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institutions attack them at these points, their neighbors go to one extreme in they commit, to say the least, a mistake judging us, they are naturally repelled to in strategy. These are, by no means, the other. They see nothing but good in peculiarly our weak points; we utterly us, and deal only in excessive praise. deny their pretended weight as proofs of The influence of American civilization our comparative inferiority to Europe in on European has been undeniably greatcivilization. Our inferiority is to be it is great still ; and, if we are faithful to found elsewhere, if anywhere at all. Not ourselves, may yet become immeasurably that we are disposed to retract the admis- greater. It is true we enter into comparsion already made, that the English as ison with European nations at great diswell as the French are our superiors in advantage. It is nothing to our discredit, civilization, according to the ordinary ac- surely, that our tendencies and efforts ceptation of the term ; but, deferring for are directed rather towards internal imthe present the consideration of those provement, than external show or effect. points in which their superiority consists, We aim rather to be civilized than to apwe may be permitted to think that this pear so. But we have still many defi
brigand confederacy” is not quite so ciencies to be supplied, and faults to be deep in the slough of corruption, vul. remedied; and we need—especially if we garity and barbarism-nor is it likely to would produce an impression abroadbe-as they would make the world be men of higher general culture. We need lieve.
organs-proper representatives among In seeking to ascertain our compar- foreign nations; men who shall give a ative claims, it was proper, however, favorable idea, not only of our diplomatic first to inquire what is our reputation address and political sagacity, but of our among foreigners, and on what grounds national, social, and scientific culture, do they form their opinions? It is pro- The impression made abroad by Frank. per also to remember that our general lin is not yet effaced. As Americans, we reputation abroad is more in the hands of still enjoy its benefits. When shall an. the English than in any other, except our other like him stand forth as the personown. But it is some comfort to know ification of a republican and an Amerthat, notwithstanding all their sneers and ican ?* denunciations, other foreigners retain a American civilization is not, indeed, to high opinion of us, and indeed, often ex be contrasted with European, as somepress views of quite too flattering a char- thing quite diverse or contrary ; rather, acter. It is true that, everywhere, the the former is the direct offspring, a new pensioned authors and salaried agents of phasis and development of the latter. In arbitrary rule and monarchical institu- modern Europe, civilization has assumed tions say as much evil and as little good a more perfect form than it had ever be. of us as they can. Yet they are far from fore attained. Its seed has been planted treating us with contempt. They respect in America, as in a virgin and more ge. and fear us. They deprecate our influ- nial soil. It bas germinated, has waxed ence, and endeavor to throw all possible with a rapid and vigorous growth, and obstructions in its way; and to this end, put forth magnificent buds of promise ; it is necessary to keep before the eyes of and, though it has by no means reached their people the worst side of us, and the grandeur and maturity of the parent that colored and caricatured as strongly tree, though it is exposed to many casualas possible; and especially to ascribe all ties and enemies, yet it is the hope of the the evils among us, real or imaginary, to world; it contains the best, if not the the natural effect of our free institutions, only, promise of social regeneration for so that, in general, it is to be expected that the race. Whatever may be the compar. the judgments which foreign nations pass ative stage of our present advancement, upon us and our civilization, (besides be. it is certain that the intelligent friends of ing partial as all such mutual judgments human progress and improvement everyare,) should be highly prejudiced and un where, are watching our course with just. Nevertheless many well-informed profound interest and trembling anxiety. foreigners know better; and, because The problem we have to solve is, to
It is not meant that we are entirely destitute of such organs. By no means. Our late minister to England is a sufficient refutation of such a statement. We want more such, and fewer of a very different character.
