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Title: Society, Manners and Politics in the United States - Being a Series of Letters on North America
Author: Chevalier, Michael
Language: English
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                     SOCIETY, MANNERS AND POLITICS

                                IN THE

                            UNITED STATES:

                                BEING A

                  SERIES OF LETTERS ON NORTH AMERICA.

       *       *       *       *       *

                         BY MICHAEL CHEVALIER.

       *       *       *       *       *

               TRANSLATED FROM THE THIRD PARIS EDITION.

       *       *       *       *       *

                                BOSTON:
                      WEEKS, JORDAN AND COMPANY.
                                 1839.


        Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1839,
                        BY WEEKS, JORDAN & CO.
     In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of Massachusetts.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TUTTLE, DENNETT AND CHISHOLM'S
                             POWER PRESS,
                     No. 17 School Street, Boston.



NOTICE.


M. Chevalier was sent to this country in 1834, under the patronage of
Thiers, then Minister of the Interior, in France, to inspect our public
works. But attracted by the novel spectacle presented by society in
the United States, he extended the time of his stay and the sphere of
his observations amongst us, and spent two years in visiting nearly
all parts of the Union, and studying the workings of our social and
political machinery. His letters give the results of his observations,
the impressions made on his mind, his speculations in regard to the
future destiny of our institutions, rather than a detailed narrative
of facts and events, which, however, is introduced when necessary
for illustration or proof. The translator is not, of course, to be
considered responsible for all the opinions and statements of the
original; but it will be found, in his judgment, that M. Chevalier has
studied with diligence and sagacity, drawn his conclusions with caution
and discrimination, and stated his views in a clear, forcible, and
interesting manner. He seems to be perfectly free from any narrowness
or prejudice, ready to recognise whatever is good or of good tendency,
whether in character, manners, modes of life, political and social
institutions, habits, or opinions, without regard to mere personal
likes and dislikes; and to be equally frank in condemning, whenever
he perceives, in our practices, a violation of our own principles, or
of those of an enlightened philosophy. He tells many home truths to
all parties and classes. Some passages of the letters and many of the
notes, which have no particular interest in this country, have been
omitted. M. Chevalier's work has been very favourably received in his
own country, where it has passed through several editions.

                                               T. G. BRADFORD.
  _Boston, October, 1839._



CONTENTS.


  INTRODUCTION.      Page.

  Course of our Civilisation over the World.--Oriental Civilisation,
  European Civilisation.--Their approaching Contact.--The Arabians
  stand between them.--Movement of European Civilisation towards the
  East.--Two Routes to the East.--The Three European Types.--Latin
  Europe, Teutonic Europe, Sclavonic Europe.--Mixed Character of France
  and Austria.--The part to be played by France                        9

  LETTERS.

  I. THE RAILROAD FROM LONDON TO PARIS.

  Analogy between certain Political and Voltaic Phenomena.--France and
  England.--In what we should imitate the English.--Railroads.--Objects
  of a Journey in England.--The Feudal Castle of Heidelberg and the
  London Brewery                                                      19

  II. LIVERPOOL AND MANCHESTER RAILROAD.

  Impressions of the Railroad.--Railroads in France.--Steam Carriages
  will not interfere with Railroads.--Analogy between the present
  Condition of France and the State of England after the Expulsion of
  the Stuarts.--Religion in Liverpool                                 29

  III. WAR OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES UPON THE BANK.

  State of the Question.--History of Banks in the United
  States.--Creation of the Bank of the United States in 1816; it
  restored order in the finances of the country.--Causes of the
  Antipathy of the Body of the People against Banks.--Benefits which
  all Classes have derived from Banks.--Commercial Crisis             37

  IV. THE DEMOCRACY.--THE BANK.

  Democratic Movements in France.--Less Influence than in the United
  States.--Errors of the Local Banks.--Their Dividends.--Wisdom of the
  Bank of the United States.--Political Dangers of the great National
  Bank.--Services rendered by it.--The President's Accusations against
  the Bank.--The Multitude applauds                                   46

  V. MOVEMENT OF PARTIES.--BANK QUESTION.

  Industrial Crisis.--Backstairs Influence in Monarchies and
  Republics.--Party Demonstrations.--Imperfection of the Banking
  System.--Excess of Paper Money.--Modification of the Bank
  Charter.--Good Sense of the American Democracy.--How great Questions
  are settled in the United States                                    55

  VI. PROGRESS OF THE STRUGGLE.--NEW POWERS.

  Length of the Debates in Congress.--The Bank must withdraw.--Old
  Dignities and old Politics.--New Dignities and new Politics.--New
  Power of Industry                                                   69

  VII. RAILROADS IN THE UNITED STATES.

  Rage of the Americans for Railroads.--Universal Use of
  Railroads.--Glance at Railroads in the United States                80

  VIII. THE BANKS.--PRESERVATION OF THE UNION.

  Truce between the Parties.--Possibility of a Compromise.--The
  Democracy must prevail.--The Bond of Union grows weaker.--Probability
  of the Preservation of the Union.--Changes which it may undergo.--The
  three Sections, North, South, and West                              87

  IX. THE FIRST PEOPLE IN THE WORLD.

  Pretensions of every Nation to Superiority.--Pretensions of the
  Americans.--The Superiority passes from People to People.--New
  Peoples.--Russia and the United States.--English Opinions of the
  United States.--The Social System in the United States superior in
  respect to the Condition of the Labouring Classes                  100

  X. THE YANKEE AND THE VIRGINIAN.

  Course of Emigration toward the West--Two great Columns of
  Emigrants.--Character of each.--Share of Europe.--Virginian
  Type.--Yankee Type.--Yankee Predominance in the last half
  Century.--The Virginian may in turn get the upper Hand.--Advantages
  of the Contrast of Character.--Two Types in History.--Nations of
  three Types.--Excess of Unity in France                            109

  XI. THE CITY OF LOWELL.

  Losses of the Jackson Party.--Aspect of Lowell.--Rise of American
  Manufactures.--Founding of Lowell.--Lowell Railroad.--Influence of
  Manufactures on the Happiness and Morality of the People           125

  XII. FACTORY GIRLS OF LOWELL.

  Results of Machinery.--The Locomotive Engine.--Wages in
  Lowell.--Factory Girls.--American Manners.--Measures of the
  Manufacturing Companies to preserve Good Morals in Lowell.--French
  Manners.--Will Good Morals last at Lowell?--Moral and Political
  Influence of the Public Lands.                                     133

  XIII. THE BANK.--SLAVERY.

  Preparations for the Elections.--Bank Question.--Slavery gives the
  Means of saving the Bank.--States' Rights Party.--Concessions of the
  North in regard to Slavery.                                        145

  XIV. THE ELECTIONS.

  The Jackson Party repairing its Losses.--Decisive Results in New
  York.--New Acts of Hostility against the Bank.--Hatred of Monied Men
  on both sides of the Atlantic.                                     157

  XV. PITTSBURG.

  French Settlement of Pittsburg.--Aspect of Pittsburg.--Its
  Manufactures.--Rise and Growth of Towns in the United States.--Triple
  Symbol of the Church, of Schools and the Press, and of the Bank.   166

  XVI. GENERAL JACKSON.

  Revolution effected by the General.--His Military Success.--His
  Character.--His bold Tactics.--His Embarrassments.                 176

  XVII. PUBLIC OPINION.

  Public Opinion in America very different from Public Opinion in
  Europe.--Government of the Democracy.--The Senate.                 185

  XVIII. CINCINNATI.

  Situation and Aspect--Manufactories.--Slaughtering of Hogs.--Water
  Works.--General Harrison.--Dependent Condition of the Public
  Officers.                                                          190

  XIX. CINCINNATI.

  Industry of the Inhabitants.--Industrial
  Feudalism.--Patronage.--Absence of Idlers.--Rigourous Supervision
  kept up over them in the whole Country.--Why the Americans do not
  please certain European Travellers.--Gratitude which Posterity will
  feel for them.                                                     200

  XX. WESTERN STEAMBOATS.

  Influence of Means of Communication on Civilisation
  and Liberty.--State of the West before the
  Introduction of Steamboats.--Introduction of
  Steamboats.--Description.--Passengers.--Life aboard.--Accidents;
  little Attention which they attract.--Real Rulers in the
  West.--Importance of the West.                                     209

  XXI. INTERCOMMUNICATION.

  Hydrographical, Political, and Commercial Divisions of the
  Union.--Systems of Public Works resulting therefrom.--Lines
  extending from East to West.--Erie Canal, Pennsylvania Canal,
  &c.--Communications between the St. Lawrence and Mississippi
  Basins.--Ohio Canal and others.--Improvements in the Navigation of
  both Rivers.--Communication along the Atlantic Coast.--Coasting
  Trade.--Lines of Railroads and Steamboats.--Routes radiating from the
  Capitals.--Works around Coal Mines.--Miscellaneous Works.--National
  Road.--Character of the Public Works in the United Slates.--American
  Engineers.--The Public Works strengthen the Union.--Necessity of the
  European Governments executing similar Works.                      227

  XXII. LABOUR.

  French Essays in planting Colonies in America.--The English Colonial
  System.--American Society organised for Work.--Haste.--Organisation
  of Labour peculiar to America.--Organisation proper for
  France.--Canada.--Algiers.                                         276

  XXIII. MONEY.

  Money among the English and Americans.--System of Honour.--Its
  present Impracticability in France.--Pay for Public
  Services.--Gratuitous Services in France.--Condition of Public
  Functionaries in the United States.--Influence of the Progress of
  Manufactures on the Pay of Public Officers.--No Marriages for Money
  in the United States.--No Misers.                                  292

  XXIV. SPECULATIONS.

  Speculation in Land, in Railroads, and in Banks.--Speculation
  necessary to the Americans.--Unsettled Condition of every thing in
  the United States.--Trades' Unions.--Inconveniencies of the Excess of
  the Innovating Power.                                              305

  XXV. BEDFORD SPRINGS.

  Exclusiveness.--Religious Festivals formerly Democratic
  Festivals.--Political Processions.--Camp Meetings.--Women in Camp
  Meetings; and in the Roman Catholic Festivals.--Suppression of the
  popular Festivals in Europe.--Influence of the Philosophy of the
  XVIIIth century on the Imagination.--Struggle between the Young,
  Middle-Aged, and Old in France.--Pleasures of the Imagination in
  England and the United States.                                     315

  XXVI. POWER AND LIBERTY.

  Situation and Character of Richmond.--Slavery.--Richmond
  Flour.--Inspection Laws.--American Liberty is Liberty of Industry
  and Locomotion.--Few Restrictions upon the Interior Trade.--Old
  Restrictions upon French Commerce.--Decline of the Foreign Commerce
  of France.--Twofold Authority in the United States.--Ancient
  Authority, Cæsar.--Duties imposed by Self-Government.--The Authority
  of Cæsar could be destroyed in the United States, but not in
  Europe.--New Authority by the side of Cæsar.--Canal, School, and Bank
  Commissioners; their Powers.--How Industry may flourish in Europe by
  the side of Cæsar.--Of American Liberty.--The Liberty of the Yankee
  would be intolerable to a Frenchman.--Liberty of the Virginian more
  like our own.--Mixture of the two Liberties.                       325

  XXVII. PROGRESS OF SOCIETY.

  Universal Appearance of Comfort in the American Population.--Effect
  upon the Condition of Women.--State of the Blacks in the United
  States.--Diminution of Taxes considered as a Measure of Relief for
  the poorer Classes.--The encouragement of Industry a more effectual
  Relief.--American Prosperity the Fruit of Labour.--Means of giving
  Activity to Industry in France.--1. Industrial Education.--2.
  The bad State of Credit in France paralyses the Spirit of
  Enterprise.--Banking Institutions suited to France.--3. Credit must
  be made accessible to the Cultivator.--Saving effected by an improved
  System of Credit.--4. Means of Internal Communication.--Influence of
  a Credit System on the Means of Communication.--Diminution of Price
  caused by Facility of Carriage.--5. Legislative Reforms.--The Civil
  Code too closely modelled on the Roman Law; its Defects in regard
  to Industry.--The Laws in the United States.--Jury Trials in Civil
  Causes.                                                            341

  XXVIII. SOCIAL REFORM.

  Moral Obstacles to the Emancipation of the Blacks in the United
  States.--Exclusive Spirit of the English Race.--The Yankees are
  new Jews.--The Difficulty in the Way of the Emancipation of the
  Labouring Class in Europe also of a Moral Kind.--Insufficiency of
  Philanthropy and Philosophy.--Necessity of Religion.--Inaction of the
  Religious Authority in Europe.--Religion has effected the Elevation
  of the lower Classes in the United States.--Influence of Political
  Institutions on the Social Reform.--Connection between the Religion
  and the Political Condition of Nations.--Protestantism is Republican;
  Catholicism Monarchical.--The Growth of Liberty depends on the
  Development of Local and Municipal Institutions.--The Spirit of
  Association and the Spirit of Division.--The Principles of Unity and
  Association must prevail in France.                                360

  XXIX. THE EMPIRE STATE.

  Tendency to Centralisation in the State of New York; in the
  School System; in the Banking-System; in the System of Public
  Works.--Results of Public Works.--Charters of Canal and Railroad
  Companies.--Influence of the Example of New York.--Modern Nations
  cannot dispense with the Action of Authority.--Religion cannot
  fully take the place of Political Authority.--Authority must change
  its Attributes.--Banks, Means of Communication, and Schools are
  the Instruments of Government, which must, in part, take the Place
  of the Ancient Attributes of Authority.--Inviolability of the
  Individual.--Favourable Disposition of the Public Mind.            370

  XXX. SYMPTOMS OF A REVOLUTION.

  Riots and Outrages Committed.--Decrease of Respect for
  the Laws.--Wrongs of Popular Justice.--Havoc committed in
  Baltimore--Neglect of great Principles.--Diminution of Civil
  Courage.--Dependent State of the Press.--Want of restraining
  Power.--Industrial Superiority and Political Inferiority of the
  present Generation in the United States.--Probable Issue of the
  Crisis.                                                            385

  XXXI. THE MIDDLE CLASSES.

  Elements of French Society.--Remnants of the Aristocracy.--Active
  Portion of the Middle Class; Idle Portion.--Labourers and
  Peasants.--Elements of American Society.--Middle Class
  and Democracy.--Difference between the North and the
  South.--Disappearance of an Idle Class in America.--The Idle Part
  of the Middle Class must disappear in Europe.--There is no Reason
  for its Existence.--It has no Office.--Advantages resulting from its
  being merged in the Active Portion of the Class.                   396

  XXXII. ARISTOCRACY.

  Authority is yet to organise itself in the United States.--Authority
  is founded upon Centralisation and Distinction of Ranks.--Present
  Character of Authority in America.--Representative Government,
  become the Government of the Majority, tends to Tyranny.--Difference
  between the South and the North.--Aristocracy of Birth; Aristocracy
  of Talents.--Both co-existed in Ancient Society.--Forms of
  Aristocracy among the Romans and the Greeks.--Vigourous Organisation
  of the Feudal Aristocracy.--Violent Reaction against the
  Nobility.--Christianity has contributed to this Reaction.--The
  Feudal System fixed the Barbarians.--Primogeniture in the English
  Commons.--Advantages of a Hereditary Aristocracy.--Growth of the
  Sentiment of Family.--Necessity of balancing the Innovating and
  the Conservative Elements of Society.--How Stability has been
  secured without the Hereditary Principle.--Difficulty in the
  Way of the immediate Abolition of the Hereditary Aristocracy in
  Europe.--The absolute Hereditary Principle has been irretrievably
  weakened.--Hereditary Transmission of Office.--Where can the Elements
  of an Aristocracy in France be found?--How can an Aristocracy be
  established in the United States?--Germs of Aristocracy in the
  South.--Dangers of American Society.                               405

  XXXIII. DEMOCRACY.

  Burden of the Past on the old Societies.--Difficulty of Reforms in
  old Countries.--Facility of Innovation in new Countries.--Advantages
  possessed by the Anglo-Americans for making Social Experiments.--The
  American Labourer is _initiated_.--Absence of the _Profanum Vulgus_
  in the United States.--The Labouring Classes in the United States
  are superior to those of other Countries.--Defects of the American
  Democracy.--Analogy to the Romans.--Superiority of the Educated
  Classes in Europe.--The respective Merits, present and future, of
  America and Europe.                                                422



NOTES AT THE END OF THE VOLUME.


        Page.
  1. Use of Iron.--Manufacture of Iron in France and England.--Its future
  use in Architecture,                                               441

  2. Coal mined in England, France and Belgium,                      442

  3. Exports of Domestic Produce from France, England, and the United
  States,                                                            443

  4. Navigation.--Tonnage of the Shipping of France, England, and the
  United States,                                                     443

  5. Nullification, (omitted.)

  6. The Bank of the United States.--Comparison with the Bank of France
  and the Bank of England.--Local Banks.--Private Bankers and Joint
  Stock Banks in England.--Provincial Banks in France,               444

  7. Of Failures in the United States,                               449

  8. The Press in the United States;--compared with the English and French
  Press,                                                             452

  9. Transfer of Funds by the Bank of the United States,             453

  10. Paper Money and Metallic Currency.--In France; in the United
  States; in England,                                                453

  11. The Cherokees, Creeks, and other Indian Tribes.--Indian Policy of
  the Federal Government, (omitted.)

  12. Public Lands.--System of Survey and Sale.--Quantity sold and for
  sale, (omitted.)

  13. Temperance Societies, (omitted.)

  14. The Cotton Manufacture in France, England, and the United
  States,                                                            454

  15. Production and Consumption of Cotton throughout the World,     456

  16. Degradation of the People of Colour, (omitted.)

  17. Trial of the Incendiaries of the Ursuline Convent,             456

  18. Anthracite Coal, (omitted.)

  19. Conclusion of the Question of the Public Deposits, (omitted.)

  20. Taxation in the United States,                                 458

  21. Construction and Cost of Steamboats in the West.--Number of
  Steamboats in the United States,                                   460

  22. Summary View of Public Works in the United States,             462

  23. Geological Surveys,                                            466

LETTERS ON NORTH AMERICA.



INTRODUCTION.


1. That form of civilization which has prevailed among the European
nations, has moved, in its march over the globe, from east to west.
From its cradles in the depths of old Asia and Upper Egypt, it
advanced, by successive stages, to the shores of the Atlantic, along
which it spread itself from the southern point of Spain to the northern
extremity of the British Isles and the Scandinavian peninsula. It
seemed to have here reached its goal when Christopher Columbus showed
it the way to the New World. At each stage it has taken up a new faith,
new manners, new laws, new customs, a different language, dress, and
food, different modes of life, public and private. The great questions
touching the relation of man to God, to his fellows, and to the
universe, and domestic, social, and political order, which had all been
solved at the beginning of the halt, were, after a while, brought again
into discussion, and then civilization, starting again on her march,
has moved onward toward the west, to give them a new solution.

This stream, setting from the east toward the west, is formed by the
junction of two others flowing from the two great Bible races of Japhet
and Shem; which, coming from the north and the south, meet and mingle
together, and are replenished from their respective sources, during
each period of our civilization, through all the episodes, which
obstruct and chequer this majestic pilgrimage. By turns, each of these
forces, whose combined action constitutes the motive power that carries
mankind forward in its course, has been overborne by the other. Thence
it is, that our civilization, instead of advancing in a straight line
from east to west, has swerved in its march, either from the north
toward the south, or from the south toward the north, taking a winding
and devious course, and gathering up, by turns, purer drops from the
blood of Shem or of Japhet. There has been, however, this difference
between the North and the South; that the South has most often acted
upon the North by sending to it the germs of civilization, without
overrunning it with a new race; while the North has awakened the
slumbering civilization of the South by pouring over it swarms of hardy
barbarians, _audax Japeti genus_. Thus is fulfilled the great prophecy
concerning Japhet, that "_he shall dwell in the tents of Shem_."

2. Independent of our civilization and distinct from it, there is
another in the furthest East, whose centre is China, and whose outposts
are Japan, and which embraces its hundreds of millions of men. It
moves in a direction contrary to our own, from west to east, and its
locomotive powers are slight; we might compare the respective speed
of these two civilizations to the two great revolutions of the globe,
the annual revolution in its orbit, and that which gives rise to the
precession of the equinoxes. This oriental civilization, like that of
the west, has repeatedly regenerated itself by a new mixture of the
man of the North with the man of the South. The race of Japhet, which
gave us our Barbarians, and, before the Barbarians, had given us the
Pelasgians, Scythians, Celts, and Thracians, and has since given us the
Turks and Sclavonians, has also furnished the East with its Mongols
and Manchus. The family of Genghis Khan, which conquered the East, also
pushed its victorious hordes, at the same time, to the Rhine.

The Eastern civilization, less active and less easily set in motion
than the Western, probably because it has not enough of the blood of
Shem, and has too much of that of the inferior races, has not risen to
the same degree of improvement with its sister. But we must do it the
justice to confess, that to it belongs the honor of several capital
inventions and discoveries, such as the mariners' compass, printing,
and gunpowder, on which we pride ourselves; and we must moreover
acknowledge that it has solved the problem, to keep under one law, for
an indefinite number of ages, a population greater than that of all
Europe. The Roman empire, whose population was less than that of China,
stood whole only three hundred years. The spiritual authority of the
Pope extended over less territory than that of the Roman empire, and
was absolutely acknowledged only from Charlemagne to Luther.

3. The two civilizations, thus gathered together at the two extremities
of the old continent, and turning their backs upon each other, were
separated by an immense space before the western had fixed itself in
America; now, more than half the intervening distance is passed; Mexico
and South America are covered with offsets from the latter, on the side
which looks toward Asia, as well as on that which fronts us: the United
States cannot long delay to extend themselves from sea to sea; the
Islands of the South Sea are beginning to be peopled by Europeans. From
this point of view, it is clear that America, placed between the two
civilizations, is reserved for high destinies, and that the progress of
population in the New World is a matter of the deepest interest to the
whole human race.

The connecting of the two civilizations is certainly the broadest
subject that can occupy the human mind; it is, in the eyes of the
friend of man, an event of all others most big with hope. It embraces,
politically, the association of all peoples, the balance of the world,
of which the balance of Europe is only a part; in religion, the whole
law of the human family, the true _catholicism_: morally, the most
harmonious reciprocal action of the two opposite natures, which divide
each race, each sex, each people, and each family, and which are
typified in the Bible by Cain and Abel; intellectually, the complete
encyclopædia and the universal language; industrially, a definite plan
for developing the resources of the globe. In our time this question
is no longer merely speculative; it is now something more than merely
food for the dreams of philosophers; it should be the subject of the
meditations of statesmen.

Since the age of Louis XIV., the merchants, who are the pioneers of
state policy, have striven with a constantly increasing ardor, to
open relations with China, because they have felt the importance of a
regular system of exchanges between Europe and a mass of two hundred
million of producers and consumers. The emancipation of North America,
and quite lately the abolition of the English East India Company's
monopoly, have given to the efforts of commerce an irresistible force;
before this power, the laws which close up the celestial empire are
nothing. China is encircled, on the south, by the English and their
tributaries; on the north, by the Cossacks, the van-guard of Russia;
British and American fleets prowl along her coasts; the sleepy
Spaniards of Mexico and the Philippines think of the days of the
galleons, and keep their half-opened eyes fixed upon her. The human
race has just come into possession of new means of communication, which
shorten distance in an unexpected degree. The two civilizations will
soon reach each other and mingle together; it will be the greatest
event in the history of man.

4. Before the art of navigation was brought to perfection, before
Christopher Columbus and Vasco da Gama, Europe had had communications
with China through the medium of the Arabs, independently of the
caravans which traversed Central Asia. The Arabs, conquerors and
missionaries placed between the two civilizations, had spread
themselves by turns toward the East and the West. That people, so
active by starts, has been to the East the messenger of the West, and
to the West, the courier and factor of the East. Unhappily since the
Western civilization has shone with the greatest brilliancy in Europe,
Arabia has flung out but feeble gleams of light; since Providence has
filled us with a devouring activity, the Arabians are fallen into a
deep lethargy; on that side, therefore, the intercourse, which was
never complete nor speedy, has almost ceased. But if, as some suppose,
the Arab race is about to rouse itself from its long stupor, at the
voice and by the aid of Europe, the latter will then have a powerful
ally in its efforts to seize and hold Asia, or to transmit to her
the means of working out her own restoration, and this illustrious
race will thus contribute essentially to the marriage of the two
civilizations.

5. Our civilization, in its march westward, has sometimes turned back
towards the East; thus it has had its Argonauts, its Agamemnons,
and its Alexanders, and more lately its heroes of the crusades and
its Portuguese captains. These partial movements were but temporary
interruptions of its solemn march toward the West; they were merely
countercurrents, resembling the eddies which always exist in the
currents of rivers. Until our own time, Europe has founded no durable
and important establishment in Asia; in proportion as our civilization
advanced westwards, the countries which it left behind escaped from its
influence, and the distance between it and the oriental civilization,
became greater. Alexander is the only person of whom China could feel
any fear, and he passed away like the lightning flash. The Parthians,
the Saracens, or the Turks, were the impregnable bulwarks of eastern
Asia. The mission of Europe was, above all things, to reach and settle
a new hemisphere.

