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to manage their own affairs; and perhaps, not their own affairs merely, but those also of their less robust and less numerous fellow citizens towards the east.
The American executive government is still compelled, like a galley-slave, to row in irons: it remains, with few amendments, under the disadvantageous bondage of those practical absurdities which were the first crude product of the early revolutionary agitation. The shallow, illiberal philosophy of Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Paine, is woven into all the institutions of the United States; and it is, perhaps, too congenial with the habits and sentiments of the people, to be soon thrown off or corrected. So long, however, as this vulgar and vulgarizing philosophy continues in credit, it must not only cripple the Government, but in great measure preclude from the national character all those elevated qualities which make the difference between a complete · Poor Richard' and a true gentleman. [a] Almost the whole syste'n of American politics, especially what relates to its two great features, parsimony and popular jealousy, may be traced up to some of Franklin's showy maxims, which were so well adapted to tickle the ear of the populace by uniting in pithy apophthegms the pleasure of wit with the pleasure of axiomatic truth. Thus, for instance, what can be at once more sure and more pleasant than the saying, that no wise man will give two-pence for what may be had for three half-pence? On the strength of so clever a canon, applicable as well to the State as to the shop,—the American people bless their own shrewdness as often as they recollect the excellent bargain they have made with their public servants, and that they have a three-penny president, a two-penny vice-president, and pennyfarthing judges!
[This poignancy of wit is worthy of the profundity of argument quoted by the Reviewer from Mr. B— as follows:]
It is deemed to be a marvellous improvement in the modern sys• tem of political economy, to mete out a meagre subsistence to the * public servants of a country, and to calculate, to a single dollar,
the exact amount of bodily and mental labour, for which a given * salary is to be equivalent. Accordingly, there is not a sufficient • stipend allowed to any American public officer, whether executive, or judicial, or ministerial, or naval, or military, to enable him to support the decent exterior of a gentleman.'
* This doctrine, also, is a theoretic illusion, and a practical evil; • for in every civilized, opulent, and thriving society, a certain mag
a [The Edinburgh Review has it, that “ Jonathan is vulgar and arithmetical,” --when contrasting the economy and wisdom of our expenditures, with those of England. See the Article on Seybert's Stat. Annals, in No. 1.]
b (See note [a] again, page 215.] Vol. II.
nificence of expenditure is an indispensable part of official greatness:' [!]
• It is mere insanity to say, the people can get the work done for less money, and therefore they ought to give less. No doubt, a cobbler, or a retail dealer in small wares, or an attorney without 'practice, will patriotically consent to take upon himself the bur
den of governing the country, in any one of the great executive • departments of state, for a small stipend; because the wages of office, though comparatively low, afford a larger income than either of these enlightened politicians can derive from the profits of his individual profession. But the business of the nation will not be well done. [How sage this discovery!] Nay, even in a money point of view, the nation will be a loser by employing underlings at a small salary, to conduct the government; because such inen will 'actually destroy more public property, in twelve months of mal-ad
ministration, by restraints on commerce, by bounties on manufactures, by crippling the growth of productive industry, &c. &c. pp. 132-134. [The Editor expects the gratitude of American politicians for imparting so much of the political instruction of this more wise, learned, and virtuous Englishman.]
Our Author pretty confidently anticipates that the regular progression of things will gradually introduce a system that shall place, and permanently fix, the helm of government in the hands of the men of talent and property, as the only safe and legitimate
sources and guardians of all political power.' At present, he says, 'the general government of the United States, can never depend upon the long continued support of the popular favour for enabling it to prosecute any permanent measures of enlarged and liberal policy. Being altogether a representative republic, it is obliged to exist too • much by exciting and following the passions and prejudices of the multitude; to control and regulate which is the bounden duty of every wise and upright government, since the ignorance and violence of the multitude have an invariable tendency to defeat the execution of every intelligent and long-sighted national scheme. If the American government oppose the hasty clamours of a mis'guided populace, the officers of that government will soon be converted, by
dint of universal suffrage, into private citizens; and the Union is of course con• demned to a perpetual oscillation of political movements.
• It is not in the ordinary course of human affairs for such a state of things to be permanent; and it is to be apprehended, that the present general govern'ment of the United States will either assume a new form, or (what is much . more desirable) will retain its name, but gradually become more stable and efficient, by fixing its rule upon the broad and firm foundations of property and talent ; and, by progressively augmenting the power of the executive, enable it to mould the feelings, habits, and manners of the people to its own . growth in strength and influence; and thus render the national government secure at home and respectable abroad.' pp. 217, 218.
Wishing to avoid the appearance of joining in the vulgar outcry against America, we feel some difficulty in quoting from the latter
portion of the volume before us, which treats of the literature, habits, manners, and character of the United States. Almost the whole of what Mr. Bristed says on these topics, is in a tone of disparagement. In fact, we suspect that a little ill-temper, or some wounded feeling, has influenced his representations. Finding his literary character and liberal acquirements rather lightly appreciated in the store-keeping Republic, he is impelled perhaps, by way of self-defence, to indulge in a little sarcasm. That America does not abound with writers and philosophers of the first class, is a fact which hardly needs be formally affirmed. But this acknowledged deficiency, inevitably resulting from the present condition of the country, by no means justifies the inference, hastily drawn from it, that the mass of the people are in a proportionate degree inferior to the correspondent ranks in England, or France, in point of general information or taste for intellectual pleasures. Our Author seems sometimes to affirm, and sometimes to deny such an inference; he, however, strenuously opposes the supposition of any national intellectual inferiority, and occupies himself in tracing the causes of the acknowledged low condition of learning and science. Among these causes is, he says, “to be particularly noticed, the unfortunate practice of entering upon active life at too early an age.
