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Indians (on a visit to an old chief, a friend of the family) enables them to repel the “armed and disguised," or pretended “Ingins” till the sheriff comes to the rescue. Of course there is a heroine who is neither more less interesting than the author's heroines generally are, and a wedding to wind up with according to rule established. In all this, save the introduction of the Indians proper, (a very felicitous conception, and very neatly worked out,) there is nothing more than might happen to any landholder in the disturbed districts; not so much as has happened to some of them. In short, "the Redskins" is simply a vigorous exposure of AntiRentism. And it is also evident to us that the book was written for the masses, that it was designed to enlighten popular views, and expose popular fallacies. This we infer from the sedulous repetition of its chief points, and the labor expended in asserting and proving such positions as these: That it is possible for the poor to tyrannize over the rich as well as the rich over the poor; that exclusiveness on the part of an individual is no infringement of his neighbor's rights; that money does not make the gentleman, or guide the gentleman in the choice of his friends ---positions which to a gentleman are simple axioms,
ές δε τοπάν
ερμηνέων χατίζει. The work exhibits throughout much of one of the last qualities many of our readers might be disposed to give Mr. Cooper credit for--strong common sense.
No judge's charge could state the points at issue more clearly and forcibly. And pari passu with this common sense runs that common honesty which has of late grown very uncommon among us. An utter fearlessness of popular prejudices, and that mighty bug-bear, “public opinion,” characterizes the book. To be sure, as it is our unfortunate tendency to run into extremes, the author sometimes says annoying things which are merely annoying, and cando no good. For example, he is continually dwelling on the provincialism of our city. Now here we happen to differ from him, and after our own limited experience of foreign cities, are convinced that in all the essentials and attributes of a metropolis, New-York may
hold up its head with any of the second-class European capitals-Naples for instance. But suppose it otherwiselet New-York and New-Yorkers be as provincial as the novelist asserts, what good is there in his saying so? Nay, let them be as convinced of it as he is, what good would there be in their feeling so ? Our own impulse would be rather to magnify and exaggerate the beauties of New-York in the hope of exciting her citizens to greater zeal for the honor of the Empire State, and greater vigilance against the danger which threatens so fair à domain. Again, we find most unnecessary offensiveness of language in every expression relative to New-England. Thus, Puritanism is described in these conciliatory terms which might move the envy of D’Israeli himself:
“The rowdy religion, half cant half blasphemy, that Cromwell and his associates entailed on so many Englishmen, but which was not without a degree of ferocious, narrow-minded sincerity about it after all."
What would Thomas Carlyle say to this?
But whatever blame we might otherwise be disposed to bestow on Mr. C. for his worse than useless violence on some minor matters vanishes before our admiration of the unflinching resoluteness with which he has achieved his great task - that of telling his countrymen the truth on subjects of vital importance, respecting which most erroneous ideas are prevalent.
The main points affirmed, illustrated and conclusivelg proved in "The Redskins” are these:
1. That the alleged grievances of the tenants are utterly false and frivolous.
2. That the aim and object of the Anti-Renters is simply and absolutely to get other men's property without paying for it.
3. That the landlords' rights have been disregarded because they are rich men; and the rich being a minority, may, in this country of majorities, be tyrannized over with impunity:
4. That the present movement is only the first step to a general war upon property.
5. That there is still honesty enough in the community to put down anti-rentism at any moment, if the honest men will only exert themselves properly.
Of course, we shall not be understood to say that these
topics are treated of in regular order, or that they are the only ones introduced; but the readers of “The RedSkins” (and may their name be legion!) will agree in the justice of the above analysis.
How all this has been done we shall endeavor partially to show, by extracts from the work itself, beginning with an indignant exposure of
THE POPULAR CANT ABOUT ARISTOCRACY.
“Lest this manuscript should get into the hands of some of those who do not understand the real condition of New-York society, it may be well to explain that 'aristocrat means, in the parlance of the country, no other than a man of gentlemanlike tastes, habits, opinions and associations. There are gradations among the aristocracy ; of the State, as well as among other men. Thus, he who is an aristocrat in a hamlet, would be very democratic in a village; and he of the village might be no aristocrat in the town at all; though in the towns, generally, indeed always, when their population has the least of a town character, the distinction ceases altogether, men quietly dropping into the traces of civilized society, and talking or thinking very little about it. To see the crying evils of American aristocracy, then, one must go into the country. There, indeed, a plenty of cases exist. Thus, if there happen to be a man whose property is assessed at twenty-five per cent. above that of all his neighbors-who must have right on his side bright as a cloudless sun to get a verdict, if obliged to appeal to the laws-who pays fifty per cent. more for everything he buys, and receives fifty per cent. less for everything he sells, than any other person near himwho is surrounded by rancorous enemies, in the midst of a seeming state of peace—who has everything he says and does perverted, and added to, and lied aboutwho is traduced because his dinner-hour is later than that of 'other folks'—who don't stoop, but is straight in the back-who presumes to doubt that this country, in general, and his own township in particular, is the focus of civilization-who hesitates about signing his name to any flagrant instance of ignorance, bad taste, or worse morals, that his neighbors may get up in the shape of a petition, remonstrance, or resolution--depend on it, that man is a prodigious aristocrat, and one who, for his many offence and manner of lording it over mankind, deserves to be banished.”
