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selfishness or fraud, no foul aggregations of cupidity or profligacy, are so ponderous or bulky as to meet obstruction in its capacious gorge.'
But he proceeds to wider and still more awful views of the whole state of American society :
• When an election is coming on, whether State or National, then the rival parties begin to play their game for the ignorant, and to purchase the saleable. Mass-meetings are held. Hired speakers itinerate through the country. A thousand tireless presses are plied, day and night. Newspapers and pamphlets are scattered thick as snow-flakes in a wintry storm. Reading-rooms and committee-rooms are opened, and men abandon business and family to fill them. The census is taken anew, and every man is labelled or ear-marked. As the contest approaches, fraud, intimidation, bribes, are rife. Immense sums are spent to carry the lame, to hunt up the skulking, to force the indifferent to the polls. Taxes are contributed to qualify voters, and men are transported, at party expense, from one State to another. Couriers are despatched from county to county, or from State to State, to revive the desponding with false news of success.
• For the last ten years such have been the disastrous fluctuations of our National and State policy, on the single subject of the currency, that all the prodigality of Nature, pouring her hundreds of millions of pro. ducts annually into our hands, has not been able to save thousands and thousands of our people from poverty; and in many cases, economy, industry, and virtue could not rescue their possessor from want.
During all this time the course of our government, on this and other great questions of policy, has been vacillating-enacting and repealing, advancing and receding, baffling all the plans of the wisest
.. • And this series of disasters, under which we are suffering, must lengthen to an interminable train: those anxieties which the wealthy and the educated now feel for their purse, they must soon feel for their characters, their persons, and their families; the whole country must be involved in wider and deeper calamities, until a more noble and Christian policy is pursued.
"I have shown—if not an incurable, yet, unless cured—a fatal malady in the head : 1 must now exhibit a not less fatal malady in the heart. I tremble at the catalogue of national crimes which we are exhibiting before heaven and earth! The party rancour and vilification which rage through our newspaper press-the fraud, falsehood, bribery, perjury, perpetrated at our elections, and the spirit of wantonness or malice, of pride or envy, in which the sacred privilege of voting is exercised ! The practice of double voting, like parricide in Rome, unheard of in the early days of the republic, is becoming more and more frequent. Although in some of the States a property qualification, and in some even a landed qualification, is necessary, yet the number of votes given at the last presidential election equalled, almost without a fraction, one-sixth part of the whole free population of the Union. In one of the States the number of votes exceeded, by a large fraction, one-fifth of the whole population, men, women, and children, Will it not be a new form of a
republic, unknown alike to ancient or modern writers, when the question shall be, not how many voters there are, but how many ballots can be printed and put surreptitiously into the ballot-box? Then there is the fraudulent sequestration of votes by the returning officers, because the majority is adverse to their own favourite candidates, which has now been done on a large scale in three of the principal States in the Union! The scenes of violence enacted, not only without but within the Capitol of the nation; and the halls, which should be consecrated to order, and solemnity, and a devout consultation upon the unspeakable magnitude and value of the interests of this great people, desecrated by outrage, and Billingsgate, and drunken brawls (!) ;-challenges given, and duels fought, by members of Congress, in violation or evasion of their own lately-enacted law against them; and within the space of a few days, a proud and prominent member, from a proud and prominent state-the countryman of Washington, and Jefferson, and Madison-put under bonds to keep the peace, like a wild, fresh-landed Carib. In two of our legislative assemblies one member has been murdered by another member in open day, and during the hours of session :—in one of the cases the deed being perpetrated by the presiding officer of the assembly, who descended from his chair and pierced the heart of his victim with a bowie-knife,—and still goes unpunished, though not unhonoured. What outbreaks of violence all over the country ;—the lynching of five men at one time at Vicksburg ;—the valley of the Mississippi, from St. Louis to New Orleans, lighted almost as with watch-fires by the burning of human beings; the riots and demolitions at New York, at Philadelphia, at Baltimore, at Alton, at Cincinnati ;-yes, and the spectacle of our own more serene part of the heavens crimsoned at midnight by a conflagration of the dwelling-place of women and female children!'.
* And, in addition to this barbarian force and lawlessness, are not the business relations of the community contaminated more and more with speculation and knavery? In mercantile honour and honesty, in the intercourse between buyer and seller, is there not a luxation of all the joints of the body commercial and social ? The number of fraudulent bankruptcies; the rapacity of speculation; the breaches of private trust; the embezzlement of corporate funds; the abscondings with government property ; the malversations of government fiduciaries, whether of a United States Bank or of a Girard College ; the repudiation of state debts; and that other class of offences which combines the criminality both of fraud and force—such as the shooting of a sheriff who attempted to execute civil process—or the burning of a bank with all its contents, by a company of debtors, in Mississippi, because their notes had been lodged in it for collection !'-pp. 23-25. Mr. Mann here pauses in what he justly calls this terrific
of enormities,' because, though his catalogue was not exhausted, he refrained from noticing some other matters 'ominous' to the very existence of the Union-these being implicated with party politics, from which he had resolved to abstain. But has he not said enough-ten times more than enough—to justify the regret
and apprehensions with which we look to the progress and prospects of a people, destined, beyond all doubt, to have a vast influence on the future destinies of mankind ?