reconcile a high degree of refinement and when they have not been altered, you culture when attained, with permanence may safely say they want altering. But on the one hand and general diffusion on then comes the question whether our fate the other. Hitherto, when nations have is not fixed, and whether you could not reached a certain point of social progress, as well make the muscles and sinews of there has always been a tendency to a full grown man perform the feats of an general corruption and dissolution. The Indian juggler.” It is sometimes repreprogress has been partial and one-sided, sented, by various arguments and figures pampering here, stinting there. Its very of speech, that those antiquated instituelements have contained in them the tions which have come down from a germs of decay. Italy and Spain admon- semi-barbarous age, are useful, and even ish us, that even the Christian civiliza- needful to sustain the new and better intion of Europe promises to be no excep- stitutions in their feeble beginnings and tion to the sad rule. We are to try the during their slow and gradual growth. experiment under new auspices. And, This might be true, if they contained in though we have little occasion for pride ihem the germs, or even the recognition, and vanity, we have many reasons for of a higher development; if they left gladness and thanksgiving. Indeed, what free scope to the spirit of progress. But ground has any nation for boasting? To such is far from being the case. They all the apostolic rebuke is applicable, are notoriously the greatest obstacles and “What hast thou which thou didst not the most inveterate enemies of all change receive ?" In giving us extraordinary for the better. Where was it ever known advantages, Divine Providence has laid that they encouraged such a change ? us under extraordinary responsibilities. Has not the spirit of conservatism which These are what we should learn to feel. possesses them always and everywhere We not only have duties to ourselves made an uncompromising warfare against and our posterity to discharge, but we every innovation and improvement ? a are entrusted with a mission for the whole spirit which, like the venomous reptile, race ; its destinies, to a fearful extent, still makes them its abode after they have are placed in our hands. A lofty ideal - crumbled to ruins that fill the air with a glorious goal is set before us. Let us pestilence and death. not be high-minded, but run with modesty All the natural elements of society and circumspection, as well as with vigor and of humanity, evil as well as good, and alacrity, lest we fail as others less are among us in a state of commixture, favored have failed before us.
commotion and contest. This is, indeed, Some of our advantages are-general a critical situation; but herein lies no freedom and freshness, an open field, a occasion for dismay or discouragement. youthful spirit and susceptible character; Great risk is often the condition of great courage, confidence and hope; a general success. Nature loves variety, and hates diffusion of knowledge and culture, and monotony. As Guizot has well said: of the means of external comfort; a this is the picture of the universe, of heroic age in our early settlement and humanity itself. Yet nature does not happy revolution; above all, in erecting amuse herself with placing in mere juxour fabric of society, we have no antiquated taposition, or patching together the memedifices to remodel, no crumbling walls to bers and relics of the part after the life prop up, no rubbish to remove; but an has departed from them--as the Euroabundance of new and sound materials all peans, and especially the English, bave around us.
attempted, and are attempting, to do. Dr. Arnold, writing of English con. But she developes her variety, calls servatism, and of the obstacles to im- forth the struggle, from the living eleprovement in the existing corrupt and ments of the present, as among us. Our unnatural state of English
society, says, civilization is, in this respect, more conthat “a volume might be written on sonant with the course of nature than those words of Harrington, we are living even the European, which, it must be ad. in the dregs of the Gothic Empire. It is mitted, exhibits a variety of form and that the beginnings of things are bad, and movement unknown in ancient times.
SWEDENBORG relates in one of his of stocks, how many different pleasures he books that an angel told him there were had a knowledge of in this world. He in one of the lower heavens about four replied not one. But he expected to rehundred and seventy-eight pleasures, or alize a very great pleasure soon in get. varieties of pleasure. The angel did not ting out of the world. This was one I speak with that degree of exactness had not set down in my list, so I added which should distinguish the conversa it to the number. tion of a celestial being. There may be The great difficulty in making a list of more or there may be less. About four earthly pleasures, is to distinguish a pleahundred and seventy-eight is too indefi sure from a pain. People often say that nite. Even an angel ought not to exag- certain things give them the greatest pleagerate the joys of heaven, and we may sure, which I am certain must give exwell believe that one of the blessed could treme pain. The old saying about one not underrate their enjoyments. It will man's meat being another's poison, canbe safe to believe, therefore, that the not be reversed. - What is poison to one pleasures of heaven are at least four is poison to all. Our pains are positive ; hundred and seventy-eight in number; the greater part of our pleasures are puresome, who have seen the rough side of ly conventional or imaginary. The the world, may think the estimate too “ very great pleasures” which one expe. large by half, and be unable to believe riences in entertaining his wife's aunt, or that even in heaven they could enjoy so second cousin, who lives at the other end great an amount of pleasure; but others, of the city, and has been taking tea with who have tasted all the delights of this your family, while you have been wearyearth, will think the number quite small, ing yourself in your office, it would be and that the difference between this world difficult to analyze; or the " pleasure" and the next, is nothing to speak of after of endorsing a friend's note, if you had all. For my own part, I will not deny not pledged yourself to your partner not that the number of heavenly delights, ap- to do such a thing, is extremely subtle and pear to me excessively large, and I have difficult of detection. Considering the been trying to enumerate all the terrestrial very great pleasure which the endorsing pleasures, that I may ascertain the exact of notes and lending of money would arithmetical difference between heaven give to some people, we may well won. and earth. There are some pleasures der that they should take oaths and sign which must be common to both states of pledges not to do such things. Men existence, such as the pleasures of devo- who will voluntarily deprive themselves tion, of doing good, of the higher order of these delights by leaving their pocketof music, of contemplating the glory of books at home, or pledging themselves to our Maker, &c.; but what I mean by their wives or partners, are entitled to as terrestrial pleasures, are such as can only much honor as St. Simon Stylites. One be experienced in our bodily existence, little dreams of the ascetics in Wall street, which are of the earth, earthy. There who forswear the "greatest pleasure in is a possibility of realizing a heaven the world,” until one attempts to borrow as well as a hell upon earth. There a small sum of money among his friends. are some people, the majority of people, Men who submit to these deprivations so indeed, and strangest of all a majority of heroically, are to be the more commended religious people, who are forever decry: because these are pleasures, which are ing the earth and everything connected ranked among the purely earthly ones. with it, forgetful that God made it and Lending money in the next world we pronounced it good. We cannot but think know to be entirely out of the question, that those who are dissatisfied with this firstly because nobody ever took anything world, will be equally dissatisfied with with him out of this, and secondly, we the next.