ARISTOCRATIC EXCLUSIVENESS. (The interlocutors are the Pseudo
German and one of his tenants.)
"Well, Mr. Greisenbach, the difficulty about aristocracy is this Hugh Littlepage is rich, and his money gives him advantages that other men can't enj'y. Now, that sticks in some folks' crops.'
“Oh! den it ist meant to divite broperty in dis coontry; und to say no man might haf more ast anudder?'
"Folks don't go quite as far that, yet; though some of their talk does squint that-a-way, I must own Now, there are folks about here that complain that old Madam Littlepage and her young ladies don't visit the poor.'
"Vell, if deys be hard-hearted, und hast no feelin's for der poor and miseraple
“No, no; that is not what I mean, neither. As for that sort of poor, everybody allows they do more for them than anybody else about here. But they don't visit the poor that isn't in want.'
“ Vell, it ist a ferry coomfortable sort of poor dat ist not in any vant. Berhaps you mean dey don't associate wid 'em as equals ?'
«Then the cry is raised of feudal privileges, because some of the Rensselear tenants are obliged to find so many days' work with their teams, or substitutes, to the landlord, and even because they have to pay annually a pair of fat fowls! We have seen enough of America, Hugh, to know that most husbandmen would be delighted to have the privilege of paying their debts in chickens and work, instead of in money, which renders the cry only so much the more wicked. But what is there more feudal in a tenant's thus paying his landlord, than in a butscher’s contracting to furnish so much meat for a series of yenrs, or a mail contractor's agreeing to carry the mail in a four-horse coach for a term of years, eh? No one objects to the rent in wheat, and why should they object to the rent in chickens? Is it because our republican farmers have got to be so aristocratic themselves, that they do not like to be thought poulterers ? This is being aristocratre on the other side. These dignitaries should remember that if it be plebeian to furnish fowls, it is plebeian to receive them; and if the tenant has to find an individual who has to submit to the degradation of tendering a pair of fat fowls, the landlord has to find an individual who has to submit to the degradation of taking them, and of putting them away in the larder. It seems to me that one is an offset to the other."
HARDSHIP OF LONG LEASES.
“The longer a lease is, other things being equal, the better it is for the tenant, all the world over. Let us suppose two farms, the the one leased for five years, and the other for ever: Which tenant is most independent of the political influence of his landlord, to say nothing of the impossibility of controling votes in this way in America, from a variety of causes? Certainly, he who has a lease for
He is just as independent of his landlord, as his landlord can be of him, with the exception that he has rent to pay. In the latter case, he is precisely like any other debtor-like the poor man who contracts debts with the same storekeeper for a series of years. As for the possession of the farm, which we are to suppose is a desirable thing for the tenant, he of the long lease is clearly most independent, since the other may be ejected at the end of each five years. Nor is there the least difference as to acquiring the property in fee, since the landlord may sell equally in either case, if so disposed; and if not disposed, no honest man, under any system, ought to do anything to compel him so to do, either directly or indirectly; and no truly honest man would.”
RESERVATION OF WOODLANDS.
“This wood, exceeding a thousand acres in extent, stretched down from the hills along some broken and otherwise little valuable land, and had been reserved from the axe to meet the wants of some future day. It was mine, therefore, in the fullest sense of the word; and singular as it may seem, one of the grounds of accusation brought against me and my predecessors was that we had declined leasing it! Thus, on the one hand, we were abused for having leased our land, and, on the other, for not having leased it. The fact is, we, in common with other extensive landlords, are expected to use our property as much as possible for the particular benefit of other people, while those other people are expected to use their property as much as possible for their own particular benefit”
PLEA OF IGNORANCE.
(Loquitur an English servant.)
“What is it you wants, I says to him? you can't all be landlords--somebody must be tenants ; and if you didn't want to be tenants, how come you to be so? Land is plenty, in this country' and cheap too; and why didn't you buy your land at first, instead of coming to rent of Mr. Hugh; and now when you have rented, to be quarreling about the very thing you did of your own accord ?
“Dere you didst dell 'em a goot t’ing; and vhat might der Squire say to dat?'
“'Oh! he was quite dumb-founded, at first; then he said that in old times, when people first rented these lands, they didn't know as much as they do now, or they never would have done it.'
“Und you could answer dat; or vast it your durn to be dumfounded?'
“I pitched it into him, as they says; I did. Says I, how's this, says 1-you are for ever boasting how much you Americans know-and how the people knows everything that ought to be done about politics and religion-and you proclaim far and near that your