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COURT OF CHANCERY.
THE JUDGE, THE TAILOR, AND THE BARBER.
THE Americans, we believe, are the first persons who have discarded the tailor in the administration of justice, and his auxiliary the barber-two persons of endless importance in the codes and pandects of Europe. A judge administers justice, without a calorific wig and particoloured gown, in a coat and pantaloons. He is obeyed, however; and life and property are not badly protected in the United States. We shall be denounced by the laureate as atheists and jacobins; but we must say, that we have doubts whether one atom of useful influence is added to men in important situations by any colour, quantity, or configuration of cloth and hair. The true progress of refinement, we conceive, is to discard all the mountebank drapery of barbarous ages. One row of gold and fur falls off after another from the robe of power, and is picked up and worn by the parish beadle and the exhibitor of wild beasts. Meantime, the afflicted wiseacre mourns over equality of garment; and wotteth not of two men, whose doublets have cost alike, how one shall command and the other obey.
CHEAPNESS OF LAW.
THE dress of lawyers, however, is, at all events, of less importance than their charges. Law is cheap in America: in England, it is better, in a mere pecuniary point of view, to give up forty pounds than to contend for it in a court of common law. It costs that sum in England to win a cause; and, in the court of equity, it is better to abandon five hundred or a thousand pounds, than to contend for it. We mean to say nothing disrespectful of the Chancellor-who is an upright judge, a very great lawyer, and zealous to do all he can; but we believe the Court of Chancery to be in a state which imperiously requires legislative correction. We do not accuse it of any malversation, but of a complication, formality, entanglement, and delay, which the life, the wealth, and the patience of man cannot endure. How such a subject comes not to have been taken up in the House of Commons, we are wholly at a loss to conceive. We feel for climbing boys as much as anybody can do; but what is a climbing boy in a chimney to a full-grown suitor in the Master's office. And whence comes it, in the midst of ten thousand compassions and charities, that no Wilberforce, or Sister
Fry, has started up for the suitors in Chancery? and why, in the name of these afflicted and attorney-worn people, are there united in their judge three or four offices, any one of which is sufficient to occupy the whole time of a very able and active man.
LITERATURE the Americans have none-no native literature, we mean. It is all imported. They had a Franklin, indeed; and may afford to live for half a century on his fame. There is, or was, a Mr. Dwight, who wrote some poems; and his baptismal name was Timothy. There is also a small account of Virginia, by Jefferson, and an epic by Joel Barlow; and some pieces of pleasantry by Mr. Irving. But why should the Americans write books, when a six weeks' passage brings them, in their own tongue, our sense, science, and genius, in bales and hogsheads? Prairies, steamboats, grist-mills, are their natural objects for centuries to come. Then, when they have got to the Pacific Ocean-epic poems, plays, pleasures of memory, and all the elegant gratifications of an ancient people, who have tamed the wild earth, and set down to amuse themselves.-This is the natural march of human affairs.
MILITARY GLORY AND TAXES.
DAVID Porter and Stephen Decatur are very brave men; but they will prove an unspeakable misfortune to their country, if they inflame Jonathan into a love of naval glory, and inspire him with any other love of war than that which is founded upon a determination not to submit to serious insult and injury.
We can inform Jonathan what are the inevitable consequences of being too fond of glory:-TAXES upon every article which enters into the mouth, or covers the back, or is placed under the foot— taxes upon everything which it is pleasant to see, hear, feel, smell, -taxes upon warmth, light, and locomotion-taxes on everything on earth, and the waters under the earth. — on everything that comes from abroad, or is grown at home-taxes on the raw material-taxes on every fresh value that is added to it by the in
*This and the following passages are from the article "America," Ed. Rev., Jan., 1820.
dustry of man-taxes on the sauce which pampers man's appetite, and the drug that restores him to health-on the ermine which decorates the judge, and the rope which hangs the criminal—on the poor man's salt, and the rich man's spice—on the brass nails of the coffin, and the ribbons of the bride — at bed or board, couchant or levant, we must pay.—The school-boy whips his taxed top
-the beardless youth manages his taxed horse, with a taxed bridle, on a taxed road:- and the dying Englishman, pouring his medicine, which has paid 7 per cent., into a spoon that has paid 15 per cent., flings himself back upon his chintz bed. which has paid 22 per cent., and expires in the arms of an apothecary, who has paid a license of a hundred pounds for the privilege of putting him to death. His whole property is then immediately taxed from 2 to 10 per cent. Besides the probate, large fees are demanded for burying him in the chancel; his virtues are handed down to posterity on taxed marble; and he is then gathered to his fathers, to be taxed no more. In addition to all this, the habit of dealing with large sums will make the government avaricious and profuse; and the system itself will infallibly generate the base vermin of spies and informers, and a still more pestilent race of political tools and retainers of the meanest and most odious description;—while the prodigious patronage which the collecting of this splendid revenue will throw into the hands of government, will invest it with so vast an influence, and hold out such means and temptations to corruption, as all the virtue and public spirit, even of republicans, will be unable to resist.