At present, the incontestible superiority of the western nations in
wealth, in mechanical skill, in means of transportation, in government,
in the art of war, enables them to make their way across the Old
World toward the remotest recesses of Asia. The nations whom we are
accustomed to call oriental, but who are only inhabitants of the
_Lesser East_, have ceased to be formidable adversaries to Europe; they
delivered up their swords, at Heliopolis, Navarino, and Adrianople. The
colonization of America is now at length completed from Hudson's Bay to
Cape Horn, but Europe can and ought to move towards the East as well
as towards the West; the isthmus of Suez has as good a chance as the
isthmus of Panama, to become the route of western civilization to the
_Greater East_.

6. Our European civilization has a twofold source, the Romans and
the Teutonic nations. Setting aside for the present Russia, who is a
new comer, and who already, however, equals the most powerful of the
elder states, it is subdivided into two families, each of which is
marked by its strong likeness to one of the mother nations, which have
contributed to give birth to both. Thus there is the Latin Europe,
and the Teutonic Europe; the former comprises the south, the latter
the people of the north; the former is Roman Catholic, the latter
Protestant; the one speaks Teutonic languages, and the other, idioms,
in which Latin is predominant. These two branches, Latin and German,
re-appear in the New World; South America, like southern Europe, is
Roman Catholic and Latin; North America belongs to the Protestant
Anglo-Saxon population.

In the great enterprise of bringing together European and Asiatic
civilization, the Teutonic and Latin nations may both find a field of
action; both occupy in Europe and America, by land and sea, admirable
outposts and excellent positions round that imperturbable Asia, into
which it is their object to force their way. But, during the last age,
the superiority which formerly belonged to the Latin family, has passed
into the hands of the Teutonic race, owing partly to the energy of
England in the Old World, and that of her sons in the New, and partly
to the loosening of the old religious and moral ties among the Latin
nations. The Sclavonic race, which has lately shown itself, and which
now forms a third group of nations in Europe, seems ready to contest
with the Latin race even the possession of the second rank; it is only
the Russians and Anglo-Saxons that interest themselves about Further
Asia, and press upon its frontiers by land and by sea. The people of
the Latin stock must not, however, stand idle in the coming struggle,
or the case will go against them by default; an excellent opportunity
is now offered to regain their lost rank.

7. In our three-headed Europe, Teutonic, Latin, and Sclavonic, two
nations, France and Austria, present themselves under less distinct
features, and with less exclusive characters than the others. France
shares in the Teutonic and Latin natures; in religion, she is Catholic
in feeling, but Protestant out of caprice; she unites the nervous
understanding of the Germans with the elegant taste of the southern
nations. Austria, by the education and origin of the people of her
different states, is half Sclavonic, half Teutonic, and she is
connected with the Latin family by her religion. France and Austria
are, then, the natural mediums of communication, the one between the
Germans and Latins, and the other between the Germans and Sclavonians;
Austria is chiefly Teutonic, as France is essentially Latin. From this
mixed character of France and Austria, we may conclude, that whenever
the balance of Europe, or the harmonious combination of all European
nations in one common object, shall become subjects of discussion,
both will exercise a decisive influence, and their hearty co-operation
in a common cause will make them irresistible. Austria has a more
central position than France; she has a greater number of points of
contact with the different types of western civilization; but France
combines the invaluable advantages of a more homogeneous constitution,
and a more flexible temperament; she has a physiognomy more strongly
marked, a mission more clearly defined, and above all, she has more of
the social spirit. She is at the head of the Latin group; she is its
protectress.

8. In the events which seem about to dawn upon us, France may, then,
take a most important share; she is the depositary of the destinies
of all the Latin nations of both continents. She alone can save the
whole family from being swallowed up by a double flood of Sclavonians
and Germans. To her it belongs to rouse them from the lethargy into
which they are plunged in both hemispheres, to raise them to the level
of other nations, and to enable them again to take a stand in the
world; she also is called upon, perhaps more than any other power, to
encourage the new spirit, which seems to be re-animating the Arabians,
and through them to shake the East. Thus the political theatre, seen
from a French point of view, shows, in a distant back-ground, the
meeting of the Oriental and the Western civilizations, in which we
are called upon to act as mediators, and in the fore-ground, the
education, by France, of all the Latin nations, and of many of the Arab
tribes living around the Mediterranean.

There may be a difference of opinion as to the time when these
revolutions, which are to agitate the depths of Asia, will take place;
I am one of those who think it not far off. I can easily conceive,
also, that some persons should wish to lessen the circle of French
influence, and confine it to the southern countries of Europe; although
to me France seems called upon to exercise a benevolent and wholesome
care over the people of South America, who are not yet fit to take care
of themselves, and although the old traditions of the crusades, the
conquest of Algiers, and the recollection of the expedition into Egypt,
seem to promise us one of the first parts in the drama which will be
acted on the eastern shores of the Mediterranean.

As for the European nations of the Latin family, no one, I suppose, can
have any doubts concerning our supremacy over them, or concerning our
duties, both to them and to ourselves, in relation to them. We have
been notoriously the head of the family since the time of Louis XIV.,
and we can neither shrink from the burdens, nor from the privileges
of our situation. Our superiority is acknowledged by all its members,
our protection has been accepted by all, whenever it has been offered
without selfish views. Happy would it have been for France, if, content
with this high prerogative, her princes, and above all he who has added
new lustre to the name of Emperor, had not been obstinately bent on the
unnatural purpose of extending their authority over the members of the
Teutonic family!

9. Since the weight has been thrown into the Saxon scale, since the
English race has overborne France and Spain in Asia, in America, and
in Europe, new institutions, new rules of government, new ideas, new
modes of action, in social, political, and individual life, have
sprung up among the English, and more especially among their successors
in the New World; everything connected with labor and the condition
of the greater number of working men, has been carried to a degree
of perfection before unheard of. It seems as if, by the aid of these
improvements, the superiority of the Anglo-Saxons over the Latin
family, must go on constantly increasing. The French, of all the Latin
nations, are most favorably placed, and the only one well placed, to
avail themselves of these improvements by adapting them to their own
exigencies. We are full of energy; never has our mind been more fairly
thrown open; never were our hearts more ready to throb for noble
enterprises.

But we must set ourselves at work without delay; we must do this,
setting aside all considerations of general policy, and of the contact,
whether more or less remote, of the two civilizations. It is a matter
of the last necessity in regard to ourselves, even supposing that we
have not to transmit to the southern nations of Europe, of whom we are
the eldest, and to the inhabitants of the Levant, those improvements
which their situation demands, and which they are ready to receive at
our hands; our own welfare, our own existence is at stake. How, and
under what form shall we be able to make the innovations of the English
race our own? This difficult and complicated question has been the
chief object of my attention during my residence in the New World; I
do not claim the honor of having even partially solved it. But I shall
feel satisfied, if the thoughts suggested to me by the sight of an
order of things so unlike our own, falling under the eyes of one more
far-sighted than myself, shall put him in the way of its solution.



LETTER I.

RAILROAD FROM LONDON TO PARIS.


                                         LONDON, Nov. 1, 1833.

While railroads are talked of at Paris, they are made here. That
from London to Birmingham is already begun; it will be 112 miles in
length, and all the stock, to the amount of 12,000,000 dollars, has
been taken up by subscription; this road will be continued by another
of nearly the same length, from Birmingham to Liverpool, and in five
years Liverpool and London will be only eight hours apart. Whilst
the English capitalists are executing these great undertakings, the
Parisian capitalists look on, but do not stir; they do not even form
projects. Not one of them seems to have seriously considered, that even
in the present state of things, there is more than twice the number of
travellers between Paris and Versailles, than between Liverpool and
Manchester, although the railroad between the last named places has
been opened three years. In London, therefore, they count little upon
the aid of French capitalists in the construction of a railroad from
that city to Paris; they desire it, they would be glad to be able to
go from one capital to the other in fifteen hours, and at trifling
expense; all classes are delighted with the idea of such a thing. But
they feel that such a work is neither expedient nor feasible, without
the joint action of both nations; and as they dare not hope for the
co-operation of France, little is said about it as a serious affair.

Among all the acquisitions, which, since the end of the last century,
have enriched the domain of science, none has opened a wider field than
Volta's discoveries relative to the motion of electricity, and its
development by contact. The phenomena resulting from the two poles
of the Voltaic battery offer an inexhaustible mine to the physical
philosopher; there is no fact in science more general in its nature,
for if any two bodies whatsoever touch each other, they form at once,
by their mutual action and reaction, a Voltaic pile of greater or less
energy. This physical fact has its counterpart in the moral order of
things; if you bring together two men who have hitherto been separated
from each other, in however slight a degree they may have any striking
quality, their friction will certainly produce a spark. If instead of
two men, the two poles of your battery are two nations, the result
is greater in the proportion of a nation to an individual. If these
two nations are England and France, that is to say, the two most
enlightened and most powerful people in the world, this sort of Voltaic
phenomenon then acquires a prodigious intensity; it involves nothing
less than the safety of an old or the creation of a new civilization.

The predominant qualities, good or bad, of France and England, may be
arranged in a series of parallels, the corresponding terms in each
of which will be complements of each other. England is pre-eminent
in affairs, and the qualities which belong to them, coolness,
economy, precision, method, perseverance; taste and genius for the
fine arts, with the enthusiasm, the recklessness, the caprice, the
irregular habits, the wastefulness, at least in time and words, which
characterise the artist, have fallen to the lot of France. On one
side, is reason, cautious and sober, but sure-footed, good sense,
creeping along the ground; on the other, imagination with her brilliant
audacity, but also with her ignorance of things and method, her starts
and trips. Here, an admirable energy in struggling against nature
and metamorphosing the physical features of the globe; there, an
unequalled intellectual activity, and the gift of warming the heart of
mankind with its fires. In England, treasures of industry and heaps
of gold; in France, treasures of thought, wells of science, torrents
of inspiration. In proud Albion, staid, but cheerless manners, reserve
pushed to a chilling excess; in our fair France, easiness of manners
carried to licentiousness, the old Gaulish gaiety, often savoring
somewhat of the camp, a something of the free and easy bordering on the
promiscuous (_un sans-façon expansif qui frise la promiscuité_). On
both sides a large dose of pride; among our neighbors, a calculating,
ambitious pride; the pride of the statesman and the merchant, which
feeds only on power and wealth; which for the country desires
conquests, vast colonies, all the Gibraltars and St. Helenas, eagle's
nests by which all seas and all shores are commanded; and which for
oneself pants for riches, an aristocratic park, a seat in the House
of Lords, a tomb in Westminster Abbey. Amongst us, a vain-glorious
pride, which longs for the unreal, for ideal pleasures; a thirst after
applause for self, after glory for our country; a pride, which, for
France, would be satisfied with the admiration of the world, for self,
with castles in the air, a riband, an epaulet, a line of Béranger as a
funeral oration; the pride of the actor on the stage, of the knight in
the lists. On the north of the Channel, prevail religion and positive
faith; on the south, scepticism, mingled with enthusiasm. There a
deep sentiment of order and respect for rank, combined with a haughty
feeling of the dignity of man; here, a people eager for equality,
excitable, restless, turbulent, yet docile, often even to weakness,
confiding, even to credulity, easily cajoled by its flatterers,
submitting to be trampled under foot like a carcase, during the period
of its lethargy, and at times given over to the most courtier-like
obsequiousness. Among the English the reverence for tradition, among
the French the passion for novelty, predominates; among the former
respect for the law, and obedience to man, on condition that his
supreme rule shall be the law; among the latter, the worship of great
men, and submission to the laws if they are defended by the sword of
Cæsar. On one side the ruler of the seas, on the other the arbiter of
the continent, rousing the world at their pleasure, the one by its
lever of gold, the other by the sound of its voice alone. Surely from
the reciprocal influences of two nations thus constituted and thus
situated on the globe, the most important effects should result, not
only on the general cause of civilization, but on their own mutual
improvement.

The industrial development is not, indeed, the development of the whole
man, but since the beginning of the nineteenth century, no people can
be allowed to reckon itself in the first rank of nations, if it is not
advanced in the industrial career, if it cannot labor and produce. No
people will be powerful that is not rich, and there is now no other way
of growing rich but by work. In regard to production and labor, we have
much to learn from England, and it is a lesson which is to be learned
by the eyes rather than by the ears, by observation better than by
reading. If, then, there were a railroad between London and Paris, the
French, who have now little knowledge of business, would go to London,
where the instinct of method is in the blood, to learn. Our speculators
would go to see how simply, promptly, and plainly great enterprises are
carried on; our shop-keepers and buyers have to learn from England that
to overcharge and to haggle have no connexion with buying and selling
advantageously; our capitalists and merchants, that there can be no
durable commercial prosperity nor security for capital, where there
is no system of credit; they would see the operations of the Bank of
England with its branches and the private banks, and perhaps they might
be incited to bring home, with the needful modification, institutions
and practices so profitable at once to the share holders and to
the public. They would here imbibe the spirit of association, which
in London sweats at every pore.[A] All of us might here see in what
consists and how is realised, that comfort, that care of the person, so
essential to the peace and quiet of one's life, and Paris might perhaps
be led to free itself from the filth of centuries, which formerly
gave it its name, and against which eighteen hundred years later,
Voltaire, whom the ancient monarchy and the faith of our fathers could
not withstand, warred in vain. As we are full of self-love, we should
return from England ashamed of the wretched state of our agriculture,
our roads, and our elementary schools, humbled at the insignificance of
our foreign commerce, and solicitous to vie with our neighbors. I need
not stop to point out what the English might come to seek among us,
they are already converts in this matter, they swarm in Paris, while
it would be easy to count up the Frenchmen who have been in London.
Without saying what the English would get in Paris, I may affirm that
they would leave plenty of sovereigns there. To Paris, the city of
pleasures, the terrestrial paradise of strangers, the railroad would be
a gold mine, and the English, getting familiar with France, would find
profitable investments for their capital among us, which would give
life and energy to useful enterprises.

The railroad from London to Paris would be a commercial enterprise of
the first importance; it would also be a political instrument, a strong
bond of union between England and France. But it is more especially as
a means of education, that it should be most highly recommended, for
there is no fear that the other points of view will be overlooked. The
industrial arts, I said before, are learned chiefly through the eyes;
this is particularly true in regard to the operatives, for in them,
owing to their manner of life, the world of sensation prevails over
the world of ideas. Now the progress of the mechanical arts depends
not less on the workmen than on the foremen and superintendents of
the works; it would be expedient, therefore, to send a certain number
of picked operatives to pass a suitable time in England, just as the
Board of Public Works (_Ponts et Chaussées_) is now in the habit of
sending a few engineers thither. The railroad, by reducing the expense
and trouble of the journey, would probably furnish an opportunity of
despatching companies of artisans selected from among those most worthy
of the privilege. According to the plan of a merchant of Lyons, a
very sensible man, this might be done on a large scale and at little
expense; and he further proposed a system of reciprocity, by which
English workmen should be employed in France and French operatives in
England. It is not impossible that this project may one day be made the
basis of a new law, designed to further the views of our excellent law
of primary education; but the railroad between London and Paris must
first be constructed.

Of the small number of Frenchmen who have visited England,[B] very
few have been led by motives of business. Most have undertaken the
voyage from vague feelings of curiosity, or merely for pleasure; and
the objects of their notice have been the picturesque, the poetical.
They have visited the Gothic ruins of the monasteries and castles,
the cave of Fingal, and the lakes of Scotland, admired the costume of
the Highlanders, the horses and jockeys of the great lords, and the
blooming complexion of the women. They have walked through one or two
parks, visited the hot-houses where all the plants of the world are
collected, braving, behind the glass, the cloudy sky of Great Britain.
They have been through the dockyards and military arsenals, when
they could get leave, under the escort of a sergeant, seen the young
beauties of Almacks and the old curiosities of the Tower, and travelled
over England, just as they would make the tour of Italy or Switzerland.
If the subject of industry has occupied their attention a moment, it
is only in reference to the fashion of some opera decoration. They
have, to be sure, stood amazed at the thousands of vessels whose masts
stretch out of sight along the Thames or in the docks;[C] they have
been delighted with the extent of the great manufacturing towns, the
magnitude of the manufactories, and the height of their chimneys, with
the magical brilliancy of the gas-lights, with the daring bridges of
stone or iron, and with the fantastical appearance of the forge-fires
in the night. But they have never asked, how came England to have
such a vast number of ships, how has she multiplied and extended her
manufactures to such an amazing degree, and how created these towns,
so simple in their architecture, but so fastidiously neat in their
spacious streets; they have not thought to ask the causes of all this
wealth and prosperity.

Yet he who expects to return satisfied from England should visit her
as the Queen of industry; he should see the city rather than Regent's
Park, the East India House rather than Windsor Castle, seek out the
Bank before St. Paul's, the Clearing House before Somerset House,
take more interest in the docks and Commercial House, than in the
armor preserved in the Tower. He should go to the warehouses, the
counting-houses, the workshops, in pursuit of the genius of Great
Britain. He must tear himself from the magnificent hospitality of
the English country seats, and give up his time to the mines and the
forges, which furnish industry with its daily bread, its coal and iron.
(Notes 1 and 2 at the end of the volume.) He must mingle with the stout
and active workmen, quite as much as with the more refined society in
the saloons of the nobility. For myself, I have found nothing in London
which has struck me as more original, and given me greater pleasure,
than a shop in Old Change, whose ware-rooms contain twenty times as
many goods as the largest warehouse in Paris, and whose business
transactions amount to two millions sterling a year, and the great
brewery of Barclay, Perkins & Co. near London Bridge, the order and
arrangement of which are still more striking than its vast extent.

As I stood in this brewery, on a floor on which, distributed in
different rooms, there were ninetynine vats, some of them holding
500,000 or 600,000 bottles, I thought of the famous Heidelberg tun
which I had seen some years ago. It is the only object in a tolerable
state of preservation in the delicious chateau of the Palatine
counts, and it is faithfully visited by all travellers who go to see
that fine ruin, perhaps the finest relic of the feudal times. What a
difference now between the old chateau of Heidelberg with its tun, and
the colossal establishment of the English brewer with its regiment of
tuns! The old castle crumbles to pieces; the rich Gothic sculptures are
wearing away. In vain has a French artist (and, strange coincidence!
that artist himself another relic of the feudal age, an _émigré_, who
with a praiseworthy zeal has been for a long time the self-constituted
guardian of this fine old monument,) in vain has he urged the
government of Baden, to whom the castle belongs, to take some measures
for its preservation. Each year some new dilapidation is caused by the
frosts of winter and the storms of autumn; the old chateau will soon
become a shapeless mass, the very stones will probably be sold, and
nothing will remain, but the drawings of M. de Graimbert, to show what
it has been. The Knights' Hall is stripped of its roof--the arches,
which support the superb terrace whence the eye wanders over the lovely
vale of the Neckar and its beautiful heights,--those arches, rent by
the powder of Louvois,--will some day sink. Meanwhile, the brewery
is enriched one day with a new building, and the next, with a new
steam-engine; and in case of any damage by fire, as recently happened,
the loss is immediately repaired; in the place of the building
destroyed by the flames, rises one more splendid, in which the free use
of iron will be a protection against new ravages.

The statues of the Palatine electors are overthrown in their niches;
no son of their vassals will set them up again; but at the brewery
everything is in perfect order; each tool hangs on its nail, each
kettle is kept well-rubbed and bright. The stables of the noble prince
are a heap of ruins; in the stables of the brewer, rivalling those
of Chantilly, where the great Condé entertained kings, one hundred
and fifty horses, fit steeds for Goliath, are objects of as careful
attention, as those, perhaps, which surrounded the persons of the first
Electors and their gallant knights. The old tun has been empty for a
century and a half; the curious may enter it, and take its measure;
once only has M. de Graimbert seen it spout wine; it was in 1813,
in honour of the emperor Alexander and his allies, the sovereigns
of Austria and Prussia. Even then it was only a pious fraud, the old
tun was not full, the wine flowed from a base barrel which had been
stuck in it the night before. The ninetynine vats of Barclay, Perkins
& Co. are always full of beer; that which is daily drawn off, and
sent all over the United Kingdom and North America, and finds its way
even to the East Indies, would fill the classical tun of the Palatine
Casimir.[D] The secret of this contrast may easily be explained; the
great feudal tun could only be filled by the produce of the feudal
impositions, whilst the vats of the brewery are filled by the voluntary
co-operation of three hundred men, sure of gathering daily the fruits
of their industry; the Heidelberg tun was emptied only to administer
to the pleasures of the prince or his favorites, while the vats of the
brewer quench the thirst of a numerous population, which works hard,
receives good pay, and pays its providers well.

The silence and desolation of the old castle, contrasted with the
bustle and prosperity of the English brewery, are a striking emblem of
the feudal system compared with the modern power of peace and creative
industry. All nations, in proportion as they have the power to change
the warlike qualities of the feudal age into the useful qualities of
the labourer, or as they want the capacity thus to re-cast themselves,
may read their own destiny, either in the state of the flourishing
manufactory, or in that of the deserted and crumbling castle. Happy the
people, who, like France and England, have had strength to shake off
the past, and who, in the quiet enjoyment of their liberties, have only
to concern themselves about the future! Woe to that people, which will
not, or cannot, tear itself away from the past! That people is worn
out; it will die of consumption, and will leave behind nothing but
ruins, poetical, perhaps, but still none the less ruins, that is, death
and desolation: unless indeed a new blood be infused into its veins, or
in other words, unless it be conquered like unhappy Poland.

FOOTNOTES:

[A] Thus the London merchants dispense with the care, trouble,
and expense of a money-chest on their own premises, and all money
operations are transacted by a small number of bankers at the _Clearing
House_. The amount of these transactions often rises to fifteen
millions sterling [a day], independently of those which are not
strictly commercial, and of those of the retailers, which do not pass
through the hands of bankers. See _Babbage's Economy of Machinery_.

[B] The whole number of passengers to and from Calais, through which
most of the travellers between England and France pass, is only about
forty thousand yearly. This is not more than the number passing between
Havre and New York.

[C] It is estimated that 25,000 vessels enter the port of London yearly.

[D] 50,000 gallons.



LETTER II.

LIVERPOOL AND THE RAILROAD.


                                      LIVERPOOL, NOV. 7, 1833.

I have just come back from Manchester by the railroad, which is a fine
piece of work; I know of nothing that gives a higher idea of the power
of man. There are impressions which one cannot describe; such is that
of being hurried along at the rate of half a mile a minute, or thirty
miles an hour (the speed of the train as we started from Manchester,)
without being the least incommoded, and with the most complete feeling
of security, for only one accident has happened since the opening
of the road, and that was owing to the imprudence of the individual
who perished. You pass over and under roads, rivers, and canals; you
cross other railroads, and a great number of other roads, without any
trouble or confusion. The great forethought and spirit of order which
in England they suck in with their mothers' milk, preside in every
part, and make it impossible that the trains should fall foul of each
other, or that the cars should run down unlucky travellers, or the
farmers' wagons; all along the route are gates, which open and shut at
the precise moment of time, and watchmen on the look out. How many
persons in France would be benefitted by this short trip, did it serve
only as a lesson of order and forecast! And then the Mount Olive cut is
as well worth seeing as Roland's Breach; the Wapping tunnel will bear
a comparison with the caves of Campan; the dike across Chat Moss seems
to me as full of interest as the remains of the most famous Roman ways,
not excepting even the Appian itself; and there is a column, which,
though only a chimney for a steam-engine, is not, perhaps, less perfect
in its proportions than Pompey's Pillar. Many tourists, even persons
who have not been made weary of sight-seeing in Switzerland and Italy,
would find Chester Bridge, which is not, indeed, on the road, but is
nevertheless very near it, quite as worthy of a visit as the Devil's
Bridge; not to mention that the burning cinders which the engine
strews along the route, might suggest to the traveller, without any
great stretch of fancy, the idea of being transported in a fiery car,
certainly the most poetical of all vehicles.

Those who doubt the policy of introducing railroads into France, and
think it prudent to wait for more light, cite, among other arguments,
the experiments continually making in England to apply locomotive
engines to common roads, the success of which, they think, would save
the expense of rails. There is no doubt that railroads, like every
other new invention, are susceptible of improvement; but they will
always be expensive, and while other nations keep up such _schools_
as the Manchester and Liverpool railroad, and we stand looking on
with folded arms, we shall soon find ourselves, by excess of caution,
fallen behind all Europe in manufactures and commerce. As for the
steam-engines of Gurney, Dance, or anybody else, there is no hope
that they will enable us to save the expense of rails. I think it,
indeed, very probable that engines may be made to take the place of
horses on roads kept in such a state as the English highways; but
upon any road whatsoever, and whatever motive power is employed,
engines or horses, in order to reach a great speed, from twentyfive
to thirty miles an hour, for instance, it is absolutely necessary to
cut through hills, and to fill up or bridge over the valleys, just
as is done for railroads. Besides this great speed forbids the free
circulation of vehicles, and makes it necessary to avoid the level
of the frequented routes, and to pass over or under them by means of
tunnels or bridges. None of the inconveniences, or liabilities of
railroads would be avoided by this system; the expense would be almost
the same, for the most costly portion of the work in railroads is the
cuts and embankments, the bridges and viaducts; the iron required for
the rails forms less than one-third of the expenditure. The expenses
of superintending the routes would be the same. Besides, the road
once graded, there would be a great gain in laying rails, that is,
in making a complete railroad, however little might be the amount of
transportation; for on a Macadamised road the force of friction is
ten times that on iron rails, so that the use of these new locomotive
carriages can never supply the place of railways.

