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Title: Why a National Literature Cannot Flourish in the United States of North America
Author: Rocchietti, Joseph
Language: English
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  _Celui qui n' a égard en écrivant qu' au goùt de son siècle,
  songe plus à sa personne qu' à ses écrits. Il faut toujours
  tendre à la perfection; et alors cette justice
  qui nous est quelquefois refusée par nos contemporains,
  la postérité sait nous la rendre._

  La Bruyère.



For your welfare, may your country listen to my feeble voice, prosper with
your prosperity, and the eagle of liberty spread throughout the world.


NEW YORK, the first of 1845.




Many americans, and a few foreigners, think that America is yet too young
a country for possessing a National Literature. If they intend to say,
that the number of classical writers of America, cannot yet compete with
the number of classical writers of any old country, of course, it cannot
be otherwise. But, that the living present americans cannot have an equal
number of writers, as the living old nations, for no other reason, but
because this nation is a new one, is what I deny.

Were America a nation of indians beginning now their civilization,
independently of any other already civilized nation, to reproach them
because they have not a competent literature as well as the old civilized
nations, it would be the same as to reproach the times of Abram, because
they were not civilized as the present most civilized nations. Such is not
the case with the United States of America. The american soil is new; but,
the american people is not younger than the european people. This country
is composed of colonies from the old continent, who came here with the
very laws, religions, learning, languages, prejudices, arts, and
literature of the old continent. The classical writers of their mother
countries belong to the american also: and to say that the present living
american people cannot have a classical literature as well as the present
living writers of their mother country, because it is too young a people,
it would be the same as to say, that the language of the United States is
not an english language.

Besides, if it is a soil fit to expel old prejudices, it is this new soil,
now in possession of an old people as we stand in this country. Some
writers, traveling through this country, supposed the americans a people
of facts only, from whom fine arts, poetry, or literature cannot be
expected; as if fine arts, poetry, and literature were not things of fact,
as laws, government, or mechanical works. Man is an imitating being: honor
an american Tasso, or an american Michæl Angelo, and instead of having too
many, who aspire the presidency of the United States, you will have your
Tassos, and your Michæl Angelos. That America has her artists, poets, and
literati as well as England, France, Germany, or Italy, I have no doubt:
but, if the genius does not flourish here as it does among the old
nations, my purpose is now to demonstrate it.



I say it again; were the people encouraged to look back to standards of
classical literature, so rich in all the languages of the old continent,
this glorious, ambitious country, soon would have her Johnsons, her
Rousseaus, her Dantes, her Machiavellis. But, the little which the
americans read now, are but light works from the english press, here
reprinted; contentions of parties, called politics; and american
periodicals, praising each other: and these periodicals, having now the
consideration of oracles in literature, keep under a contemptible silence
many american geniuses, who were too independent to bend under the ruling
will of any party. However, there are daily papers, as well as periodicals
of my highest esteem: I mean only to say, here; monopoly can be found in
every trade; and fashion, not only ruins the feet of chinese, and the
shape of american ladies; fashion ruins also a National Literature.

There is, at present, in the United States of America, a fashionable,
unwholsome, immoral practice of writing, which, although the ancients had
not always been free of reproach, now a days, is rather too much
frequented. I mean a kind of personal ridiculing, and retaliating each
other's national foible, unmercifully. If an english comes here, and finds
faults with us, as no nation can be yet without faults, it is our duty to
thank the writer, and correct ourselves. If the imputation is false, truth
speaks for itself. But, to go into England with a spirit of revenge by
retaliating with ostentation, pleasure, and self conceit, the faults which
we find among that nation, faults which we have not, we must then have
forgotten the very moral principle required to literature. He, or she who
does not know charity, the former would do better to plant potatoes; and
the latter to attend her family kitchen, or darn her husband's stockings.
A writer should look with pain at the faults of all nations; and could he
have a little patriotic feeling without prejudice, he would not tell to
his children they are the prettiest, because he finds others who are
uglier. He should rather feel displeased not to find, on earth, another
nation from whom he cannot learn how to become better.

That book which does not elevate the human mind to noble, generous
sentiments, is a dangerous book! He who ridicules others, should, in his
turn, be the only subject worthy of being ridiculed: but, the innocent man
who steps into a drawing room, laming as Byron with a wish to imitate
Byron, if, unfortunately, he falls on the carpet, or cannot prevent his
tumbler of lemonade from falling on a lady's black satin dress, not only
we should indulge his weak side; but, if we wish to be polite, we should
turn our eyes from his uncomfortable position. Though to ridicule another
it is the same as to say: I am a perfect being, I often found, that he who
is fond of the fun, and laughs at his neighbor, because this has no nose,
he turns angry, when another laughs at him, because he has only one eye: I
mean to say, here; could we see the soul of the individual, so fond of
ridiculing his fellow beings, such an exhibition would present a hideous
grim face of envy without heart, without any worthy feeling.

In writing against the present, fashionable style of ridiculing, I wish to
be well understood. I do not intend here, to dissuade writers from
exposing the ridicule of man in the abstract. On the contrary; I think,
for our improvements, nothing is more beneficial than the caricatures, or
the faults of real life, exposed in a ridiculous light, by which the
reader would correct his faults, if he has any like. But the writer should
give the caricatures with such modifications, or charged colors, with
which to avoid all personalities. And here, the writer, who must pen from
nature, may sometimes delineate a living character, whom he had forgotten,
or did never see: but, such a writer cannot be blamed for all the faults
of man; and as it is not a malicious composition, he, who has like
ridicules, has but to correct himself.

National faults also cannot be personalities. Besides, I may, for
instance, write, or speak of persons I met in a stage, in a private house,
theatre, or church, provided their names are not mentioned. If the
historical fact happened, only, with the person introduced in the tale,
nobody knows of whom the writer is speaking, or writing; if it happened
before other persons, the truth of the fact prevents, rather, those fond
of making false stories from the smallest event; the truth cannot offend
either of the parties. Besides, men would conduct themselves better, were
they afraid of being exposed: and if we have committed an offence towards
an innocent person, we should listen, and do better for the time to come.
I mean only to say here, were all writers, who can wield a pen, permitted
to book all the characters they meet with, writers should be avoided as
cholera: and though in this, and many other countries libeling did turn
fashionable, I understood that such writers are not the most welcome,
among those who do not like to see their private characters heralded; and
that America can not be offended in finding american families heralded,
because lords, and ladies of England are heralded also, it is the same as
to wish here, the same faults, permitted in that country, for no other
reason, because the lords of England cannot prevent an english editor from
prying into their private houses. If I preach morals, and at the same time
I act immorally, not only I wrong myself in exposing my hypocrisy; but, I
turn literature into an infamous art. I repeat it again, good or bad
characters may be blended in a novel, comedy, or tragedy, where the
characters, though taken from nature, cannot offend any private
individual; but, the names, or exact characters, should not be exposed by
writers, unless the individuals are notorious, or had already become a
part of history.

Like immoral writers have, now a days, become so fashionable for which,
loosing all respect which man ought to have for man, we see dandies
ridiculing not only private characters; they write of nations, as if their
cat-like brain could judge that of an elephant. That part, or that half of
a man, whose life was spent in setting his cravat without a fault, as soon
as he visits a strange country, where the cravat is tied _à la sans
façon_, such a half man calls all those people a set of fools. He who did
never live in the luxury of a palace, finds that his two story house,
built without knowledge of architecture, is by far more comfortable than
the palace built by Michæl Angelo. The protestant finds nothing reasonable
in a catholic country; and the catholic nothing reasonable in a protestant
one. He whose life was spent in contending parties, cannot understand how
the citizens of another country go so quietly to their own private
business, without meddling with the ruling power. The subject of England
calls the americans free fools; and the turk calls barbarous those nations
condeming a man to a forced labor for bigamy, or polygamy. These, while
they do not permit divorce, connive at a man living with another woman, as
far as he does not marry in church the second, as he did the former still
living. Because that country educates, and brings them up, all the
children from poor parents, this other traveler, who had never read the
laws of Sparta, blames all poor, who marry in his country, because his
legislators did no more provide for them, than they had for the flies
which pester his luxurious table.

I might blend here, and multiply the prejudices as well as the good
reasons of travelers to infinity, almost: but, unless the dandy ceases
from being a dandy; the religious from being a superstitious man; I mean,
as far as the writer does not look at things with a charitable, and
unprejudiced eye, the too many writers of our day, not only injure our
literature; they degrade it. And why, instead of cavils, frivolous
misrepresentations of persons and nations, writers do not place themselves
as citizens of the world, correcting national faults, as a father would
his beloved children? The greatest man, and the most nigh to perfection,
could not, would not, should not boast of his fine qualities. If an
Aristides is rare, very rare among us, how can a nation boast supremacy
over another? From my own experience I always found the best the modest;
and he who has no merit boasting merit. It is a pity in seeing writers
finding fault with nations, because these eat with a knife and fork, or
because they do not eat three eggs in a tumbler. Knifes and forks are
convenient, when the meat is hot; and I, who am fond of eggs, like to
crack four eggs in a tumbler, provided the present sensible american does
not care of the puerile english observation. Besides, if I am pleased in
looking at the fine architecture of an italian palace, I am pleased also
in seeing that the small, modest, and nearly uniform houses of the United
States of North America, have the blessed appearance of a nation, whose
richest citizens do not outshine the poor.

What right has he, the man of talent, or the handsome man to ridicule he
who has no talent, or he who is deformed? He who ridicules a nation shows
his perfect ignorance of nations. Can we find a nation without faults?
When the egyptians were the most civilized, all the other nations were
either savage or barbarous. The egyptians went down, and the greeks rose:
the old age of these, reached them too, and the romans shot forth. These,
also, had their days as the formers; and civilization went progressively
around the world with such propagating means, and discoveries, that the
citizen of any nation now, who undertakes to ridicule an ancient nation,
he is nothing else but like that bad son of Noah, who saw the nakedness of
his father, and told his two brethren without.



Six or seven years ago, I opened a book which I found on the central table
of the house's parlor in which I lodged. It was the fifth, or seventh
edition of Notes, or Letters by a minister of the christian reform who
went through Italy. The reverend says in his book that the pope received
him kindly, and during the long conversation he had with him, that very
head of the catholic religion, praised America, which is to say his
country, because the american people tolerated the catholic religion.
Besides, the author of those Notes says in his very book, that he was much
pleased by the reception he received from the pope. Still, the language
which I read in that very book, against the pope, and all the catholicism,
was as much as what the preachers of the reform had said against the
catholics in darker ages, for which iron, and fire did martyr so many
catholic victims, and for which, even in our times, the benevolent Charles
the first of England, is still calumniated, and the jealous, and tyrannic
Elizabeth, is still elevated to the sky, as one of the most virtuous
queens. To change the mind of such a minister of charity, who was kindly
received by the pope, it is not my purpose here. The mind of such a man,
whom I do not know, it might be of such materials, which turn harder the
more you attempt to bring it to reason. I would only advise the benevolent
man, never to visit any persons whom he cannot esteem. Had the author of
those Notes given me hospitality, and received me as the pope did receive
him, and afterwards, had I had the misfortune of using my spleen against
him, I could not esteem myself, unless I would publicly acknowledge my
inurbanity. As no pope has yet done any good to my desolate, afflicted,
dear country (and I do not except here, even Ganganelli himself) I have
never seen, and I have no wish to see any pope: but, as a lover of
justice, I do not like to see my enemy so badly treated. If in the whole
bible we can find one single passage inculcating persecution to those, who
do not think as we do; nay, if among the hundred and one religions,
grounded on the bible, the only true one condemns, and must exterminate
all the others; as we cannot be the contending party, and the judge, let
us do a good work's day: I mean, let us make a bonfire with all the
bibles, though a great wisdom be mixed in it. If the bible teaches us
charity, love, tolerance, and natural understanding, let us follow,
venerate, and worship it; but, at the same time, let us send into prisons
those fanatics who, not minding history, arts, and sciences, preach
nothing but intolerance, and persecution with the bible in their hands.
The ancient romans had their censurers. In this country I would have a
board of gentlemen with officers to prevent fanaticism, and persecution:
and the preacher who says, that the best moral is to brand those, who have
a different religion from that which he professes, should not be permitted
to preach to an assembly of honest people. The drunkard injures only
himself, and very seldom the few near him. The _spirit_ of fanaticism did
exterminate nations! If we are indebted to philosophy for the little
religion which we have yet, the true ministers of Christ must needs join
with the humane voice of philosophy, unless they have not at heart their
families, life, and lawful property of this world: and then, if they find
fault with the shakers, because the wish of these, is to annihilate the
human race by preventing marriage; the fanatics of other denominations are
doing nothing, but to administer arms to destroy those, who cannot think
like them.

Not only theological discussions take the place of literature in the
United States of America: there is, perhaps, no nation in the world of the
present century, in which theocracy attempts to swallow up the people's
rights, though the constitution be against it. And, what power can it
have, the wisest constitution, if the plurality, part by cunning, and part
by ignorance, are undermining the very foundation of man's only happiness,
his sacred rights? Just, intelligent, learned, high minded clergymen are
against the doctrine of Mr. Pusey: but, it is with a sorrowful mind we
have witnessed the too many reformers wishing to adopt the very popish
power, against the very power for which Luther, and Calvin had, and have
such an influence in the mind of nations.

I will not pass under silence here, the ecclesiastical courts with which
they began by judging errors of faith, dereliction of duty, and venial
offences among the members, or officers of their churches; and, with such
a seeming insignificant beginning, they hold, already, such a temporal
power, with which they try now members, or officers, rendered criminal by
the laws of the land! The only trial of Rev. Fairchild, charged with
seduction, is a historical fact.

There are religious people in this world for whom, had I had the mind of
Voltaire, and obliged to live with them, I have no doubt they would have
rendered me the most religious man: and among like blessed religious
persons, my mother, and few others I have the honor to be acquainted with,
are of the number. But history, and the very fanaticism of the middle age,
which we have witnessed lately in Philadelphia, are enough to make angels,
and Sophy weep.

Though America has her great share of fanaticism, she is not the only
nation. At the time in which the smoke of the burning catholic churches,
in the city of brotherly love, was rising to heaven, Maria Joaquino was
sentenced to suffer death in Madeira, because she did not consent with the
doctrines received, and followed by the catholic church. The difference
between several governments of Europe, and the United States of America is
this: intolerance in Europe is in the hand of despotical power against the
many; and in America it is in the hand of the many against their very
paternal government. The european people might one of our future days cut
off the head of despotism; the american people might place a despot on the
throne. The sons of the very pilgrims who ran from the persecution of
religious rage into this country, condemned the other day a Mr. Sable
Rogers of Springfield, Massachusetts, on a charge of violating the Lord's
day in mowing and making hay. So that, while they preach tolerance, the
puritans, with no other reason but of being the most numerous, and by
consequence the strongest, they force, and condemn a jew, a catholic, a
mahomedan, a chinese; in a word, all those who have not their religion,
and do not feel inclined to do exactly what they do themselves. How can
such a despotical state, as Massachusetts, preach abolition against his
slave, brother states of the south, it is what a sound mind cannot
understand; unless we perceive in it, the blind, uncharitable language of
the self pocket interest, with which the north holds the tariff, against
the interest of the south.

