls that have never been checked in their growth by feelings of inferiority. There is a healthful hardiness about real dignity, that never dreads contact and communion with others, however humble. It is only spurious pride that is morbid and sensitive, and shrinks from every touch. I was pleased to see the manner in which they would converse with the peasantry about those rural concerns and field sports, in which the gentlemen of this country so much delight. In these conversations, there was neither haughtiness on the one part, nor servility on the other; and you were only reminded of the difference of rank by the habitual respect of the peasant.
In contrast to these, was the family of a wealthy citizen, who had amassed a vast fortune ; and, having purchased the estate and mansion of a ruined nobleman in the neighbourhood, was endeavouring to assume all the style and dignity of an hereditary lord of the soil. The family always came to church en prince. They were rolled majestically along in a carriage emblazoned with arms. The crest glittered in silver radiance from every part of the harness where a crest could possibly be placed. A fat coachman in a three-cornered hat, richly laced, and a flaxen wig, curling close round his rosy face, was seated on the box, with a sleek Danish dog beside him. Two footmen in gorgeous liveries, with huge bouquets, and gold-headed canes, lolled behind. The carriage rose and sunk on its long springs with peculiar stateliness of motion. The very horses champed their bits, arched their necks, and glanced their eyes more proudly than common horses ; either because they had got a little of the family feeling, or were reined up more tightly than ordinary.
I could not but admire the style with which this splendid pageant was brought up to the gate of the churchyard. There was a vast effect produced at the turning of an angle of the wall. A great cracking of the whip; straining and scrambling of the horses; glistening of harness, and flashing of wheels through gravel. This was the moment of triumph and vain-glory to the coachman. The horses were urged and checked until they were fretted into a foam. They threw out their feet in a prancing trot, dashing about pebbles at every step. The crowd of villagers sauntering quietly to church, opened precipitately to the right and left, gaping in vacant admiration. On reaching the gate, the horses were pulled up with a suddenness that produced an immediate stop, and almost threw them on their haunches.
There was an extraordinary hurry of the footmen to alight, open the door, pull down the steps, and prepare everything for the descent on earth of this august family. The old citizen first emerged his round red face from out the door, looking about him with the pompous air of a man accustomed to rule on 'change, and shake the stock market with a nod.' &c. p. 202-207.
As I have brought these families into contrast, I must notice their behaviour in church. That of the nobleman's family was quiet, serious, and attentive. Not that they appeared to have any fervour of devotion, but rather a respect for sacred things, and sacred places, inseparable from good breeding. The others, on the contrary, were in a perpetual flutter and whisper; they betrayed a continual consciousness of finery, and a sorry ambition of being the wonders of a rural congregation.
The old gentleman was the only one really attentive to the service. He took the whole burden of family devotion upon himself, standing bolt upright, and uttering the responses with a loud voice that might be heard all over the church. It was evident that he was one of those thorough church and king men, who connect the idea of devotion and loyalty; who consider the deity, somehow or other, of the government party, and religion " a very excellent sort of thing, that ought to be countenanced and kept up."
When he joined so loudly in the service, it seemed more by way of example to the lower orders, to show them that, though so great and wealthy, he was not above being religious; as I have seen a turtle-fed alderman swallow publicly a basin of charity soup, smacking his lips at every mouthful, and pronouncing it " excellent food for the poor." 2. When the service was at an end, I was curious to witness the several exits of my groups. The young noblemen and their sisters, as the day was fine, preferred strolling home across the fields, chatting with the country people as they went. The others departed as they came, in grand parade. Again were the equipages wheeled up to the gate. There was again the smacking of whips, the clattering of hoofs, and the glittering of harness. The horses started off almost at a bound ; the villagers again hurried to right and left; the
wheels threw up a cloud of dust; and the aspiring family was rapt out of sight in a whirlwind.' pp. 210-212.
There are many better things than this in these volumes, but they are not easily extracted; and we believe that we have now done enough for the courteous and ingenious stranger whom we are ambitious of introducing to the notice of our readers. It is probable, indeed, that many of them have become acquainted with him already; as we have found the book in the hands of most of those to whom we have thought of mentioning it, and observe that the author, in the close of his last volume, speaks in very grateful terms of the encouragement he has received. We are heartily glad of it, both for his sake and for that of literature in general. There is a great deal too much contention and acrimony in most modern publications; and because it has unfortunately been found impossible to discuss practical questions of great interest without some degree of heat and personality, it has become too much the prevailing opinion, that these are necessary accompaniments to all powerful or energetic discussion, and that no work is likely to be well received by the public, or to make a strong impression, which does not an bound in them. The success of such a work as this before us, may tend to correct this prejudice, and teach our authors that gentleness and amenity are qualities quite as attractive as violence and impertinence; and that truth is not less weighty, nor reason less persuasive, although not ushered in by exaggerations, and backed by defiance.
Art. IX. MAGNUS KONONGS LAGA-BÆTTERS GULA-THINGSLAUG— Regis Magni legum reformatoris leges Gulathingenses, sive Jus Commune Norvegicum. Havniæ, 1817.
AMONGST the Scandinavians, the pristine simplicity of the ju
risprudence of their forefathers long continued pure and unsullied. Various causes protected the sincerity of their Gothic common law, which, even in the sixteenth century, was encircled by the landmarks which had bounded it in the days of Birgher the Wise, and Magnus the Reformer. No ruler sprung from another race was ever seated on the thrones of the Northern kingdoms. Urassailed and unconquered by the foreigner, their wars were the inglorious quarrels of brethren who wasted their common country. The land was spoiled, yet still it remained free from extraneous dominion; and the laws were transmitted from age to age, equally unimpaired by power, and uncontaminated by learning.