The correctness of these views is proved by what is now doing in
England; while the new steam carriages are getting ready for regular
service, railroad companies are already at work or are organizing
in all quarters. Two works are now in progress which will connect
Liverpool with London, by way of Birmingham; the whole length will
be one hundred and ninety-five miles. Although a trial of the new
carriages is making on the Birmingham road, shares in the railroad
between that town and London are at a high premium. Another company
is preparing to construct a railroad from London to Bath and Bristol,
a distance of one hundred and fifteen miles; companies are also
formed for connecting London with Southampton, on the Havre route to
Paris, and with Brighton, on the Dieppe route; other shorter works
are projected. It is not that the experiments of Gurney and Dance are
unknown or slighted; on the contrary, their importance is fully felt;
the newspapers are full of them, and they even excite some enthusiasm.
In this country, where it is a settled maxim that the labourer is
worthy of his hire, I saw vessels all along the road which had been
gratuitously brought and filled by the inhabitants for the use of one
of these steam-carriages; unluckily the carriage did not arrive when it
was expected; it had got out of order, as it too often does.

The Liverpool and Manchester railroad owes its brilliant success to the
substantial and permanent nature of the interest which binds together
the two towns. It would be impossible to realize a more complete
division of labor; Manchester, with the country twenty miles round
it, is nothing but a workshop; Liverpool manufactures nothing, but
merely sells what her neighbours produce. Liverpool is not, whatever
the guide book may say, another Venice, rising from the waves; it
is a counting-house, and nothing but a counting-house, though on a
vast scale, and under the most perfect regulations, of any in the
world. The business is all done in a space smaller than the _Place du
Carrousel_, where are the handsome Exchange, the Town House, and all
the banking houses, &c. At four or five o'clock each one shuts up his
cell (for the offices deserve this name), and retires to his house or
his country seat, for many of the residences are on the other side of
the Mersey. Liverpool and Manchester are surrounded by a double and
three fold series of canals; the Duke of Bridgewater's canal, the Leeds
and Liverpool, the Sankey, Leigh, Bolton and Bury, Mersey and Irwell
canals, without taking into account the rivers Irwell, Mersey, and
Weaver, which though small, form fine bays at their mouths, and are
more easily and regularly navigable than our great rivers, while the
navigation is carried on with a promptitude and despatch wholly unknown
in France. Since the peace these two towns have enjoyed such a high
degree of prosperity, that ten years ago these means of communication,
with the addition of a fine road, were found to be insufficient. The
counting-house and the manufactory wished to be nearer to each other;
accordingly, on the 10th of May, 1824, a memorial, signed by one
hundred and fifty merchants, declared the necessity of new routes; and
a railroad was decided on. The work was begun in June, 1826, and the
road was opened in due form, on the 15th of September, 1830. A tunnel
is now constructing, one mile and a quarter in length, which will carry
the railroad into the heart of the town, and will cost about 800,000
dollars.

The chief article of English commerce, that in which it has no rival,
and which opens all the ports of the world to English vessels, is
cottons of all descriptions. The value of the produce and manufactures
annually exported from the United Kingdom, during the last ten years,
has averaged 190 millions of dollars.[E] That of cottons alone has
ranged from 80 to 90 millions, and the greater part is made in
Manchester and the vicinity.[F] This single fact would sufficiently
explain the commercial importance of Liverpool; add to this that
Liverpool is in the neighbourhood of the founderies and forges of
Staffordshire and Shropshire, and the manufactories of Birmingham
and Sheffield; that the diminished width of the island, in the 53d
degree of latitude, enables her to reach out her hands at once to the
eastern and western coasts; that she is the centre of the business
between England and Ireland; that she approaches, at the same time,
Scotland and Wales; that she is the head quarters of steam navigation
in England, and it will be seen at a glance that Liverpool is the seat
of a prodigious commerce, inferior only to that of London. Eleven
thousand vessels measuring 1,400,000 tons, enter her nine docks every
year; two-fifths of the whole exports of England are shipped hence, and
more than one-fifth of the British customs duty, or nearly 20,000,000
dollars (equal to the total sum of the French customs), are collected
here. Since the modification of the East India Company's charter, the
Liverpool merchants flatter themselves with the hope of securing a
great part of the India trade, which has hitherto been monopolized by
London; they aspire to rival the commerce of the capital, and it must
be confessed that they are taking the right road to success.

In tracing the history of Liverpool, Manchester, or any other English
town, we are struck with a fact which is full of good omen for France;
it is this, that a people never engages heartily and successfully in
commerce and manufactures, until it feels itself safe from civil or
religious despotism; but once assured on that point, it moves rapidly
and right forward in its industrial career. So long as England was
restrained in her franchises or her faith, she was possessed with one
idea, how to throw off the yoke; once freed from this care, she has
achieved in the different branches of industry what no nation has ever
done before. In the beginning of the last century, not long after the
expulsion of the Stuarts, when Liverpool had only 5,000 inhabitants,
with no commerce but a feeble coasting trade, some of her merchants
conceived the idea of competing with Bristol, which then monopolized
the West Indian trade. Bristol exported to America the products of
the fisheries in the German Ocean, and some fustians and checks
manufactured in Germany, and the Liverpool adventurers took cargoes
of Scotch stuffs; but the attempt was unsuccessful, the Scotch goods
were of inferior quality. Manchester then relieved them from this
difficulty; there were already some manufacturers in that place, who
imitated and surpassed the German articles, and thus provided, the
merchants of Liverpool were able to sustain a competition with those of
Bristol. The smuggling trade with the Spanish colonies, and the slave
trade, undertaken in competition with Bristol, continued to enrich
Liverpool and consequently Manchester. In 1764, when Bristol fitted
out 32 ships for Africa and 74 for America, Liverpool ran 105 to the
former and 141 to the latter; in the same year 1589 vessels entered
the port of Liverpool, while only 675 arrived at Bristol. At present
Bristol is a second-rate mart compared with Liverpool; not that the
former has declined; on the contrary, it is a wealthy city, with a
trade tenfold what it was a hundred years ago. But in the midst of the
general progress, Liverpool has advanced at high speed. It now contains
180,000 inhabitants, or, including the suburbs, 225,000, without
reckoning the floating population of strangers and sailors. During
the siege of Calais, when Edward III. collected all the strength of
England, this town found it difficult to furnish one vessel, carrying
six men; in 1829, it owned 806 vessels of 161,780 tons burthen, manned
by 9,091 sailors. (See Note 4, at the end of the volume.) During the
wars of the French Revolution, Liverpool was able to bear her share
of the burdens of the country, and to spend 170,000 dollars annually
in works of public utility and in embellishing the town. In 1797 she
volunteered to raise a troop of horse and eight companies of foot at
her own charge; in 1798 she raised a regiment of volunteers and the
sum of 80,000 dollars, and in 1803, when Napoleon threatened England
with invasion, two regiments of infantry and 600 artillerists. In the
same period a host of useful and charitable institutions were founded
by subscription, and the Exchange was built at the cost of 600,000
dollars. All this is the work of one century; hardly had James II.
reached Saint Germain, when the first dock in Liverpool was opened;
within thirty years the Mersey and Irwell were canalled. It was the
same throughout England. We must not exaggerate and abuse historical
parallels, but, unless we shut our eyes, it is impossible not to
perceive a striking analogy between the state of England after the
fall of the Stuarts, and that of France since 1830. With both people
there is a feeling of profound security in regard to their liberties,
a deep conviction that they have gained a decisive victory, and that
they have nothing to fear from the encroachments of the civil power
or of a religious corporation; the same wish to see political reforms
gives rise to substantial and palpable improvement in the condition of
the people, and the same disposition on the part of the government to
enlighten and realize the popular will.

The old dynasties of England and France fell in consequence of their
efforts to give political power to the clergy, rather than from any
attempt to restore the feudal system with its brutality and its
rapacity; for the deposed princes themselves were neither rapacious nor
violent. The English revolution, however, was far from giving birth to
irreligion; Liverpool,--which is, so to speak, of to-day, which bears
the stamp, not of England as she was in the sixteenth or the fourteenth
century, but of England as she was in the eighteenth century, as she
is in our own time,--Liverpool is a proof of this. There is no town
in France which numbers as many churches as Liverpool, where there
are thirty-seven of the establishment, in addition to forty-three
dissenters' chapels and meeting houses, Presbyterian, Baptist,
Methodist, Unitarian, Quaker, Jewish, and Roman Catholic; the last
have here five chapels. Most of these have been built since 1750, and
nearly one half since 1800; I have a list under my eye, and the dates
are 1803, 1810, 1813, 1814, 1815, 1815, 1815, 1816, 1821, 1826, 1826,
1827, 1827, 1830, 1831. Are we to believe that this analogy will hold
good on our own soil, and that as she grows rich by industry, France
will return to the religious sentiment? I wish it, I hope it; we are
already past the time when atheism was fashionable in France; it will
not, however, be under the flag of the Anglican church, or of any other
protestant sect that France will rally; she must have a more imposing
and pompous worship.

FOOTNOTES:

[E] The annual exports of France are little more than half this sum.
(See Note 3, at the end of the volume.)

[F] The population of Lancashire, in which are situated Liverpool
and Manchester, increased, between 1801 and 1831, from 672,731 to
1,336,854, that is, it doubled. The increase of population in the rest
of the United Kingdom was only fifty per cent.



LETTER III.

WAR OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES UPON THE BANK.


                                    NEW YORK, JANUARY 1, 1834.

This country is now in the crisis of a high industrial fever, which
has assumed a political character, and is of a very serious nature;
for the industrial interest, in this country, is the most important.
Last year, when the dispute between the Northern and Southern States,
relative to the tariff was settled, (see Note 5, at the end of the
volume,) the wise and prudent thanked God, that the danger, which
had threatened their country, had been averted; there seemed to them
nothing further to obstruct its triumphant career of conquests over
nature, with an ever accelerated rapidity and increased success. A
series of causes, to appearance of slight moment, has changed these
hopes into fears. Some trifling circumstances revived the old quarrel
between the democratic party, to which the President belongs, and the
Bank of the United States, and both sides grew warm. (See Note 6, at
the end of the volume.) President Jackson, a man of good intentions
and ardent patriotism, but too hasty towards those who venture to
contradict him, declared a deadly war against the Bank, and pushed it
with all the energy and fury, in the same cut-and-thrust style, that
he had the war against the Indians and English twenty years before.
He set his veto to the bill that had passed both houses of Congress,
renewing the Bank charter, which was about to expire in three years.
Not satisfied with this blow, he withdrew from the hands of the Bank
the public money, which, by the provisions of its charter, had been
deposited in them, and which gave it the means of very materially
extending its operations; for the excess of the deposits over the
exigencies of the government amount to not less than ten millions. The
Bank, which had paid to the government a bonus of 1,500,000 dollars
for the privilege of being the depository of the public funds, cried
out loudly against this measure, and with good reason, for no one
denies, that no institution in the union is better able to meet all
its liabilities. It has reduced its discounts, first, because the
removal of the public deposits has diminished the amount of specie in
its vaults, and also, as it declares, whether right or wrong, because
its very existence being threatened by the President's veto, it is
prudent to restrain the sphere of its operations, and to prepare in
time for the final settlement of its concerns. As this institution
takes the lead in the financial world, the other banks, even those to
which the public deposits have been transferred, have been obliged, in
their turn, to restrict their operations. Not only are they afraid to
extend their discounts in proportion to the amount of these deposits,
but they are obliged to contract them, because they find themselves,
as objects of the favour of government in this respect, in a state of
hostility with the Bank of the United States, and it is necessary to be
on their guard in the presence of so formidable an adversary. Thus are
the sources of credit suddenly dried up. Now credit is the life-blood
of the prosperity of the United States; without credit, the populous
towns which are springing up on all sides, as if by magic, the opulent
States, which, far away from the Atlantic and beyond the Alleghanies,
stretch along the Ohio and the Mississippi, would become a solitary
wilderness, savage forests or pathless swamps. The city of New York
alone has twenty banks, the annual average discounts of which, during
the last eight years, have amounted to one hundred millions. At Paris,
where the transactions are certainly more extensive than in New York,
the discounts of the Bank of France, in 1831, amounted to 223 million
francs, and in 1832 to 151 millions.[G] The amount of the discounts
of the Philadelphia banks, in 1831, was 150 millions. A general shock
to credit, however transient, is here more terrible than the most
frightful earthquake.

If I did not fear to lengthen out this letter beyond measure, I would
give some details concerning the struggle between the two parties,
concerning their tactics and their measures in Congress and out of it,
concerning Mr Clay's speeches and General Jackson's home thrusts. But I
think it more important at present, to call your attention to the part
which the Bank of the United States has played since its establishment,
and to the causes which stirred up against it that mass of hatred
and distrust, from which General Jackson derives confidence in his
measures. For it is not merely his own dislike that he gratifies;
from the last elections, which in almost all the States are based on
universal suffrage, it is plain that the numerical majority of the
population is, at this moment, opposed to the Bank.

The Americans had already used and abused systems of credit while under
the English rule. As soon as they had achieved their independence,
they became bolder in their enterprises, more sanguine, or, if you
please, more rash in their speculations. They stood in great need of
credit; the number of banks was multiplied, and many abuses crept in.
The State legislatures made no difficulty in granting bank-charters
to whoever asked for them, and in this respect they have not changed
their practice. If they imposed some restraints, they had no means of
ascertaining or securing their strict observance. The banks, therefore,
often issued an amount of bills wholly disproportionate to their
real capital, not merely twice or thrice, but ten times the value
of their specie and other means. The originators of the bank often
chose themselves directors, and discounted no paper but their own, or
rather they lent to themselves the whole circulation of the bank, on
the bare deposit of the bank shares. This was an ingenious process to
enable whoever pleased to coin current money, without ingots of gold
or silver. The mismanagement of these banking companies has sometimes
been such, that instances have occurred where the officers of the
bank have, on their own authority, opened a credit for themselves,
and generally admitted their friends to share in the privilege. Thus
it was discovered, that the cashier of the City Bank in Baltimore had
lent himself 166,548 dollars, and had made loans to one of his friends
to the amount of 185,382 dollars; all the other officers had taken the
same liberty, with the exception of one clerk and the porter.

The banks abusing the privilege of issuing bills, that is to say of
making loans, individuals abused the privilege of borrowing; hence
mad speculations, and consequently losses by the lender and borrower.
The banks cloaked theirs by new issues of paper, individuals theirs
by new loans; but there were many failures of speculators, and some
of banks. The latter excited the public indignation without reforming
any one. The honest and moderate working classes, the farmers[H]
and mechanics, who found that in the end they were the dupes of the
speculators, since by the depreciation of the paper money, which they
had taken as so much specie, they came in for a share of the loss,
but had no part in the gain, that is, in the dividends, conceived a
violent hatred against the banking system. To this particular cause
of dislike, was added that aversion which may be found in Europe and
everywhere else, felt by persons of methodical habits, gaining little
by hard labour, but gaining regularly, against those who are impatient
to make their fortune, and to make it at all events, and who waste
what they make in the most unbounded luxury and by the most foolish
enterprises, in less time than they have been in acquiring it. Then
there was the natural jealousy of simplicity against cunning, of slow
and heavy minds against the shrewd penetration of others. There was
also that suspicious distrust of all new influences, and all power that
aims to strike its roots deep, a distrust, which is essential to the
American, and which is the source, explanation, and safeguard of his
republican institutions. In short, in 1811, when the old Bank of the
United States, which was on a much smaller scale than the present Bank,
petitioned Congress for a renewal of its charter, an appeal was made to
the farmers and mechanics, and, as at the present day, the hobgoblin of
_a new aristocracy, and the worst of all, an aristocracy of money_, was
summoned up; the petition was not granted.

Soon after, in 1812, war broke out between England and the United
States. The natural effect of war is to diminish confidence, to
make the merchants timid, speculators cautious. Most of the banks,
having been managed with little prudence in better times, were soon
unable to meet the call for specie by the public; they solicited and
obtained from their respective legislatures leave to suspend specie
payments. Their bills had a forced circulation. At the peace of 1815
the banks were not able to resume specie payments, and the system of
inconvertible paper money was persevered in. Imagine then two hundred
and forty-six classes of paper money,[I] circulating side by side,
having all degrees of value, according to the good or bad credit of the
bank which issued them, at 20 per cent., 30 per cent., or 50 per cent.
discount. Gold and silver had entirely disappeared; there was no longer
any standard of price and value; the amount of bills in circulation
had become prodigious.[J] To the bills of the banks was added a great
amount of individual obligations of still less value, issued by private
persons as suited their wants, and which circulated more or less freely
in the neighbourhood. It was a frightful scene of confusion, a Babel,
where all business became impracticable from the utter impossibility of
the parties understanding each other.

It was now felt that, to restore order in the bosom of this chaos,
there was needed a regulating power, capable of commanding confidence,
with ample funds to enable it to pay out specie freely, and whose
presence and, in case of necessity, whose authority, should serve to
recall the local banks to their duty. In 1816, the present Bank of the
United States was, therefore, chartered by Congress for a term of 20
years, with a capital of 35 millions, and it went into operation on the
1st of January, 1817. The seat of the mother-bank is Philadelphia, and
it has 25 branches scattered over the Union. By its interference and
assistance specie payments were resumed by the New York, Philadelphia,
Baltimore, Richmond, Norfolk Banks on the 20th February, 1817, and
in course of time all the other Banks followed the example. This
resumption of specie payments was, first for the banks and then for
individuals, the signal, the occasion, the rule of a general settling
up of old accounts. As there had been much prodigality, unsuccessful
speculations, and dead loss, accumulated through a period of 20 years,
there was now a complete breaking up; many banks failed or suspended
their operations, and from 1811 to 1830, 165 banks were reduced to one
or the other of these alternatives. This state of things lasted three
years; they were three years of crisis, three years of suffering for
industry, that is, for the people of the United States; for this people
is identified with its commerce. The trials of this period have left a
deep and lasting impression. Hatred of speculators and of the Banking
system has taken root in the hearts of the mass of the people, and now
springs up in hostility to the Bank of the United States, which, in the
eyes of the multitude, is the representative of the system, although
it is itself innocent of the mischief, and can alone prevent its
recurrence.

The antipathy of the greatest number against the banks has then a
reasonable cause, but it is not, therefore, any the less blind and
unjust. They see nothing but abuses, and shut their eyes against the
advantages. The great extension of credit, which resulted from the
great number of banks, and from the absence of all restraint on their
proceedings, has been beneficial to all classes, to the farmers and
mechanics not less than to the merchants. The banks have served the
Americans as a lever to transfer to their soil, to the general profit,
the agriculture and manufactures of Europe, and to cover their country
with roads, canals, factories, schools, churches, and, in a word, with
every thing that goes to make up civilization. Without the banks, the
cultivator could not have had the first advances, nor the implements
necessary for the cultivation of his farm, and if the credit system has
given facilities for stock-jobbing to speculators, it has also enabled
him, although indirectly, to buy at the rate of one, two, or three
dollars an acre, and to cultivate lands, which are now, in his hands,
worth tenfold or a hundred fold their first cost. The mechanics who
attack the banking system, forget that they owe to it that growth of
manufacturing industry, which has raised their wages from one dollar
to two dollars a day. They forget that it furnishes the means by which
many of their number raise themselves to competence or wealth; for in
this country every enterprising man, of a respectable character, is
sure of obtaining credit, and thenceforth his fortune depends upon his
own exertions.[K]

At the end of 1819, commerce revived, the financial system of the
United States seemed settled on a sure basis. Since that time, some
shocks have been felt, as in 1822, and in 1825, the latter the reaction
of the great English crisis, but in both cases the storm soon passed
away. The root of the evil was struck on the day that the Bank of the
United States went into operation. This great establishment, which
committed some errors at first and paid the penalty, has for a long
time been conducted with the most consummate prudence. Most of the
leading commercial men, that is to say, most of the talents, of the
country are attached to it as directors, and its foreign correspondents
or associates are the houses whose credit is most firmly established,
such as the Barings of London, and the Hottinguers of Paris. It
exercises the necessary control over all the local banks, obliges them
to restrain their emissions by calling upon them for specie, or by
refusing to receive their bills when the issues are excessive. It was
by its agency that the currency of the United States was established
on so large a basis, that, in 1831, the banks were able, without any
effort, to discount the amount of 800,000,000 dollars, in the principal
cities of the Union, or 1,100,000,000 for the whole country.

Now, this state of prosperity seems to be coming to an end. Here, in
New York, the banks have ceased to discount, and on good paper, for two
or three months, 15, 18, and 24 per cent. per annum have been paid, the
usual rate of the Bank of the United States, and of most of the local
banks, being 6 per cent. At Philadelphia, 18 per cent. per annum has
been given on excellent paper at short dates. At Baltimore, merchants
of great wealth have been obliged to stop payment. Nobody buys;
nobody can sell. Orders for foreign goods are held back; and as every
body here is engaged in business, this state of things threatens all
interests, is the subject of all conversations, of all writing, and of
all thoughts. God grant that the sight of the impending danger may calm
the passions, and that the good sense of the community may banish empty
prejudices and false fears! God grant that both parties may forget
their mutual animosities in their anxiety for the common welfare! This
should be our prayer, not only for the sake of the destinies of this
great nation, but also because our silk manufacturers and the owners of
our vineyards, will pay a part of the expenses of the campaign against
the banks in general, which the radical party is about to open, by a
mortal contest, with the Bank of the United States.

FOOTNOTES:

[G] The maximum of the discounts of the Bank of France was in 1810,
when it amounted to 710 million francs. In 1813, they were 640
millions, in 1826, 689 millions; at these two periods the Bank made a
great effort to sustain commerce. It had less courage in the crisis of
1831-32.

[H] The Americans have retained the English word _farmer_, which
properly signifies one who cultivates a hired soil, _fermier_, although
among them the cultivators are proprietors.

[I] The number of banks at that time.

[J] There was more paper in circulation in 1816 than in 1834, when the
extent and value of business were very much greater.

[K] The mechanics and farmers have no credit open at the banks, but
the traders from whom they buy their tools, implements, raw material,
and provisions, having that advantage, are able to deal with them
on favourable terms; the farmer and mechanic are thus benefitted
indirectly, if not immediately, by the banks.



LETTER IV.

DEMOCRACY--THE BANK.


                                    NEW YORK, JANUARY 11, 1834.

The financial crisis brought on by the quarrel between the President
and the Bank, has not become more serious; there is a great scarcity
of money, that is, a great diminution of credit, but the failures
are not yet numerous or considerable. The last arrivals from Europe
have brought us the news that several of the trades in Paris and at
Lyons have refused to work. What is taking place here in regard to the
Bank, is analogous to what is passing in France among the tailors,
bakers, and carpenters, and what occurs daily in England among the
manufacturing operatives. In Europe, and particularly in France, it
is the rising of a democracy or rather a radicalism, which is yet in
embryo, and which, if it please God, will never come to maturity. In
America, it is the despotic humour of a full grown democracy, passing
more and more into radicalism, the longer it rules without a rival and
without a counterpoise.

It seems to me improbable that the journeymen carpenters, tailors,
and bakers of Paris, should ever give the law to their masters. Among
us, the middling class (_bourgeoisie_) is beginning to feel that it
is its duty to improve the condition of the working class. It has the
authority, but it is conscious that the people has the physical force.
The people has counted its own ranks and those of the _bourgeoisie_,
but it feels that it is not enough to have the number; it sees that it
has nothing to expect from violence, and that it can back its friends
only by improved habits of order and morality. On both sides their
reciprocal rights are mutually acknowledged; each fears and respects
the other. Here, on the contrary, it is perfectly natural that the
democracy should rule the capitalists, merchants, and manufacturers;
it possesses at once the physical force and the political power; the
middling and upper classes inspire it neither with fear nor with
respect. The equilibrium is gone; there is no guarantee against the
popular caprice in the United States, but the good sense of the people;
it must be allowed that this good sense is quite extraordinary, but
it is not infallible. A popular despotism is as easily deluded by
flatterers, as any other despotism.

The Bank of the United States is at this time experiencing the truth of
this observation. I have already alluded to some of the crying abuses
which have excited a violent hatred against the banks in general,
although without the aid of the banks it would have been impossible
for the United States to have increased in population, wealth, and
territory as they have done. These abuses were and are the acts of
the local banks, and not of the Mammoth Bank. On the contrary, the
latter, by the control which it exercises over the local banks for
its own security, checks and limits these abuses, if it does not
completely prevent them. The legislatures of the different States have
been repeatedly called to deliberate on the question of abolishing
all banks and breaking up the banking system; but they have generally
thought, and justly, that the remedy would be worse than the disease.
They have attempted to cure the disorder by restrictive provisions in
the charter of new banks. The State of of New York, in 1829, embraced
the whole subject in the Safety-Fund Act, which established a mutual
supervision of the banks over each other, under the direction of the
Bank Commissioners, and creates at their common expense a safety fund,
designed to indemnify the public in case of the failure of any one
of the banks. But these measures of repression or prevention have
generally proved inefficacious, either from a defect in the means of
coercion possessed by the government, or from a reluctance to use the
powers conferred by the laws.