The burning of the convent of those innocent Ursulines, and the little
knowledge I have of this country, caused me to foretell the last horrors
of Philadelphia. It was not a prophecy; it was but a coming event, not
different from those we read of in ancient history. If from smoke we argue
it must be some fire; from fanaticism we must expect civil wars.

If it is a fact that false religions, false politics, false pride brought
desolation into the governments of the old continent; in giving an ear to
our faults, our duty is not to be too much pleased of the praises which
strangers, or americans bestow upon us, and our government; and sleep
under the laurel of our glory. The honest lover of an innocent beauty
looks upon her with jealousy, telling to her all her faults in order to
render her perfect, without which two married beings cannot attain
heavenly, moral happiness. The seducer tells her she is pretty, and
without faults: but, after having disgraced her, he leaves with contempt
the object of his lust to shed the bitter tears of her vanity. Our duty,
beloved americans, is to learn that a free government, like this, cannot
govern itself, unless arts, and sciences will have taken the place of
religious discussions. It seems to me, that the schools of the Union have
nothing in view, but to make divines of all their pupils: and the bible
which should not be put into the hands of an innocent person, not only
children are forced to study nothing but it; it takes now the place of all
the sciences. Are they not, the historical horrors of the bible, repeated
now in this very country? However, Europe may sooner do that, which the
philanthropists of all ages had always expected: but, if the present
America would look for the happiness of man with the views of the fathers
of this country, America is better situated to attain sooner the
amelioration of our race.

Science tells us plainly; that, the face and forehead are the true signs
of an honest man: a hypocrite, whispers, in the ear of a credulous father,
not to give his daughter unto that man, who has no other merit but a fine
forehead. The credulous father believes the hypocrite; and, spurning his
best friend, gives his daughter to a villainous low scull, in which
acquisitiveness, and the back part of the bloody brain, are the most
predominant. A month after the wedding, the low fore-headed, who knew how
to natter such a father-in-law, kills him now in order to become in
possession of his property. Had that father studied phrenology, instead of
reading nonsense, he would still live happy; and though the low scull was
not born to be a genius, he might, at least, have been more honest, had he
seen that it was too difficult for him to cheat his wise neighbor.

When Beccaria wrote of Crimes and Penalties, the whole world was for
torturing either innocents, or criminals, because divines with the bible
in their hands, were against Beccaria. And they were against astronomy,
and Galileo was one of the victims. The lava at the foot of the
neapolitan Vesuvius, the falls of Niagara tell us that the world must
have existed, at least, more than 10,000 years: but, with the bible in
their hands, geology must be a false science. And Columbus was thought a
dreamer: and Spinosa, Machiavelli, Locke, Spurzheim, Bentham, Fourier,
were branded with reprobation, and atheism. The philosophers of our
century prove, and demonstrate that the capital penalty is as barbarous as
the rack was before Beccaria; still, because the bible says: tooth for
tooth, and death for death; the criminal, and, too often, the innocent,
are not yet spared from the bloody law. And calling themselves the only
light of civilization, and social intercourse, they do nothing but forcing
mankind back to five thousand years ago!

How can the rising generation of America govern themselves, when a certain
professor says to his hundred students, that Herschel told a falsehood,
when the latter demonstrated that in the moon must have been quakes, and
revolutions of matter? And why did the professor treat Herschel so badly?
Because, the so called learned man, wishing to admit nothing but what he
reads in the bible, thinks God would be unjust to send evils in the moon,
where those living beings had not committed the original sin. For the sake
of brevity, I will say nothing of Maria Monk, Mathias, and women burned
alive as witches by a verdict of jury. In a country where the law permits
every individual to worship God in its own way, in spite of which Joseph
Smith, and his brother, were murdered in a prison--this only fact shows,
that the legislators of this country will lose their beneficial power,
unless literature will take the place of divinity. May God defend nations
from the wrath of fanatics; and the word Charity, so well understood by
Jesus, may it be felt as it should be. It is a shame in a christian land,
where we boast so much of our morals, to learn from the mouth of the
present Sultan a better tolerance: "Musulmans, christians, jews," said he
to his subjects, "you are all dear to me, you are all my children. If
there be one amongst you who is oppressed, let him come forward, and
justice shall be done him; for it is my wish, that the laws which are made
to protect the lives, the properties, and the honor of my subjects, be
faithfully administered, musulman, christian, or jew; rich or poor;
soldier, priest, or layman, confide in my love, and in my justice; you are
all equal in my eyes, as you are equal before the law: you shall be all
treated as such; and the Almighty will reward, on the judgment day, the
honest, and faithful servant."

In blaming fanaticism, I do not blame here the government, nor true
religious persons: and these, on the contrary, are the objects of my
greatest veneration: besides, the burning of the catholic churches in
Philadelphia, it is to hope, might have been but an instance of the many
bad chances of this world. Have we not seen the best rider braking his
neck? Have we not seen the most industrious man dying on the straw? Have
we not seen the poles, the italians crushed under the iron hand of
tyranny? And where is the ignorant of nations, who will say, that the
nations deserve their bad, or good existent position? To say so, it would
be as to maintain, there is no injustice in this world of tears; but, not
to see, or wishing not to see the faults of his own country, it is the
sign of a bad citizen, or of an ignoramus. You, noble victims of tyranny,
answer for me to like spoil children of fortune. Indeed, he who enjoys the
blessing of good laws, and laughs at, and scorns the noble sufferers, is
nothing else but like the impudent son of a monarch, who, while he sees
his subjects with straw in their mouth, dying by famine, asks them, why
they do not eat bread, and cheese. Swim in your luxuries as long as you
please; but do not taunt sufferers.

However, many nations are now awaked, and a good chance might turn, sooner
than many expect, all men into civilized beings; and then, the country of
man will be the whole earth. He who did not go farther than one hundred
miles from the place of his birth, knows but the first page of this large
book, the world: And he, who wishes to expel foreigners from his native
country, while he places the bushel over his light, does nothing but
imitate the chineses of Pekin. Could the greeks surpass the egyptians, had
these not opened the gates of civilization to the former? Could the romans
surpass the greeks, had the romans not learned from the egyptians and
greeks? And though the greater part of Blackstone's laws are not fit for
America, are they not the laws of Blackstone, but the laws of the
egyptians, greeks, and romans, interspersed with the feudal laws of Italy
and France, adapted to, and modified for the english soil?

Fearing not to be understood, I repeat here again. In writing against
uncharitable men, who use the bible improperly, in order to hinder the
progress of our race, I have still, and I hope I shall ever have the
greatest veneration, towards the benevolent ministers of Christ, and happy
christians, who see the daily loss which the heavenly moral of Jesus does
suffer, not from unbelievers; but from fanatics, and hypocrites: and
though the whole bible is not a book to be placed into the hands of the
innocent, he, or she acquainted with the world, if they do read it without
prejudice, it is a book of lofty, heavenly moral inspiration, and the
first book of literature. But, the true christian follows the good which
he finds in the bible, and leaves all religious discussions to the wicked.
The wise Christian, I say, understands as well as Terence the _nequid
nimis_. It is a religion in the unerring nature which cannot fail: it is
the religion of truth. Our mind turns black by dint of reading black, and
still more so, when a great deal of bad is interspersed with good: and
those, able to discriminate bad from good, are, unfortunately, too few.
The plurality cannot judge by themselves, as far as they are taught to
believe every thing, which comes out from the mouth of a so called
theologian. Miss Davison, the victim of the Rev. Fairchild, had she not
believed him another David, as he pretended to be, she would have spared
her shame.



Next to men, unworthy of the church, injuring American Literature, come
editors of certain stamp, the shame of those countries, where it is
permitted a free circulation. He who permits an unprincipled man to enter
his house, and becomes familiar with his wife, and innocent children, he
deserves the same blame as well as if he were leaving them to read
unprincipled newspapers. Though we are permitted to carry a bowie-knife,
or a pair of pistols in our pocket, the laws of this country will always
arrest the criminal, who uses the weapons improperly. The scribbler here,
who does not know how to use an academical language, goes unpunished,
though he did take from his christian fellow being, more than life--his
honor! What more? Prisoners, before their trial, have not been spared by

The law which condemns the challenger, and not the aggressor, is a bad
law: or, at least, since the couragous man is generous, it should be
better to have no law against dueling, and then, few cowards would dare to
speak, or write against their fellow beings. Dueling is a private war,
which minds the uncivilized, not to insult the better part of the
republic. If every man can pull a trigger, not every man has either the
opportunity, or can wield a pen against a low scribbler, who had the
impudence to injure his reputation with strong words. Gentlemen of
congress are so badly treated by such newspapers, and to such an excess,
for which, even the strongest words of the english language have lost
their sharpness. Still, though the cursing sailor cannot offend God,
having no other language to express himself, such language, used in public
prints, degrades the people's language, and National Literature.

Besides, not satisfied with their strong words, they have now introduced
engravings, and lithographies with the portraits of the very citizens,
whom republicans should respect: and the very newspapers, which condemn
John Bull for having fought in a ring of american spectators, exhibit Mr.
Henry Clay knocking down the ex-president. Fine moral, indeed! The lustful
pictures of Diogenes are less immoral, than such caricatures. The first,
is nature exposed to lewdness; the second, inculcates in the mind of man
the very scornful laugh of the jews, when Jesus Christ was dying on the
cross! If we cannot find other subjects for laughing but such pictures, it
would be better for us never to laugh during the whole of our life.



The very kind of laughter, already described in the foregoing chapter,
induced many tourists to laugh at every little imperfection they meet in
foreign countries. The laughter of a man of letters should be inoffensive:
it should be rather the laughter enhancing the merit of the person he
laughs at, than a depreciating, or self-conceited laughter.

Once, in giving letters of introduction to a gentleman, who was going to
visit Italy, I could not prevent myself from smiling, on hearing him say:
"The Italians are an intelligent people."--"How do you know it?" said I to
him. "Because" he answered, "I think so." Now a days, every thing goes so
fast, that even gentlemen judge of nations before they have seen them! And
celebrated writers sell their books, describing nations which they never
saw. To those who praised my poor, dear country, rather too much,
originated perhaps, from their blind love towards my imperfect, lovely
country, I will still be thankful to them, though their praises might
spoil Italy. However, the Vicar of Wakefield, also, praised his wife upon
her epitaph, which he placed on the chimney piece, in order to keep the
good woman to her family duties, during her life time!

No nation has yet reached the civilization for which God created us. As
the lover of a little discrimination sees better the faults of the lady
whom he loves, than the faults of the ladies whom he does not love, a man
of letters, who has at heart the improvements of society, sees the faults
of all the countries, with which he feels an interest. Of the blind lovers
of my country, I will say here nothing more, than I would of those, who
had no kind feeling for Italy. Besides, there are so many, who wrote on
Italy, that, were I undertaking to comment on them, it would be a work too
long for me, and unfit here. However, as such kind of writers form one of
the most extensive branches of our present literature, I will take up
"Italy and the Italians," by J. T. Headley, for two good reasons. The
first, because I find in it, the least to say against, and the second,
because it is the most recent I know of on the subject.

How could Mr. Headley entitle his short reflections of six months, which
he spent in that country, "Italy and the Italians," I cannot understand.
It seems to me, such a title is rather a too pompous one, when we reflect,
at the same time, that Mr. Headley, by his very confession, we learn, that
he did not know, at that time, the italian language.

It was no more than one or two days Mr. Headley had stepped on a shore of
Italy, Genoa, when he found himself offended by two individuals. The
first, was a mustached officer, who eyed him askance as he passed; and the
second, a black-robed priest, not deigning him even a look, as he went.
Here, I find the very logic of the wolf, disposed to eat the lamb, at a
water spring.--The officer offended the writer, because he looked at him;
and the priest, because he did not deign to look at him! Next, comes an
elegantly dressed woman, who, I suppose, having seen Mr. Headley offended,
because the priest did not look at him, she lifted her quizzing glass,
coolly scanning him from head to foot, and with a smile of
self-satisfaction on her face, walked on.--For me, I always like to see a
lady looking at me: it is a sign of kind feeling, and innocence: and
children, not spoiled by too fond parents, look at strangers with like
pleasing curiosity.

The gentleman went to see an Asylum, where he found an italian woman, who
had lost her mind, because her father forced her to marry a gentlemen,
whom she did not love. This only instance is enough for the writer in
question to say: "When we remember in what manner marriages are contracted
in this country, looseness of morals in italian woman should cease to
surprise us.... Her lover was a young, and melancholy creature.... The
morning after she was led to the alter, she sat by her window with pale
countenance, and swollen eyes, watching his coming. But, he came no
more.... The night that made her a wife, made him a corpse. He had driven
a stiletto through his heart.... The young bride went into a paroxysm of
grief; and went raving mad.... And now for sixteen years had she lived
with a dead heart in her bosom."

Many of the suicides in America are slandered by fanatics of the
temperance society, as being caused by intemperance. Mr. Headley, here,
satisfies himself, by venting against the unfortunate young man, these
words: "to render his death still more heart-breaking, he had not left her
a single line." Such a gratuitous imputation is, indeed unkind against a
man, now in his grave! Had, the writer of "Italy, and the Italians,"
sounded a little more the italian heart, he might have found, that the
woman, who turned insane, and the man who killed himself for love, cannot
have looseness of morals. He, and she who feel love, have a heavenly mind,
free from every immoral propensity; and the innocent girl in the private
company of her lover, is more morally guarded, than by the most careful
parent. I speak here of a lover, and not of those wretches, who dishonor
love, and whose base passion renders them incapable of killing themselves
for a woman. And here I may use the language of an american lady from her
Alida. "I cannot despair of any one who can love--not with the temporary
interest that changes its object, as whim, or accident directs; but, who,
in spite of disappointment, coldness, rejection, absence, despair, still
clings to her who first taught his heart to feel it."

Mr. Headley is rather one of the most mild in his language, among the many
writers who, in copying each other, bring such an unjust blame on all the
italian ladies. There may be nations, where ladies might know better how
to conceal their affections; but, as the race of Adam and Eve are all
beings of flesh, blood, and bones, instances of depravity are found in
every part of the world; and like sins, stand in the records of America as
well as of Italy: and as there are gentlemen who have their mother and
sisters in Italy, whom they esteem and honor, I would advise such writers
to use a better language, when they write of other nations. To speak
disrespectfully of the ladies of a whole nation, it is not a
demonstration; and it is only the devil on two sticks, who could be able
to say so. A gentleman from the top of a tower, cannot see what passes in
the households of a strange country.