THE LAND OF JONATHAN.
WHO READS AN AMERICAN BOOK?
SUCH is the land of Jonathan-and thus has it been governed. In his honest endeavours to better his situation, and in his manly purpose of resisting injury and insult we most cordially sympathize. We hope he will always continue to watch and suspect his government as he now does-remembering that it is the constant
*This is the famous passage which has been the peg to hang many wearisome dissertations upon. Not needed to excite rapid American invention, it has become simply an historical landmark, from which to date extensive national achievements. Its questions in politics, art, science, literature, are an index to American triumphs.
tendency of those intrusted with power, to conceive that they enjoy it by their own merits, and for their own use, and not by delegation, and for the benefit of others. Thus far we are the friends and admirers of Jonathan. But he must not grow vain and ambitious; or allow himself to be dazzled by that galaxy of epithets by which his orators and newspaper scribblers endeavour to persuade their supporters that they are the greatest, the most refined, the most enlightened and most moral people upon earth. The effect of this is unspeakably ludicrous on this side of the Atlantic —and, even on the other, we shall imagine, must be rather humiliating to the reasonable part of the population. The Americans are a brave, industrious, and acute people; but they have, hitherto, given no indications of genius, and made no approaches to the heroic, either in their morality or character. They are but a recent offset, indeed, from England; and should make it their chief boast, for many generations to come, that they are sprung from the same race with Bacon and Shakespeare and Newton. Considering their numbers, indeed, and the favourable circumstances in which they have been placed, they have yet done marvellously little to assert the honour of such a descent, or to show that their English blood has been exalted or refined by their republican training and institutions. Their Franklins and Washingtons, and all the other sages and heroes of their Revolution, were born and bred subjects of the King of England—and not among the freest or most valued of his subjects. And since the period of their separation, a far greater proportion of their statesmen and artists and political writers have been foreigners than ever occurred before in the history of any civilized and educated people. During the thirty or forty years of their independence, they have done absolutely nothing for the Sciences, for the Arts, for Literature, or even for the statesman-like studies of Politics or Political Economy. Confining ourselves to our own country, and to the period that has clapsed since they had an independent existence, we would ask, where are their Foxes, their Burkes, their Sheridans, their Windhams, their Horners, their Wilberforces?-Where their Arkwrights, their Watts, their Davys?—their Robertsons, Blairs, Smiths, Stewarts, Paleys, and Malthuses?—their Porsons, Parrs, Burneys, or Blomfields? -their Scotts, Rogers's, Campbells, Byrons, Moores, or Crabbes? -their Siddons's, Kembles, Keans, or O'Neils?-their Wilkies,
WHO READS AN AMERICAN BOOK?
Lawrences, Chantrys?—or their parallels to the hundred other names that have spread themselves over the world from our little island in the course of the last thirty years, and blest or delighted mankind by their works, inventions, or examples? In so far as we know, there is no such parallel to be produced from the whole annals of this self-adulating race. In the four quarters of the globe, who reads an American book? or goes to an American play? or looks at an American picture or statue? What does the world yet owe to American physicians or surgeons? What new substances have their chemists discovered? or what old ones have they analyzed? What new constellations have been discovered by the telescopes of Americans? What have they done in the mathematics? Who drinks out of American glasses? or eats from American plates? or wears American coats or gowns? or sleeps in American blankets? Finally, under which of the old tyrannical governments of Europe is every sixth man a slave, whom his fellow-creatures may buy and sell and torture?
When these questions are fairly and favourably answered, their laudatory epithets may be allowed: but till that can be done, we would seriously advise them to keep clear of superlatives.
THERE is a set of miserable persons in England, who are dreadfully afraid of America and everything American—whose great delight is to see that country ridiculed and vilified- and who appear to imagine that all the abuses which exist in this country acquire additional vigour and chance of duration from every book of travels which pours forth its venom and falsehood on the United States. We shall from time to time call the attention of the public to this subject, not from any party spirit, but because we love truth, and praise excellence wherever we find it; and because we think the example of America will in many instances tend to open the eyes of Englishmen to their true interests.
The economy of America is a great and important object for our imitation. The salary of Mr. Bagot, our late embassador, was, we believe, rather higher than that of the President of the United *This and the following passages are from article "America. "-Ed. Rev. July 1824.