In their report of the 31st of January, 1833, the New York Bank
Commissioners urgently call the attention of the legislature to the
serious dangers which may result from these institutions as they are
now organized, particularly in the country, and to their excessive
issues in proportion to the small quantity of specie in their vaults.
With two millions in specie, the banks of the State had, at that time,
a circulation of above twelve millions. But this report itself proves,
that the commissioners did not dare to fulfil the duties imposed on
them by the Safety-Fund act; they had the authority to shut up the
offending banks. Their warnings have not prevented the legislature from
chartering new banks by the dozen. This year it will have to act on 105
petitions for charters, that is, eighteen more than the actual number
of banks in the State. To be sure in the present instance, the _let
alone_ principle will probably be violated, for the Governor's Message
of January 7, 1834, urges the two houses to arrest the flood. This Bank
mania, as Jefferson called it, is created by the profits of banking,
which is, and more especially was, before the institution of the Bank
of the United States, the best kind of speculation, exactly in the
ratio of the abuses attending it.[L]

In the local banks, especially in the country banks, the chief aim
of the president and directors is, at all events, come what may, to
make the semi-annual dividend as large as possible. By extending their
operations excessively, they may, if they lose the public confidence,
be driven to a failure; but in the United States the prospect of such a
disaster is much less terrible to the greater number of merchants, and
even to the smaller companies, than it is in Europe. (See _Note_ 7, at
the end of the volume.) When a bank fails, there is, indeed, a great
outcry, because the number of victims is large, and the loss extends to
all classes; for most of the bills being of the denomination of five
dollars and under, they are very generally distributed in the hands
of the labourers, as well as of the wealthier classes. But just in
proportion to the distribution of the loss over the greater number of
persons, is the quickness with which the clamor ceases. The president,
the cashier, the directors, and others principally interested, readily
find means to recover from the blow, by obtaining credit elsewhere, and
the whole affair is at an end.

The Bank of the United States, on the contrary, directed by men of
large fortune and established reputation, connected in business with
the principal houses in Europe, charged with a vast responsibility,
subject to the supervision of the Federal government, which names five
of the directors out of twentyfive, and officiously watched by an army
of journalists, is interested and obliged to follow another course.
Not that it has not committed some errors; but it paid dear for them,
and has never repeated them. Neither are its rules and regulations
perfect; the experience of twenty years will doubtless suggest some
modifications. But even its adversaries admit that it has been
admirably managed. They pretended, at first, that the public money was
not safe in its vaults, but they are at present ashamed to insist upon
this point, as the investigation made by the House of Representatives
proved the absurdity of the charge. The accusations now brought against
it are of a political character.

Politically considered, indeed, the existence of an institution
so powerful as the Bank of the United States may present some
inconveniences. The fundamental maxim of the Federal and State
constitutions is, that the supreme authority is null and void; there is
no government here in the true sense of the word; that is, no directing
power. Each one is his own master; it is self-government in all its
purity. This anomalous and monstrous development of the individual
principle is no evil here, it is even a great good at present; it
is the present stage in the progress of the United States, because
self-government is the only form of government to which the American
character, as it is, can accommodate itself. If individuality had not
free elbow-room here, this people would fall short of its destiny,
which is to extend its conquests rapidly over an immense territory,
for the good of the whole human race, to substitute, in the shortest
time possible, civilization for the solitude of the primitive forests,
over a surface ten times greater than all France, of as great average
fertility as that country, and capable, therefore, of accommodating 350
millions of inhabitants.

From these considerations it is clear, that any power whatsoever, if
possessed of great influence, and exercising it over a great space,
would be inconsistent with the political system of the country; for
this reason the Federal and State governments are in a permanent state
of eclipse. And it is furthermore evident, that the Bank, which is met
at every turn as an agent in all transactions, which governs credit,
regulates the currency, animates or checks at will the activity of
commerce by narrowing or widening the channels of circulation, the
Bank, which by its numerous branches is, like the fabled polypus,
everywhere present, the Bank with its funds, its centralisation,
its trusty creatures, is certainly an anomaly, which may become big
with danger. One might, from an abstract, theoretical point of view,
imagine cases, in which this financial colossus, seated in the heart
of a country absorbed in business, would press with a crushing weight
on the liberties of the people. If it were possible that a new Monk
should wish to restore the English rule, or that a new Bonaparte, the
saviour of the republic in another Marengo, should attempt to make
himself dictator, it would also be possible that a conspiracy between
the Bank and this Monk, or this Napoleon, might overthrow the liberties
of America. But such an event, possible to be sure in theory, (for in
theory nothing is impossible,) is, at present, wholly impracticable
in fact. Yet there are honest and enlightened men, on whom this
theoretical danger makes more impression, than the necessity of a
regulator amidst the chaos of 500 banks, or of an agent, which, by
controlling the currency, should be in financial affairs, what the vast
rivers of the country are in the system of internal communication. They
fear more, for this land of industry, from the imperceptible tyranny of
the Bank, than from a system in which there would be no check on the
cupidity of the local banks, and in which they might renew, with their
paper money, if not the _assignats_ of France, of the Continental money
of the Revolution, at least the commercial anarchy which followed the
war of 1812.

Unluckily for the United States, it is not on this high ground of
foresight, that President Jackson and his friends take their stand in
their attack on the Bank. They do not say, that it is possible that
it may some time, under a new state of things, become an instrument
of oppression; they pretend that it is so already. According to them,
it tends to nothing less than the subjugation of the country to its
rule. In his last annual message, and in an official paper read to the
cabinet on the 18th of September, 1833, the President accuses the Bank:
1. With having intrigued to bring up the question of the renewal of its
charter in Congress during the session of 1831-32, in order to reduce
him to the alternative of giving his sanction to the bill, or losing
the votes of the friends of the Bank in the approaching election,
if he refused it. He forgets that he had himself, in his message at
the opening of that session, recommended to Congress to settle the
business. 2. Of having meddled with politics in opposing his election
in 1832, and of having, with this purpose, enlarged its loans and
discounts twenty-eight and a half millions. The Bank replies that the
statement is incorrect; that its books show, that its available means
having been augmented, between January and May, 1831, ten millions,
and the requisitions of commerce having increased, it had judged
it expedient to extend its credits seventeen and a half millions,
so that the actual extension of its operations was only four and a
half millions. 3. Of having attempted to corrupt the public press,
either by printing a great number of pamphlets, or by gaining over the
newspapers. The Bank answers to this charge, that it has a perfect
right to defend itself by the press, against the continual attacks upon
it to which the press gives currency, that it may certainly be allowed
to reprint the speeches delivered in its favor in Congress, or essays
in which questions of banking are luminously treated, such as that
by the celebrated Mr Gallatin, who was twelve years Secretary of the
Treasury, and afterward minister to France. As to the vague imputation
of attempting to corrupt a press, which pours forth such a number of
journals as the press of the United States, (see _Note_ 8, at the end
of the volume,) it does not deserve a serious answer.

If a European government, from motives of this character, on facts thus
destitute of proof, should attempt to destroy an institution essential
to the prosperity of the country, the cry of despotism would be raised
on all sides. If the state were itself interested in the institution
to the amount of one fifth of its capital (7 millions of dollars),
many persons would charge such an attempt not only with violence, but
with folly. In the United States the numerical majority, which is the
majority of electors, applauded General Jackson's campaign against the
Bank almost as enthusiastically as his campaign at New Orleans. The
military success of General Jackson, his honesty, his iron firmness,
have given him an astonishing popularity. The Bank, on the contrary,
in spite of its daily services, (see _Note_ 9, at the end of the
volume,) is unpopular; it is so on account of the popular hatred of
the Banking System, on account of that jealousy, which, in a land of
perfect equality and suspicious democracy, follows in the steps of
wealth and pomp; it is so because its extensive privileges shock all
republican feelings. In the United States, in spite of the general
habits and laws of equality, there is a sort of aristocracy founded
on knowledge or on commercial distinction. This aristocracy, somewhat
prone to entertain a contempt for the vulgar multitude, causes a strong
reaction against itself in the popular mind, and as it supports the
Bank by its influence and its writings, this is enough, of itself, to
set the pure democracy against the institution. Add to this, that the
Bank, irritated by the hostile demonstrations of the administration,
has sometimes answered it by angry acts of reprisal, not grave in
themselves, but unfortunate in their consequences, and of which its
adversaries have adroitly availed themselves to excite the popular
passions. Although the Bank has the majority of the Senate in its
favor, the chances are now against it. Unless the multitude, which now
shouts HURRAH FOR JACKSON! without reflection, shall be led, between
this and March, 1836, when its charter expires, to reflect seriously on
the matter, it will disappear, until a new experience shall again prove
that it is impossible to get along without it.

Thus, at the very moment when the English Reform ministry is renewing
the charter and confirming the privileges of the Bank of England,
with the approbation of all Europe, here a compact mass, in which,
indeed, the enlightened do not form the majority, but in which,
notwithstanding, some are included, deals the death-blow to a similar
institution, tried and proved by long services. Thus, while one of the
greatest, perhaps, in an economical point of view, the very greatest
of the benefits which France could receive, would be the establishment
of a system of banks, connected with each other as the twenty branches
of the Bank of the United States are with the mother bank, America
is about to witness, if not the death, at least the suspension of
an institution, that has been fruitful of so much good, without the
slightest immediate loss of popularity by those who are doing the work
of destruction. So goes the world in the United States. The history of
this affair shows that the political springs are here wholly different
from those that operate in Europe, and that nevertheless, intrigue and
petty hate have free course here as well as elsewhere.

FOOTNOTES:

[L] The dividends of the Bank of North America were, in 1792, 15 per
cent.; in 1793, 13 1-2; from 1794 to 1799 inclusive, 12 per cent.;
from 1804 to 1810, 9 per cent. Those of the old Bank of the United
States varied from 7 5-8 to 10 per cent. Those of the Pennsylvania
Bank, from 1792 to 1810, from 8 to 10. The Bank of the United States
regularly divides 7 per cent. to the share-holders. In the city of New
York the average dividends of the banks in 1832, was 6.14 per cent.;
of the country banks 9 per cent. It must not be forgotten that the
legal rate of interest is higher in the United States than in Europe;
it is 6 per cent. in Pennsylvania, 7 in New York, from 8 to 9 in the
Southern States, and 10 in Louisiana. In the Western States there is no
regulation of interest by law, but the ordinary rate is very high.



LETTER V.

MOVEMENT OF PARTIES.--BANK QUESTION.


                                    PHILADELPHIA, JAN. 5, 1834.

Of all the cities of the Union, the peaceful Philadelphia is the most
disturbed by the Bank question, because it is the seat of the mother
bank. The State of Pennsylvania also, of all the States, suffers the
most from the financial crisis, because it is the most deeply in
debt, and is obliged to borrow more, either to finish its canals and
railroads, or to pay the interest on its existing debt. Conceive of
the situation of a State, whose population amounts to only 1,500,000
souls, loaded with a debt of twenty and a half millions, whose ordinary
expenditures are less than 600,000 dollars, but which must raise one
million to pay interest already accrued, and nearly two millions and
a half, for the next summer, under penalty of seeing her great works,
executed at an enormous expense, go to ruin, and who knows not whither
to turn. This is not all; some old loans must be reimbursed next
May, or in three months, and, to crown the whole, the capitalists who
contracted last year for a loan of three millions, to be employed on
the public works, are, in consequence of the present crisis, unable
to fulfil their contracts. The local banks, which are bound by their
charters to lend the State at the rate of 5 per cent., rather stand
in need of assistance themselves. To these public embarrassments is
added the private distress, and thus this country, which Cobbett,
who always shows talent, and occasionally gleams of good sense,
dubs the _Anti-Malthusian_, exhibits for the present the spectacle
of a superabundance of labourers. In the manufacturing districts of
Pennsylvania, many of the operatives are without work.

The condition of the rest of the country is not, in general, any more
favorable. I am very ready to believe that the Anti-Jackson newspapers,
for so they call themselves, exaggerate the distress; but making
all due allowance for rhetorical flourishes, it is still undeniable
that there is much distress, especially among the commercial class.
Bare figures are more eloquent than the best advocates of the Bank,
and it is a notorious fact, that excellent paper has been discounted
at the rate of 18 per cent. per annum, and at even higher rates, in
New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore. The price currents and the
state of the stock-market, show a general fall in prices of 15, 20,
30, and even 40 per cent. Thus far the efforts of the President to
fell the hydra of the moneyed aristocracy, the Mammoth, the Monster,
have had no other effect than to blast credit and the commercial
prosperity of the country; for the Bank has been administered with so
much ability, especially since the presidency of Mr Biddle, one of
the most distinguished men in the country, that notwithstanding the
abrupt removal of the public deposits, notwithstanding the unexpected
and unfair assaults upon some of the branches, particularly that of
Savannah[M], it is beyond comparison the most solvent and safe of all
the financial institutions in the Union. At this critical moment it
has as much specie (ten millions) as all the other 500 banks taken
together, and I know from good authority, that many Jackson men (this
is the epithet adopted by themselves), have been very glad to be
sprinkled with a few drops of the _venom_ of this dangerous _reptile_.

If what is now taking place in this country were to occur in any
European monarchy, those persons who insist upon all nations having a
government cast in the republican mould, whatever may be the condition
of their territory and population, their wealth and knowledge, their
character and manners, would not fail to make it the text of their
harangues against monarchical governments; holding up to view the
picture of an unparallelled commercial prosperity, checked of a sudden
by the caprice of the sovereign, they would prove that such is one of
the unavoidable consequences of an opposition between the interest of
the ruler and the welfare of the nation; they would demonstrate by
geometrical syllogisms, that it is the essence of monarchy to place
authority in the hands of the weak and the foolish, who, to gratify
their personal malice, would not hesitate to hazard the happiness of
millions. They would raise the cry of secret influence, of intrigue,
which, according to them, is one of the attributes of monarchies.
Unluckily for this theory, it is belied by facts under my own eyes,
in the most thorough and flourishing republic that has ever existed.
The selfishness of royalty, or more correctly speaking of courts, has
hitherto begot much mischief and will continue to do so in future; but
it has met with its match in the bosom of republics, and above all
under a system of _absolute_ equality, which distributes political
power in _absolutely_ equal quantities to the intelligent and the
ignorant, to the most eminent merchant and author, and the brutal
and drunken peasant of Ireland, who is but just enrolled in the list
of citizens. An _absolute_ people, as well as an _absolute_ king,
may reject for a time the lessons of experience and the councils of
wisdom; a people as well as a king, may have its courtiers. A people on
the throne, whose authority is limited by no checks, may blindly and
recklessly espouse the quarrels of the minions of the day; let those
who doubt it come here and see it. Ignorance of the true interests
of the country is not the exclusive prerogative of monarchies. The
official papers of the Federal Executive in the affair of the Bank,
so far as concerns a knowledge of the principles of government and
the springs of the public welfare, are on a level with the measures
of the government of Spain or Rome. And yet this Executive is the
creature of the popular choice in the largest sense. It is not merely
in monarchies, that a dancer is to be seen in the post that belongs
to a mathematician. The camarilla! Never have I heard it so much
talked about, as since I have been in this country. It is here called
the _Kitchen Cabinet_, and admitting a fourth of what is said by
the opposition to be true, it is difficult not to believe that its
influence upon public affairs is greater than that of the ministerial
cabinet.

But to return to the Bank. Congress met on the 3d of December; and most
of the State Legislatures are now in session. Every where, and above
all in Congress, the great, not to say the only question agitated, is
that of the Bank. The subject of the discussions is the removal of the
public deposits, which the President has withdrawn from the Bank after
a military fashion, having previously, in the same spirit, removed from
office the Secretary of the Treasury, Mr Duane, who, although opposed
to the Bank, considered the President's course illegal and rash.
Thus far, the manifestations of public opinion and the deliberative
assemblies are extremely various and discordant. In New Jersey, a small
and unimportant State, the Assembly has adopted, by a large majority,
resolutions approving the acts of the administration, and instructing
its delegates in Congress to support the President; notwithstanding
which, Mr Southard, one of the Senators from that State, has made an
excellent speech on the other side of the question. The Assembly of New
York, the first State in wealth and population, has adopted similar
resolutions by a vote of 118 to 9. Some persons to be sure, assert that
this is because New York would like to have the Mother Bank.[N] The
youthful State of Ohio, whose growth borders on the miraculous (it now
contains eleven hundred thousand inhabitants, although but 50 years
ago it had not six thousand), Ohio, the Benjamin of the democracy, has
strongly expressed the same wishes. The little State of Maine has done
the same. The administration party lately had a brilliant opportunity
of displaying its sympathies and its hatred. The 8th of January, the
anniversary of the battle of New Orleans, was celebrated by innumerable
public dinners, at each of which numerous toasts were drank. President
Jackson was the hero, and the Bank was the scape-goat, of the day. It
would be impossible to imagine the flood of accusations, insults, and
threats, which was poured upon it, mingled with jests in the taste of
the country upon Mr Biddle; thus, at one of these dinners, the Bank was
toasted, as being _governed by Young Nick according to the principles
of Old Nick_.

But the population of New England, particularly that of Massachusetts,
is opposed to the administration. In Virginia the same opinions seems
to prevail, and it is the same with several of the old Southern States.
The merchants and manufacturers of New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore,
Boston, and a hundred other places, have held meetings and adopted
resolutions, strongly censuring the conduct of the government towards
the Bank, and accusing it of having caused the present crisis. Most of
the Philadelphia Banks have petitioned in favor of the Bank. Several
Banks at Boston and in Virginia have refused to take the public money
in deposit; those of Charleston have been unanimous in this measure.
The majority of persons of intelligence, experience, and moderation,
and most of the merchants and manufacturers, are in favour of the Bank.
The country, particularly in the Middle and Western States, and the
operatives in the towns, go for General Jackson.

In Congress the majority of the Senate is friendly to the Bank, and
the majority of the House is on the side of the Administration. The
superiority in debate belongs to the defenders of the Bank. In the
Senate, the three greatest statesmen in the country, Messrs Clay,
Webster, and Calhoun, are on this side of the question, and the
speeches of Messrs Clay and Calhoun have made a strong impression. In
the House Mr Binney, of Philadelphia, and Mr McDuffie have pleaded
the same cause with ability. On the other side there has been more
highflown declamation than reasoning. I have been struck with the
resemblance between most of the speeches and newspaper essays directed
against the Bank, and our republican tirades of 1791 and 1792. There
are the same declamatory tone, the same swollen style, the same appeal
to the popular passions, with this difference, that the allegations
made here are vague, empty, and indefinite, while with us fifty years
ago the grievances were real. Most generally the pictures presented
in these declamations, are fantastical delineations of the moneyed
aristocracy overrunning the country with seduction, corruption, and
slavery in its train; or of Mr Biddle aiming at the crown. Amidst
this swarm of speeches and essays, one hardly ever meets with any
indications of serious study or a tolerable knowledge of the subject;
but I have been struck with the speech of Mr Cambreleng, who has
put forth some prudent suggestions as to the reforms required in
the present system of banking. For it must be confessed, that this
animosity of the President and the body of the people against the Bank
of the United States, blind and unreasonable as it is, is founded on
a real necessity, namely, that of a complete reorganization of the
banking system. When Congress renewed the charter of the Bank of the
United States without modification, in 1832, it committed an error.
It should have seized this opportunity to place the currency of the
country on a more solid basis; and if General Jackson had abode by
the terms of his veto message, in which he declared that he was not
opposed in principle to the establishment of a National Bank, but that
the present Bank could not be retained without some modification, he
might have become the benefactor of his country. He would not, indeed,
have received Cobbett's congratulations, but he would have obtained
the approbation of all statesmen and men of sense in the Old and the
New World. However, whatever his friends may say, as the President did
not foresee the distress, which has befallen American commerce, and as
nobody can doubt his patriotism, we need need not yet despair of seeing
him adopt this wise course.

The present crisis abundantly proves the wretched condition of the
currency, for the original cause of it was quite slight; it was merely
the transfer from the vaults of one bank to those of another of ten
millions, an inconsiderable sum relatively to the amount of the
business of the country. If the local banks, in spite of the control
exercised by the Bank of the United States, had not previously passed
all bounds, they would have been able, when the Bank of the United
States was obliged to contract its discounts by the withdrawing of the
public money, to have enlarged their own in the same proportion, since
those same funds were transferred to their vaults. But the framework of
these banks is so badly put together, that it shakes at the slightest
breath. The slight motion in the political and commercial atmosphere
caused by the President's blow at the Bank, in removing the public
deposits, was enough to make them totter. They are like a colossus with
clay feet, which should have feet of gold, or in other words, specie in
their vaults.

The proportion of metals, of which we have an excess in France, is
here extremely small. In many States, among others New York, there
is an enormous quantity of bills of one, two, and three dollars. In
South Carolina there are 25 cent, and even 12 1-2 cent bills. In
Pennsylvania, Virginia, and some other States, there are none of less
than five dollars. The Bank of the United States emits none of less
than that sum; but this minimum is too low. Most political economists,
and particularly the English, lay it down as an axiom, that the most
perfect money is paper; this is true, if we suppose a nation in which
any disturbance of industry, in consequence or apprehension of war,
from foolish speculations, from glut or panic, is impossible. In such a
land of cockayne, such a terrestrial paradise, an unshaken confidence
would prevail in all transactions, and consolidate all interests. The
metals would only serve to strike medals and to preserve inscriptions
intended to commemorate this ineffable bliss. Paper would there be on a
par with gold, and even higher, as some English writers have maintained
it should be. I do not know if there will ever be a nation in such a
state of heavenly happiness; but I doubt it, because in the world of
finance, as well as in the world of passion, I consider the Tender
River a fable, and pastorals a sport of fancy; but it is very evident
that no such people exists now, or will for some time to come. Now in
the United States, the present banking system, like that of England
from 1797 to 1821, or even 1825, is founded on this theory of the most
perfect money. It is provided, indeed, that the banks shall pay gold
for their paper on demand; but by the side of this clause, which tends
to keep a certain quantity of the metals in the country, is inserted
another, which neutralises it; it is the power of emitting bills in any
number, and of the sum of 1, 2, 3, or 5 dollars. In prosperous times,
the emission of paper is abundant, indefinite; as the necessity of a
metallic standard ceases to be felt, in proportion to the confidence
which prevails, the metals disappear before the excess of paper; there
is scarcely any left in the country. Since I have been in the United
States, I have not seen a piece of gold except in the mint. No sooner
is it struck off, than the gold is exported to Europe and melted down.
When a crisis comes on, the demand for the precious metals increases
rapidly, because every one attaches more value to a positive standard
than to paper, and the later the application of the remedy for the
scarcity of metals, the longer does the crisis last, and the more
serious does it become.

In a new country, where capital cannot, of course, be abundant,
for capital of all kinds, whether of articles of food or precious
metals, is the accumulated produce of labour, it is natural, that the
proportion of paper money should equal and surpass that of metallic
money. The existence of paper money is even a great benefit to any
country. In France we have the enormous sum of 600 million dollars in
specie; (see _Note_ 10, at the end of the volume); in the United States
40 millions are sufficient for all the transactions of a commerce
nearly as extensive as our own. In England the amount of specie at
present does not exceed 220 millions, mostly in gold. Bank notes in
circulation, which constitute the rest of the currency, amount at this
time, in the United States, to 100 million, that is, two and a half
times the amount of specie; in England to about the same as the specie,
which gives for the whole circulation of

  The United States,    140 millions--
  Of England,           440 millions.

If we had in France the industrial habits of the English and
Anglo-Americans, 200 millions of circulating medium, half in paper
and half in specie, would probably be sufficient for our operations;
but considering our commercial inferiority, suppose that we should
require 300 millions, of which two thirds should be metallic, and one
third paper, it would follow that we might advantageously employ 400
millions, which are now unproductive in the form of specie, and which
add nothing to our pleasures, our comfort, or our industrial capacity.
But if we might expect great benefit from banks of circulation and the
paper which they would issue, it is evident that the Americans, in the
present stage of their wealth, and considering their actual capital,
would find their advantage in putting some check upon themselves in
this matter. It might then be proper to raise the minimum of bills of
the Bank of the United States to 10, 15, or 20 dollars, as in England
there is no paper less than the five pound note. The National Bank, if
it were powerful enough, would keep the local banks in check, and for
this reason it is expedient to increase the capital. There would then
be specie enough in the country for all purposes less than the paper
minimum, and in case of any disturbance, the currency would be less
readily deranged.

Nor is this the only point in which the charter of the Bank of the
United States requires modification; its relations with the Federal
government, as well as with the State governments, need to be modified;
and some projects worthy of consideration, in this view, have been
broached. It would also, probably, be expedient, as Mr Cambreleng has
remarked, to change the rules and regulations relating to private
and public deposits, and to provide that in future they should bear
interest as they do in the Scotch banks. If this system were adopted
by all the American banks, they would gain in solidity, and they would
embrace the interest of all classes, and become provident institutions
for the general good; while at present, their direct profits, the
dividends, fall exclusively to the share-holders, who belong to the
wealthier classes; a fact which contributes not a little to their
unpopularity. Finally, it would be proper to consider to what degree
the immediate advantages of credit might be extended to mechanics and
farmers. In this respect the banks are yet absolutely aristocratical
institutions, the Americans having preserved in banking almost all the
usages of their ancestors, the English. The American banks are now
chiefly devoted to the use of speculators and merchants.