The writer of "Italy and the Italians;" after having passed three weeks in
the only city of Genoa, he reproaches himself by having mistook an italian
lady for a common woman, because she was badly dressed. And because her
good nature prevented her from resenting his innocent mistake, by this
only fact, he thinks that the ladies of Italy have not the dignity of the
american or english ladies. "Dignity and woman's rights," says he, "are
nothing to an italian lady, while victory is every thing." It seems to me
that, had the italian lady pouted, because of his mistake, such a bad
humor would have robbed her of all woman's dignity, and woman's right.
Nothing is more attractive in a woman than her innocent forgiveness. And
the woman, who shows any fear of losing her dignity or woman's rights
before a gentleman, she does but tell him he is not a gentleman. However,
had, here, the gentleman been acquainted with her language, he might have
discovered the lady under servant's garments; and her new dress, nothing
but a reproach on herself by having forgotten, at that moment, that she
ought to have been better dressed before them. There are faults in
innocent woman, which render her still more lovely. It is like that child
who stumbles, for too much eagerness in running to embrace its mother. I
suppose she was one of those good italian ladies, who forget themselves to
please their neighbors; and while her innocent blunders force you to love
the childish woman, who always places you at home, you find yourself happy
in playing the child with her. That which one calls woman's dignity, for
another, is nothing but a chilling pride.

I must here now copy the following lines from Mr. Headley: "I have seen,
and heard much of an italian love of music, but nothing illustrating it so
forcibly as an incident that occured last evening at the opera. In the
midst of one of the scenes, a man in the pit near the orchestra, was
suddenly seized with convulsions. His limbs stiffened; his eyes became set
in his head, and stood wide open, staring at the ceiling like the eyes of
a corpse; while low, and agonizing groans broke from his struggling bosom.
The prima donna came forward at that moment, but seeing his livid,
death-stamped face before her, suddenly stopped with a tragic look and
start, that for once was perfectly natural. She turned to the bass-singer,
and pointed out the frightful spectacle. He also started back in horror,
and the prospect was, that the opera would terminate on the spot; but, the
scene that was just opening, was the one in which the prima donna was to
make her great effort, and around which the whole interest of the play was
gathered, and the spectators were determined not to be disappointed,
because one man was dying, and so shouted 'go on! go on!' Clara Novello
gave another look towards the groaning man, whose whole aspect was enough
to freeze the blood, and then started off in her part. But, the dying man
grew worse and worse, and finally sprung bolt upright in his seat. A
person sitting behind him, all-absorbed in the music, immediately placed
his hands on his shoulders, pressed him down again, and held him firmly in
his place. There he sat, pinioned fast with his pale, corpse-like face
upturned, in the midst of that gay assemblage, and the foam rolling over
his lips, while the braying of trumpets, and the voice of the singer,
drowned the groans that were rending his bosom. At length the foam became
streaked with blood, as it oozed through his teeth, and the convulsive
starts grew quicker and fiercer. But, the man behind, held him fast, while
he gazed in perfect rapture on the singer, who now, like the ascending
lark, was trying her loftiest strain. As it ended, the house rang with
applause, and the man, who had held down the poor dying creature could
contain his ecstacy no longer, and lifting his hands from his shoulders,
clapped them rapidly together three or four times, crying out over the
ears of the dying man, 'Brava, brava!' and then hurriedly placing them
back again to prevent his springing up in his convulsive throes. It was a
perfectly maddening spectacle, and the music jarred on the chords of my
heart, like the blows of a hammer. But, the song was ended, the effect
secured, and so the spectators could attend to the sufferer in their
midst. The _gens d'armes_ entered, and carried him speechless, and
lifeless out of the theatre. If this be the refined nature, and sensitive
soul, love of music creates, heaven, keep me from it, and my countrymen.
Give me a heart with chords that vibrate to human suffering, sooner than
to the most ravishing melody, aye, that can hear nothing, and feel nothing
else, when moving pity speaks. But, so the world goes--men will weep over
a dying ass, then pitch a brother into the ditch. A play, oh, how they can
appreciate, and feel it, they are so sensitive; but a stern stirring fact,
they can look as coldly on, as a statue!"

It is now nearly fourteen years, since I arrived in the United States of
North America; and were I, here, relating the wrongs, and injustice I
received from the hands of several americans--Mr. Headly, though I have
not the honor of his acquaintance, as I think him a gentleman, and a man
of feeling, in spite of his "Italy and the Italians," were he using the
same style in blaming his countrymen as he blames mine, Mr. Headley, I
say, would execrate all the americans! But, stop, my dear sir, I would say
to him; you ought not to execrate them all, because I had the misfortune
of having fallen among a few american rogues. If I met individuals, whom
Petrarca would call _gente cui si fa notte innanzi sera_, I have
nevertheless a high respect still, for the whole nation: and although in
this christian old, and new world it is difficult, very difficult to find
a friend, not only I have a friend in America; but, I know many whom,
though not my friends, I respect and esteem; and could I know the many
virtuous, who generally, and unfortunately, are always the most retired, I
am sure to find such a number in America--sufficient to shame those, who
spoke badly of the whole nation, from which they cannot deny a Franklin
received his birth. Still, Mr. Headley, who cannot ignore the many
virtuous italians, who accelerated the civilization of the two
hemispheres; and the last, though useless efforts made by italians for the
rights of a suffering plurality; Mr. Headly, I say, proceeds his foregoing
lines with the following: "How such things weaken one's faith in man, and
make him scorn his own nature, that is capable of such stone-like
indifference to human suffering! These italians, as a mass, I do not like.
They are exceedingly civil, but heartless--frank in manners, but capable
of great duplicity in action--fiery-hearted, but not steadily brave, and
selfish to any amount of meanness. In a word, you cannot trust them." But,
let us come to the point.

Genoa is a haven where the fourth of the population are strangers; and
those who go to the italian opera, are strangers. Without mistake we can
calculate that, in that theatre, more than the half of spectators must
have been strangers. Mr. Headly says in his pamphlet, that Clara Novello
was an english woman; and he does not know if the man who placed his hands
on the patient, was an italian or not. But, were such a man an italian, he
can no more disgrace the whole italian nation, than a Mr. Ballard can
disgrace the whole Union, with his cowardly crime, against the noble
minded Miss Amelia Norman. That the spectators in that italian theatre,
must have thought the case of the so called dying man, not in such an
urgent situation as Mr. Headley did, the very coolness with which the
other man held the patient, proves it. But, if Mr. Headley did really
think the man was dying; why did not his good american heart, force him to
run to his succor? Or, at least, if he was morally suffering, and gazing
passively at the dying man as well as the rest of those italians; why he
does not suppose all those italians, though idle as he, not to have
suffered his very undecided, and painful situation?

I was in Virginia; strangers were suspected as being abolitionists: some
strangers had been mobbed, and hung on mere suspicion. In passing by a
crowd of people assembled for an election, and seeing many persons around
two men, one white and the other black, the former holding the second,
bound with a rope like Jesus Christ, when he was dragged to Golgotha, and
the white, thinking his old prisoner an escaped slave, with the smile of
an expected gain, for which he appeared to me like another Judas, I
approached the crowd; and seeing that the poor old black man was
suffering, the rope being too tight, I remarked with pity to those, who
were laughing at his sufferings, that the rope was torturing the poor
human being! Suddenly the whole crowd felt the same charity, and pity I
felt; and many went immediately to the magistrate, telling him they
doubted the man being a slave, and soon they found he was a free black. I
was in that place as a foreigner fallen from the clouds; no body was there
to protect me, had a malicious man, for the sake of mischief, whispered,
that I was an abolitionist. Mr. Headley could not have such an
apprehension in Italy, had he acted with the impulse of his good heart.

Incapacity, timidity, and indecision, which cramp the finest feelings of
the human heart, disappear in an instant from a crowded assembly, as soon
as one, among them, springs forward the first, to do a good action. The
bravest soldiers left the field of a nearly gained battle, because their
general had, at that moment, the apprehension of death; and coward
soldiers gained battles, because their general was brave, daring the whole
time they were fighting. A motley crowd of people are less than soldiers;
and an unexpected event in a place of pleasure, will paralyze their very
faculties. Had I remained passive as Mr. Headley, I would not have felt
the pleasure in seeing that, that crowd of americans had a heart as well
as I; and that, if they did not feel sooner the pity which I felt, it was
because they were habituated to see slaves in like situation, and not by
want of a good heart. Were it necessary, I would bring many like instances
which happened to me in America. But, my object, here, is neither a wish
to write of my good actions, nor that of judging the whole mass of
americans by such little things, or little casualties.

However, as the english Clara Novello went on with her sweet strain, the
man near, held the patient down, and the people seemed to overlook the
painful sight, I am rather inclined to think, that the patient must have
been an epileptic, perhaps known as such by every one in that italian
theatre, or, at least, believed by them an epileptic, a malady for which
no remedy has yet been found, and the best thing is, to leave him alone,
until the spasm will pass over.

Were I controverting all the little incidents upon which, as it seems, Mr.
Headley places too much consideration; this work, which I intend to have
printed in the form of a small pamphlet, would grow to a big volume. I
will only say here, that a writer who intends to give an idea of Italy,
and of the Italians, should have taken a quite different ground, though he
says: "I have gone over these little things, because they are the best
illustration of italian character." So, a people who has its enemies in
the house, a people from whom to expect freedom is to expect the
impossible, impossible, I say, because France with her pretended freedom,
England with her selfishness, Russia with her despotism, and all the
european despotical alliance, diabolically blessed, and sanctioned by what
they call christian religion, did, and always would unite with Austria, to
crush Italy--her people is judged by little things, which travelers, meet
on their way. Every time the italians attempted to shake off the yoke of
foreign tyrants, the tyrants oppressing the very italian princes, who rule
italian blood, the pope, and his accomplices rendered grace to God, when
they heard that their jealous enemies, I mean the protesants, gave to
italian princes, ropes to hang the italian Catos, who attempted to place
on the italian soil, italian princes, free of foreign servitude. But, this
yet uncivilized world, in which the friends of humanity are
misrepresented, is still doomed to look without feeling at victims, who
honor our degraded race!--May the true God, who is in heaven, listen to my
prayer! A short prayer, but a true one!--Foreigners who call us
effeminate, must be effeminate themselves, unless they are so ignorant as
to call Brutus an effeminate, because they find him in chains with a
slave, and forced to work with the last of men! Travelers, and Mr. Headley
blame italians, because they find under that sky, worthy of a better
fortune, beggars, and wretches "selling their rich ornaments that were the
objects of their ancestors' affection, and veneration, like the trinkets
of a toy shop." But, you, spoiled children of more happy governments, you
should not, at least, laugh at our nakedness!--And the pretty piedemontese
who gave you a fall, Mr. Headley, because her necessity forced her to
stand before you with a little pewter dish in her hand, most humbly asking
for a few sous, rather as charity, than as a recompense of her mountain
songs; instead of throwing her the coppers, and thinking her inspiration
nothing but a love of money, your good, american heart should have
prompted a feeling, if not mixed with tears, at least, with a smile of
sympathy, which would have been, by far, more pleasing to an italian
heart, than your few coppers. That poor delicate female was singing not
for the love of money, a love which wrongs rather too much this country of
America. She charmed you for the urgent necessity of hunger! And who knows
that the loaf of bread she bought with your few coppers, had not been
mixed with her innocent and bitter tears? And that hunger is originated
from the continual plunders which the despotical foreign powers in Italy,
and surrounding Italy, are unlawfully forcing on us to maintain an
exorbitant army, with which to distress us. Who knows, that the father of
the poor piedmontese had not been hanged for having claimed the rights of
man, the very rights to which God did create us?

The other ragged woman to whom your american navy taught how to say: 'God
damn' without knowing the meaning of it, would prove, that if such
americans are found in Italy, passing their christian time with such
women, your americans must have looseness of morals as much as my
italians. But, as I think the cursing women in Broadway cannot take off
the merit of the american ladies, you have no right to think that my
mother, and sisters are not ladies! Sins are committed in every part of
this world; but, as we know there are virtuous people, we should exclude
the greater number, or, at least, think ourselves no better. We are all
fine nations, indeed, in this pretended christian world! But, since we
cannot fling the first stone, we have no right to laugh at the faults of
our neighbor, nor to tell, that our neighbor has not our virtues, or

Mr. Headley has now already passed the half of his time he spent in Italy,
which is to say, three months: and though during these three months, he
never went out of Genoa, he says that nothing is more stupid than an
italian soiree. Had he said a genoese soiree, Mr. Headley would have only
offended the citizens of Genoa, who gave him hospitality: but, to offend
the whole of Italy, who had never had the pleasure of seeing him, nor he
the displeasure of seeing their stupidity, it is what we call a gratuitous
offense.--Not pleased therefore, in finding them excessively stupid, he
believes that ten dollars would pay, each evening, all the expenses the
governor is at, in the entertainment!--Were I saying the same against the
kind americans who honored me, every one would be right in thinking, that
I must have accepted their invitations, rather for their refreshments than
for the pleasure of their conversation. And here, I must copy Mr.
Headley's outline of the italian soirees:--"Splendid rooms, brilliantly
illuminated, any quantity of nobility--dancing, waltzing, promenading, ice
creams, hot punch," no hot corn, Mr. Headley? "and late hours make up the
description. It is gay, and brilliant, but without force or wit." And
here, benevolent reader, a stranger, who does not know the italian
language, dares to say of having found no wit! And, because the kind
italians had no other way to please the happy gentleman of this New World,
seeing he could not understand their language, they gave him dancing,
waltzing, promenading, ice cream and hot punch: and because these things
could not amount to ten dollars, he blames, them because the scanty
refreshments had not been supplied by wit, with which nature did not favor
those poor italian brains! The american lady, I have already quoted, says
in her Alida: "Superfluous refinements in eating, and drinking are among
the enjoyments least important to a rational being. Do not let us poison a
feast to a neighbor, by the mortifying reflection that he can make no
similar return. An evil spirit of competition is thus awakened, and all
true hospitality destroyed."

While Mr. Headley claims as an american, a beautiful english lady, whose
charms had been transmitted from her american mother, he sadly writes of
not having found in Italy not a really pretty woman; and the only one he
met, who was called the belle of the city, it was, what he would term, of
the doll kind. And mind here, benevolent reader, that the Italy of Mr.
Headley, is nothing else but the city of Genoa! He has not yet gone out of

To define beauty, I have nothing else to say, that a beauty is the beauty
of different men, who have different sight, and different feeling. The
artist will always draw it as he feels it himself. But, he who pretends to
settle rules on beauty, must needs not know what beauty is. The beauty of
one's eyes cannot be the beauty of another, though rules we find settled
by different nations. The Venus of De Medici is a greek beauty, whom a
greek would love in preference to any italian, english, french, chinese,
or indian beauty. But the chinese will always prefer the chinese, as well
as the indian the wild one. He who compares the music of Hyden or Mozart,
with the music of Rossini or Bellini, shows too plainly, he does not
understand the art. He who wishes to see pretty women, has only to step
into the car, and in a few hours he will see in Baltimore a great many.
But, if he delays five or six years longer, he might meet there the
ugliest in the world, so the glory of the world is transient. Once, in
passing through a small city of France, all the women I saw in that place
were so pretty, that I thought to have fallen into the garden of Armida.
Still, though we know that every dog has its happy days, there are
travelers who did not pass but six months in Italy, running through ten
cities of that populous country, who, like Mr. Headley, asserted not to
have seen one single pretty italian lady. I did pass myself more than six
months in one single city of America, without having met one pretty lady,
when to my astonishment, I met in that very city, on a public walk,
beauties as cheerful as the sun. To bless this being of war, called man,
nature did scatter beauties in every part of this singular planet.