Mr. Mann appears to see no remedy for the enormous danger that he describes so forcibly but education-and, theoretically, he is right; an educated people would not tolerate such a system of government—but education can be at best but a slow and future remedy, while the evils are present, urgent, violent, and will far outstrip the schoolmaster and the lecturer. But, moreover, education is of different degrees--the religious and moral education with which Mr. Mann would fertilize the hearts of his countrymen could hardly be expected to reach the masses in whom he has shown all political power to be lodged. Such an education, indeed, would of itself constitute a species of aristocracy—but we doubt whether mere reading and writing, even if suddenly extended amongst the electoral body, would in any considerable degree improve the working of the constitutional machine, which exhibits, we confidently believe, the terrific enormities' deplored by Mr. Mann- not because universal suffrage and the ballot-box are given to tongues that cannot read and to hands that cannot write_but because universal suffrage and the ballot-box exist at all. With such elements there can be no good government. Where or how this great and growing nation is to find its remedy for these fundamental defects in her organization we know notbut scarcely, we think, by the slow processes of education. It may more probably arise from the condensation of population, the increased difficulties of emigration, and the rivalry of states. It may be accelerated by accidents of war, of faction, of patriotism, or of ambition. We can only express—with our best wishes for her welfare and happiness-our own fixed conviction that unless they will allow something in the nature of an aristocracy to create itself in the bosom of their society-some more permanent de pository of public opinion-some more responsible guardian of national character than can be supplied by universal suffrage and the ballot-box, they can never attain that stability and integrity of public councils, public credit, and public principles which are essential to the dignity, the honour, the prosperity, and, we may even add, to the civilised existence of a people.
Art. XI.---Life of Sir Astley Cooper, Bart.; interspersed with
Sketches from his Note-books of distinguished contemporary Characters. By Bransby Blake Cooper, Esq., F.R.S. 2 vols.
8vo. London, 1843. SIRASTLEY was of respectable parentage. His grandfather
enjoyed reputation as a surgeon at Norwich. His father, the incumbent of Yelverton, in Norfolk, afterwards of Great Yarmouth, seems to have been an accomplished and benevolent
It appears that, shortly after the publication of Cowper's • Task,' the Rev. Samuel Cooper, D.D., produced a poem with the same title: of this we had never before heard, nor indeed is it now stated distinctly that it was ever printed; but our author records, with natural pride, that Dr. Parr preferred it to its name. sake—witness an epigram ex cathedrá :
' To Cowper's Task see Cooper's Task succeed;
That was a Task to write, but this to read.' This oracle will probably remind our readers of a classical prototype * Aio te, Æacida, Romanos vincere posse;' and some may still hesitate in what manner to interpret the • hum' from the vaporous tripod of Hatton. To write a good poem must always demand time and strenuous exertion :
'Εν μυρίοισι τα καλά γίγνεται πόνοις : but it seems a dubious compliment to tell a poet that the reading of his piece is Task-work. Almost the only other circumstance related by our biographer to the special honour of Parr's poetical favourite, appears to us, we must own, of equally questionable character. It is, that the vicar of Yelverton drove to the parish-church every Sunday morning in a coach drawn by · four powerful long-tailed black horses. If the distance was not unusually great, we are inclined to think the family might as well have performed their sabbath-day's journey on foot; but unless they were all constructed on the model of Cheyne or Daniel Lambert, what pretext could there be for putting more than a pair of the blacks to the carriage? The story says more for the Doctor's living than for his life.
His wife, an amiable and elegant lady, enjoyed in her own time a literary reputation more extensive than that of the Norfolk Tusk. One of her novels, Fanny Meadows, must have been familiar to ourselves at some early day, though we do not pretend to remember more of it than the title: of the rest, text and margent, all memory seems to have perished. Mr. B. Cooper does not intiinate that he ever saw a copy of any of his grandmother's 's numerous works.
This couple had a large family to fill their coach-and our author devotes a lengthy chapter to brothers and sisters, and even sisters-in-law, before we have a word about Sir Astley. We rather hesitate as to the propriety of this arrangement; but there can be no doubt that the collateral details so introduced are wholly devoid of interest. Mr. Bransby Cooper might have waited for some fitter opportunity to do justice to the character of his own mother, of whom his uncle could have seen but little; and his transcriptions of the epitaphs of sundry infant Coopers would have been inexcusable had they belonged to the blood of Cowper.
At last, after fifty pages, we reach the birth of the heroAugust 23rd, 1768, and his baptism ‘on the 9th day of the succeeding month, as appears from the parish registers '-with the Shandean addition, that · Mrs. Cooper, while pregnant with him, experienced more suffering than with any of her previous children, or than she did with any of those born after him.' Tantæ molis erat. Then come copious particulars of the infancy and boyhood of the future Sergeant-surgeon.
Our readers may perhaps be satisfied to know that he was a bandsome, good-humoured, spirited lad, distinguished for the skill and courage with which he rode, first the cow, then the pony, and in due season one of the four black-tailed horses. His village celebrity, however, resulted chiefly from his audacity in climbing trees for birds'-nests, and capering along bridge-parapets or the roof of the barn, for mere sport. Many a page is given to miraculous leaps and tumbles, hairbreadth escapes, maternal alarms, and fatherly rebukes. These tricks and scrapes were, as may be guessed, the salient features of a period of idleness—and he found favour with no teacher except a poor dancing Frenchman, who included the vicarage in his weekly peripatetics. All this is told with painful minuteness and solemnity. If Sir Astley had risen to eminence in any department of letters, such details might have had their curiosity. Was it worth while to exhibit with elaborate circumstantiality that a man who scarcely read anything had no turn for books when a boy?
Let us, however, give one specimen of his pranks :
A very laughable occurrence took place betwixt Master Astley and a Mr. -- who had an imbecile wife, and was, consequently, obliged to manage his domestic affairs himself. It came to the ears of Master Astley that this gentleman was much inclined to take unbecoming liberties with his maid-servants, and, resolving to ascertain the truth of this report, on hearing that Mr.
had a vacancy in his establishment for a maid-servant, Master Astley took the resolution of disguising himself as one, and applying for the situation. For this purpose he