all know that rich men are not admitted Wishing to get the views of my friends into heaven at all. These two consideron this subject, I asked a gentleman theations must partly increase our admiraother day, who had recently lost five tion of those heroic souls, who so resothousand dollars by a decline in the price lutely deny themselves the pleasures of
lending and endorsing, since they are the bered one hundred and fifty, and they all only pleasures which their wealth can came to enjoy the pleasure of witnessing procure them!
the discomfort of each other, and laughing I knew a pious lady who, thinking her at their entertainers. They began to asbrother's mind was too much engrossed semble at nine, and by ten the rooms by his business, began to talk to him were so full that those who came after about preparing for another and a better had to return without being able to get world. "A better world!” he replied, their feet into the little passage which “ this world is good enough for me." was good-humoredly called the hall. This man was either a fool or a saint; When the fiddlers attempted to play for he was either to be envied or despised. the dancers, they could not make room He was either humble in spirit and felt for their elbows. But a couple of Mons. that his fate equaled his deserts, or he Chanaud's pupils, who had got into the was proud of himself and his gettings, middle of the floor for a waltz, succeeded and thought this life “ hard to beat.” in whirling round to the piping of a clarHe was not one of those ascetics who ionet, as though they turned on a pivot. denied himself the pleasure of lending or It was impossible to talk, because the endorsing, because such acts gave him no breath was squeezed out of everybody's pleasure at all, and therefore he refrained lungs. Several of the gentlemen fainted. from them.
The ladies being accustomed to tightIn a state of existence where there are lacing, stood the squeeze better. A good about 478 different pleasures, there can many corns were ground beneath heavy be no necessity for pleasure parties, such heels, and no toli taken. After much as we have here, where the real pleasure suffering, the doors of the supper-room consists in getting away from them. were thrown open about midnight. A The pleasure of entertaining one's friends, rush was made for the tables so sudden in a fashionable sense, is a purely terres- and impetuous, that a pair of decanters trial enjoyment. Entertaining angels and a trencher of oyster soups were swept unawares is half celestial; but that is a off, and trampled under foot. Those who different kind of entertainment. Angels had succeeded in grasping something, have never manifested a partiality for found themselves so closely pinioned by gas-lights, that I ever heard of; neither the crowd, that they could not carry their do they visit in white satin or patent hands to their mouths. One gentleman, leather. Fashionable people, therefore, who had secured the leg of a boned turcan never hope to entertain angels, but key on his fork, had his hand suddenly they often furnish a good deal of enter. forced above his head, and being unable tainment for their friends, when they to retain his hold, the fork fell upon the have no thought of entertaining them. head of somebody behind him, and a third In this way they may sometimes entertain making a desperate grasp for the choice angels--fallen ones-quite unawares. morsel, pulled off the gentleman's entire As this is a purely terrestrial pleasure, head of splendid chesnut hair. This misone that angels, even, can have no know. fortune was considerably heightened by ledge of, I cannot resist the temptation to the gentleman who had displaced the give an account of one of these pleasures head of hair attempting, in the confusion, in which I participated a few months ago. to fasten it upon the wrong head. In a
The lady who had the pleasure of en very short time the supper-table was tertaining her friends, was but in mode- completely cleared, but nobody succeeded rate circumstances, although she had a in getting anything to eat. In addition circle of rich acquaintances who had once to the decanters and the trencher, a solar been poor, and were now, as a matter of lamp and a cut glass efugne were dashed course, fond of displaying their wealth. to pieces. Finding that supper was out Her house was small, and when all the of the question, the guests began to leave rooms were emptied of their furniture, as fast as they could disentangle themthey were capable of containing fifty selves, and about daylight the givers of persons comfortably, provided they all the feast crept wearily to bed with the stood up, and stood still. One of the pleasant reflection of having wasted half rooms was to be appropriated for dancing, a year's income in rendering their friends another for the supper, and the third miserable for an entire evening, and them. which was one of those little closets selves ridiculous for the remainder of called a tea-room-for conversation, mu their lives. sic and flirting. The guests invited num It would be an easy matter to get up an