However, though Mr. Headley would never consent with the plurality of
travelers, who praised the black-eyed beauties of Italy, after having
resided in the city of Genoa nearly five months, passed one day in Civita
Vecchia, only calculating how long it would take him to get out of it,
seen from a steamboat "villainous towns" on the shores from Genoa to
Naples, the last month which he spent in this last city, where his turn
through Italy closes, caused him to change a little the language he used
before: "It is not the partiality one naturally feels for his country
women, that governs me," says Mr. Headley in his twenty first letter;
"when I say, that the beautiful women with us stand to them in the
proportion of five to one." And at the close of his pamphlet he added: "A
beautiful eye, and eyebrow are more frequently met here than at home. The
brow is peculiarly beautiful--not merely from its regularity, but singular
flexibility. It will laugh of itself, and the slight arch always heralds,
and utters beforehand the piquant thing the tongue is about to utter; and
then she laughs so sweetly!"

That Mr. Headly did tread on the toe of the italian as well as of the
american ladies, without intending to hurt them, or thinking that his
heavy boots had prevented them from dancing; with the following lines,
taken from his twenty-second, and last letter, I want to prove that, if he
did hurt them, he had not done it maliciously. Yes; in spite of his great
faults, which I found in his letters on Italy, and the italians, I am
inclined to think him a kind, sincere, and ingenuous gentleman. "I said in
my last letter," says Mr. Headly, "I would speak of the manners of the
italian women, which was the cause of their being so universally admired
by foreigners. This alone makes an immense difference between an italian,
and an american city. Broadway, with all its array of beauty, never
inclines one to be lively and merry. The ladies (the men are worse of
course) seem to have come out for any other purpose, than to enjoy
themselves. Their whole demeanor is like one sitting for his portrait.
Every thing is just as it should be, to be looked at. Every lady wears a
serious face, and the whole throng, is like a stiff country party. The
ladies here, on the contrary, go out to be merry, and it is one perpetual
chatter, and laugh on the public promenade. The movements are all
different, and the very air seems gay. I never went down Broadway, at the
promenade hour alone with the blues, without coming back, feeling bluer;
while I never returned from a public promenade in Italy, without rubbing
my hands, saying to myself, 'Well, this must be a very comfortable world,
after all, for people do enjoy themselves in it amazingly.' This
difference is still more perceptible on personal acquaintance. An italian
lady never sits, and utters common-places with freezing formality. She is
more flexible, and indeed, if the truth be said, better natured, and
happier than too many of my countrywomen. She is not the keen look-out,
lest she should fail to frown every time propriety demands.

"There is no country in the world where woman is so worshipped, and
allowed to have her own way as in America, and yet there is no country,
where she is so ungrateful for the place, and power she occupies. Have you
never in Broadway, when the omnibus was full, stepped out into the rain to
let a lady take your place, which she most unhesitatingly did, and with an
indifference in her manner as if she considered it the merest trifle in
the world you had done? How cold, and heartless her 'thank ye,' if she
gave one! Dickens makes the same remark with regard to stage coaches--so
does Hamilton. Now, do such a favor for an italian lady, and you would be
rewarded with one of the sweetest smiles, that ever brightened on a human
countenance. I do not go on the principle that a man must always expect a
reward for his good deeds; yet, when I have had my kindest offices, as a
stranger, received as if I were almost suspected of making improper
advances, I have felt there was little pleasure in being civil. The
'grazie, Signore,' and smile with which an italian rewards the commonest
civility, would make the plainest woman appear handsome in the eyes of a

The above lines of Mr. Headley, though rather too severe ones, will, with
time, benefit the american ladies more, than any thing said by foreigners:
not because Mr. Headley was the first to observe it; Mr. Headley, being an
american, cannot be thought of having any bad feeling towards his
country-women. However, though I am a stranger in America, I will give
more justice to the american ladies, and heal their toe, since I see them
created to cheer us with their charming Polka: waiting, in the mean time,
until steam, and tourists will have rendered them better, and better.

My purpose here is to demonstrate that the ladies' faults in America, are
the faults of those who keep suspenders to their pantaloons. The american
ladies are disposed to gentility as well as any lady in the world; and
were, here, italian ladies, who had changed their italian custom, I could
not, nor I should wonder for it. I will say here, _en passant_: the
contrast between the american ladies, and american gentlemen is so great,
for which I had often thought the two sexes in America, must be of
different nations.

How can we blame the american ladies for being so reserved, when the
american gentlemen check them at the moment of their most kind, and woman
like impulse, and feelings? I have known american gentlemen, who would not
marry the woman they love, were she not unkind with every other gentlemen
around her: and many did judge woman's love towards them, as far as she
was unmerciful towards other gentlemen. And erroneously thinking that
love is blind, they would not believe that a woman would love them,
because she finds faults with them. A gentleman was to be married to a
belle in the south of this Union. Another gentleman seeing the portrait of
the future present wife, was asked by a friend, there present, if he knew
the original, to which he answered, that such a star could not be
mistaken. The promised, and happy young lady, passing her little index
through the breast of her portrait, said: 'and this is the milky-way.'
Such witty, and innocent remark was thought indelicate by her lover, and
it had nearly broken the match!

I have seen more jealousy in the cold looks of american gentlemen, than in
the showing, and often exaggerated feeling of italian gentlemen. American
ladies, often shrink with fright, lest they be thought unfaithful to him,
whom they love; and in proportion of the population, I think there are
more fights, and murders, originated from jealousy in America, than in
Italy. The death of Mr. Andrienne, by the hand of an american husband, is
one of the most cold murders which had ever disgraced our race.

Is a foreigner engaged to be married with an american lady? Nothing is
forgotten to force the lady to break the match. And here I will say
nothing of the false articles, which I read myself in the newspapers,
against foreign gentlemen, respectable, and respected by every one who had
the honor of being acquainted with the slandered foreigners. I have seen
american ladies, in receiving any kindness from gentlemen, looking first
at their husbands, before rendering thanks to the gentleman, who was
polite to her. Yes: the coldness of the american lady is not natural to
her; and were she acting otherwise, she would be blamed; and Mr. Headley
himself would think her as a lady without dignity. Still, the ladies of
New York are pearls when compared with the ladies in the interior of this
Union, where foreigners are very rarely seen.

Step into a car, into a steamboat; and the very gentleman who complains of
the indifference, and coldness with which american ladies receive the
kindness of gentlemen, is the first to spoil them. Once, being in a car,
and not thinking that the back department of it, and always more
comfortable, was exclusively for the ladies, seeing almost all the places
vacant, I went there, and seated myself; when the agent of that train,
with a loud voice, and manners to make the ladies understand he had no
difficulty of being rude with his own sex to please the ladies, said to me
with a voice of command, that the place was only for the ladies. 'It is
not my intention,' I answered him, 'to intrude myself among your ladies:
but, you should be more polite to an inoffensive stranger, when you find
him innocently breaking your rules, by telling him in a whisper, that he
is mistaken.'

I wonder to find the american ladies good as they are with like gentlemen,
spoiling them continually. The american lady must have an uncommon mind,
not to think herself a being far superior to all gentlemen in bones,
flesh, and blood. And how can she think otherwise, while the ladies have a
reciprocal regard between themselves, the gentleman thinks it derogatory
to himself to be polite with another gentleman? However, as my wish is to
be just with the american gentlemen also, and the acquaintances who honor
me in America, I must say that: although there are some of my sex, who
think that a gentleman is not obliged to be polite to the politeness of
those whom he thinks his inferiors, the generality of american gentlemen
are now as civil as any civilized nation in the world; and during the time
excepted, when they are before ladies, in which time they think it unmanly
to have any regard between themselves, the aristocrat of money, who does
not answer politeness for politeness, may be suffered by them; but he is
not imitated by republicans: and the republicans in America form the
greater number.

I saw gentlemen with ladies touching the shoulder of other gentlemen,
telling the latter to give up their seats for the ladies, and them,
without acknowledging the least thank. In a public place every gentleman
would always be pleased to give up his seat to a lady; but, to command him
to do so, he who gives up, falls from his dignity; and he who takes it,
shows a want of feeling. If the giver feels naturally more moral pleasure
in ceding it, is it not better to wait the moment in which the gentleman,
seeing the lady standing by him, will immediately offer her his seat? Not
long ago, a lady stepping with her daughter into a car, touched on the
shoulder a gentleman before me, telling him to leave the two places he
occupied, and give them up for herself, and her daughter: and with the
imperial countenance of Elizabeth, queen of England, showed to him another
place before him, where another gentleman occupied two other places. The
gentleman did all she wanted, without saying one word, with such a
patience, though dejected generosity, which caused me to grieve for my own
sex. Few days after, two ladies stepping in the same car, where I occupied
two places, fearing of being commanded like the gentleman for whom I
grieved, I offered the vacant place next mine to the nearest lady,
standing by me. She answered that she would receive both places in order
to sit together with her friend. In asking the lady if she commanded me to
do so, or if she would be thankful for giving up my place, and she
answering that she would be thankful, I gave it up, and went to seat
myself with another gentleman.

That the american ladies would not be inferior in kindness to any italian
lady, I have no doubt, could they believe that we, of the fighting tribe,
are not dogs respecting them. Nevertheless, I have a high respect towards
the american ladies, as far as a good heart is concerned, though a bad
custom injures too much their sensible left side: and as it is the best
side of woman, I would not like to see the american ladies so badly
treated by their very bad teachers, who, like heedless fathers, complain
of their children, who would be good, had they not spoiled them. Yes: the
american ladies are naturally good children. And, were only one single
lady, who would thank me by having said such a truth in their defence, I
would call myself fully rewarded for my trouble in defending them. But,
were they all bad, and at the same time, were they all thanking me for
having said a falsehood, I would be very sorry for it. The american lady
to whom I gave up my place with the dignity of a man, and not with the
dejection of a commanded dog, showed me one of her most thankful, and
charming smiles, not for the place I ceded to her; but, for having given
her a good lesson. And the woman who acknowledges her fault with such a
smile, were she properly and tenderly managed, she would be an angel. If
my kindest offices to ladies did hurt my feeling, when I was not
acquainted with the american custom, I felt ashamed when I offered them to
gentlemen, who received it as if they thought me their inferior: and then,
I repented of having been polite to them. Still, we must mind the _ne quid
nimis_ in politeness also: and, indeed, there are some who are so
excessively polite among other nations, with whom politeness becomes
excessively uncomfortable.

However, I always see something good, among the faults of man. Indeed, I
feel more pleased in seeing rather an excess of politeness towards ladies,
even to those who do not deserve it, than not enough of it to them. And to
the lady, whose education taught her how to place a distinction between
selfesteem, and selfishness, kindness to her creates kindness. Besides,
the politeness which american gentlemen have for women, it is of that
kind, which must please the ladies. It is a generous service as a
gentleman, before careless parents, would give to their naughty, spoiled
child. The most uncouth man fails not in tact of gentility, when he gives
any service to ladies. It is a national, generous, and natural politeness,
for which females must always feel themselves at home. Blackguards here,
would not stare in the face of a lady, passing by; and I am so much
pleased of it that, were I seeing in the streets such a blackguard, I
would join with all my heart the american gentlemen to reprove the scamp.

Every human being who is not deprived of its senses is created for good
purposes: and the difference of characters among different nations is what
it forms the beauty of this earth. Human faults are not originated from
nature; they are but the evil of false education. I do not think that one
nation is naturally better than another: on the contrary; that which seems
a fault to us, it might be a virtue, were it placed in its proper light.
Though now, we feel ourselves, generally, in a better condition than those
passed times of darker ages, perfection seems only granted to our
posterity. We are spoiled boys yet, taught by worse teachers, offending,
and insulting each other for no other reason, but because we do not
understand ourselves. We may boast of never speaking of our personal
virtues; but, in speaking badly of other nations, we do not see that we
praise ourselves hypocritically.

And here, since american ladies have been introduced, I feel it my duty to
defend them from an unjust blame. I have heard american and foreign
gentlemen saying, they dislike learned ladies. Such gentlemen, I suppose,
must not have sufficient learning themselves, to discriminate between a
learned lady, and a lady who pretends to learning. A learned lady is
always modest; and adapts herself to the capacity of those with whom she
converses, unless her insufficient learning had not told her, that,
nothing is more disagreeable in a lady than pretensions; and nothing more
becoming than modesty. The learning which does not teach us how to know
ourselves, is not learning. That a gentleman does not find himself at home
with ladies more instructed than he is, in such a case, it is not the
fault of the learned ladies: it is his own, by not having cultivated his
mind as well as the ladies did.

Exceptions aside, such is the fact: in America the ladies are generally
more cultivated in real instruction, than the gentlemen: and he who did
study a little greek, and latin (which is but lost time, unless he be
thoroughly acquainted with these two dead languages) thinking himself
above the education of ladies, looks to his charming country women with
such an air of superiority of mind, as if they were fit only to chat but
of balls, ribbons, dresses, and all the nonsense of empty heads, rather
too much introduced in conversation by the gentlemen who, when they find
it useless to speak of Mr. Henry Clay, or Mr. Polk, they leave poetry,
history, painting, music, languages, and philosophy to their fair partners
to enjoy it, if they like, in their own private closet.

And here, I hope, no fellow of my sex will marvel, if I do not think
philosophy incompetent with the fair sex. There have been hypocrites, who
made of philosophy a bugbear. Philosophy is nothing else but good sense,
reason, or wisdom. Philosophy, in our age, it is that sense of justice to
which all men, and women, who have integrity, when they think, judge, and
compare by themselves, they do agree without pretension of being more
learned than others. The philosopher speaks for better information, and
not for the price of being considered more learned than his neighbor. The
philosopher is modest: if he speaks of divinity, he does not say to his
contender: You have not yet studied the bible enough: and so of
mathematics, geology, or astronomy. The philosopher may point out the
deficient knowledge which his contender might have of the science; but, he
will never ask the impolite question, if he knows the science on which
they are discussing. Philosophy, now a days, is no more under the banner
of stoicism, peripateticism, cynism, or platonism, which were, at those
times, nothing better, than religious sects. In our days, every one, who
is able to demonstrate a truth, is a philosopher. And since the reasoning
faculties were given to woman as well as to man, I do not see why man
would not permit woman to reason as well as himself?