In the midst of so many contradictions, it is difficult to foresee what
will be the issue of the struggle. The friends of the Administration
maintain that President Jackson and Vice President Van Buren are not
only opposed to the Bank as it is, but to any National Bank, and that
they will never yield. The Globe, the avowed organ of the President,
has told Mr Clay, that unless he _can find a Brutus_ (to assassinate
General Jackson,) the Bank will neither have the deposits nor a new
charter. We may doubt, however, whether the President's mind is so
decisively made up, and after all a majority of both houses can set at
nought the _veto_. As to the Vice President, whom his opponents call
the cunning Van Buren, as he aspires to succeed the President, many
persons declare that his object is to gain the vote of the powerful
State of New York, by transferring thither the seat of the Mother Bank,
but that he is too enlightened seriously to wish the destruction of an
institution fraught with so much good to the country.

However this may be, it would be surprising if the present crisis
were not followed, sooner or later, by a reaction in favour of the
Bank of the United States with suitable modifications, or of another
National Bank, which, as Mr Webster observed, would amount to the same
thing, if the share-holders of the present Bank are not sacrificed.
The jealous democracy of this country has this advantage over other
democracies, that in the main it has much good sense; the recollection
of old sufferings caused by the abuses of the banking system, and a
jealousy of all pretensions to superiority, have led it to give ear to
much noisy declamation about the aristocracy of money, particularly
when it has been mixed up with flattery of itself. It may have been
led astray for a moment, when its own prerogatives were the subject of
discussion, as those sovereigns who assert the divine right of kings,
take fire in respect to theirs. Proud of its gigantic labours, it may
have been tempted to believe, that to it everything was possible and
easy, that it had only to frown to cause the Bank to crumble into the
dust at its feet, without being itself shaken by the shock. But facts,
positive, inexorable facts now bear witness that it was mistaken, that
it has trusted too much to its powers and its star, that the agency
of the Bank of the United States is indispensable. The influence of
facts has spread step by step even to the country people, who no longer
find buyers of their produce. The argument is palpable and effectual;
passion cannot long blind men of sense to such facts, for men of sense
are those who do not give themselves up implicitly to abstractions, and
who admit that every theory which is point blank against fact, is false
or incomplete. This is the reason why good sense is worth to the full
as much in politics, as talents.

It is worth while to observe here, that all the political difficulties
in which the United States have become involved, and which have
threatened the existence of the Union itself, have been settled
by means of what are here called compromises, and in France
_justes-milieux_. Thus was ended the serious dispute on the Missouri
question, which had well nigh set the Union in a flame. It was made a
question whether Missouri should be received into the Confederacy with
a constitution sanctioning the institution of slavery. After a long
and ineffectual debate, Mr Clay moved that Missouri should be admitted
unconditionally, but that, at the same time, it should be declared
that in future no new State lying north of 36° 30´ of latitude, should
be admitted into the Union with this institution; this proposition
was received with general favour, and the admission of Missouri was
carried. In the next session, however, a new quarrel arose between
the North and the South, more violent and bitter than the former, in
relation to an article in the constitution of Missouri, prohibiting
any free man of colour from entering the State. Another compromise,
proposed by Mr Clay, finally settled the whole question in 1821, after
it had kept the country in a flame for three years. In 1833, another
compromise was made in respect to the tariff, the honour of which also
belongs to Mr Clay. This question will sooner or later be settled in
the same manner; the Union cannot do without a National Bank, and it
will have one.

There are some lucky persons who succeed in everything, and there are
some lucky nations with whom everything turns out well, even those
events which seemed about to bury them in ruins. The United States
is one of these privileged communities. When Villeroi came back to
Versailles, after his defeat, Louis XIV. said to him, "Marshal, nobody
is lucky at our time of life." Charles V. also, as he grew old, said
that fortune was like a woman, and preferred young men to old ones.
Louis and Charles were right so far as this, that when a man, young or
old, has finished his mission, foresight, ability, and perseverance
profit him little; he fails in whatever he undertakes, whilst he who
has a mission yet to fulfil, takes new strength from the most violent
blows. This is true of nations as well as of individuals. The American
people is a young people, which has a mission to perform; nothing less
than to redeem a world from savage forests, panthers, and bears. It
moves with mighty strides towards its object, for it has not, like
the nations of Europe, the burden of a heavy past on its shoulders.
It may be checked in its career for a time by the present crisis, but
it will come out of it safe and sound, and more healthy than when it
entered it. It will come out with increased resources, with a reformed
banking system, and according to all appearances, even with an improved
National Bank. May the nations of Europe not have to wait long for
institutions, which have so powerfully assisted England and America in
their progress!

FOOTNOTES:

[M] The Savannah branch had out only 500,000 dollars in bills. The
collector of the port accumulated them, as they were received for
customs duties, and one day a broker presented himself at the counter
with 380,000 dollars in bills, for which he demanded specie; but the
disappearance of the bills of the branch from circulation had not been
unnoticed, and funds had been provided for any exigency. Payment was,
therefore, instantly made, and the broker, not knowing what to do with
so much specie, was obliged to request the cashier to receive it in
deposit.

[N] New York is the chief seat of commerce, but Philadelphia is more
central, and is, besides, the city of American capitalists. The removal
to New York would also require the transference of the mint and some
other public offices to that city, at great expense.



LETTER VI.

PROGRESS OF THE STRUGGLE.--NEW POWERS.


                                      BALTIMORE, MARCH 1, 1834.

Failures begin to be frequent in the United States, particularly in New
York and Pennsylvania; the great commercial and manufacturing houses
are shaking. Meanwhile the Senators and Representatives in Congress
are making speeches on the crisis, its causes, and consequences. Three
months have already been taken up in discussing the question, whether
the Secretary of the Treasury had or had not the right to withdraw the
public deposits from the vaults of the Bank, without that institution
having given any just cause of complaint, and merely because it was
strongly suspected of aristocratical tendencies. The resolutions which
have given rise to these debates, have been referred by the Senate to
the Committee on Finance, and by the House to the Committee of Ways
and Means. Debates will rise on the reports of these committees, on
petitions and memorials, and incidental matters, and, I am told, will
last two or three months longer. This slowness is at first glance
difficult to be understood, among a people, which, above all things,
strives to save time, and which is so much given to haste and despatch,
that its most suitable emblem would be a locomotive engine or a
steamboat, just as the Centaurs were anciently confounded with their
horses. From all the large towns of the North, committees appointed
by great public meetings, bring to Washington memorials signed by
thousands, calling for prompt and efficient measures to put an end to
the crisis. On the other hand, the partisans of the Administration
find fault with the prolixity of the legislators. The calmness, or
rather phlegm, which the Americans have inherited from their English
ancestors, is kept undisturbed in both houses of Congress, and the
solemn debate goes on. One speaker for example, Mr Benton, occupied
four sessions, four whole days, with his speech, which led Mr Calhoun
to observe, that the Senator from Missouri took up more time in
expressing his opinion on a single fact, than the French people had
done in achieving a revolution. But these interminable delays ought not
to be too lightly condemned, and for myself I only shrug my shoulders,
when I hear some impatient individuals asserting that Congress would be
more expeditious, were it not for the eight dollars a day which they
receive during the session. This delay may seem irreconcileable with
one of the distinctive traits of the American character, but in reality
is imperiously demanded by the form and spirit of the government, by
the institutions and political habits of the country.

The general discussion in Congress has no other object than to open
a full and free public inquest, which enables each and all to make
up an opinion. It gives rise to a discussion of the question by the
innumerable journals in the United States (where there are 1200
political newspapers), by the twentyfour legislatures, each composed of
two houses, and by the public meetings in the cities and towns. It is
an animated exchange of arguments of every calibre and every degree,
of contradictory resolutions, mixed up with applauses and hisses, of
exaggerated eulogies and brutal invectives. A stranger, who finds
himself suddenly thrown into the midst of this hubbub, is confounded
and stupefied; he seems to himself to be present in the primeval or the
final chaos, or at least at the general breaking up of the Union. But
after a certain time some gleams of light break forth from these thick
clouds, from the bosom of this confusion,--gleams, which the good
sense of the people hails with joy, and which light up the Congress.
We see here the realization of the _Forum_ on an immense scale, the
_Forum_ with its tumult, its cries, its pasquinades, but also with
its sure instincts, and its flashes of native and untaught genius. It
is a spectacle, in its details, occasionally prosaic and repulsive,
but, as a whole, imposing as the troubled ocean. In a country like
this, it is impossible to avoid these delays; first, because it takes
a long time to interchange words between the frontiers of Canada and
the Gulf of Mexico, and secondly, because nothing is so dangerous as
precipitation in a _Forum_, whether it only covers the narrow space
between the _Rostra_ and the Tarpeian Rock, or extends from Lake
Champlain to the mouth of the Mississippi, and from the Illinois to the
Cape of Florida. Unfortunately the session in the _Forum_ lasts longer
than usual this time. The demagogues have set the popular passions
in violent agitation; the sovereign people has allowed itself to be
magnetised by its flatterers, and it will require some time to be able
to shake off the trance. The healing beam, which will fix the gaze of
the multitude and dissipate the charm that envelopes them, has not yet
broke forth from the East, or from the West; meanwhile the merchants
and manufacturers, who are stretched upon the coals, writhe in vain;
there is no answer to their cries.

The Bank, meantime, disappears from sight and keeps silence; it
continues to attend to its own business, and prudently confines itself
to that alone. Its best policy is to avoid as much as possible making
itself the subject of common talk. The demagogues have raised such a
cry of monopoly and aristocracy, that the people have come to believe
the Bank a colossus of aristocracy, a prop of monopoly. These words
_monopoly_ and _aristocracy_ are here, what the word _Jesuits_ was in
France a few years ago; if the enemies of any institution can write
on its back this kind of _abracadabra_, it is pointed at, hooted
at, and hissed at by the multitude. Such is the magic power of these
words, that speculators employ them on all occasions as charms to draw
customers. For example, at the head of the advertisements of steamboats
you read in staring characters: NO MONOPOLY!!! It is pitiful to say
that the Bank of the United States has a monopoly, when there are no
less than five hundred other banks in the country; by this course of
reasoning one might convict the sun of enjoying a monopoly of light.
And yet the multitude has believed it, and believes it still. Now the
best policy for those against whom such a storm of unpopularity is
raised, is to run for port, as the sailors do in a gale of wind. The
Bank has twice attempted to strike a blow, by taking advantage of the
mistakes of its enemies, and both times the stroke has recoiled on
itself.

The first time, the subject of dispute was a draft on the French
government, which was sold to the Bank last year by the Federal
government, and which France refused to pay; the draft was, therefore,
protested, and then paid by the correspondent of the Bank in Paris in
honour of the endorser. In this affair the Executive of the United
States committed two faults: 1. It was an act of indiscretion to draw
on the French government, before the Chambers had made the necessary
appropriation for paying the stipulated indemnity; 2. Instead of
drawing on the French government by a bill of exchange, and selling
the bill to the Bank, without knowing whether it would be accepted,
the Executive would have conducted itself with more propriety towards
France, towards the Bank, and towards itself, if it had authorized
the Bank to receive the moneys paid by the French government, in the
capacity of its agent or attorney. By the commercial practice of all
countries, and of this in particular, the Bank had a right to damages,
and it put in its claim. Its object in taking this step, was much
more to expose the errors of the Executive, than to pocket the sum of
50,000 or 80,000 dollars. But its adversaries immediately raised the
cry, that the Bank was not contented with exacting enormous sums from
the sweat of the people to the profit of the stockholders, (observe
that the dividends of the Bank are moderate, compared with those of
other banking companies in the country, and that the Federal government
is itself the largest share-holder); but that it was now attempting,
by petty chicanery, to extort a portion of the public revenue, and to
bury the _people's money in Biddle's pockets_. To this reasoning, and
it passes for demonstration, the multitude answered by imprecations
against monopoly and the moneyed aristocracy, and by renewed shouts of
HURRAH FOR JACKSON!

A few days since we witnessed another episode of this kind. The Bank
is charged, by act of Congress, with the duty of paying the pensions
of the old soldiers of the revolution. It performs the service
gratuitously, and it is notoriously a troublesome one. It has received
several sums of money for this object, and at this moment has about
500,000 dollars in its vaults, intended for the next payments. The
Administration, desirous of transferring this agency from the Bank,
has demanded the funds, books, and papers connected with it. The Bank
replied, that it has been made the depository of this trust by act
of Congress, and that it cannot, ought not, and will not surrender
it, unless in obedience to an act of Congress. The Bank was right;
the refusal was founded in justice; but mark the consequences. Its
adversaries express the greatest sympathy for these illustrious
relics of the revolution, whom the arrogance of the Bank, as they
say, is about to plunge, at the close of their career, into the most
dreadful misery; they pour forth the most pathetic lamentations over
these glorious defenders of the country, whom a _money-corporation_
is about to strip of the provision made for their declining years by
the nation's gratitude. You may imagine all the noisy arguments and
patriotic harangues, that can be delivered on this text. On the 4th
of February, the President sent a message to Congress in the same
strain. All this is mere declamation, of the most common-place and
the most hypocritical kind; for who will prevent the deliverers of
America from duly receiving their pensions, except those who shall
refuse them drafts on the Bank, which the Bank would pay at once? But
a people under fascination is not influenced by reason, and it is at
this moment believed by the multitude that the Bank has determined to
kill the noble veterans of Independence by hunger. Once more, then,
anathemas against monopoly, hatred to the moneyed aristocracy! HURRAH
FOR JACKSON! JACKSON FOREVER!

Whenever, therefore, the Bank has allowed itself to be drawn into a
conflict, which is the enemy's country, it is pronounced to be in the
wrong, though it were ten times right. On the contrary, when it has
kept to its discounts and credits, it has always been able, without
opening its mouth, to belie the charges of its enemies, who not only
impute to it the atrocious crime of being suspected of aristocracy and
monopoly, but attribute to it now the public distress, of which they
denied the existence a few months ago, and of which they are themselves
the authors. Very lately the Bank came to the relief of several
local banks, which were in danger of failing, and a few days since
it opened its coffers liberally to Allen & Co., one of the principal
houses in the country, who, although having a capital much beyond the
amount of their debts, were obliged, by the pressure of the times, to
suspend payments; the failure of that house, which has no less than
24 branches, would have involved hundreds of others. This is the only
way in which the Bank should assume the offensive; such acts, without
a word of comment, would secure it the favour and the support of all
impartial and enlightened men, and the gratitude of the commercial
interest, much more completely than the most eloquent protests against
the measures of this or that secretary, or the most ingenious and able
defence of itself.

I am more and more convinced that the United States will reap advantage
from this crisis; sooner or later the reform of the banking system must
result from it. Very probably, the National Bank, if it is maintained,
and the local banks, will hereafter be less absolutely separated from
the Federal and State governments; that is to say, that the Federal
and local governments will assume the control of the Banks, and
consequently the banks will become a part of the governments. In this
way many of the abuses of the banking system will be reformed, and the
legitimate and just influence of the banks will be strengthened. It
would be easy to cite numerous facts, which go to prove the tendency
towards this result; thus in some of the States, the Legislatures
have established, or are occupied in establishing banks, in which the
State is a share-holder to the amount of one half or two fifths of
the capital, appoints a certain number of the directors, and reserves
to itself an important control over the operations. There are some
States, as for example, Illinois, in which every other kind of bank is
expressly forbidden by the constitution.

Republican publicists acknowledge only three classes of powers,
the executive, legislative, and judicial; but it will soon be seen
in the United States, that there is also a financial power, or at
least the banks will form a branch of government quite as efficient
as either of the others. The Bank of the United States is more
essential to the prosperity of the country than the Executive, as now
organized. The latter, conducts a little diplomatic intercourse,
well or ill, with the European powers, nominates and removes some
unimportant functionaries, manoeuvres an army of 6,000 men in the
western wilderness, adds now and then some sticks of timber to the
dozen ships of war that are on the stocks at Portsmouth, Boston, New
York, Philadelphia, Washington, Norfolk, and Pensacola. All this
might actually cease to be done without endangering the safety of
the country, and without seriously wounding its prosperity, that is,
its industry. But take from the country its institutions for the
maintenance of credit, or only that which controls and regulates all
the others, the Bank of the United States, and you plunge it into a
commercial anarchy which would finally result in political anarchy.

The word politics cannot have the same meaning in the United States
as in Europe. The United States, are not engaged, like the nations of
Europe, in territorial combinations and the preservation of the balance
of a continent, nor are they entangled in treaties of Westphalia or
Vienna. They are free from all those difficulties, which in Europe
arise from a difference of origin or religion, or from the conflict
between rival pretensions, between old interests and new interests.
They have no neighbour, which excites their suspicions. The policy of
the United States consists in the extension of their commerce, and the
occupation by agriculture of the vast domain, which nature has given
them; in these points is involved the great mass of their general
and individual interests; these are the objects which inflame their
political and individual passions. As the Banks are the soul of their
commerce, their rising manufactures, and even their agriculture, it is
evident that the success of their _politics_ is intimately and directly
connected with the right organization of their banking system. The
real government of the country, that is to say, the control of its
essential interests, is as much in the banks as in any body or power
established by the constitution. The time is come when this fact should
be recognised and sanctioned. As among a military people the office of
marshal or lord-high-constable is the first in the kingdom, so among a
people which has nothing to do with war, and has only to employ itself
with its industry, that of President of the central bank, for example,
ought to be a public charge, _political_, in the sense adapted to the
condition and wants of that people,--and one of the first rank in the
country.

From this point of view, it may be said, that what is now passing
in the United States, is a struggle in which the combatants are, on
the one side, the military interest and the law, which have hitherto
divided between them the control of public affairs, and on the other,
the financial interest, which now claims its share in them; the two
first have coalesced against the last, and have succeeded for a time
in raising the multitude against it, but they will fail in the long
run, since the multitude has more to gain from it than from them. It
is said, that, when the committee of the New York merchants went to
Washington to present a petition with 10,000 names in favour of the
Bank, the President observed to them, that they declared the grievances
of the brokers, capitalists, and merchants of Wall Street and Pearl
Street, but that Wall Street and Pearl Street were not the people. I
do not know whether the story is true or not, but I know that such an
answer would express the opinion of the dominant party. There is a
school here, which attempts to eliminate the wealthy classes from the
people, and which is just the reverse of the old school of European
Tories, which reduces the people to the higher classes, and excludes
from that rank the greater number of the nation. And nothing can be
more unjust, for in order to measure the real importance of the men of
Pearl Street and Wall Street, it is only necessary to consider what New
York would be without them.

In fifty years the population of New York has increased tenfold, its
wealth probably an hundred fold; its animating influences have been
felt for hundreds of miles around. This unparalleled growth is not
the work of lawyers and military men; the merit belongs chiefly to
the industry, the capital, the intelligence, and the enterprise of
that, numerically speaking, insignificant minority of Wall Street
and Pearl Street. It is very easy to cant about the aristocracy of
dollars, and those filthy metals which men call gold and silver. And
yet have not those vile metals ceased to be vile, when they are the
fruit of the industry and enterprise of those who possess them? If
there is a country in the world where it is preposterous to prate about
the aristocracy of dollars, and about the filthy metals, it is this.
For here, more than any where else, every body has some employment;
whoever has capital is engaged in turning it to profit, and can neither
increase nor even keep it without great activity and vigilance. A man's
wealth is, therefore, very generally in the ratio of his importance,
and even of his agricultural, manufacturing, or commercial capacity.
The merchants are not without their faults; they are disposed to weigh
everything in their doubloon-scales, and a people governed entirely by
merchants would certainly be to be pitied. But a people governed by
lawyers or by soldiers would be no happier and no freer. The policy of
the Hamburg Senate in basely giving up unhappy political fugitives to
the English executioner, deserves the contempt of every man of honour;
but would the rule of Russian or even of Napoleon's bayonets, or the
babbling anarchy of the Directory, be less loathsome to those whose
heart beats with the love of liberty or with feelings of individual and
national honour?

The revolutions of ages, which change religion, manners, and customs,
modify also the nature of the powers that regulate society. Providence
humbles the mighty, when they obstinately shut their eyes to the new
spirit of the age, and raises up the lowly, whom this new spirit fires.
Four thousand years ago, it was one of the most important dignities
in Egypt to have the charge of embalming the sacred birds or of
spreading the litter of the bull Apis. In the Eastern empire the post
of _protovestiary_ was one of the first in the state, and not to go so
far back, it was the ambition of many in France, hardly four years ago,
to become _gentilhomme de la chambre_, as the _groom of the stole_,
or, in other words, the _servant in charge of the wardrobe_, is now
one of the grand dignitaries of England. Nobody now-a-days embalms
sacred birds, nobody spreads the litter of Apis. No one intrigues
for the post of protovestiary or gentleman of the chamber, and from
present appearances, I do not think that even the dignity of Groom of
the Stole, will long be an object of ambition in England. There are no
longer lord-high-constables, or great vassals, or knights-errant, or
peers of France in the old sense of the word. The French aristocracy,
so brilliant fifty years ago, has fallen like corn before the reaper.
The mansions of the old heroes have become factories; the convents have
been changed into spinning-works; I have seen Gothic naves in the best
style of art transformed into workshops or granaries, and our brave
troops have become peaceable labourers on the military roads.

Boards of petty clerks, whom the Castellans had employed to record
their sovereign decrees, became in France _parlements_, which braved
the kings and assumed to be guardians of the laws of the realm. At
present the forge masters of Burgundy and the Nivernais, the distillers
of Montpelier, the clothiers of Sedan and Elbeuf, have taken the place
of the _parlements_. German princes, who can boast of their fifty
quarters, dance attendance in the imperial, royal, or ministerial
antechambers, while their Majesties or their Excellencies are
conversing familiarly with some banker who has no patent of nobility,
and who even disdains to oblige his royal friends by accepting one. The
East India Company, a company of merchants if ever there was one, has
more subjects than the emperors of Russia and Austria together. If in
the Old World, where the old interests had marked every corner of the
land with their stamp, the old interests, the military and the law, are
thus obliged to come to terms with the new interest of industry, with
the power of money, how can it be possible, that, in the New World,
where the past has never taken deep root, where all thoughts are turned
toward business and wealth, this same power will not force its way into
the political scene, in spite of the opposition of its adversaries and
its envious rivals?



LETTER VII.

RAILROADS IN AMERICA.


                                RICHMOND, (VA.) MARCH 15, 1834.

Three thousand years ago the kings of the earth were happy; happy
as a king; but the old proverb is now become a falsehood. Then no
Constantinople was coveted; the citadels of Antwerp and Ancona were
not built. No one troubled himself about the Rhenish frontier; the
natural and simple Herodotus told marvellous tales, like those of the
_Arabian Nights_, about the country watered by the Rhine. The banks
of the Danube were trackless morasses; Vienna was not yet, nor of
course the Treaty of Vienna. Peace reigned between the sovereigns, or
at least their contests were real together academical, philosophical,
and literary. The good king Nectanebus, an enlightened prince, a
patron of the arts, played charades with his neighbours, the mighty
monarchs of Asia; he guessed all their riddles without their being
able to solve his in turn; his glory was unmatched, his people rolled
in prosperity. The condition of men of letters and science was, to
be sure, somewhat of the meanest; grammarians and philosophers were
sometimes dragged to market with halters on their necks, to be sold
like cattle, a treatment to which none but negroes are now subject.
But if they were men of genius, their good star threw them into the
hands of the best of masters, such as Xanthus, the most patient and
kind of men, or good natured princes, like Nectanebus, who knew how to
appreciate true merit. Æsop having become the property of this good
king, soon got to be his counsellor, friend, and confidant, revised
his charades and riddles, and suggested new ones to the king in such
a modest way, that Nectanebus really believed himself the author of
them. One day Nectanebus, by his advice, proposed to his rival monarchs
this difficult problem; How would you build a city in the air? After
they had puzzled their brains without success, Nectanebus prepared to
give a solution of the question in the presence of the ambassadors
of the Asiatic sovereigns solemnly convoked; Æsop put some little
boys in baskets, which were carried up into the air by eagles trained
for the purpose, and the boys began to cry out to the astonished
ambassadors; "Give us stone and mortar, and we will build you a city."
This old story has often occurred to my mind since I have been in the
United States, and I have often said to myself, if Æsop's boys had
been Americans, instead of having been subjects of king Nectanebus,
they would, have demanded materials, not for building a city, but
for constructing a railroad. In fact there is a perfect mania in this
country on the subject of railroads.

While at Liverpool, I went aboard the Pacific to engage a berth, and
Capt. Waite, a very worthy man, who believes in God with all his heart,
and is not any the less on that account a very skilful commander, and
a most intrepid sailor, offered me the latest American newspapers.
The first I opened happened to be the _Railroad Journal_. Soon after
sailing I fell sea-sick, and had scarcely a moment's relief till my
arrival at New York; of all my recollections of the voyage, the most
distinct is that of having heard the word railroad occurring once
every ten minutes, in the conversation of the passengers. At New York,
I went to visit the docks for building and repairing vessels; after
having examined the dry dock and two or three other docks, my guide,
himself an enthusiast on the subject of railroads, carried me to the
railroad-dock, where the ships are moved along a railway. In Virginia,
I found railroads at the bottom of the coal mines, which is not,
indeed, new to a European. At Philadelphia I visited the excellent
penitentiary, where everything was so neat, quiet, and comfortable,
(if that word may be applied to a prison), in comparison with the
abominable prisons in France, which are noisy, filthy, unhealthy, cold
in winter, and damp in summer. The warden, Mr Wood, who manages the
institution with great vigilance and philanthropy, after having shown
me the prisoners' cells, the yards in which they take the air, the
kitchen where the cooking is done by steam, and allowed me to visit one
of the convicts, a poor fellow from Alsace, said to me, just as I was
taking my leave; "But you have not seen everything yet, I must show you
my railroad;" and in fact there was a railroad in the prison, for the
cart in which food was brought to the prisoners.