• There is a salutary adage in the old law books, which runs 'thus, " In juvene theologo conscientiæ detrimentum ; in juvene legislatâ bursæ detrimentum ; in juvene medico cæmeterii incrementum :" the consciences of his parishioners suffer by ' a young clergyman; the purse of his clients diminishes in the · hands of a young lawyer; and the churchyard increases by the • labours of a young physician. This adage, however, has not yet • found its way into the United States, where the young people of • all classes are precipitated into business during childhood.' pp. 313, 314.
• The consequences of this precocious publicity are, a superficial elementary education, a perpetual pruriency of prattle upon all subjects, without a due fathoming of the depths of any one of them, and an entailed disability of fully developing the understanding, 'which is narrowed in early life, by being prematurely absorbed in the minute but necessary details incident to every practical calling. Whence, with their due proportion of genius, in common with all other nations, and with the advantage of a more general diffusion of popular intelligence than is to be found in any other community, too many of our citizens, in all the learned professions, begin, continue, and end their career, on much nar
rower ground than their native capacity, properly unfolded by previous general information, would enable them to cover.' p. 315.
Another obstacle to the growth of literature in the United
States, arises from the great propensity to consume the talent of the country in the effusion of newspaper essays and political pamphlets, instead of concentrating it in the production of some regu·lar, consecutive work. In consequence of these desultory intellectual habits, periodical journals, as Reviews and Magazines, seldom last long. The author can obtain little or no assistance from others in his literary efforts; the persons competent to aid . him in such an undertaking being comparatively few throughout the Union, and those, for the most part, actively employed in some laborious calling; and it is not in the power of any one man, however gifted with talent, adorned with knowledge, and
armed with industry, to execute, alone, a literary journal as it ought to be executed. Add to this, the universal vice of the
United States, a perpetual craving after novelty. The charge which Demosthenes brought against his own countrymen, that they were continually running about, and asking, “Is there any thing new?” is equally applicable to the Americans. This eter'nal restlessness and desire of change, pervade the whole structure of
our society, &c. The people are incessantly shifting their ha'bitations, employments, views, and schemes.'
The subject of domestic slavery, we must for the present pass over. With respect also to the state of religion in America, we can only make one or two quotations. Mr. Bristed, we confess, does not inspire us with that degree of confidence in his judgment, and candour, and discrimination, which would tempt our taking the occasion to hazard any observations on so weighty a matter.
[After a quotation on the subject of religion, the Reviewer ex- presses his disgust at the flippancy of the terms with which Mr. B. speaks of Dr. Priestly.' And well may even the most loyal Englishman feel such disgust at the following passage.]
• He sate, like a demi-god, snuffing up the incense of adulation from the Socinian democrats of Great Britain. But how reversed the picture, when he exchanged an English for an American home! A meagre deputation of obscure clergymen in our city of New-York, welcomed him to the United States with an absurd speech, full of jacobin bombast and fustian. Hie afterwards repaired to Philadelphia, where he preached a few frigorific sermons to thin and drowsy audiences; he then retired to Northumber' land, in Pennsylvania, where he passed the remainder of his life in making small experiments amidst his alembics, crucibles, and retorts, for the result of which no one expressed the least interest; and he also occasionally ushered from the press religious and po• Jitical pamphlets, which no one ever read. His death excited little, if any more sensation among the Pennsylvanian patriots, 'than they are wont to exhibit at the dissolution of a German farmer, or a German farmer's horse.' p. 407.
Art. XI.-MEMOIR OF FREDERICK ACCUM, Esq. OPERATIVE CHEMIST; LECTURER ON PRACTICAL CHEMISTRY, MINERALOGY,
AND ON CHEMISTRY APPLIED TO THE ARTS AND MANUFACTURES; MEMBER OF THE ROYAL IRISH ACADEMY; FELLOW OF THE LINNÆAN SOCIETY; MEMBER OF THE ROYAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES, AND OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY OF ARTS OF BERLIN, &c. &c.
WITH AN ACCOUNT OF HIS WORKS.
[From the European Magazine-Lond. June, 1820.) "Every man who receives a liberal education, at present considers Chemistry
as one of the most indispensable objects of his study.”--Fourcroy's Chemistry, Vol. I. p. 21.
Where we have received much pleasure or instruction from the writings of any individual, or from the lectures of any public teacher, we naturally feel some attachment to the man to whom we have been thus obliged, and become, in some degree, interested in tracing his literary career.- Chemistry, within our own times, has become a central science, from which all things emanate, and to which all things return. It may be pronounced a Pharos, which the genius of man has erected in the sanctuary of the operations of art and nature, to throw a light over all its details. It is not confined to the elucidations of what is already known, or to the improvement of what is already practised, Chemistry daily creates new arts. Within these few years, we have seen it create a new method of procuring light; an art on which the admirers of science, and the inhabitants of this country in particular, have greater reason to congratulate themselves, than any other invention or discovery of the present age. It is so wonderful and important, it speaks so forcibly by the effects it has already produced, and the rapid strides it has already made, that it cannot fail to increase the wealth of our nation, by adding to the number of its internal resources, as long as pit-coal continues to be dug in this country from the bowels of the earth.
Among the most active labourers in the field of chemical science of this country, is Frederick Accum. He is a native of Germany. We are unable, however, to give any information respecting his early days in his own country; but, from the register at the Alien Office, it appears that he came into England in the year 1793– that he was then twenty-three years of age—that he was born at Buckeburg, in Westphalia—and that be was by profession a chemist. It is there likewise recorded, that he was engaged as an assistant in the chemical laboratory of Mr. Brande, in Arlingtonstreet, apothecary to the King; though how long he served at that