Once, being invited to an evening party in Virginia, I was so much pleased
in the conversation of a young lady, that, had I not seen many gentlemen
smiling and looking askance at us, I think the interesting subject we had
on hand, would have taken all our evening time, before we could arrive to
the conclusion of it: and nothing is more agreeable at an evening party,
when we have matter on hand to keep off the chilling silent look. But, as
the smiles at us, were too many, we postponed our subject for another
time. So, the young lady, turning to the next gentleman, who was very fond
of riding, spoke with him of his beautiful horse, and I went into the
adjoining room to drink with several gentlemen a glass of madeira. After
having drunk to our health, the gentlemen asked me if I had enough of the
learned young lady. I had not yet answered the question, when another
gentleman said, that he would not give three straws for all the learned
ladies of the world. I answered the gentlemen, that I was very much
pleased of her conversation; and could I spend every evening with ladies
like her, I would give up the practice of pouring out my sight on books,
because such conversations would give me more information, than what I
could get in my own closet.

It is a fact: while out of ten ladies you find nine, who know two modern
languages, besides their english; out of ten gentlemen, you can scarcely
find two. It is not because I teach the italian language that I praise the
study of languages; I praise my profession, because I think it the most
useful, and the most able to develop the faculties of human understanding.
I cannot deny that few american ladies, as gentlemen, study also
imperfectly the greek, and latin languages, and for which I do not see why
their parents do not wish rather, that their young ladies would study the
sanscrit, the ancient persic, or the hebrew. But, the plurality of the
american ladies, studying modern languages from foreigners, who know well
the very languages of their own country, the young ladies, I say, do not
lose their time, like the plurality of gentlemen in learning greek, and
latin from native americans, who get the professorship in colleges,
because they have friends in this country. Hence the study of greek, and
latin becomes a necessary thing in the american colleges: nay, it is a
faculty, without which, a student cannot receive his diploma. And the
foreigners, who would be the most useful as professors of modern languages
in colleges, have but a blank name of professors. So, the student, who can
get his diploma without any of the modern languages, study only what he is
compelled to do; and the foreign professors, having neither fee, nor
pupils, stand there to fill up the required number of professors, without
which those colleges could not be called universities.

Out of one hundred american ladies, who learned modern languages from me,
I cannot reckon five gentlemen. I have no doubt that in America there must
be good professors of greek, and latin, as well as among any other nation
in the world; but, a dead language will always be a dead language, even
from the mouth of the best professor; and a Buscheron, the deceased
professor of the latin language in Turin, Italy, was one of those rare
birds which does not appear on this earth, but during one thousand years,
if it does: and when it does, such a bird, I mean such a professor, might
be unable to impart his latin to others. But, no person is perfect here,
below the moon, and the want of literature in the american gentlemen is
counterbalanced by many virtues, for which I have as much sympathy towards
them, as I have towards my countrymen. The mercantile business in which
they are thrown, gives them such an extensive knowledge of the world,
which does supply, in great measure, their deficiency of languages, or of
books. They know what is passing in Europe, Africa, Asia, New Holland, and
South America. They are patient, industrious, brave, and active. I have
seen american gentlemen going to bed wealthy, and on the next morning,
when they found themselves reduced to beggary, sustaining their misfortune
with manly fortitude, noble composure, and getting anew into business with
such cheerfulness, as if nothing had happened to them. Such an eulogy is
the greatest which can be given to any civilized nation. As it is the
truth, I feel happy to say so. From a nation who does possess such
virtues, we must expect great things: and the republic of America has my
best wishes.

Had a foreigner said of America, what Mr. Headley said of Italy, and the
Italians, I do not know with what words many americans would have called
such a foreigner. And, although that which Mr. Dickens said of America in
his Notes, is nothing to compare to what Mr. Headley said of Italy. Mr.
Headley himself introducing an english lady in his fifteenth letter, he
wrote: "She tells me that Dickens is getting out a work reflecting on us
in a manner that will throw his Notes on America, entirely in the shade.
She says she supposed our rapturous reception of him, was occasioned by
the fear we had of his pen. Shade of Hector defend us! this is too much.
However, we deserve it, or rather those of my countrymen deserve it, who
out-did Lilliput, in their admiration of the modern Gulliver; for I plead
not guilty to the charge of fool in that sublimest of all follies ever
perpetrated by an intelligent people. I will cry 'bravo' to every
pasquinade Dickens lets off on that demented class, which cried out every
time they saw that buffalo-skin over-coat appear: 'The Gods have come down
to us.'"

We feel the blows of others, but, we are not conscious of those we give to
our christian neighbors. I, on the contrary, wish not to be blinded by my
patriotic feeling, as italian, in judging Mr. Headley; as he judged Mr.
Dickens with his patriotic feeling. I look to his 'Italy and the
Italians,' as being a production of a gentleman who wrote for the only
impulse of writing, without thinking that, while he wished to exhibit his
wit on the shoulders of those who had kind feeling for him, his
expressions did unjustly cut quick flesh, as quick as his own; without
thinking, I say, that the feeling of the italians is not inferior to the
feeling of the americans. Travelers may come here, or go to Italy, and
spend their wit as much as they please. Man is man in every part of the
world: and to dishonor a nation with the purpose of praising ours, shows
either a poor heart--a bad, or hasty judgment. As I think Mr. Headley a
gentleman with a good heart, had he not already published his letters by
the newspapers, he would have altered the expressions of his pamphlet; I
have no doubt of it.

In his twelfth letter, Mr. Headley, writing of Byron, says, that Byron had
always on his table the bible, Machiavelli, Shakspeare, and Alfieri.
"Byron," says Mr. Headley, "loved Machiavelli for his contempt of
mankind, making them all a flock of sheep to be led, or slaughtered at the
will of one haughty man." Had Mr. Headley read all the works of
Machiavelli, the master of statesmen, and so little known, or disregarded
by the american senators; he would not have repeated with the english,
such an unjust slander against Machiavelli. _Il principe_ is but a long
irony. And here, let me be permitted to say, that the word Machiavelism
should be taken off from the english, and american dictionaries, unless
such a virtuous italian, who took off the mask from the face of tyrants,
and showed to nations how ugly they are, be still thought by the english,
and american literati, as a writer, who intended to favor arbitrary power.
Machiavelli was as noble, and sincere in his sentiments of republicanism
as Brutus, or Cato themselves. The english, and american lexicographers
had been very much mistaken in saying that the word Machiavelism is
synonymous of political cunning, and artifice.

Had I demonstrated in this chapter nothing else but, that writers should
not go into other countries with a spirit of wishing to show themselves
superior to other nations, it will always do something good to the future
American Literature. A man of letters is indebted to all nations for his
discrimination, and wisdom; and unless he writes with the feeling of a
citizen of the world, his writings will never attain the purpose to profit
mankind in general, and himself, without which a National Literature will
always be in the clutches of national selfishness. We cannot write of
heaven without looking to heaven. We are all children of one single
destination: and we cannot expect civilization, until all nations will
give to each other the hand of brotherly love. That God intended to
improve the race of man with the time to come, the different characters of
different nations show God's infinite wisdom. Consult the best
physicians, and they will demonstrate to you, that children from parents
of different nations, having the qualities of their father and mother, are
cleverer than those children whose parents are both of the same nation.
The intermarriages of different nations with so many different
propensities, must, of course, bring the race of man to a great
improvement, and for which the mind of the posterity must excel ours with
the times to come.



Ten years ago the theatres in America were thought immoral places: and if
Niblo's theatre was frequented by the best class, it was for no other
reason, but because it did pass under Niblo's garden. Though every year
the american theatre is gaining ground, and, as it seems, time will bring
it to the consideration which it deserves, it is still in a state of
infancy to what it should be: and it is just because it is in a bad
repute, that talented american writers did not yet display their genius in
such a rich branch of literature.

The ancient Greece, the mother of all nations in literature, was the first
to bring on the scene, the actions of man with which to instruct the
people, and inculcate morals, without preaching precepts: and as the good
example is the best instructor, such a moral is felt, and followed by the
people in earnest, and success: and while they laugh, or weep, the
agreeable pastime leaves in their mind strong impression of virtue. The
aim to inculcate morality, was so strict in those ancient times of Greece,
that a law was passed with which they would not admit any play by any
author, who was not twenty-five years of age.

Good theatres are so necessary to a civilized country, and such an
indisputable branch of literature, that, when I met in America persons,
who did object to them, it seemed as if I had come into a barbarous
country, and not into this very country, which can glory to possess the
best government of our present century throughout the world. We have only
to mention names of different nations to shame those, who call the theatre
an immoral place. OEschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Plautus, Terence,
Goldoni, Alfieri, Corneille, Racine, Lope de Vega, Calderon, Moratin,
Shakspeare, Otway, Shiller, Goethe; and here I will say nothing of chinese
or hindoo writers of comedy and tragedy, whose works stand, and will stand
as the best school of morality.

That many of the american theatres are rather on the immoral, than on the
moral side, I cannot deny it. But, if so, it is the fault of the people,
permitting such plays. The best thing may be turned into an evil. The
theatre is the school of all the fine arts; and were it sustained by the
people as a necessary thing, soon authors would write classical plays.
Classical authors, would form classical performers; and classical
performers, giving a good taste to the people; criticism would improve
authors, performers, and auditors: and the nation becoming refined in the
fine arts, the audience would not permit an actor striking another on the
stage. A moral people should not laugh in seeing an actor degrading
another in action, or words: and when such bad actions are introduced by
the author as a historical event, they should always be represented with
an aside, reproving the clownish act. The laughter worthy of a civilized
nation it is when wit, and decent actions would be exhibited with feeling,
and refinement.

Travesties, or parodies should be entirely banished from the stage, not
only because they injure the heroic actions; but, such actors exhibit
nothing else but a company of insanes; and as it is not moral to laugh at
insanes, we should banish from a moral place an immoral laughter. As the
tears shed over the misfortunes of others, enhance the nobility of our
heart, and the angry tears degrade us, so the laughter should not be
excited in a delicate mind, were it even aimed at the last of men: a
generous heart should always give to the most degraded, a chance to esteem
himself. Such a bad laughter has so bad an influence in society, that
ladies would laugh at every reasonable thing, uttered by the gentleman
they dislike, for no other purpose than to make of the honest individual a
stock of their pastime--when they have exhausted all their kind feeling
with their lover. There were fools among the ancient courts to keep merry
the ignorant kings and lords: and, before the middle ages, human beings
were killed, with long torments, for sport!

Perhaps no author did benefit more, and injured more at the same time a
national theatre, than Shakspeare. Such an extraordinary genius wrote
plays, which have not the common sense. Andronichus for instance, is such
an ugly monster, which must astonish every body who judge by themselves,
how Shakspeare could write such an unnatural play. Andronichus is neither
a tragedy, nor a parody. As Shakspeare had never been crazy, I am inclined
to believe he was drunk, when he wrote Andronichus. That it was written by
Shakspeare and by no body else, I have no doubt, since we find the style,
the wit, and the might of his genius in it; a language which no body, but
Shakspeare had ever been able to coin. The Andronichus of Shakspeare
proves, that men judge like parrots in literature. Down to our days, all
the learned say, that all the works of Shakspeare are the nature itself.
They cannot say even, which is the best of them!

He who would deny a mighty genius in Shakspeare, might say, that the sun
is a dark body. But, he who would approve a Lavinia, acting more than
three acts, after Chiron and Demetrius had chopped off her arms, and
tongue, without going to bed, it shows how ridiculous must be those, who
find beauties in every thing Shakspeare did write.

My purpose here, is not to write a criticism on Shakspeare: but, no lady
in the world could fall in love with Richard the third, the murderer of
her husband, king Edward the fourth; and at the very moment in which she
is going to bury him. Were Elizabeth not a lady, the love of ambition,
might change a woman into a monster, at least, a month after the crime was
committed. But, to love a cruel monkey, in the street, before the very
victim, and this victim her beloved husband, over whom five minutes ago
she shed bitter tears; to love the very Richard still reeking with her
husband's blood, at the very time in which he uses violence in stopping
the sacred burial, to love him, I say, because he flatters her, it is the
very parody, and the ridiculous caricature with which he wanted
demonstrate the power of flattery in woman's breast. Were woman such a
selfish, vain, degraded being, the honest man would shudder at, and feel
aversion rather than love the beauty. And if one of the best ladies has so
low a mind, what shall we think of those less perfect than Elizabeth? But,
the hyperbole is such a big one, for which nature wishes to have nothing
to do with it. And such a satire to woman, instead of striking at the
purpose, it becomes but a ridiculous exaggeration.

I brought here only these two instances to demonstrate, that, if the
english theatre has not yet reached the italian, or french perfection, it
is owing to a national, religious veneration for every thing written by
Shakspeare; and when the english critic will not be awed by the great
Shakspeare, and, really, Shakspeare is great, I do not see why the english
theatre will not be as good as any.

There is, perhaps, no present nation in the world more fitted to improve
the english theatre than America. And why? Sparta, Athens, and Borne had
been great republics, because the theatre instructed the people in that
_alto sentire_, in that patriotic feeling of virtue, and noble actions,
without which all the republics of the world had been turned into
monarchies, despotism, and tyranny. The best historical facts are
sorrowfully abandoned by a patriotic author, who he is prevented from
instructing his country fellows, under a monarchy: and many, who did write
tragedies, or comedies under despotism with their free genius, suffered
the vigilance of the iron rule. Shakspeare himself, was under the
vigilance of the despotic Elizabeth: and although the present government
of England is now the best of Europe, the english subject does not, and
had never understood the republican feeling of Sparta, Athens, or Rome.
England had never had a republic: and the writer for a theatre must be a
republican in his soul, and in the centre of a happy republic. He who is
afraid of being chained in a dungeon, cannot tell to an unfortunate people
all the evils of a monarchy with which a king sucks the people's blood;
and the theatre must needs be the palladium of truth, and people's rights.

It is a fact; America is a republic, and I hope, she will sustain herself
as a republic with the improvements of the age. But, the greater number of
the americans are from english blood, which, though brave, firm, and
constant, has not yet felt that glowing, thrilling existence which
inflamed those hearts of Sparta, Athens, and Rome with that heavenly flame
of Prometheus. And the son cannot feel in his blood, that which the father
did never feel himself. The republics of those times were nobility, and
grandeur of thought; the republics of ours are but calculation, money, and

By degrees, education purifies our blood, and brings the human heart to
feel what our ancestors did not feel themselves. But, before a nation will
be able to reach the true, virtuous enthusiasm of a republic in which man
feels himself as being a part of heaven, it seems, we are still doomed to
pass in obscurity ages, and ages! The republican, worthy of our race, I
mean, of all men throughout the world, must not think for himself. His
country should think for him. His God, body, and soul is his country: and
to die for her, is his greatest reward. A republic is a beneficient
mother, who does not leave in want her best generous children: and virtue
with these is wealth, and prosperity.

A writer of comedies, or tragedies under a monarchial government, writes
only to please his princes; and the people, present in that theatre,
swallow from the mouth of subject actors, nothing but their shame. It
should be better that such a people would not go to such a theatre. The
individuals, there present, lose the dignity of man, while in the theatres
of Sparta, Athens, and Rome, every individual, there present, felt his own
dignity, as a virtuous member of society; and from that theatre, everyone
learned how to be a good, virtuous, and useful citizen. Could we have in
America, theatres like those of Sparta, Athens, and Rome, this nation
would be the glory of our age, and posterity, as Sparta, Athens, and Rome
were, and are the glory of those, and these ages.