Some days ago I happened to be in the little city of Petersburg, which
stands at the falls of the Appomattox, and near which there is an
excellent railroad. A merchant of the city took me to a manufactory
of tobacco, in which some peculiar processes were employed. In these
works was manufactured that sort of tobacco which most Americans chew,
and will chew for some time to come, in spite of the severe, but in
this matter just, censures of English travellers, unless the fashion
of vetoes should spread in the United States, and the women should
set theirs on the use of tobacco, with as unyielding a resolution, as
the President has shown towards the Bank. After having wandered about
the workshops amidst the poor little slaves by whom they are filled,
I was stopping to look at some of these blacks, who appeared to me
almost white, and who had not more than one eighth of African blood in
their veins, when my companion said to me, "As you are interested in
railroads, you must see the one belonging to the works." Accordingly
we went to the room where the tobacco is packed in kegs, and subjected
to a powerful pressure. The apparatus for pressing is a very peculiar
contrivance, which I will not now stop to describe, but of which the
most important part is a moveable railroad, suspended from the ceiling.
Thus the Americans have railroads in the water, in the bowels of the
earth, and in the air. The benefits of the invention are so palpable to
their practical good sense, that they endeavour to make an application
of it everywhere and to everything, right or wrong, and when they
cannot construct a real, profitable railroad across the country from
river to river, from city to city, or from State to State, they get one
up, at least, as a plaything, or until they can accomplish something
better, under the form of a machine.

The distance from Boston to New Orleans is 1600 miles, or twice the
distance from Havre to Marseilles. It is highly probable, that within
a few years this immense line will be covered by a series of railroads
stretching from bay to bay, from river to river, and offering to the
ever-impatient Americans the service of their rapid cars at the points
where the steamboats leave their passengers. This is not a castle
in the air, like so many of those grand schemes which are projected
amidst the fogs of the Seine, the Loire, and the Garonne; it is already
half completed. The railroad from Boston to Providence is in active
progress; the work goes on _à l'Américaine_, that is to say, rapidly.
From New York to Philadelphia, there will soon be not only one open to
travel, but two in competition with each other, the one on the right,
the other on the left bank of the Delaware; the passage between the two
cities will be made in seven hours, five hours on the railroad, and
two in the steamboat, in the beautiful Hudson and the magnificent Bay
of New York, which the Americans, who are not afflicted with modesty,
compare with the Bay of Naples. From Philadelphia, travellers go to
Baltimore by the Delaware and Chesapeake, and by the Newcastle and
Frenchtown railroad, in eight hours; from Baltimore to Washington, a
railroad has been resolved upon, a company chartered, the shares taken,
and the work begun, all within the space of a few months. Between
Washington and Blakely, in North Carolina, 60 miles of railroad are
completed, from Blakely northwards. A company has just been chartered
to complete the remaining space, that is, from Richmond to the Potomac,
a distance of 70 miles, and the Potomac bears you to the Federal city
by Mt. Vernon, a delightful spot, the patrimony of George Washington,
where he passed his honoured old age, where his body now reposes in
a modest tomb. Between Washington and Blakely, those who prefer the
steamboats, may take another route; by descending the Chesapeake to
Norfolk, they will find another railroad, 70 miles in length, of which
two thirds are now finished, and which carries them to Blakely, and
even beyond. Blakely is a new town, which you will not find on any map,
born of yesterday; it is the eldest, and as yet the only daughter of
the Petersburg and Blakely railroad. From Blakely to Charleston the
distance is great, but the Americans are enterprising, and there is no
region in the world in which railroads can be constructed so easily and
so cheaply; the surface has been graded by nature, and the vast forests
which cover it, will furnish the wood of which the railroad will be
made; for here most of these works have a wooden superstructure. From
Charleston, a railroad 137 miles in length, as yet the longest in the
world, extends to Augusta, whence to Montgomery, Alabama, there is a
long interval to be supplied. From this last town steamboats descend
the River Alabama to Mobile, and those who do not wish to pay their
respects to the Gulf of Mexico, on their way to New Orleans, will soon
find a railroad which will spare them the necessity of offering this
act of homage to the memory of the great Cortez.[O]

Within ten years this whole line will be completed, and traversed by
locomotive engines, provided the present crisis terminates promptly
and happily, as I hope it will. Ten years is a long time in these
days, and a plan, whose execution requires ten years, seems like a
romance or a dream. But in respect to railroads, the Americans have
already something to show. Pennsylvania, which by the last census,
in 1830, contained only 1,348,000 inhabitants, has 325 miles of
railroads actually completed, or which will be so within the year,
without reckoning 76 miles which the capitalists of Philadelphia have
constructed in the little States of New Jersey and Delaware. The total
length of all the railroads in France is 95 miles, that is, a little
more than what the citizens of Philadelphia, in their liberality,
have given to their poor neighbours. In the State of New York, whose
population is the most adventurous and the most successful in their
speculations, there are at present only four or five short railroads,
but if the sixth part of those which are projected and authorized by
the Legislature, are executed, New York will not be behind Pennsylvania
in this respect. The merchants of Baltimore, which at the time of the
Declaration of Independence contained 6,000 inhabitants, and which now
numbers 100,000, have taken it into their heads to make a railroad
between their city and the Ohio, a distance of above 300 miles. They
have begun it with great spirit, and have now finished about one third
of the whole road. In almost every section east of the Ohio and the
Mississippi, there are railroads projected, in progress, or completed,
and on most of them locomotive steam-engines are employed. There are
some in the Alleghanies, whose inclined planes are really terrific,
from their great inclination; these were originally designed only
for the transportation of goods, but passenger-cars have been set up
on them, at the risk of breaking the necks of travellers. There are
here works well constructed and ill constructed; there are some that
have cost dear, (from 40,000 to 50,000 dollars a mile,) and others
that have cost little, (from 10,000 to 15,000 dollars a mile). New
Orleans has one, a very modest one to be sure, it being only five
miles long, but it will soon have others, and after all, it is before
old Orleans, for the latter has yet to wait till its capitalists,
seized with some violent fit of patriotism, shall be ready to make the
sacrifice of devoting some ten or twelve per cent. of their capital
to the construction of a railroad thence to Paris. Virginia, whose
population is nearly the same with that of the Department of the North,
and which is inferior in wealth, already has 75 miles of railroad
fully completed, and 110 in progress, exclusive of those begun this
year. The Department of the North, where it would be quite as easy to
construct them, and where they would be more productive, has not a
foot completed, or in progress, and hardly a foot projected. Observe,
moreover, that I here speak of railroads alone, the rage for which is
quite new in America, while that for canals is of very old date (for
in this country fifteen years is an age), and has achieved wonders.
There are States which contain 500, 800, or 1,000 miles of canals. We
in France are of all people the boldest in theory and speculation, and
we have made the world tremble by our political experiments; but during
the last twenty years we have shown ourselves the most timid of nations
in respect to physical improvements.

FOOTNOTES:

[O] For observations on these statements see _Letter_ XXI., and _the
Notes_.



LETTER VIII.

THE BANKS.--THE PRESERVATION OF THE UNION.


                                    WASHINGTON, APRIL 10, 1834.

The drama which has been passing in the United States since the opening
of the session, has now reached the end of the first act. The two
Houses have had under consideration the subject of the removal of the
public deposits from the Bank of the United States to the local banks,
by the Executive, and both of them have come to a decision. The Senate
has declared, by a majority of 28 to 18, that the reasons alleged
by the Secretary of the Treasury in justification of the measure,
were neither satisfactory nor sufficient, and, by a majority of 26
to 20, that the conduct of the President in this matter was neither
conformable to the constitution nor to the laws. This is the first
instance, since the adoption of the Federal constitution, of a censure
of the chief magistrate of the nation by the Senate. The House has
resolved, on its part, that the charter of the Bank ought not to be
renewed, that the public deposits ought not to be restored to it, and
that they should remain in the safe-keeping of the local banks. The
first resolve passed by a vote of 132 to 92; the majority for the two
others was much less, 118 to 103, and 117 to 105. It has been resolved,
by a large majority, 171 to 42, that the conduct of the Bank should
be made a subject of investigation, but this majority includes many
friends of the Bank.

It is to be hoped that the Bank will not be the object of this
campaign; the more vigourously it is defended, the more hateful it
becomes to the democracy. Those who feel an interest in their country
and its institutions, ought to make an effort to turn the debate toward
some other point, for both sides have become heated and exasperated
in the struggle, and already violence has been threatened. The most
brilliant services have been forgotten, the purest characters trampled
under foot. The Globe, the avowed organ of the administration, pours
forth the vilest slanders on men, such as Messrs Clay, Calhoun, and
Webster, of whom any country in the world would be proud. It repeated,
and unhappily it reiterates still, that the votes of, the Senate have
been bought by the Bank. On the other hand, General Jackson, to whom
it is impossible to deny the possession of eminent qualities, has
been himself exposed to the vilest indignities; the gray hairs of
that brave old man have been insulted in the most scandalous manner.
Attempts have even been made to throw ridicule on his victory at New
Orleans, the most brilliant affair in the American annals, as if his
glory were not the common property of the country. Some hot heads have
even talked of recurring to violence; commerce and enterprise have
been struck numb; for want of means, the great works of Pennsylvania
have been in danger of being brought to a stand. But at present there
appears to be a general wish to bring back a calm; the failure of a
certain number of individuals, and especially that of some banks, have
proved a signal of alarm, which has recalled every one to a sense
of the common danger, the general ruin that threatened the country.
There has been a failure of a bank in Florida, of one in New Jersey,
and of two in Maryland, one of which, that of the Bank of Maryland in
Baltimore, has caused a great sensation. The leading men of all parties
have set themselves in earnest to search out some means of bringing the
commercial crisis to an end. There is room to hope, therefore, that
the debate will lose its bitterness, and at the same time will take a
wider range; instead of quarrelling about the particular question of
the Bank, it were to be wished that the higher questions of political
economy should be discussed, such as that of a mixed currency, in which
there should be the proper mixture of paper and the metals necessary
to give it stability, without keeping, as is the case in Europe, a
large unproductive capital in the shape of specie; and that of a system
of institutions of credit, banks of loan and discount, of deposit
and exchange, powerful enough to serve as a spring and a stay to the
industry of the country, and yet so balanced in respect to each other
and the powers of the government, as not to be dangerous to the public
liberties. A very able speech of Mr Calhoun's has already drawn the
general attention to the subject of financial reform, and one of the
senators friendly to the administration, Mr Benton, has embodied some
of Mr Calhoun's ideas in the shape of a bill.

It is now universally agreed, that to obtain a solid and stable
currency, it is necessary to keep a certain quantity of gold and
silver in the country; it is seen that while there are paper dollars,
the silver dollars will disappear, that ten-dollar notes necessarily
expel the eagles, and that half-eagles will not stay where there
are five-dollar bills. It is, therefore, proposed to abolish the
issue of notes of less than ten or even twenty dollars, but all that
Congress can do without the aid of a National Bank, is to prohibit
the reception, by the collectors of the customs, of the bills of
any bank which has in circulation notes of less than ten or twenty
dollars; for Congress has no direct power over the local banks. This
measure, however, would be insufficient; for the amount of money paid
for customs bears a very small proportion to the whole circulation
of the country, and consequently would not affect the circulation in
districts remote from the sea coast. The Administration does not deny
the necessity of a police for controlling and regulating the banks;
it seems disposed to effect it by means of some of the local banks,
which should act under the direction of the Secretary of the Treasury,
and to which should be granted certain privileges, such as that of
being the depositories of the public money without paying interest.
But this plan has some disadvantages; it would invest the Secretary,
that is the President, with a great discretionary power, which is
wholly at war with the political maxims of American government. It is
a received truth in the United States, that the sword and the purse
ought not to be in the same hands. Beside it is doubtful whether this
control would be sufficiently powerful and sufficiently enlightened,
and finally it would be difficult by means of this chain of local banks
to answer one of the most pressing wants of the country, facility of
exchange; because they are, and must be as slightly connected with each
other, as the sovereign States from which they hold their charters.
To exterminate small bank-notes the surest agent would be a National
Bank, and Congress has the power to establish one. This power, which is
disputed because all its powers are disputed, would not be contested,
if it were stipulated that the Bank should obtain the consent of each
State, before establishing a branch within its limits. It would then
be sufficient that the Bank should not receive the bills of any other
bank, which issued notes of less than 10 or 20 dollars, or which
received the bills of other banks, that issued notes less than the
same minimum. In fine, a National Bank is an admirable instrument of
exchange, and the most influential friends of the Administration are
convinced of the necessity of an institution of the sort. I cannot
believe that the President, and especially the Vice-President, are
really as much opposed to one, as they have the air of being. As it
is possible to conceive of a combination of circumstances, which may
reconcile its existence with the interests and views of Mr Van Buren
(such would be, for instance, the creation of a Bank of which the seat
should be New York, instead of Philadelphia), it may be hoped that
sooner or later, under one form or another, Mr Van Buren may yield to
the necessity of the case. It is true that out of hatred to the present
Bank, the prejudices of the multitude have been excited against the
establishment of any bank at all, and it is much more easy to rouse the
popular passions than to control them when once let loose; this kind
of game has resulted in the self-murder of many a man's popularity.
But in this matter the voice of the public interest and of individual
interest will speak so loud, that it would be astonishing if it did not
make itself heard by a people, so much more sensible and reflecting
than most of the European people. There is, then, in short, still some
chance for a Bank of the United States.

The following are the principal features, in which both parties seem to
me to be at present tacitly agreed. The capital of the Bank to be about
50 millions. The shares of the present Bank, representing a capital of
35 millions, to be exchanged at par for shares in the new bank; the
rest of the capital to be subscribed by the individual States, thus
giving the Bank a more truly national character: The rate of discount
to be reduced from 6 to 5 per cent.; Mr Forsyth, a Senator friendly to
the administration, has demanded this modification: The laws relative
to public and private deposits to be changed in conformity with the
propositions of Mr Cambreleng: The seat of the mother bank to be
transferred to New York: The operations of the Bank to be subjected to
more strict regulations than those of the old Bank have been: The Bank
to be required to keep on hand a larger amount of reserved profits, or
some other provision borrowed from the bank of England to be adopted,
in order to give more security to the institution.

It would not, probably, be impossible to unite a majority of the two
Houses in favour of a plan which should embrace these features. But
there is another subject about which little is said, and upon which
no one has yet publicly declared himself, although there are many
who have thought much about it, and it will not be easy to reconcile
opinions upon it. How shall the Bank be governed? What relation shall
there be between the administration of the Bank, and the Federal and
State governments? How and by whom shall the President of the Bank be
chosen? This subject, about which there is a total silence, appears
to me to be of so vital importance, that I am convinced that what has
occurred in the United States during the last six months, would never
have taken place, if the nomination of the President of the Bank had
been lodged with the President of the United States. In Europe and
particularly in France, the government of the banks is more or less
in the hands and under the control of the king and the ministers. In
America, conformably with the principles of self-government, the Bank,
like all the other industrial and financial institutions, has, up to
this time, governed itself. The Federal government, owning one fifth of
the shares, names one fifth of the directors; its powers stop there.
The American axiom, which forbids the union of the sword and the purse
in the same hand, is opposed to the exercise of a controlling influence
over the choice of the President of the Bank by the President of the
United States; and yet I am persuaded that the democratic party will
not be willing to hear of a Bank, in the government of which it could
not interfere.

The upper classes (_bourgeoisie_) are not here what they are in Europe;
while in Europe they rule, here they are ruled. Democracy takes its
revenge in America for the unjust contempt with which it has been
so long treated in Europe. Now it is to these upper classes, that
the private share-holders of the Bank belong; it is the merchants,
manufacturers, and capitalists, who will always derive the most direct
benefit from a National Bank, although all classes must indirectly
derive great advantages from it. From the time when the upper
classes sanctioned a completely universal suffrage, without making
any exception in favour of natural superiority, whether industrial
or scientific, from the day when they consented that number should
be every thing, and knowledge and capital nothing, they have signed
their own abdication. It is too late to agitate the questions, whether
this is absolutely a good or an evil, or whether it is well, in the
agricultural States, with a scattered population, such as Ohio,
Indiana, and Illinois, and bad in large and populous cities, the
seats of a vast commerce, such as Philadelphia and New York. This is
a matter already settled past recall; when the sword is surrendered,
the vanquished must submit to take the law from the victor. In case,
then, of the creation of a new National Bank, the share-holders must
consent to receive their head, either from the President and Senate,
as other public functionaries are appointed, or from the House of
Representatives alone, or from some other similar source. If in a new
or a somewhat modified Bank, the Federal and local governments should
be stockholders to a large amount, this participation of the President
or the House of Representatives, or of special delegates chosen by the
States, in the government of the Bank, would appear altogether natural,
even in the eyes of the most exclusive partisans of self government.
It remains to be seen, whether in this case, the Bank would not be
more likely to become the instrument of party, a _den of intrigue and
corruption, a golden calf_, a _monster_, as it is so often unjustly
called, than in the present state of things.

If this quarrel should be terminated by a compromise, we may expect
that it will be effected on the basis above stated. The upper classes
will, perhaps, consider the conditions as hard, but they should beware
of rejecting them. It would be a great gain to them to obtain, under
any form, a decisive sanction of a National Bank, connected with the
government, and therefore incorporated with the interests of the
country. Not only are numbers at present against the Bank, and numbers
give the law here, but the Opposition is not so well organised as the
democratic party. The Opposition has, indeed, three leaders, who do not
always agree; the views of Mr Calhoun of South Carolina do not coincide
with those of Messrs Clay and Webster on the subjects of the tariff
and States' rights; and Mr Clay, the son of the west, and Mr Webster,
who comes from Boston, the focus of Federalism, differ on several
constitutional questions. The democratic party, on the contrary, is
better disciplined; the two heads, General Jackson and Mr Van Buren,
present a formidable union of qualities and faculties. The old General
is firm, prompt, bold, energetic; Mr Van Buren, who sets up for the
American Talleyrand, is mild, conciliating, prudent, and sagacious;
his adversaries call him the little magician. While the pretensions
of Messrs Clay, Calhoun, and Webster are scarcely to be reconciled
with each other, and neither of them is willing to be second, Mr Van
Buren is ready to serve under General Jackson for the purpose of
becoming his successor in the elections of 1836. Every kingdom divided
against itself cannot stand. But, if no compromise can be made, if the
democracy is too untractable, and the upper classes persist in claiming
more than their position authorises them to do, if the feelings, kept
in a state of excitement, become exasperated on both sides, and the
contest be too much prolonged, the most frightful consequences may
ensue; even the Union may be endangered.

At the close of the war of Independence, the American Confederacy
occupied only a narrow strip along the Atlantic. Since that time the
wave of an active, enterprising, and rapidly increasing population, has
rolled over the Alleghanies, the Ohio, the Mississippi, more recently
over the Missouri, the Red River, the Arkansas, and I know not how far.
Toward the South it is already sweeping over the Sabine, and covering
Texas, while toward the West, it has topped the Rocky Mountains, and
is approaching the Pacific shore. Instead of thirteen States, there
are twentyfour, and the number will soon be increased to twentysix. By
the side of the old Atlantic strip, two other vast tracts with a more
fertile soil, have yielded up their riches to civilised man; one, at
the west, comprises the great triangle lying between the Ohio, the
Mississippi, and the lakes, and the other at the south, includes the
fertile regions of Florida and Louisiana, which, under the French and
Spanish rule, were a solitary wilderness. The geographical centre of
the Union fifty years ago was on the banks of the Potomac, on the spot
where the city of Washington--that paper capital--now stands; it is now
at Cincinnati, and will soon be near St Louis. In proportion as the
territory of the Confederacy has been extended, the Federal bond has
been weakened. It was nearly snapped asunder during the Nullification
crisis, occasioned by the resistance of South Carolina to the tariff
adopted under the influence of New England, in order to protect her
growing manufactures. If Congress had not satisfied the demands of
South Carolina, Virginia would have made common cause with the latter,
and her example would have carried the whole South. The patriotic
eloquence of Mr Webster, the moderation of Mr Clay and his prodigies of
parliamentary strategy, the efforts of Mr Livingston, then Secretary
of State, the firm, and, at the same time, conciliatory conduct of
the President, who, for the first time, heard a bold defiance with
patience, and the calm attitude of the Northern States, prevented for
the moment a general dissolution of the Union; but the germ of mischief
remains; the charm is broken; the ear has become familiar with the
ominous word SEPARATION. A habit has grown up of thinking, and even of
declaring, whenever the interests of the North and the South jar, that
the cure-all will be a dissolution of the Union.

South Carolina keeps her militia organised, and exacts from the State
officers a special oath of allegiance. Georgia and Alabama contest
the validity of treaties concluded between the Federal government and
the Cherokee and Creek nations. (See _Note_ 11.) Most of the States
seek to extend the limits of their individual sovereignty. The
doctrine of State rights has even insinuated itself into the bosom
of orthodox Philadelphia, for I see by the journals, that a States'
rights dinner is announced there. These symptoms may become full of
danger in a moment of universal excitement. When the passions are at
the helm, there is no pause in the course. What, for instance, would
be the event, if Nullification should find an echo in the same States
of the North, where it has lately been so firmly rejected? It is they
that have the most direct interest in the establishment of a National
Bank; it is they that suffer most from the financial combinations of
General Jackson, and from the objections of Southern statesmen against
the constitutionality of a bank. Although no allusion is made to this
danger, it is evident that the solicitude of many persons has been
aroused by it, and it is fortunate that it is so, for a more general
disposition to conciliatory measures is the consequence.

The principle of separation is engaged in a deadly conflict with the
spirit of centralisation or consolidation; hardly was the constitution
signed, when twelve additional articles or Amendments were immediately
adopted, almost all of which contained restrictions on the powers and
attributes of the Federal government. At the same time the authority of
Congress to charter a Bank, and give it powers within the territories
of the States, was contested; on this point, however, the principle of
union was victorious, and the Bank was established. Next, the right
of engaging in Internal Improvements was denied to Congress, which,
after a long struggle, has been compelled to resign its claims; General
Jackson willed it, and it was done. The National Road, which extends
from Washington to the western wilderness, and for which appropriations
have been annually voted, each professing to be the last, shows what
the Federal government could do and wished to do. Even the uniform
system of weights and measures, seems to be on the point of being
broken up, in spite of the express provisions of the constitution.
Pennsylvania has undertaken, nobody knows why, to establish regulations
on this point contrary to the general usage.[P] The public debt is now
paid; that is one Federal tie the less. The Bank, assailed afresh,
is on the point of falling; that is an immense loss to the Federal
principle. The Supreme Court of the United States, one of the bulwarks
of the Union, is assaulted. The vast domain of the West, (see _Note_
12,) the national property, seems in danger of being given up to
individual States, for this disposition is one of the favorite topics
of the democratic party.

But if centralisation comes off the worse in Federal politics, it
has the better within the States. The principal States are engaged
in constructing vast systems of internal communication; they are
establishing for themselves financial systems, and many of them
are about to set up great banks, which shall exercise within their
respective limits the salutary influence possessed by the Bank of
the United States throughout the whole Union. Thus each State, as
it detaches itself from the Federal Union, organises more fully its
own powers, and binds more firmly together its imperfectly combined
elements. But, on the other hand, industry and the spirit of enterprise
restore to the Union the strength, of which political jealousy and
party quarrels tend to deprive it. There is not a family at the
North, that has not a son or a brother in the South; the community of
interests daily grows stronger; commerce is a centripetal force; along
the whole Atlantic coast there is only one mart, New York; there is
only one of importance on the Gulf of Mexico, New Orleans; and the
relations of New York and New Orleans make these two cities, instead
of rivals, mutual supports. The railroads and the steamboats spread
over the country the meshes of a net not easily broken; great distances
vanish; before long it will be easy to go from Boston to New Orleans
in eight days, less time than is generally required to go from Brest
to Marseilles. When we reflect on the extent of the Roman empire for
ages, we cannot doubt the possibility of maintaining a certain degree
of unity on the American territory, immeasurably vast as it appears to
an eye accustomed to the divisions of the map of Europe. The Romans
had not attained that degree of perfection in the means of intercourse
which we possess; not only had they no knowledge of steamboats and
railroads, and the telegraph, but they had few highways, and were
unacquainted with the use of carriages hung on springs. The progress
of commercial and financial arts, makes it more easy to manage the
financial concerns of the universe now, than it was to administer
those of a province in the time of Cæsar. I cannot, therefore, make up
my mind to believe, that the Union will be broken up into fragments,
driven in different directions and dashing one against another.