entertainment, where pleasure to guests course. The drink at these feasts was and host would be certain. What a purely good old cider, for the farmers had not terrestrial pleasure it would be to open a begun to destroy their apple-orchards to fine house for the entertainment of poor promote the cause of temperance. Dinner widows and orphans. How little danger was put upon the table exactly at twelve, there would be of offending anybody's and after they had feasted, servants and taste on such an occasion, and one would all-for the servants were probably feel sure of being well spoken of by one's cousins--the remains of the feast were guests! Everybody must remember nicely dished up and sent to the sick and Charles Lamb's eccentric friend, who the poor of their acquaintance. A feast used to give an annual dinner of fried like this might be kept in Lent, without sausages to the London chimney sweeps, endangering one's chance of reaching and the delightful account which Elia heaven; at least, I think so; but I may gave of an entertainment of the kind, be wrong. Here then was pleasure in which he had the good fortune to enjoy. entertaining company, and the pleasure I remember that I wondered when I first was mutual; but the pleasure of receiving read it that such feasts were not given company, generally, means the misery of daily instead of yearly, there seemed to giving misery to others. be such delight in them. The Lord May Some people talk of the pleasure of door's dinner in Guildball, and Mr. Rogers' ing good, as though they believed there breakfasts, are poor things in comparison was any pleasure in it. Why not do with the chimney sweeps' dinner. good always, and so keep up a round of
In the queer old town in which I was pleasure, if they like it? There are pious born, where fish formed the staple food of people who give ten dollars to the poor, the people, it used to be the custom, and and a hundred for a breast-pin : which may be so still, for the wealthy families affords them the greatest pleasure ? They who kept a cow, to give what they called give a thousand dollars for a conspicuous a veal feast, annually, at which all the pew in church, and sixpence at a charity near relations of the family were invited, sermon! It is a great mistake to suppose from the great-grandparents down to the that the world has any admiration for great-grandchildren--not the slightest goodness. They may admire it for its distinction being made in respect of world- rarity, as they do a green lizard, or a lady ly circumstances. On these occasions a with pink eyes, but they have no more whole calf was usually cooked and served wish to resemble it themselves than they up in a variety of ways, in capacious have to resemble a lizard or an Albiness. pewter dishes, which shone brighter than It is a common observation among politimany services of silver which I have seen. cians, that Mr. So-and-so is too good a There was always a prodigal display of man to be popular ; and yet these peofinery at these feasts, but it was not such ple are as proud as peacocks when their finery as they purchase at fancy stores, political friends compliment them by the for nothing could be plainer than the tender of a nomination for office, although dresses which were worn, drab being the it is a tacit acknowledgment that they are pervading color; but there were fine eyes, considered wicked or weak enough to be fine teeth, fine forms, fine complexions, popular. Virtue does not lie level with and above all fine countenances, in which the public eye, and it is easier to look you could find no resemblance to either down than up. A man would attract servility or pride. The grandfathers, more notice in a gutter than on the roof uncles, and fathers-in-law wore drab of a house. If you would be seen by the breeches, and fine fleecy hosiery, which crowd, you must get above their heads. clung to the comfortable-looking legs The world takes no pleasure in the rewhich they enclosed as though they ward of goodness. If virtue is to be a loved them, and took pride in displaying test of merit, they say, what will become their wonderfully fine proportions; the of us? It is expecting too much to ask grandmothers, annts, and mothers-in-law the world to take pleasure in its own conwore rich brown silks, which rustled tre- demnation. Was not Christ crucified, mendously when their wearers moved, and Barabbas liberated ? with shirt-sleeves that left bare for any. It was the fashion a few years ago with body's admiration, (and who would not poets, to write long poems with a single admire them) arms, which it would have pleasure for a theme: as the Pleasures been sinful to cover up. The young of Hope, Memory, and so forth; Dr. people were similarly dressed, but some. McHenry, we believe, closed the catawhat tempered by worldly fashion, of logue with the Pleasures of Friendship.