Were politics, and laws looked as they ought to be, nothing would be more
honorable than a statesman, or a lawyer: and these two noble sciences,
though distinctly separated, would be reduced to one. A statesman would be
a good lawyer, and a lawyer a good statesman. The science of a statesman
is to render happy the nation in which he lives; and be just, respecting
the other nations. The science of the lawyer it is to explain the
justice, which should exist between the citizens of his happy country.
That part of ethics which consists in the regulation, and government of a
nation, or state for the preservation of its safety, peace and prosperity,
and the defence of its rights against foreign control, or conquest, with
the preservation, and improvement of their morals, gives to the lawyer the
very sense of justice on which all his eloquence should be grounded, in
defending his client from the injustice of bad citizens. It is the man of
integrity only, who can regulate the citizens' actions, and their social
intercourse. Politics, and laws are the best part of a National
Literature. But, we cannot attain with success this essential branch of
National Literature, when the spirit of party prevails to such an extent,
for which gentlemen hesitate to explain their mind, lest they might offend
their friends. We cannot instruct ourselves, when party spirit takes the
place of reason, and individual independence.

Could the americans of the United States understand, what, _political
party_ does mean; they would immediately cease from introducing such
expression in their political speeches. The whigs call themselves
republicans, and the locofocos republicans: and were you asking them: why
they did divide themselves under such a banner, they will answer: Because
the whigs are republicans, and the locofocos are democrats, while others
would say: Because the whigs are for a tariff, and the locofocos for free
trade. The first for a bank, and the second for no bank, and so forth.

The most enlightened politicians, finding that the wish of sustaining
their own private interest, under the banner of a party, was an erroneous
standing, they attempted to place a distinction between democracy and
republic. So, in Noah Webster, the best american dictionary, we find the
word Republic defined as a commonwealth, a state in which the exercise of
the sovereign power is lodged in representatives, elected by the people as
it is in the United States; thinking it differing from Democracy, with
which the people of Greece exercised the powers of sovereignty in person,
without submitting to any delegate.

As we have no other words, to express the difference of the modern
modification, for these two popular governments, I would have no objection
to admit the definition of the american Johnson. And as in America the
sovereign power is lodged in representatives, the government of the United
States should be called now a republic, and not a democracy. Besides,
since those who call themselves democrats, had never dreamed of changing
the present government, the nice distinction, ought to be admitted by the
locofocos, and call themselves republicans as well as the whigs do. The
greek word, had always meant the people's government, as well as the
latin; Republic is the literal translation of the very word Democracy: and
as the representatives, in doing their duty, will always represent the
will of the people, the word Republic, as it was among the romans, must of
course sound to an american ear, as well as Democracy among the athenians,
or spartans. If we think that for the people, to enjoy their own rights,
it is better to have representatives, who spare them time, and for which
they can go to their daily business, in order to support with their labor
their wives, and children; the republic, and not the democracy should be
the government of our choice: and as this, is a republic; the two parties
should join hands. The republic of the ancients, was Minerva; and this
Divinity sounded to their ears as Wisdom, which is the very Divinity we do
now understand under the word Republic. Sophia, Minerva, or Wisdom are one
single Divinity; Wisdom is Reason, and Reason cannot be divided. If the
republican citizen cannot agree with the errors of his own government, he
has the right to dispute, or combat them: it is his very sacred duty. But,
to place himself under the banner of the tariff, or under the banner of
free trade, it is a mischievous act. The patriotic party should place
itself under the banner of the constitution of this republic, when a
mischievous interested party takes a rebellious standing; and not change
their banner's name.

If under the word party, they mean their own private interest; then, they
should be more sincere, and say, that they wish, here, a parliament of
lords, and a house of commons. If they pride themselves in the beautiful
political work of their fathers, they should forsake any dispute of party
spirit. Tariff, Slavery, Annexation, Banking, Naturalization, Free trade,
Direct taxation, and all the branches of political economy, must have
nothing to do with party. Laborers, landlords, or capitalists should give
way to their private little interest for the benefit of the plurality: and
in all different branches of political economy, the country should never
suffer for our private interest. If the citizen's duty is to die for the
country, how can a man call himself a citizen, if he does not feel the
generosity of losing a little property for his country's sake? An upright
citizen of this Union should debate all like things without personal
interest, nor party spirit. His independence depends not, by subduing the
country to his own will; but by yielding to the plural will of his
country: and the will of the plurality had never been a tyrannical will.
If he is rich, he has only to leave people live, and he will become still
richer. If he is poor, with his honest industry, soon he will find means
to live honorably. Every thing benefitting the plurality, benefits still
more the rich, by many indirect ways. Where justice is given to the poor,
the poor will give justice to the rich.

The geographical position of North America, and a government going with
the improvements of the age, are so much favoring this country, that the
grandeur of America would cost no pain to her citizens, were these,
leaving this country to grow by herself. But, too many politicians are
introducing too many cramped ideas in their speeches! As the fear of bad
influence by strangers; that of catholicism; and many other fears, too
tedious to enumerate. All like fears, sprung from ignorance, religious
party, narrow minded, illiberal, or rebellious demagogues. This country
wants only liberal politicians, who can understand the present position of
America, and age. It is generosity, hospitality, and friendship towards
all strangers, that this country will attain her grandeur. And then,
America will be the Sun and the central political happiness, throughout
the world. Those who, in America, wish to imitate the selfishness of other
nations, are not fit to live on this soil. If the people's aim, and of all
the nations of the world, is now for having republics, and not monarchies;
America has only to give them her friendly hand, and the whole world will
be the friend of America. And the whole world will have soon the blessed
millenium. The sons of God, should be liberal. No stingy cramped head,
stepping after the old, and selfish governments, will ever do any thing
good to himself, nor to the race of man, and of this country. But, the Sun
will shine cheerfully for all the world in spite of puerility. He who
preaches liberty only for himself, is a little tyrant: and a little tyrant
is more despicable, than a big one. He is the venomous viper biting its
own tail.

The imprisonment given to Mr. Dorr for having fought against the very
despotical law of ancient England; Rhode Island reproaches, with it, the
very noble acts of the fathers of her country! It is the same as to say,
that all the acts of the revolution of this Union, against the mother
country, deserve to be punished. Had Mr. Dorr taken the arms against the
present government of Rhode Island, without having previously applied for
a modification of the despotical law; Mr. Dorr would be liable to few
months imprisonment. But, such was not the case. When he found that no
redress could be obtained, Mr. Dorr acted like a free citizen. That little
state of Rhode Island, in acting as it did against Mr. Dorr, is now in
contradiction with the whole Union. I would prefer to live in a country
under a despotical prince, than in a country where a despotical law can
condemn the high minded, who could not submit to it. A despotical prince
must, with time, die, or might be killed by a modern Brutus: a despotical
law, acts despotically, without such a fear; while it prevents the free
citizen to think with the free mind of republicans. And to be vigilant
against the bad laws of a country like this, it is the duty of every
citizen! A tyrannical law is worse than a living tyrant: and from the
moment in which a nation finds an unjust law, and does not use immediately
the required modifications, such a nation cannot be a republic. The
brother states of Rhode Island are nearly as guilty with their neutrality.
He who attempts to overthrow a popular, good law, must suffer the penalty
he deserves: but, how can we expect to be civilized, if the honest cannot
dare to kill the hydra, I mean a bad law, after having applied in vain for
redress? Such a bad republic would take from my mind all the lofty
sentiments, and feeling I always hail for republicanism. A republic acting
despotism, it is the worst of all governments. The despot acting devilish
acts, calls himself a devil: and in doing, and saying so he is, at least,
no hypocrite. A nation who calls herself the kind mother the poor, and of
the plurality's rights, and oppresses, at the same time the poor, and the
plurality; such a nation, ranks with the present government of Russia, the
most tyrannical of the present Europe. Can we call ourselves republicans
in the United States of America, while a martyr of freedom rots in prison
like the Spielberg prisoners of my dear, and unfortunate country? And my
friends, and fellow-laborers of my profession in New York, Mr. Foresti,
and Mr. Maroncelli can tell you _di che lagrime grondi, e di che sangue_
the republican patriot.



The love of ourselves is so firmly implanted in our heart, for which every
honest being turns its eyes from death with disgust: and were it not
mitigated with the idea of immortality, the man who coolly meditates on
the loss of life, were it united with the utter annihilation of his soul,
death would be too painful. Hence, we have not yet found any nation, which
did not hope for a life to come; where the good, will receive the reward
he cannot receive upon this land so badly governed.

Nothing is more sublime than the poetry of divine religion. When false
love, false friends have wounded the heart, born for company, and love, it
is satisfactory, it is pleasing to think that the Being of purity, love,
and wisdom, is there in heaven to accept the rich, refreshing perfumes of
our virtuous life. Could it be understood as it should be, religion is a
branch of literature, which nobilitates man. The intolerant, the
narrow-minded, the superstitious, the hypocrite, the interested, and the
ignorant, have done such a mischief to religion, that many an honest man,
who were the most sanguine champions of religion, they turned from her
with disgust. Still, such is the human propensity towards religion, and
the immortality of the soul, that the very philosopher, who could not
believe that such cruelties, as we read in history, had been commanded by
God, in leaving the bloody intolerance, he believed, and still believes in
a life to come.

Religion is lovely, pure, innocent, sympathetic, and disinterested. From
religion we derive the nobility of our mind, and heart. Religion, as I
understand it myself, is a branch of literature, and imagination which
links us to heaven. But, as my religion differs from the religion of the
many; besides, religion, being a spontaneous sentiment of the heart, it is
our duty to leave any one freely in the hand of God, who will lead them to
truth. As far as my neighbor does not interfere with my temporal
existence, and acts honestly with me on this traveling land, he may differ
from my religion as well as I do differ from his own. It is a matter which
does regard his future happiness, it is a matter of his own conscience,
and of his God: and no law can force, or control the free mind of man in
this world for what it belongs to heaven.



Learned americans, and the british writers applied in vain to congress for
a lawful protection of their honest labor. A subject of such an importance
as the International Copy-right, the truly, and best pride of nations, had
been neglected, in order to give place to long speeches on dollars and
cents, and on the presidential election. Had rich booksellers prevented
the senators from doing their duty; be it ignorance, or neglect, it is
what I cannot tell. But, a nation like this, bound to protect the smallest
invention of any mechanic (and I feel happy to say that the most
insignificant mechanic is protected) that honorable senate has done
nothing for the protection of an american Milton, or an american Hume. How
can America keep up with the mind's improvements of the other nations,
the aurora of civil society, the moral national power, when the creators
of new thoughts, and the historians of man's deeds, are not protected?

Though the printer, or bookseller, cannot have any work, nor business,
without the writer, there is, perhaps, no other profession on earth so
much dependent to another, as the writer to the printer, and bookseller.
Each must live with his own labor; but, as the writer cannot live with his
own productions, unless protected by law, legislators are bound to protect
the writers of two nations, speaking the same language. Such writers are
the children of both nations. It is not a tariff protection; it is a law
which must needs prevent the printer, or the bookseller, from pocketing
the money, lawfully due to the poor, honest writer.

There have been some writers who said, that genius will always carve its
way, though its country be a bad step-dame!--Indeed, we have biographies
of many geniuses, by which we see that they lived with bread, and water
all their life, and sometimes, by want of bread, they did pass shivering
days, and nights in garrets, with unfinished poems, superior to that of
Milton. True, a small part of those poor geniuses, at the end of their
painful life, they did find a protector. But, many of them, who would have
been the glory of their nation, did they not die on the straw? Many, who
with their arts would have lifted up to heaven the mind of their
contemporaries, finding themselves neglected, they turned their geniuses
to the fashion of a coat, or a bonnet, the only means of getting a better
living among citizens who think more of fashion, than of the culture of
their mind. Do we not see, even literary periodicals inculcating the most
extravagant fashions with which many a father of large families had been
ruined? However, there are still many ladies, whose educated mind,
permitting them to discriminate their faces in the mirror of truth, with
them, intelligence is found to be the best ornament, than useless gaudy
dresses; and we are happy to say that, their neat, simple, modest fashion
cheers our heart.

I do agree with the above mentioned writers, that sometimes, though too
seldom, the genius carves its way, despite of its bad step-dame. Still, we
are forced to acknowledge, that many american children, born to nobilitate
this soil of their affection, are driven to unworthy occupations, because
a few misguided citizens, with a misunderstood interest for themselves,
wish to have no International Copy-right. And for what reason?--Because
they want cheap books! It was with a painful feeling, I had been obliged
to listen to erroneous, immoral speeches contrary to an International
Copy-right. They said that this republic must not care of the ruin of few
publishers, or authors, when the plurality is benefitted by it; which is
to say, the benefit of buying books cheaper than their real value! Fine
christians, indeed! Such a doctrine, though not exactly the same, it
sounds to my ears, as nearly as inducing the poor people to steal from the
rich, and get with it, all that which they want. It should be better you
would print no moral books, and leave these citizens to follow the simple,
and just dictates of Nature, never failing to teach us good morals, than
to place them in the situation of buying moral books, with like immoral
principles. To go to church, or to read a moral book, it is not enough; we
must act accordingly. If a father finds in the library of his son one
single book, the edition of which was the ruin of its publisher, or its
author, his son could not have the feeling of a gentlemen at the time he
bought it, for the less of its value. Are they not all the books in his
son's library, printed with the purpose of making him a gentleman? And
what kind of stuff are the tears dropping on the book of a sensible
writer, if the reader leaves the writer, or the publisher of it, dying in
want? Were they not, all the sciences, and arts, aiming to form us better,
I would never place my sight on one single page. We should not imitate
certain booksellers who, by dint of selling so much morals, they have even
sold the little one they had, before they entered into like business. The
moral man does not permit one single citizen to suffer, if he can prevent
it, nor would he take the advantage to the least detriment of another, be
he rich or poor. 'The law of my country sustains me, who am wrong,' should
say the honest man; 'but, I find that my opponent is right. So, in spite
of this bad law, I will never take such a cowardly advantage.' What is it
to me, my neighbor's belief in Christ, if with a bad law, such a christian
takes from me the means of my living, or he does not permit me to live
with my mind's labor?

The errata of present hurried editions, issued now a days, not being
revised by the british authors, are so many, that the proprietors of their
own works feel more displeased of losing thus, their reputation as
writers, than that of finding themselves deprived of the due contribution,
we ought justly pay them. Nay, were it to our shame, let us tell the
truth. Many american citizens were ruined by not having been able to sell
their own editions, when another publisher, after having printed the same
work, sold it at a loss, by which the edition of the formers could not
find any market.