And yet it is very possible, that the Union will not continue long on
its present footing. Are the relations established between the States
by the constitution of 1789, the most perfect that can be devised
now? Ought not the unforeseen formation of the two great groups of
the West and the Southwest be followed by some modification of those
relations? Would not the subdivision of the general confederacy into
three subordinate confederacies, conformable to the three great
territorial divisions, the North, the South, and the West, with a more
intimate union between the members of each group, have the effect of
satisfying the advocates of State rights, without endangering the
principle of union? Would not this arrangement be the means of giving
more elasticity to the Union? Could not the existence of three partial
confederacies be reconciled with that of a central authority, invested
with the undisputed powers of the present Federal government, one army,
one navy, one diplomatic representation abroad, one common right of
citizenship, one Supreme Court, and, as far as possible, one system of
customs, and one Bank? These are questions, which it will, perhaps,
be worth while to examine some day, and even at no distant day. But
it would be desirable, that they should be approached and discussed
with calmness. If they should be unexpectedly raised in a period of
irritation and bad feelings, they would be the signal of a deplorable
catastrophe. Union gives strength; North America, once parcelled out
into hostile fragments, would be of no more weight in the balance of
the world, than the feeble republics of South America.

FOOTNOTES:

[P] An act has been passed by the Pennsylvania legislature, providing
that 2,000 pounds shall make a ton.



LETTER IX.

THE FIRST PEOPLE IN THE WORLD.


                                  PHILADELPHIA, APRIL 24, 1834.

Which is the first people in the world? There is no nation which does
not make pretensions to this superiority. Who in France has not sung in
the words of Béranger, "Queen of the world, oh my country! oh France!"
in the full conviction, that the French nation was predestined to be
forever at the head of the human race, to eclipse all others, in peace
and in war? For myself, before I had crossed the frontier, I believed
most implicitly, that we were not only the most generous and chivalric
of people, the most intellectual and ingenious, the first in the fine
arts, the most amiable and brilliant; but also that we were the most
enlightened, the first in political and industrial arts, the most
inventive and the most practical, in short, the pattern-nation, perfect
and unrivalled. Notwithstanding the rains and fogs of Paris, I supposed
our climate the mildest and the most serene in the world; in spite of
the Landes and Champagne, I considered it undeniable, that our soil
was the most fertile, our scenery the most picturesque, in the world.
Trusting to the reports of our exhibitions of industrial skill, I was
ready to swear that we had left our neighbours of England a hundred
leagues behind, and that their manufacturers, to avoid being reduced to
beggary by our competition, would soon be obliged to come over to learn
how to smelt and refine iron, how to spin cotton, how to manufacture
steel, how to manage the most gigantic establishments in the most
economical manner, how to despatch mountains of merchandise beyond sea
most expeditiously.

After having crossed the frontier one gradually lowers these
magnificent pretensions; patriotism becomes purer and stronger. In
visiting foreign parts one sees what is wanting to the prosperity and
glory of his country, and how it might be possible to add some jewels
to her crown. Thus it does not require long observation to see, that
if England might borrow much from us, we have not less to receive from
her. The English are not only more skilful manufacturers and better
merchants than we are, but they possess in a higher degree than we
do, those qualities which enable men, after having conceived grand
projects, to carry them into execution. The English have that practical
sagacity and that unbending perseverance, by which our Titan-like
battles of the Revolution and the Empire, our impetuous and devoted
enthusiasm, our unparalleled victories, our unmatched triumphs, were
reduced to treaties of Vienna, that is to say, were made to result in
our own humiliation, and in the enthronement of Great Britain on the
apex of the European pyramid. The English have less of the gift of
speech, but more capacity for action, than we have. And it is owing to
this, that they have found means to extend their colonial possessions,
while all other nations were losing theirs; what they lost in the West,
they have supplied in the East tenfold. They possess that political
sense, to which they owe the peaceful settlement, during the last
three years, of questions, that seemed destined to shake the granite
foundations of their island and bury it in the sea. They have achieved
their Reform; they have abolished the monopoly of the East India
Company; they have reconstructed the Bank; they have abolished slavery.
During this period, we have been revolving about questions of secondary
importance, without being able to make a decision; we do not know how
to go to work with monopolies, which, in comparison with the colossal
privileges of the East India Company, are grains of sand; we, who have
given to the world the most conclusive arguments in favour of liberty
of commerce!

If in Paris, we consider ourselves, in all, and for all, and forever,
the pattern-people, at London, the opinion is not less exclusively and
decidedly in favour of the English. In London, the duke of Wellington
is called the conqueror of Napoleon, which, indeed, is true to the
letter, but is nevertheless perfectly ridiculous, although Lord
Wellington is certainly an extraordinary man. I have seen Englishmen
pettishly shake their head, when they were told that the sky of England
was foggy; with a little malice, one might drive them to maintain, that
they need not envy the climate of Italy, and that even the atmosphere
of Manchester, where the sight of the sun is a rarity, has charms,
in spite of the slanders of its detractors, even for those who have
breathed the air of Naples. At Madrid, that heroic people, which seems
to be awaking at last from its long lethargy, has not lost the habit of
believing in the supremacy of Spain, and there, they dream that they
are yet in the glorious days of Charles V., when the sun never sat on
the Spanish dominions. And we can pardon this in the noble Castilians;
but I verily believe, also, that Don Pedro and Don Miguel, those
interminable pretenders, have each an official journal which tells them
daily, that the breathless universe has its eyes fixed on their ragged
armies, and that the destinies of the world are settled at Santarem and
Setubal. At Constantinople, in the capital of an empire which exists
only because the other European powers cannot agree in the division
of the spoils, they call us Christian dogs. In Rome the people still
call themselves Romans, and this ridiculous misnomer really makes the
Trans-Tiberine populace believe, that military glory is yet the lot of
the country, and that the _Romans_ will soon resume the character of
lords of the world, magnanimously raising the humble and crushing the
pride of the powerful (_Parcere subjectis_, &c.)! In Vienna, on the
contrary, everybody thinks that Rome is no longer in Rome, but that it
is, of right and in fact, in the archducal capital, that the emperor
is heir by lineal descent to Augustus and Trajan. The devise of an
early prince of the house of Austria (A. E. I. O. U.),[Q] attests that
this pretension is almost as old as the house of Hapsburg. In Prussia,
meanwhile, the young nobles, proud of having studied at the great
universities of Jena and Berlin, and of having worn the sword in an
army which was once the great Frederic's, affect an utter disdain for
the Austrians. Elated by the rapid extension of their country, which
has not, however, yet reached its full growth, the Prussians look upon
their sandy land as the cradle of a new civilisation. It seems as if
the waters of the Spree had some miraculous qualities, and that whoever
has not tasted them, has but four senses instead of five. At St.
Petersburg and Moscow, no one doubts, that the sword of the emperor,
thrown into the scales of the world's destinies, would at once overbear
the opposite balance. Perhaps we of Western Europe have done our part
in filling the Russians with these high notions of the influence of
the Czar. Thus in Europe, each nation arrogates to itself the first
rank, and I do not see why the Americans should be more modest than the
people on the other side of the Atlantic. The miracles which they have
accomplished in fifty years give them a right to be proud, and they,
also, in their turn, are persuaded that they are the first people in
the world, and they boast loudly of their preëminence.

The fact is, there is no chosen people, on whom superiority is entailed
for ages. The Jewish nation, in which this notion of predestination
seemed to be most deeply rooted, has for centuries afforded the most
melancholy refutation of the doctrine. Since the age of Richelieu and
the Revolution of 1688, that is, since Spain has fallen asleep, France
and England have been at the head of civilisation, and have divided the
supremacy between themselves; the one ruling by the theoretical, the
other by the practical; the one giving the tone in politics, the other
in taste, the arts, and manners. But what were France and England three
centuries ago, in the time of Charles V., when the generals of that
emperor and king slew Bayard at Rebecque, made Francis I. prisoner at
Pavia, and the Pope in Rome, whilst four thousand miles further west,
Cortez was conquering for him the proud empire of Montezuma? Prussia,
who now divides with Austria the dominion of Germany, and who is worthy
of that dignity, who is the youthful, the aspiring, the ambitious
Germany, full of the future, as Austria is the patriarchal, sober,
prudent, conservative Germany, clinging to the past and the old,--what
was Prussia three generations ago? What shall we all be, French,
English, Prussians, and Austrians three centuries hence, or perhaps one
hundred years hence? Who can say that some northern blast, finding us
divided, and enfeebled by our divisions, will not have laid low those
who are now so high and haughty? Who knows if the vigourous race which
is now bursting forth from this virgin soil, will not then have passed
us in their turn, as we have outstripped our predecessors? Who can
foretell, whether the two gigantic figures that are now rising above
the horizon, the one in the East with one foot on Moscow and one just
ready to fall on Constantinople, the other in the West, as yet half
hidden by the vast forests of the New World, whose huge limbs stretch
from the mouths of the St. Lawrence to those of the Mississippi: who
can foresee, whether these youthful Titans, who are watching each other
across the Atlantic, and already touch hands on the Pacific, will not
soon divide the empire of the world?

Civilisation is a treasure, to which each generation adds something in
transmitting it to its heirs, and which passes from hand to hand, from
people to people, from country to country. Setting out from Asia it
was four thousand years in reaching the borders of the Atlantic Ocean.
Wo to the nations, that having become depositaries of the treasure,
instead of keeping it with watchful care and labouring to increase
it, lay it down by the road-side, and waste their time and strength
in foolish quarrels; for they will soon be robbed of their trust! The
Americans are the most enterprising of men, and the most aspiring of
people; if we continue to be swallowed up in our barren disputes, they
are the people to snatch from us at unawares the precious charge of
the destinies of our race, and to place themselves at the head of its
march.

Each people has its qualities, which are developed by education, which
at certain moments shine with peculiar brilliancy, like a beacon light
towards which the eyes of mankind are directed, and by which its march
is guided, and which always command the esteem or love or respect of
others. The people of the United States most undeniably have theirs.
No people is so peculiarly fitted by its intrinsic character, as
well as by the circumstances of the territory and the condition of
the population, for democratic institutions. The Americans possess,
therefore, in the highest degree, the better features of democracy,
and they have also its inseparable defects; but if there is something
in them to blame, there is still more to praise. There is much here
for a European to learn, who should come to seek, not subjects
for fault-finding, satire, and sarcasm (which have become vulgar
common-places, since the small coin of Voltaire and Byron has passed
through so many hands), but positive facts, which might be imitated in
our old countries, with the necessary modifications required by the
difference between our circumstances and the condition of America.
Almost all English travellers in this country have seen a great deal
that was bad and scarcely any thing good; the portrait they have drawn
of America and the Americans, is a caricature, which, like all good
caricatures, has some resemblance to the original. The Americans have a
right to deny the jurisdiction of the tribunal, for they have a right
to be tried by their peers, and it does not belong to the most complete
aristocracy in Europe, the English aristocracy, to sit in judgment on a
democracy. Yet all the English travellers in America have belonged to
the aristocracy by their connexions or their opinions, or were aspiring
to it, or aped its habits and judgments, that they might seem to belong
to it.

A Yorkshire farmer or a Birmingham mechanic would certainly pass a very
different judgment; they would probably be as exclusively disposed to
praise, as the most disdainful tourists have been to blame. And the
farmers and mechanics count for something in the numbers of the English
population and in the elements of the British prosperity. Suppose an
Ohio or Illinois farmer, after having sold his flour and salt pork
to advantage, should enact the nabob six months in England, and on
his return should describe, with the rude eloquence of the West, the
distress of the British operatives, the corn laws, the poor rates, the
frightful condition of the Irish peasantry, the impressment of sailors,
the sale of military offices, and to complete his picture of manners,
should add a boxing match, a scene of the guests at a dinner rolling
dead-drunk under the table, and of the sale of a wife by her husband in
open market; if he should give such a picture to his countrymen as a
political and moral portrait of England, the English would shrug their
shoulders, and with reason. Yet his story would be founded on facts,
and could not be said to be actually false in any particular. Now such
a story would be an exact counterpart of most of the representations of
America by English travellers. Do not to others what you would not have
others do to you.

There is one thing in the United States that strikes a stranger on
stepping ashore, and is of a character to silence his sentiments
of national pride, particularly if he is an Englishman; it is the
appearance of general ease in the condition of the people of this
country. While European communities are more or less cankered with the
sore of pauperism, for which their ablest statesmen have as yet been
able to find no healing balm, there are here no paupers, at least not
in the Northern and Western States, which have protected themselves
from the leprosy of slavery. If a few individuals are seen, they are
only an imperceptible minority of dissolute or improvident persons,
commonly people of colour, or some newly landed emigrants, who have
not been able to adopt industrious habits. Nothing is more easy than
to live and to live well by labour. Objects of the first necessity,
bread, meat, sugar, tea, coffee, fuel, are in general cheaper here than
in France, and wages are double or triple. I happened, a few days ago,
to be on the line of a railroad in process of construction, where they
were throwing up some embankments. This sort of labour, which merely
requires force, without skill, is commonly done in the United States
by Irish new-comers, who have no resource but their arm, no quality
but muscular strength. These Irish labourers are fed and lodged, and
hear their bill of fare; three meals a day, and at each meal plenty
of meat and wheat bread; coffee and sugar at two meals, and butter[R]
once a day; in the course of the day, from six to eight glasses of
whiskey are given them according to the state of the weather. Beside
which they receive in money 40 cents a day under the most unfavourable
circumstances, often from 60 to 75 cents. In France the same labour is
worth about 24 cents a day the labourers finding themselves.

This positive and undeniable fact of the general ease, is connected
with another, which gives it a singular importance in the eyes of a
European, who is the friend of progressive reforms, and the enemy
of violence; the prevalence of radicalism in politics. The term
_democrat_, which elsewhere would fill even the republicans with
terror, is here greeted with acclamations, and the name of _Democratic_
is zealously claimed by every party as its exclusive property. But this
is the only kind of property which is called in question; it is true
that material property rapidly disappears in this country, unless it is
preserved by the most constant vigilance, and renewed with untiring
industry. But as long as it exists, it is the object of profound
respect, which, I must confess, has rather surprised me. I should have
expected that the social theory would have borrowed some notions from
the predominant political theory; but there are those in Europe, who
are not there considered the boldest speculators on this subject, who
here would be looked upon as the most audacious innovators. From this
simple statement, it seems natural to infer, that valuable lessons are
to be learned here by those who seek to solve the great question that
now agitates Europe, the amelioration of the greatest number. It would
be interesting to inquire into the causes of this state of things,
and to examine whether, with certain modifications, it could not be
transferred to Europe, and particularly to France.

FOOTNOTES:

[Q] _Austriæ est imperare orbi universo_; the empire of the world
belongs to Austria.

[R] Butter is dearer in the United States than in France.



LETTER X.

THE YANKEE AND THE VIRGINIAN.


                                      CHARLESTON, MAY 28, 1834.

The great flood of civilisation, which has poured over the vast
regions of the West, in the south and the north, from the great lakes
to the Cape of Florida, has flowed on with a wonderful power and an
admirable regularity. Emigration has taken place, along the whole
line of march, from east to west. The inhabitants of New England,[S]
after having first spread themselves over their original territory,
and founded the States of Maine and Vermont, have thrown themselves
into the State of New York; thence, keeping as much as possible along
the northern frontier of the United States, they have extended all
along the coasts of Lake Ontario and Lake Erie, and overrun the vast
delta comprised between the Ohio and the Upper Mississippi, which
now contains the States of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, and the
Territory of Michigan. The New York and Pennsylvania emigrants have
spread themselves comparatively little beyond the limits of their own
territory, which are very extensive, and were thinly peopled in 1783.
They have, however, furnished a small contingent to the great army of
emigration from New England, and have helped to occupy the vast tract
above-mentioned. Virginia, after having settled her western part with
her own sons, has given birth to Kentucky, and then, acting the same
part in the south as New England in the north, has sent forth to the
Gulf of Mexico those numerous swarms that have invaded the southwest.
North Carolina has taken part in this task, and has beside a child of
her own in Tennessee. Georgia and South Carolina have contributed to
create Alabama and Mississippi, and Tennessee and Kentucky have in turn
furnished offsets for Missouri and Arkansas.

Thus the States in which there are no slaves, have brought forth
a family of truly democratic republics, that is to say, with an
essentially farming population, holding no slaves, and, excepting the
vine, cultivating all the productions of temperate Europe. These young
States are founded on equality and the subdivision of property, for
most of the farms do not exceed 80 to 160 acres. The Southern States,
on the other hand, have created aristocratical republics, based on
slavery and the accumulation of property in a few hands, still more
exclusively agricultural than the north-western States, and chiefly
occupied in cultivating cotton, a precious commodity, which now
furnishes for exportation, inclusive of what is consumed in the North,
an annual value of 40 or 50 million dollars.[T] Thus amongst all the
columns of emigration, two particularly attract attention, and form of
themselves the main body of the army, the others are only auxiliaries;
these two great masses are the New England and the Virginia columns.

That part of Virginia which was most peopled during the war of
Independence has a low and nearly level surface, and a sandy, and in
general, very poor soil. Along the rivers there are tracts formerly
productive, but even these have been exhausted by the cultivation of
tobacco. The proprietors of these estates must have been early led to
think of quitting their plantations for the fertile lands of Kentucky,
then occupied, or rather overrun, by warlike savages, of whom they were
the favourite hunting-ground. Some bold and hardy pioneers, at the
head of whom was Boon, first ventured across the mountains with their
rifles, and bravely sustained a bloody contest with the Indians. After
many desperate fights, in which more than one unknown hero fell under
the bullet or the tomahawk of some red-skinned Hector, after numerous
assaults, in which more than one matron enacted the part of our Jeanne
Hachette,[U] after many alarms and much suffering, the genius of
civilisation carried it. At the call of the pioneers, roused by the
fame of their exploits, the planters of the coast set out on their
pilgrimage; arriving with their slaves, they cleared and cultivated
large tracts, in the midst of which they led a patriarchal life,
surrounded by their servants and flocks, following with ardour the
chase of wild beasts, and sometimes of Indians, and too often spending
the proceeds of their crop in betting on the speed of their horses, of
which they are very proud, and whose pedigree is better known to them
than their own. More lately, when the demand for cotton had increased,
in consequence of the improvements in machinery, and the steamboat had
opened the way into the heart of the Mississippi Valley, they have
removed southwards, always taking their slaves with them; a prospect of
future wealth and prosperity was thus opened for the south.

The industrious sons of New England likewise bade farewell to the
rocky and ungrateful soil of their birthplace; loading a wagon with a
plough, a bed, a barrel of salt meat, the indispensable supply of tea
and molasses, a Bible and a wife, and with his axe on his shoulder, the
Yankee sets out for the West, without a servant, without an assistant,
often without a companion, to build himself a log hut, six hundred
miles from his father's roof, and clear away a spot for a farm in the
midst of the boundless forest. The first of these wanderers went from
Connecticut, _the land of steady habits_, of Puritans among Puritans.

The Virginian and the Yankee have planted themselves in the wilderness,
each in a manner conformable to his nature and condition. The part they
have taken in founding the new States of the West, explains the fact so
often mentioned of fifty or sixty members of Congress being natives of
Virginia or Connecticut. In this conquest over nature, Europe has not
remained an idle spectator; she has sent forth vigourous labourers, who
have co-operated with the sons of New England, for slavery drives them
from the men of the South. Many Irish and Scotch, a number of Germans,
Swiss, and some French, are now settled in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana,
and Illinois. The traveller who descends the Ohio, passes on the way
Gallipolis, a French settlement, Vevay, a Swiss village, and Marietta,
so called in honour of Marie Antoinette.[V] The terminations in _burg_
are scattered amongst Indian names, Jacksonvilles, Washingtons, and
Columbias. But the co-operation of Europeans does not deprive the
Yankees of the principal share in the honour of the work; they began
it, they have borne and still bear the burden and heat of the day. In
comparison with them, the European has been only the eleventh-hour-man,
the apprentice, the hireling. The fusion of the European with the
Yankee takes place but slowly, even on the new soil of the West; for
the Yankee is not a man of promiscuous society; he believes that Adam's
oldest son was a Yankee. Enough, however, of foreign blood has been
mingled with the Yankee blood to modify the primitive character of the
New England race, and to form a third American type, that of the West,
whose features are not yet sharply defined, but are daily assuming more
distinctness; this type is characterised by its athletic forms and
ambitious pretensions, and seems destined ultimately to become superior
to the others.

The Yankee and the Virginian are very unlike each other; they have
no great love for each other, and are often at variance. They are
the same men who cut each other's throats in England, under the name
of Roundheads and Cavaliers. In England, they patched up a peace by
the interposition of a third dynasty, which was neither Stuart nor
Cromwell. In America, where there was no power to mediate between
them, they would have devoured each other as they did in England, had
not Providence thrown them wide apart, one party at the south, the
other at the north, leaving between them the territory now occupied by
the _justes-milieux_ States of New York and Pennsylvania, with their
satellites, New Jersey and Delaware.

The Virginian of pure race is frank, hearty, open, cordial in his
manners, noble in his sentiments, elevated in his notions, he is a
worthy descendant of the English gentleman. Surrounded, from infancy,
by his slaves, who relieve him from all personal exertion, he is rather
indisposed to activity, and is even indolent. He is generous and
profuse; around him, but rather in the new States than in impoverished
Virginia, abundance reigns. When the cotton crop has been good and the
price is high, he invites everybody, excepting only the slaves that
cultivate his fields, to partake in his wealth, without much thought
of next year's produce. To him, the practice of hospitality is at once
a duty, a pleasure, and a happiness. Like the Eastern patriarchs or
Homer's heroes, he spits an ox to regale the guest whom Providence
sends him and an old friend recommends to his attention, and to moisten
this solid repast, he offers Madeira, of which he is as proud as of his
horses, which has been twice to the East Indies, and has been ripening
full twenty years. He loves the institutions of his country, yet he
shows with pride his family plate, the arms on which, half effaced by
time, attest his descent from the first colonists, and prove that his
ancestors were of a good family in England. When his mind has been
cultivated by study, and a tour in Europe has polished his manners and
refined his imagination, there is no place in the world in which he
would not appear to advantage, no destiny too high for him to reach;
he is one of those, whom a man is glad to have as a companion, and
desires as a friend. Ardent and warm-hearted, he is of the block from
which great orators are made. He is better able to command men, than to
conquer nature and subdue the soil. When he has a certain degree of the
spirit of method, and, I will not say of will, (for he has enough of
that), but of that active perseverance so common among his brethren of
the North, he has all the qualities needful to form a great statesman.

The Yankee, on the contrary, is reserved, cautious, distrustful; he is
thoughtful and pensive, but equable; his manners are without grace,
modest but dignified, cold, and often unprepossessing; he is narrow
in his ideas, but practical, and possessing the idea of the proper,
he never rises to the grand. He has nothing chivalric about him, and
yet he is adventurous, and he loves a roving life. His imagination is
active and original, producing, however, not poetry, but drollery.
The Yankee is the laborious ant; he is industrious and sober, frugal,
and, on the sterile soil of New England, niggardly; transplanted to
the promised land in the West, he continues moderate in his habits,
but less inclined to count the cents. In New England he has a large
share of prudence, but once thrown into the midst of the treasures of
the West, he becomes a speculator, a gambler even, although he has
a great horror of cards, dice, and all games of hazard and even of
skill, except the innocent game at bowls. He is crafty, sly, always
calculating, boasting even of the tricks which he plays upon the
careless or trusting buyer, because he looks upon them as marks of his
superior sagacity, and well provided with mental reservations to lull
his conscience. With all his nice subtleties, he is, nevertheless,
expeditious in business, because he knows the value of time. His house
is a sanctuary, which he does not open to the profane; he is little
given to hospitality, or rather he displays it only on rare occasions,
and then he does so on a great scale. He is a ready speaker, and a
close reasoner, but not a brilliant orator. For a statesman, he wants
that greatness of mind and soul which enables a man to enter into
and love another's nature, and leads him naturally to consult his
neighbour's good, in consulting his own. He is individualism incarnate;
in him the spirit of locality and division is carried to the utmost.[W]
But if he is not a great statesman, he is an able administrator, an
unrivalled man of business. If he is not suited to command men, he has
no equal in acting upon things, in combining, arranging, and giving
them a value. There are nowhere merchants of more consummate ability
than those of Boston.

But it is particularly as the colonist of the wilderness, that the
Yankee is admirable; fatigue has no hold on him. He has not, like the
Spaniard, the capacity to bear hunger and thirst, but he has the much
superior faculty of finding, at all times and in all places, something
to eat and to drink, and of being always able to contrive a shelter
from the cold, first for his wife and children, and afterward for
himself. He grapples with nature in close fight, and more unyielding
than she, subdues her at last, obliging her to surrender at discretion,
to yield whatever he wills, and to take the shape he chooses. Like
Hercules, he conquers the hydra of the pestilential morass, and chains
the rivers; more daring than Hercules, he extends his dominion not only
over the land, but over the sea; he is the best sailor in the world,
the ocean is his tributary, and enriches him with the oil of her whales
and with all her lesser fry. More wise than the hero of the twelve
labours, he knows no Omphale that is able to seduce, no Dejanira,
whose poisoned gifts can balk his searching glance. In this respect
he is rather a Ulysses, who has his Penelope, counts upon her faith,
and remains steadfastly true to her. He does not even need to stop his
ears, when he passes near the Sirens, for in him the tenderest passions
are deadened by religious austerity and devotion to his business. Like
Ulysses in another point, he has a bag full of shifts; overtaken at
night by a storm in the woods, in a half hour, with no other resource
than his knife, he will have made a shelter for himself and his horse.
In winter, caught in one of those snow-storms, which are unknown among
us, he will construct a sled in the twinkling of an eye, and keep on
his way, like an Indian, by watching the bark of the trees. Thus to
the genius of business, by means of which he turns to profit whatever
the earth yields him, he joins the genius of industry, which makes her
prolific, and that of mechanical skill, which fashions her produce to
his wants. He is incomparable as a pioneer, unequalled as a settler of
the wilderness.