Where writers, publishers, and booksellers do not sustain each other, one
of the three may have a direct, immediate interest in doing so, during a
little time; but, at the end of the business, as it is generally with
every speculator, who attempts to enrich himself with the tears of his
neighbor, he will, at last, find himself grasping at the wind. It is a
rule of nature: where one does not sustain the other, the whole must give
way. Murray in making a fortune to Byron made still a greater fortune for
himself. When Voltaire saw that the blind direct interest of publishers,
and booksellers created discord, and misunderstanding, he kept printers in
his own house for his own books; and these were sold under his own
direction. Would it not be more agreeable, and more profitable to a
publisher who, after having paid the just remuneration for the manuscript
to its author, who lucubrated with a moral work, in order to sustain his
family, would it not be more profitable, I say, to the publisher, were he
printing such a work with leisure, which would do honor to his profession?
Would it not be more satisfactory to him in thinking that he may go to
sleep quietly, without fearing any republication of his own work? Besides,
we have rather too many new works: and the printing goes so fast now, that
we cannot read all, which comes out daily. It is better to read a few
pages with discrimination, and attention, than a whole library in a
steamboat. And the less we will read, if we judge by ourselves, the more
profitable it will be to us.

There is another kind of soft reasoners, who, finding that the british
living writers are, by far, superior in number to the americans, they wish
to appropriate the mind's property of that nation on the other side of the
Atlantic. Thus, like pirates, as far as we can steal through like sea, we
must spare neither force, nor cunning, in order to appropriate what does
not belong to us!--Not only with like sentiments we will never prosper; I
am afraid we are bringing down the glorious work of this country's
fathers, unless we give to Peter, what does belong to Peter: and the
morals I am here preaching, it is not a matter of tariff. You may pay the
duty of imported printed books as much as you please. The morals which I
am speaking of, it is to prevent the printer, or the bookseller, from
stealing the manuscript's right of the author, be this british, or
american. I am here preaching from preventing the mischief of placing the
american writers in the some jeopardy as the british writers are,
respecting the american publishers. Do you not know that the manuscript of
an author is an exclusive property? Do you not know that the comparison
you made of a manuscript with a bushel of corn, is the most absurd
comparison? You may buy as many bushels as you please of corn, and sow it
in your own ground, and every one who has land can do it: and after a year
of hard labor, nobody will grudge your profit. And in so doing, the
farmer, from whom you bought the corn, had done before you exactly the
same, and for which he should have no better preference than you. The
production of nature is a providence, and a blessing to us all: but, the
production of man, if not protected by law, it is a curse to man. The work
of a writer is a seed (since you call it a seed) entirely different from
all nature's seeds. And had that genius never written such a production,
the printer could never put his machine at work with which he should have
no other right but to receive a lawful reward for his labor, at the time
it should not be permitted him to pocket the writer's reward also. Because
in a few days he can overflow the whole country with as many copies as he
pleases of a writer's work, who spent ten years in writing it, shall we
permit the printer to do it with impunity? And because I have learned how
to take your money out of your pocket, and you cannot perceive when I do
it, will you permit me to steal your money? The corn comparison against
the International Copy-right, which I read in some newspapers, is a laming
comparison. We have all the same right on a seed of nature. A manuscript
is as good property to the writer, as an original machine to its inventor.
A book is a work of new ideas, originated from man's mind, and not a seed.
A poor writer (and men of genius are generally poor) would never attempt
to write, if the rich printer only, is there to receive the whole benefit
of his own invention. Corn is corn; and a manuscript is a manuscript. An
ignorant is but an ignorant; but, a sophist is an immoral man. That any
one differing from me is an ignorant, a sophist, or a more enlightened
individual than I; it is not for me to decide. My object, is to find out,
here, the truth of this important argument, and not to offend those who do
not, wish not, or cannot agree with me. Nothing, it seems to me, is more
preposterous, than that, which we have read by persons contrary to the
interest of american writers, though, I suppose, many of them may be
honest, with all their singular views on the subject.

This country is now inundated with trashes mixed of few good works: and
the people are so much enticed to buy the yet moist works from the press,
for which the standards of the libraries are neglected. On entering a
store, the first question, which a customer asks now of a bookseller, it
is for pamphlets just come out of the press. 'We heard,' they say, 'that
Johnson, Addison, Pope, and thousand others we have not read, are fine and
clever writers: but our days are going ahead; and were we reading the old
books, we would be left behind this rolling railroad.' Thus, the reading
time, which should be spent with classical works, and of taste, it is
generally given to trifling books. I saw persons reading poor descriptions
of sceneries from France or Italy, while they were running by steam,
through the most beautiful sceneries of America--american sceneries which
they had never seen before! Such kind of readers, I am inclined to
believe, read more for fashion, than for the purpose of instruction. Have
we no standard works to peruse, even such trifling things would be better
than nothing, since I have not read the most trifling book, without
deriving some instruction from it. But, if we can improve our taste by
looking at, and studying the pictures of Guido, Leonardo da Vinci, Albert
Durer, Hans Holbein, or Hogarth; why will we spend our precious time in
looking at poor pictures, or reading through very little sense?

The law of the International Copy-right, is a law of this century. Before
the colonization of America, every nation having her language, quite
different from the others, writers wanted no other protection but the
Copy-right of their own country. It is not so now between England, and the
United States. The two nations have the same language; and the worthy
writers, now benefiting the two nations with their productions, must be
protected by unanimous consent of the two nations. It is with a sorrowful
mind we are now forced to witness the american government, a government
from which we expect to derive more justice than from any other government
in the world, sustaining, and countenancing such a piratical transaction.
England, without boasting any republican law, is more republican than we,
upon this point of justice. Had the people of America granted the just
request of the british authors, trusted long ago into the hands of Mr.
Henry Clay, at this very time, as men of genius are not wanted in America,
despite of cavilers, writing exaggerations against America, from the other
side of the Atlantic, we could now reckon american Byrons, and writers of
all arts, and sciences as good as any of the most civilized part of

The sooner we will stop the mischief to the detriment of american, and
british writers, the sooner we will see the aurora, and the glory of
American Literature. If great writers had been neglected in their own
country, at the time they had no nation of the same language contending
with them; how can we expect that a new american Milton, will be
appreciated, or known, without an international law with which to protect
the writer? Modest writers have many other difficulties to get popularity,
without this great one: and even learned persons are meanly jealous of
the fame of a new writer! Such examples which we have in the republic of
letters, are the shame of belles letters! Walter Scott himself was unjust
in writing against the first productions of Byron. Had Addison never
written a criticism on the Paradise Lost, perhaps Milton himself might be
yet unknown, such is the ignorance in judging of great writers. The
plurality, apes the great critics. Where publishers can reprint the new
works of another nation, without paying for the manuscript, though they
may give a little remuneration to their country's writers of an acquired
reputation, they almost always decline from giving any thing to an unknown
genius. And can all the booksellers judge of a writer's merit? The
International Copy-right between two nations is as necessary as the
Copy-right between the writer, and the publisher of the same nation. The
man of genius being a mere child in business, he will always be the victim
of the wily book merchant, though there are gentlemen among all
professions. Besides, when we will be a little more civilized, it will not
be, even, permitted to re-print french, or italian works here, printed in
France or Italy, without the consent of the respective foreign writers.

The americans so susceptible (and better so, since susceptibility is a
sign of nice feeling) when travelers write, or speak of them, will they
neglect the glory of their National Literature, the best and greatest
glory of nations?



My readers, I hope, will pardon a new word I introduce in this chapter. It
is Unitedstatians. When this Union will spread herself, until the
continent of this new world will be under a single popular government,
then the word americans, or columbians, will be the general, and
particular name. But, as there are indians, canadians, and mexicans also,
it seems to me, that the citizens of this Union are wanting a particular

During the foregoing chapters, I wrote against fashionable literature;
unreligious religion; bad newspapers; tourists, whose blind love for their
country rendered them pert, or saucy towards other nations; american
theatres; political parties; and selfish merchants of books. Odd, or bad
men are found in every part of the world; and bad creatures, though they
have more, or less influence in every part of this too much ruled earth,
the plurality has now sufficient understanding to discriminate good from
bad, when the frightful hobgoblin of the so called Religion does not put
its long tail. Demagogues, scribblers, bad politicians, or bad merchants
cannot injure my character, as a member of society in America: but
unreligious religionists, can do a great mischief. And why so? Because in
America the hypocrite is not easily known. The hypocrite who must, of
course, be offended of what I have said against unreligious religion, has
a great power on this new soil of America, against all those who,
despising as I do any kind of cant, take off the mask from the long face.
To such hypocrites, I have only to say now, that their Belief does not
give them any right to brand my Belief. If they think their Belief better
than my Belief, they have only to keep their good conscience for
themselves, without branding my Belief with their inquisitorial hot iron,
and frightful words. He who thinks himself a religious man, and thinks it
man's duty to be religious as he is, should keep his beautiful face with
modesty, and never say that those, who have not his very face, are ugly;
and as the inquisition of the mind, or that of the body have never done
any good to the true religion, it is now time to learn, that in condemning
those, who cannot think as he does, he shows to be no better than an
inquisitor. Fanatics have wronged too much the morals of Jesus. The
hypocrite may, hereafter, speak behind my back against me, with impunity,
as far as his infernal voice does not reach my ears.

There are unfortunately individuals, who think that virtue, integrity, and
all the good qualities of mind, and heart are not indispensable requisites
to a man of belles letters. They are very much mistaken. It is the purity
of the heart alone, which gives immortality to the labor of a genius. As I
think it to be an indispensable requisite, I feel it my duty now, to
demonstrate it in this conclusion, and last chapter. It is the _sine qua
non_, on which a National Literature should be grounded.

It is a fact: Pope's, or Addison's heart had not been free from envy, and
other petty moral faults which, but obscured their fine qualities of
character, and sentiment. As many philosophers have not yet been entirely
free of selfish feelings, so pernicious to the very philosophy they
professed, it seems to me, that a perfect civilization as Plato, Rousseau,
Bentham, or Fourier are aiming at, must needs be farther off, than
philanthropy expects. But, that such a fortunate philosophical millennium
will come, I do so honestly believe it, that, had it been my choice to
come into this world, I would have postponed it, until that happy future

That many elevated sentiments of morality are originated from the impure
source of selfishness, we must shamefully admit it. Still, had not Pope,
or Addison had, a good share of noble sentiments, they could never have
written so forcibly of morals, without having felt it in their own breast.
Such authors are like the physicians, who though acquainted with the means
of alleviating the endemial sickness of their country, fell themselves the
victims of human frailty. Besides, we learn how to become just, and moral
from the reflections of our own faults, as well as of others: and he, who
acknowledges his own imperfections, is, to my mind, a good man still.
Happy those, who receive from nature, or education, a mild temperament,
free of any selfish consideration.

Men, whose thoughts cannot go beyond the age in which they live, sustain
the impossibility of human perfection; and think, that selfishness is our
human duty. Hence this immoral precept: "Charity begins at home." As I am
obliged to exert my physical strength among cannibals; so obliged am I
also, to be selfish among the selfish, and cunning among the cunning, as
far as the propriety, and the honor of the age, in which I live, will
permit. But, when we speak of a future civilization, we must bring our
mind to a civilized, and educated population: a people, who can easily
distinguish the cunning, roguish, or selfish from the open, sincere, or
generous. And when the cunning, roguish, or selfish will find, that he can
not get the esteem of his contemporaries, he will, of necessity, become
open, sincere, or generous. We are the children of our education, and of
the century in which we live. The virtuous, alone, can impart virtue: and
refinement will force men to be refined.

Nothing is more disgusting than those individuals, whose sight being not
longer than a span, pretend to judge of distances which they cannot see:
and because they have never been better, thinking mankind a race incapable
of moral perfection, or improvement, they call Plato, Rousseau, Bentham,
and Fourier the dreamers of the ages, in which they lived, and of those to
come, while they do not perceive that, had men never attempted to
ameliorate human frailties, we would be still nothing better, than our
ancient fathers--the cannibals. Because we have not arrived at perfection,
shall we stop on our half civilization?--This is my firm belief: Unless we
practice that, which we profess in theory, we will never be able to
describe in writing, nor speaking, the honest delineaments of morals, or
integrity. The man, who does not feel nobility under his skin, cannot
speak, or write with propriety of the attributes of a Divinity. It is an
axiom: that which is not felt, can not be expressed.

        _Si vis me flere dolendum est
  Primum ipsi tibi; tunc tua me infortunia lædent,
  Telephe, vel Peleu: male si mandata loqueris,
  Aut dormitabo, aut ridebo._

Could Horace rise from the dead, he would not wonder a little in finding
out, some men still doubting the above uncontrovertible quotation. Our
boasting nineteenth century, may be properly called the raging time of
scribblers, in which confusion of papers, true men of letters are
neglected. When demagogues become the fashionable leading party of a
community, the worst scribblers, whose money renders editors good enough
to praise what they did not read, or could not understand, are generally
read by a plurality of apes, who buy the new works, in order to be able,
at the first evening party, to echo in the ears of a belle, the praising
criticism of their newspapers. And these individuals sustain before their
admirers, that a man may be either philosopher, orator, or poet, and at
the same time, be quite a stranger to virtue! And while we call ourselves
a civilized people, such empty minds, nursed with empty words, endeavor to
confound literary men with demagogues, wisdom with ignorance, piety with
hypocrisy, virtue with vice; and place into the asylums of lunatics every
one, who would dare to contradict them. Such scribblers who live by
writing the _interesting_ murders of the day, and all the awful--excuse
the epithet! the _interesting_ calamities, I wanted to say, of this
unpitying globe, are the only individuals who can make money out of their

To deprive of virtue an orator, poet, or philosopher, it would be as to
entitle a man painter, when he has no perception of colors. _Honos alit
artes._ A boy who drew a pig, while he intended to make a horse, might,
likewise, be considered a painter by a still poorer connoisseur, than the
boy himself. An artist cannot reach perfection, or eminence, without that
which is requisite. Were two men of equal understanding, and ability; but
one virtuous, and the other not, the second might appear eloquent, were he
not compared with the former; but he cannot be but a pigmy before the
noble virtue. The inspiration of heaven cannot emanate but from heaven. A
clown cannot be a genius; and a genius, with the feeling of an
unprincipled man--stranger to virtue, cannot speak the language of
inspiration. Such an axiom wants no other demonstration. We may find
knaves proficient in some manual arts; but, not eminent in the fine arts.
When we look at the three Graces of Canova, we must acknowledge that,
without the inspiration of a divine mind, which he fostered in his breast,
through a life spent with integrity, and labor, those three females,
delicately sculpted, could not inspire bystanders with purity, innocence,
and love, which, like a perennial spring, emanate from that immortal
marble. As in seeing a beautiful woman, whose proportions, though perfect
in themselves, the almost imperceptible lines of cunning across her
thought, and cheeks, repulse from man's heart any sympathy of love, thus,
if the fire of virtue is wanting in the breast of the orator, poet, or
philosopher, he will never be able to inspire men of understanding,
perspicacity, and sensibility. A spoiled woman may ensnare a weak man, and
a _soit disant_ orator ensnare also an ignorant people. Still, the first
cannot be a lady, and the second is but a demagogue.

Could Talma impart on the stage those heroic sentiments, had he not been
gifted with lofty sentiments, and integrity? A virtuous man is able to
delineate the vice he does despise; but a vicious man cannot imitate the
heavenly virtue he has not in his breast. Virtue can understand vice; but
vice cannot understand virtue. _Ardeat qui vult incendere_, says the
virtuous Roman, whose eminent qualities of character, entitled him the
father of eloquence. Where is the enlightened nation, who would suffer, or
support the orator, poet, or philosopher, were each of these literary men
practically, and hypocritically polluting the temple of Virtue, the only
Divinity, dictating order to our society? And here, by enlightened nation,
I do not mean nations led by the furies of superstition, false religion,
or fanaticism, the shame of mankind. Though virtue is not the only
requisite faculty to form an eminent artist; still, like the sun in the
planetary system, unless it reflects upon every idea, and sentiments of
the man of letters, his ideas, and sentiments would remain without

Because not all the immortal writers had passed an unblemished life, shall
we say that virtue is not the essential mover in a man of letters? Yes:
Bacon, in some instances of his life, had been a mean wretch; but, because
Bacon was bribed in an evil hour, can we sustain that he had been a bad
man all his life? Though Bacon had not been always wise, his retirement,
repentence, accusation of himself, and studies, evidently prove he was not
a stranger to virtue. Still, had Bacon praised virtue at the very moment
he was unworthy of the Divinity to whom he burned incense before, or
after; such a speech, or writing, could impart neither colors, nor
animation to his abortive thoughts. "Virtue is like precious odors, most
fragrant, when they are incensed." And Bacon himself says: "For, he may
rely upon it, that he can no more transmit conviction, and sensation,
which he himself has not, at the time, sincerely felt, than he can convey
a clear title to property in which he himself has no right."

And why does the unbeliever respect the piety of a Fenelon, and a Fenelon,
the morals of an unbeliever? To those, who would be bribed in order to
imitate a Bacon, I have only to say, that baboons will never reach
immortality, when, instead of imitating Bacon's fine qualities, they
willingly embrace, rather, that wrong side of the writer, which suit best
their own rapacious propensities.

Every gentleman, who experienced the scourge of tyranny, will maintain,
that it is better to be poor in a free country, than to have a princely
state without a country. I say a gentleman: and those, who enjoy in their
selfish wealth, without feeling any sympathy towards numerous human
beings, struggling in want, are no gentlemen. Freedom is a Divinity, who
does not leave in want her dutiful worshippers: and the Fathers' ashes of
this Union are still warm with the truth of this sacred sentiment. It is
with sorrow of mind I hear unitedstatians asserting with sophisms, and
without shame, that, as the best liberty is wealth, they do not adhere,
but to those members of congress, whose speeches benefit right, or wrong,
their only direct interest. Hence the contestations of party men, whose
advocates are shamefully called orators, because they feel with them the
babbling of their private interest.--Liberty for me, and slavery for my

Virtue, integrity, justice, and so on, are all ridiculous, and empty
words, when pronounced by that merchant, inveighing against the so called
Nullifier, who demonstrated the advantages of free havens. And why does
the physician hate that philosopher, who demonstrated, that a great
quantity of physic impairs our constitution? And why, that printer
declines from publishing that article of a true literary man? Had we not
heard that divine, speaking badly of that dancing master, and of his art;
and while this, should look with respect at another true pious moralist,
had not the dancing master called a worthy divine a hypocrite? Is it not,
the moderate, and healthy exercise of dancing beneficient to morals? And
morals and modesty do they not give a fine, and lovely countenance, to the
graceful art of Vestris? _Mens sana in corpore sano._ That we are not
civilized yet, it is sufficient to see how many imperfect professional men
flourish in this country, not for their proficiency; but, because they
slander their professional superiors. And why those interested contrary
parties became to personalities, unless they have forgotten the academical
language of freedom, and virtue? That pretended man of letters, is he not
displeased to find another man of letters more enlightened than himself;
while, instead of wishing to be indicated by an ignorant community, as the
first man of his age, he should love arts, and sciences, for the sake,
only, of social benefit, and the improvement of his own mind? Thus, every
one in turning the stream of water towards his own mill, stops its
beneficient course, while they should build their mills one under the
other. In our european, and american semi-barbarian societies, almost
every one wishes to imitate a Cesar, or a Napoleon, while they call
themselves republicans.

With what courage shall we call that public speaker a worthy citizen,
while cunningly avoiding every thing, which naturally happen contradictory
to his own argument, he magnifies with eternal amplifications, the mites
he wishes to represent large as mammoths? Without the _ne quid nimis_, we
cannot expect to reach perfection. Men of letters look to petty envies,
and slanderous speeches, as a great obstacle to refinement. Liberty,
virtue, integrity, justice, are very pretty words, indeed!--and in the
time of Danton, and the Devil; innocent blood ran in the streets of Paris,
while those mean tyrants had nothing in their mouths but liberty, and
justice. From whence does it come that we feel an inclination to kick an
Antonius just, when he pronounces the word Liberty, and when it comes from
the mouth of a Cato, we feel a heavenly inspiration, which nobilitates our
nature? And why do our tears fall on the pages of greek history, when it
simply describes the exiled Aristides, passing through the innumerable,
dangerous army of Xerses, in order to rescue his beloved, though
ungrateful country? Could Demosthenes, could Cicero be the admiration of
their country, and posterity, had their orations been pronounced without
the conviction of defending the lawful cause of the worthy citizen?

A want of education causes some people to believe that serious deportment,
stiff manners, and thundering voice, are the requisites of a gentleman.
Hence derives that custom of answering, sir! with three exclamations, even
when the questioned understood, at once, his addresser. In some courts, I
saw lawyers speaking with animosity, for no other purpose, but to
intimidate their opponents. On the contrary, when a virtuous speaker
defends the innocent oppressed, or charges against the criminal; mild,
charitable, and plain troth, does it not always touch the heart of an
instructed people? The inspiration of heaven is without passion, without
anger, without malice. The deceitful will always badly say what he does
not feel in himself. "It will come out that which I feel here," touching
his breast, said Patrick Henry, when, after many struggles to conquor his
modesty, and bashfulness, astonished, for the first time, an audience,
burning with patriotism. _Prius afficiamur ipsi ut alios afficiamus._

Unitedstatians, if the Fathers' wisdom of this prospering country is yet
felt in your breast, you cannot be but the friends of those, who have
liberal sentiments. It is now time for us to understand, that we are all
sons, and daughters of one single wise nation, the World's nation! We are
the children of the progress of the human mind! And why all nations will
not unite in such a blessing, prosperous fraternity, without which, peace,
and commerce cannot attain the highest destination worthy of man? When, we
will have learned, without preventions, from the lore of Egypt, Greece,
Rome, China--from all earth's nations; then, national pride, turning into
wisdom, we will shake hands with all the literary men of every country:
and the rivalities, envies of governments, religious parties, secret or
public societies, shall be unbecoming, among human beings, whom nature, or
God, if you please, had called to help each other, without distinction.
The individuals, who think that nothing can be taught to them by
strangers, are already deprived of wisdom. A child may give a good advise
to a great man; and a foreigner, who would take the trouble to point out
any of our faults, should be welcomed among us, when he, or she do it with
the spirit to improve man's institutions, and morals. Shame be to him who,
with the bible in hand, excites the reformers against the catholics! To
perfection should be man's duty to aim at; and the nearest is man to
perfection, the better for him, and his neighbors. Those, who have, or
will misrepresent us, time will do us justice. If they speak the truth, we
should be thankful, and try to correct our faults, which are more
injurious to ourselves, than what is said by our most mortal, or cunning
foes. If they speak, or write falsehoods, they do nothing but injure their
own reputation. The slander does, unfortunately, prevail some times: but,
like the night, it always disappears at the coming of the day. Slander did
often act mischief to a particular innocent man; never, when applied to a
whole nation. Our principal object be, therefore, that of aiming at
perfection, and practical virtue, without which no man has a right to be
ranked among men of letters.

I cannot close this last chapter, without saying something of the
natives' procession, which took place in New-York, 15th of november, 1844.
Such a procession is the shame of this country! Were it not sufficient
wisdom among the citizens of this Union, the natives' erroneous ideas they
have of strangers, living in America, would ruin this country. Were it but
two, or three years I am living in this country, on the next day, after
that procession, I would have shipped myself, and my rags for a country,
where the sacred word of Hospitality has not yet been profaned! Had I
voted in this country, I would feel ashamed of myself now; and I am happy
not to have done it. And he who has such a kind feeling as I have for
America will be more offended, than he, who might come here with the
intention of making money. The true republican will, hereafter, hesitate
to place his foot on these shores, where the word Republic might be but a
name. Go to my poor country, you americans; and, although we have
monarchical governments, you will be welcomed; and were you expressing the
wish of becoming a citizen, we would be happy to number you as our
brothers--were we republicans as you are, your hands, and hearts, would be
still a greater blessing to us. We would not fear for any thing you would
say, or write: if you are wrong, we would demonstrate you are wrong; if
you are right, we would thank you for your instruction. How many strangers
have you, holding your offices? The few you have employed, it was because
you could not fulfill those offices yourselves, the object of those
offices being grounded on the knowledge of modern languages; and the
foreign, american consuls, who personate you in their own countries, they
serve you, without receiving any fee from you. When did strangers rule
you? And, where is the act done by strangers against the welfare of this
country?--It is not the strangers whom you fear: I am rather inclined to
believe, it is the liberal education, now going around the world, which
you fear; and the truth, coming from the mouth of strangers, must offend
you. The poor, virtuous strangers, who, with their rags, bring here to you
their pure suffering mind, and labor, is the very wealth of this country.
They should be more welcomed by you, than princes, whose glittering gold
cannot conceal their false pride, and vices, injuring this very republic.
The princes, whom you welcome in preference to virtuous men of letters,
would like to see the ruin of America, in order to keep themselves upon
those thrones, now shaking at the voice of Republic. The poor people,
bring here, to you, their mind, purified in the furnace of vicissitude,
and suffering: their labor cleared and clear your deserted forests; they
made and make your railroads, and built and build new cities, and forts,
which frighten all the despots of this selfish earth. When your fathers
left the despotism of their old country, they were no more natives of
America, than the poor irish, who landed, here, yesterday. Had not
Columbus discovered this continent, you would be still natives of
Europe--the natives of the very brethren, whom you wish to drive away! You
should not, at least, bring the aboriginals of this country, the noble,
generous red men, in your procession, now driven from their own native
land--You should not make of them an instrument to suit your purposes. If
you do not mock them--you deny with such an exhibition, the very blood of
your european fathers and mothers! Who fought with your fathers for the
welfare of this republic?--The strangers! And were you to have a war, the
strangers would fight in your ranks with, and for you: and if your enemies
are so careful not to fight you; it is, because they know, that strangers
would fight with you, and that your very enemies' soldiers would not fight
against the american ranks in which their very brothers are here,
defending the cause of liberty!--And why the honest strangers will not
breathe free, here, as well as you? Does the stranger wrong you? You have
your courts of justice, and your penitentiaries. Has he committed a crime
in his native country?--You should send him back, chained, to that
country. To whom are you indebted for your daily blessings?--You would be
the only nation on the globe, who, in feeling no gratitude towards
strangers, would consider strangers a curse to them. All nations,
acquainted with political economy, invite strangers to become their
citizens. Though Italy is the most populous nation in the world, were
Italy administered as it should be, she could maintain a population six
times as much. The soil had never been wanted to man. This Union is so
extensive, that, were all the people of Europe coming here tomorrow, they
would not suffice to people these vast territories. England is an island,
the production of which is not sufficient to maintain that population,
without industry. Those manufactures are obliged to work for other
nations, from which they derive their food. America is not England. You
have, here, all the climates of earth, and all the blessings, and nature's
productions. Why will you imitate the political economy of an island of
rocks in a cold climate, while you have the most fertile, virgin lands of
the world? What are you doing of your immense, deserted lands, and
forests? Send there colonies of the industrious, patient, brave, and
honest irish: give them means to begin the world; and in a few years, the
grateful irish will be happy, bless you, and pay you back the hundred per
cent, with their lawful, direct taxes: and then, the government of this
Union will be the richest, the most powerful, and most blessed, and
examplary in the world. Money is an element, like rain, or free air; it
will come back to you, because your land is the richest, and your laws are
the best; I mean laws, the most adapted to render the people happy. In
kicking out the naked, who come to you, you kick out your own fortune. Do
you not know that the miser robs himself? If you want your ruin, you have
only to wall yourselves up, like the chineses of Pekin.--Look at the poor,
honest irish girl: if your heart is that of a dutiful son, think that your
mother, now in the grave, was, at the time of the american revolution, on
this far, distant land, like that poor suffering irish girl, who works
very hard for her daily bread--she is your faithful, devoted servant. It
is our duty to respect the poor; and if we cannot ameliorate their
situation, the christian must, at least, neither undervalue, nor contemn
them. And why the word Beggar became in the english language a term of
contempt?--Because, we do not think, that, society, not providing for the
poor, they are forced to steal for a living; and could we have the justice
of God, we would see that many beggars, who terminated their painful life
on the gallows, might have been the most useful members of society. Have
charity towards the poor--Jesus Christ was poor. Respect the rags!--Were
it only, because your fathers' virtue shined brighter through their rags.
Your blood (so much the better for it) is not from lord's blood: it is a
blood from noble, poor republicans, pure as heaven; a blood which passed
through the furnace of poverty, and misfortune. Your fathers left their
old country to escape the oppression of lords. But, now you are the lords
of this country, you wish to lord your very brethren who feel as you the
right of man.

As you might think me, here, an interested part, I will say nothing else
on this sacred subject. But, when the geniuses, and great men of this
country will be supported by a national justice, you will have then a
National Literature, with which they will tell you these truths, couched
in a better language. The National Literature will prevent you from
committing such political blunders. The american geniuses will demonstrate
to you, that the more a nation has liberality, popularity, hospitality,
and republicanism, the more blessings will shine on that country.


Transcriber's Notes:

Passages in italics are indicated by _underscore_.

The following misprints have been corrected:
  "caluminated" corrected to "calumniated" (page 12)
  "venetrate" corrected to "venerate" (page 13)
  "migh" corrected to "might" (page 18)
  "scribler" corrected to "scribbler" (page 20)
  "fogotten" corrected to "forgotten" (page 25)
  "scence" corrected to "scene" (page 26)
  "aristocrate" corrected to "aristocrat" (page 40)
  "acqainted" corrected to "acquainted" (page 43)
  "pretention" corrected to "pretension" (page 43)
  "muderer" corrected to "murderer" (page 52)
  "vrituous" corrected to "virtuous" (page 54)
  "soverign" corrected to "sovereign" (page 56)
  "captalists" corrected to "capitalists" (page 57)
  "orignal" corrected to "original" (page 66)
  "scriblers" corrected to "scribblers" (page 70)

Other than the corrections listed above, printer's inconsistencies in
spelling and hyphenation have been retained.

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