The Yankee has set his mark on the United States during the last
half century. He has been eclipsed by Virginia in the counsels of
the nation;[X] but he has in turn had the upper hand throughout the
country, and eclipsed her on her own soil; for in order to arouse
the Virginian from his southern indolence, it has been necessary
that the Yankee should come to set him an example of activity and
enterprise at his own door. But for the Yankee, the vast cotton
plantations of the South would still be an uncultivated waste. It
was a Yankee, Ely Whitney, who, toward the end of the last century,
invented the cotton-gin, which has made the fortune of the South. To
give a speculation success in the South, some Yankee must have come a
thousand miles to suggest the idea to the natives, and carry off the
profit before their eyes. New England has given only two Presidents to
the Union, both popular on the eve of their election, both unpopular
on the morrow, both rejected at the end of their first term, while
all the others have been natives of Virginia or South Carolina, and
have been rechosen for a second term. But then what a revenge has she
taken in business matters, at the North and the South, in the East as
well as the West! Here the Yankee is a true Marquis of Carabas. At
Baltimore as well as at Boston, in New Orleans as well as at Salem, in
New York as well as at Portland, if a merchant is mentioned who has
made and kept a large fortune by sagacity and forecast, you will find
that he is a Yankee. If you pass a plantation in the South in better
order than the others, with finer avenues, with the negroes' cabins
better arranged and more comfortable, you will be told, "Oh! that is
a Yankee's; he is a _smart man_!" In a village in Missouri, by the
side of a house with broken windows, dirty in its outward appearance,
around the door of which a parcel of ragged children are quarrelling
and fighting, you may see another, freshly painted, surrounded by
a simple, but neat and nicely white-washed fence, with a dozen of
carefully trimmed trees about it, and through the windows in a small
room shining with cleanliness, you may espy some nicely combed little
boys, and some young girls dressed in almost the last Paris fashion.
Both houses belong to farmers, but one of them is from North Carolina,
and the other from New England. On the western rivers, you will hear
a boat mentioned which never meets with an accident, and in which all
travellers and merchants are eager to take their passage; the master is
a Yankee. Along side of the _levée_ at New Orleans, you may be struck
with the fine appearance of a ship, which all the passers-by stop to
admire; the master is also a Yankee.

The preëminence of the Yankee in the colonisation of the country, has
made him the arbiter of manners and customs. It is from him that the
country has taken a general hue of austere severity, that is religious
and even bigoted; it is through him that all sorts of amusements, which
among us are considered as innocent relaxations, are here proscribed
as immoral pleasures. It is he that has introduced the Prison Reform,
multiplied schools, founded Temperance Societies (See _Note_ 13).
It is through his agency, with his money, that the Missionaries are
endeavouring silently to found colonies in the South Seas, for the
benefit of the Union. If we wished to form a single type, representing
the American character of the present moment as a single whole, it
would be necessary to take at least three-fourths of the Yankee race,
and to mix with it hardly one fourth of the Virginian. The physical
labour of colonisation is now nearly brought to an end; the physical
basis of society is laid. On this base it becomes necessary to raise a
social structure of yet unknown form, but which, I am fully convinced,
will be on a new plan, for all the materials are new; and besides,
neither humanity nor Providence ever repeats itself. Which of the two
races is best suited to execute this new task? I cannot tell; but it
seems to me that the Virginian is now about to take his turn, and that
in the phase which the United States are now on the point of entering,
the social qualities of the Virginian will obtain the superiority, that
naturally belonged to the laborious Yankee in the period of settling
the forest. In a word, I believe, that, if the Union lasts, and the
West continues to form a united mass from the falls of Niagara to New
Orleans, this third type of the west, which is now forming and already
aspires to rule over the others, will take a great deal from the
Virginian and very little from the Yankee.

It is no small advantage to a people to combine within itself two
types with different characteristics, when they unite harmoniously
in composing a common national character. A people of which all the
individual members are referrible to a single type, is among nations
what an unmarried man is among individuals; it is a sort of hermit, its
life is monotonous; the strongest and sweetest feelings of human nature
are dormant in it; it continues stationary; there is nothing to spur
it forward. Such was ancient Egypt. A people consisting of two types,
on the contrary, when neither has an oppressive superiority over the
other, enjoys a complete existence; its life is a perpetual interchange
of ideas and sensations, like that of a married pair. It has the
power of reproducing and regenerating itself. Each of the two natures
alternately acts and reposes itself, without ever being inactive. By
turns each gains the superiority and yields to the other; and thus
according to circumstances, different qualities come into play. The two
natures mutually support and relieve each other, they stimulate each
other, and through this wholesome rivalry, the nation that combines
them in itself, reaches high destinies.

History shows that the progress of humanity has been constantly
promoted by the reciprocal action and reaction of two natures, or two
races, sometimes friends, oftener enemies or rivals. The most general
fact in the history of our civilisation is the struggle between the
East and the West, from the expedition of the Argonauts and the war of
Troy, to the battle of Lepanto and the siege of Vienna by the Turks.
In this great drama, it was not merely to shed rivers of blood, that
Providence has dashed against each other Europeans and Asiatics, Greeks
and Persians, Romans, Carthaginians, and Parthians, Saracens and
Franks, Venitians, Turks, and Poles; blows have not been the only thing
exchanged between Europe and the Orient. If you wish to know what the
West has gained from contact with the East, even when they met sword in
hand, look around you; most of the fruit trees that enrich your fields,
the vine which gladdens the heart, the silk and cotton that adorn your
houses and your persons, these are the spoils of your Eastern wars;
sugar and coffee, the cultivation of which has changed the political
balance of the world, were brought into Europe from the East, the
one by yourselves, the other by the Arabs, when they made themselves
masters of Spain. The mariner's compass, which has given a new
continent to civilisation, and established the dominion of man over the
before unconquered deep, was the gift of the East. Your arts and your
sciences are of Oriental origin; the secrets of Algebra were stolen
from the Moors of Spain by a monk; your system of numeration, the basis
of all your financial improvements, bears the name of the Arabs; your
chivalry was brought from Asia by the Crusaders. Christianity, the
mother of modern Europe, would not have existed in the West, had not
the Roman legions conquered Judea which contained its germ, had not
the Roman empire contained the school of Alexandria in which that germ
could put forth, and had not the Rome of the Cæsars been raised as a
pedestal for the successors of St. Peter, from which they might rule
over the East and the West.

Behold the Roman people; its noble career was a continual succession of
wars, followed by as many incorporations of the conquered, alliances,
real marriages, which; always give it a new vigour. It begins with
the double figure of Romulus and Remus; then follow the Romans and
Sabines, then Rome and Alba, next Rome and the Latins, and next Rome
and Carthage. It might be called a young sultan, who carries off a
captive at the point of the sword, and makes her his favourite until he
grows tired of her, or until he finds another more worthy of his love.
It goes on in this way, changing, and daily rising in the successive
subjects of its choice, until it meets with Greece, which becomes not
an object of a passing caprice, but a favorite sultana. This Union
of the Greek and Roman natures gave its splendour to imperial Rome,
and rest to the world. Its destiny once entwined with that of Greece,
the Roman people paused to enjoy; and with this purpose, substituted
the rule of the Cæsars for the republican constitution, and Greek
rhetoricians and players, and emperors, voluptuous like the disciples
of Epicurus, or philosophers, like Pericles, for the stern and severe
aristocracy of earlier days. What is the history of Greece, but a
continual oscillation between the austere Lacedæmon and the brilliant
Athens, between the country of Lycurgus and Leonidas, and that of
Solon, Aspasia, and Alcibiades. United, they acquired an indomitable
energy, and supported the shock of all Asia. Unfortunately they had too
little feeling of a common nationality, and too much of local jealousy;
almost perpetually divided, they never completely extended their sway
over Greece itself, and when the Greek race was about to reach its
zenith, neither was destined to lead it thither, but Providence raised
up a man in the North, before whom _the earth was silent_.

Whilst a nation comprises an indefinite number of types mixed together
without order and without rank, it resembles a body not yet in a state
of consistency; it has no definable character, no fixed destination;
it is incapable of achieving any thing great. Thus from the time of
the war of the old German electors against the Holy Empire, and of the
treaty of Westphalia, which sanctioned their independence and broke
in pieces the former unity of the nation, Germany continued under an
eclipse, until the period of the rise of the house of Brandenburg from
the midst of the anarchy of the little German States, when a rival was
given to the house of Austria and a strong dualism established. Dualism
is not, however, the only mode in which a society can be constituted,
at once solid and elastic. When a third type, whose superiority is
admitted by the others, or which partakes sufficiently of the nature of
each to serve as a bond and a mediator between them, exists, the social
organisation is then in a high degree vigourous; for then, the harmony
between the two primitive types has ceased to be an abstraction, it has
become a substance. In some cases this third personage of the drama
becomes so indispensable to the action, that it must be supplied at any
rate, and its great prerogatives devolve on a transient actor; thus
in Greece, Thebes played this part during a short period. Sometimes
it has been filled by an aristocracy, which has served as a check to
both parties in turn; an aristocracy worthy of the name is eminently
qualified for this task, because it combines the two natures in itself,
feels the reaction of their passions influencing itself, and has the
energy necessary either to curb or spur them on, as the exigency
of the case requires. There is no country in which dualism is more
admirably developed than in the United States; each of the two natures
has an open field, each a distinct career of industry; each possesses
in the highest degree the qualities necessary for its peculiar
position. Considered in respect to a triple type, the United States are
not less favorably situated; the young giant that is growing up in the
West, seems destined to fulfil the prophecy _the last shall be first_,
and bind together the North and the South in his vigourous gripe.

In France we have two distinct types, that of the North and that of
the South; but instead of employing the principle of centralisation as
a means of developing the nature of both, and giving them a free and
harmonious action, we have endeavoured to confound them in a narrow
and sterile unity. We have especially thwarted the most reasonable
and legitimate wishes of the South, which has been overborne and
crushed by the North. It takes its revenge, indeed, in furnishing us
with most of our statesmen, very much as Ireland has the privilege of
giving _premiers_ to England; but like Irish ministers in England,
our Southern statesmen, ungrateful sons of a neglected mother, govern
wholly in the interest of the North, as if France contained towns only,
and had no rural population, as if we were chiefly a manufacturing, and
but partially an agricultural people, and, what is worse, as if we were
a school of philosophers, and not a nation longing for religious faith
and political love.

FOOTNOTES:

[S] The name of Yankee was first applied in derision, but the New
Englanders, thinking that they have ennobled it, have adopted it.

[T] Exports of cotton from the United States. (_Doc. 146, Ho. of Reps.
Sess. 24 Cong._)

  Years.      Pounds.     Value.   Years.     Pounds.        Value.
   1792       142,000     51,470    1822    144,700,000    24,000,000
   1793       500,000    160,000    1823    173,700,000    23,500,000
   1794     1,660,000    500,000    1824    142,100,000    21,500,000
   ----     ---------    -------    ----    -----------    ----------
   Mean       766,600    237,000    Mean    153,700,000    23,000,000

   1802    27,500,000  5,250,000    1832    322,250,000    31,750,000
   1803    41,100,000  7,750,000    1833    324,500,000    36,000,000
   1804    38,100,000  7,750,000    1834    384,750,000    49,500,000
   ----    ----------  ---------    ----    -----------    ----------
   Mean    35,566,000  6,920,000    Mean    343,800,000    39,060,000

The domestic consumption at present amounts to about 250,000 bales, or
about 100 million pounds, of the value of about ten millions. The crop
of 1835 was 1,350,000 bales or about 500 million pounds, of the value
of 60 millions. The yearly value of the wine made in France is about
twice that sum, but the value of the export does not exceed thirteen
and a half million dollars.

[U] [This French heroine distinguished herself at the siege of
Beauvais, in 1472, when she snatched a standard from the hands of the
assailants. Her real name seems to have been Fourquet, that of Hachette
(Hatchet) having been probably assumed or given to her, like those of
Wat Tyler and Jack Carter, of English history.--TRANS.]

[V] [If the author means to imply that it was so called by French
settlers he is in error, as it is well known to have been founded and
named by the first New England colony in Ohio. Neither is he correct,
if, as seems to be the case, he supposes all the _burgs_ to be German
towns.--TRANS.]

[W] In Massachusetts, with a population of 610,000 souls, the House of
Representatives consists of about 600 members; the most petty village
must have its Representative.

[X] At this time, for instance, ten Senators out of 48 are natives of
Virginia. Of seven presidents four have been from Virginia. Many of the
members of Congress are natives of New England, and particularly of
Connecticut, but they are generally laborious, second-rate men, rather
than men of influence and superior abilities.



LETTER XI.

LOWELL.


                                         LOWELL, JUNE 12, 1834.

The municipal elections which took place in New York two months ago,
and the legislative elections in Virginia, which occupied the whole
month of April, have revealed to the Opposition its whole strength.
Their success was unexpected, particularly in New York; I say success,
although the newly elected mayor belongs to the administration party,
because the Opposition has the majority in both houses of the common
council, the board of aldermen, and the board of assistants, who
govern in reality. Since that time, the Opposition has continued to
gain ground. There are some able statesmen in the Senate, who are
also skilful parliamentary tacticians; they knew that by irritating
the President they might force him to commit some act of imprudence,
and this motive was not without its weight in the adoption by the
Senate of resolutions censuring his conduct in regard to the Bank.
The old General felt this censure very sensibly, and replied to it
by a protest, which his best friends consider a mistake, and which
the Senate refused to have entered on its journal. It is a matter of
surprise that Mr Van Buren, whose sagacity all admit, did not interpose
his influence to prevent the sending of this message. One of the
fundamental maxims of American politics is, that the sword and purse
should not be united in the same hands; that is, that the President,
to whom the constitution has entrusted the military force of the
Republic, should not also be the keeper of the public money. This is
here a universally received, undisputed maxim; and the President's
protest clashes with this doctrine. It became necessary, therefore, to
follow up the protest by an explanatory message, which the Opposition
calls a recantation, and which in truth is one. This retractation
or explanation has not, however, destroyed the effect of the first
message, and the consequence has been a hesitation in the democratic
ranks. The Virginia elections, which were then going on, show that they
were influenced by it, and some other elections of less importance have
turned out unfavorably to the Administration.

In Albany, the head-quarters of Mr Van Buren's friends, the
Opposition has carried the municipal elections. The partisans of
the Administration have, as if in sport, added fault to fault. A
committee of the House of Representatives, appointed to examine into
the doings of the Bank, of which the majority were Jackson men, as the
administration has the upper hand in that body, committed a series of
blunders: there was a paper war between the committee and the directors
of the Bank, in which the former were completely unhorsed, and had
no better resource than the brutal idea of ordering the President
and directors to be taken into custody by the sergeant-at-arms. Such
a proposition was revolting to every body; the majority lately so
compact, already exhibits symptoms of disaffection, and several recent
votes show that the Opposition is gaining ground. One might say that
the prudent, those, to use the words of the great master of diplomacy,
_whose watches go faster than those of their neighbours_, are getting
ready to desert. Out of the legislative houses, the Opposition is
organising energetically for the general elections, which are to take
place next autumn; it is making preparations in the spirit with which
they are made, when one feels sure of victory, and is determined that
it shall be a decisive one. In New York, for example, the common
council have removed all the Jackson men from municipal offices; all
have made way for the opponents of the Administration. The mayor will
have an Anti-Jackson secretary, because that officer is chosen by the
common council. These removals are harsh measures, but the friends
of the Administration have no right to complain, for they have set
the example on a larger scale, by removing hundreds of custom-house
officers and postmasters. Without pretending to justify these violent
acts, it should be considered that something more is involved than
merely the removing of an adversary to make way for a friend. The
Opposition wish that the inspectors of streets should be Anti-Jackson
men, because the scavengers, who are in their employ, have a vote; just
as the Administration insists upon all the postmasters being Jackson
men, because in the country they have a certain influence.

It is less than a year since General Jackson visited the great towns
of the North. He was received with acclamations such as neither
America had ever before witnessed. Washington never excited half
the enthusiasm; neither Bolivar, Pizarro, nor the great Cortez was
ever saluted with such pompous epithets. It was an apotheosis. It
is not yet a year since, and already abuse has succeeded to the
most extravagant praise. A few days ago, I was grieved to read some
unbecoming pleasantries upon the old General's scars. What will be held
sacred, if honourable wounds, all received in front, fighting for one's
country, are to become a subject of low jests? The war of the President
on the Bank was certainly unjust and disastrous to the country; the
measures taken in his name against that institution, were impolitic and
unauthorised by law; the violent passion and imperious temper displayed
by him in the affair, make a strange figure in the seat, that had been
occupied by sages like Washington and his successors. All this is
true; but when we look back on fifty years of public services, we are
filled with grief and indignation to think, that at the end of so long
a career, outrage and ingratitude will be, perhaps, his only reward.
Can he have been raised so high, only that his fall should be greater?
Is he destined to furnish another proof of the instability of popular
favour in every age and all countries? But instead of dwelling on these
unpleasant reflections, I will rather describe the scene now exhibited
literally under my windows.

The town of Lowell dates its origin eleven years ago, and it now
contains 15,000 inhabitants, inclusive of the suburb of Belvedere.
Twelve years ago it was a barren waste, in which the silence was
interrupted only by the murmur of the little river of Concord, and the
noisy dashings of the clear waters of the Merrimac, against the granite
blocks that suddenly obstruct their course. At present, it is a pile of
huge factories, each five, six, or seven stories high, and capped with
a little white belfry, which strongly contrasts with the red masonry
of the building, and is distinctly projected on the dark hills in the
horizon. By the side of these larger structures rise numerous little
wooden houses, painted white, with green blinds, very neat, very snug,
very nicely carpeted, and with a few small trees around them, or brick
houses in the English style, that is to say, simple, but tasteful
without and comfortable within; on one side, fancy-goods shops and
milliners' rooms without number, for the women[Y] are the majority in
Lowell, and vast hotels in the American style, very much like barracks
(the only barracks in Lowell); on another, canals, water-wheels,
waterfalls, bridges, banks, schools, and libraries, for in Lowell
reading is the only recreation,[Z] and there are no less than seven
journals printed here. All around are churches and meeting-houses
of every sect, Episcopalian, Baptist, Congregationalist, Methodist,
Universalist, Unitarian, &c., and there is also a Roman Catholic
chapel. Here are all the edifices of a flourishing town in the Old
World, except the prisons, hospitals, and theatres; everywhere is heard
the noise of hammers, of spindles, of bells calling the hands to their
work, or dismissing them from their tasks, of coaches and six arriving
or starting off, of the blowing of rocks to make a mill-race or to
level a road; it is the peaceful hum of an industrious population,
whose movements are regulated like clockwork; a population not native
to the town, and one half of which at least will die elsewhere,
after having aided in founding three or four other towns; for the
full-blooded American has this in common with the Tartar, that he is
_encamped_, not established, on the soil he treads upon.

Massachusetts and the adjoining small States of New England contain
several manufacturing towns similar to Lowell, but none of them on
so large a scale. An American, well acquainted with the character of
his countrymen, gave me the following account of the origin of these
towns, and of Lowell in particular. "In 1812," said he, "the United
States declared war against Great Britain to defend the honour of their
insulted flag. Boston and the rest of New England opposed the war,
and thus drew upon themselves the reproaches of their brethren of the
Middle and Southern States. The fact, is, they were quite as sensitive
as the rest of their countrymen to any insult offered their flag by the
mistress of the ocean; the patriotism of the New Englanders is above
suspicion; they began the war of Independence, and they supported the
principal burden of that war. They were, likewise, resolved to have
satisfaction for the outrages committed by England, for it was they
who had the greater number of seamen impressed by the English;[AA] but
they did not wish to have recourse to the cannon's mouth. A commercial
people, they had much to lose and nothing to gain by a maritime war;
a clear-sighted race, they saw that the chance of war was on the side
that could muster the largest armies and the most numerous navy; in
a word, war appeared to them to be a barbarous, old-fashioned means,
unworthy of their inventive wit. The Yankees never do anything like
other people, but they always have some contrivance in store, that
nobody else would have ever thought of. After a careful examination,
the Yankee said to himself, the best mode of warfare against the
English will be to attack the sources of their wealth; now what is the
principal source of the wealth of Great Britain? Its manufactures.
Among its manufactures which are the most productive? Why the cotton.
Well then, we will set up spinning works and manufactories of cottons;
this will be our war on Great Britain. Ten or twelve years were passed
in making experiments, in preliminary preparations and attempts to form
a class of operatives, and to make machinery. In 1823, the Merrimack
corporation began operations at Lowell, where the River Merrimack has a
fall of 32 feet, creating a vast motive power, and has been followed by
the Hamilton, Appleton, Lowell, Suffolk, Tremont, Lawrence, and other
companies in succession."

Such is Lowell. Its name is derived from that of a Boston merchant, who
was one of the first promoters of the cotton-manufacture in the United
States. It is not like one of our European towns that was built by some
demi-god, a son of Jupiter, or by some hero of the Trojan war or by the
genius of an Alexander or a Cæsar, or by some saint, attracting crowds
by his miracles, or by the whim of some great sovereign, like Louis
XIV. or Frederic, or by an edict of Peter the Great. It was neither a
pious foundation, nor an asylum for fugitives, nor a military post;
but it is one of the speculations of the merchants of Boston. The same
spirit of enterprise, which a year ago suggested the idea of sending
a cargo of ice from Boston to Calcutta round Cape Horn, to cool the
drink of Lord William Bentinck and the nabobs of the India company,
has led them to build up a town here, wholly at their own expense,
with all the buildings required by the wants of a civilised community,
in order to be able to manufacture white cottons and calicoes; and
they have succeeded, as they always succeed in their speculations. The
semi-annual dividends of the manufacturing companies in Lowell, are
generally from 5 to 6 per cent.

The cotton manufacture in America, which dates only from the last
war with England, is rapidly extending, although the modifications
of the tariff, required by the attitude of South Carolina last year,
have somewhat tended to check the manufacturing spirit. Boston seems
destined, like Liverpool, to have its Lancashire behind it. As
water-courses abound in New England, according to the nature of all
primary regions, steam-engines may be dispensed with for a long time to
come. This part of the country is very unproductive, and it required
all the perseverance and obstinacy, even, of the Puritans to introduce
into it the comforts of life. It is rugged, rocky, mountainous, and
bleak, consisting in fact of the first ridges of the Alleghanies,
which extend hence to the Gulf of Mexico, continually receding from
the Atlantic as they stretch southwards. The inhabitants have an
extraordinary mechanical genius, they are patient, attentive, and
inventive, and they must succeed in manufactures; or rather they have
already succeeded, and Lowell is a miniature Manchester. About 30,000
bales of cotton, or one sixth of the whole domestic consumption (see
_Note 14_), are consumed in Lowell, besides which there are several
manufactories of broadcloths, cassimeres, and carpets. To strengthen
the resemblance between their city and Liverpool, the Boston merchants
determined to construct a railroad from Boston to Lowell, the length of
which is 26 miles; there was already a canal, as there is one between
Liverpool and Manchester, but this has been found insufficient, as it
was at Liverpool and Manchester. They would not permit this road to be
constructed in the usual hasty and provisional manner of the American
works, but they determined to have something Roman, and their engineers
have given it to them, and have certainly made the most solid railroad
in the world. They have only left out the beautiful masonry, the arches
of hewn stone, the columns, and all the monumental architecture, which
makes the Liverpool and Manchester railroad one of the wonders of
modern times; these magnificent ornaments yield no dividends. Yet the
Boston and Lowell railroad in its Roman or Cyclopean simplicity, will
cost 56,000 dollars a mile.

In travelling through the neighbourhood of Manchester, one is struck
with wonder at the sight of the great spinning works; in looking at
those huge white buildings by moon-light, projecting themselves on
the dark back ground above the plain, those hundreds of windows from
which stream the brilliant rays of gas-lights, those lofty chimneys,
higher than the highest obelisks, one is tempted to think them palaces,
abodes of pleasure and joy. Alas! the delusive splendours! alas! the
whited sepulchres! All this fairy illusion vanishes, when one crosses
their door-sill, sees the haggard looks and ragged clothes of the crowd
that fills these vast structures, beholds those poor children whom
Parliament vainly strives to protect against their fathers, who are
incessantly begetting new competitors, and against the lash of their
overseers. On arriving at Lowell, the first impression of pleasure
caused by the sight of the town, new and fresh like an opera scene,
fades away before the melancholy reflection, will this become like
Lancashire? Does this brilliant glare hide the misery and suffering of
operatives, and those degrading vices, engendered by poverty in the
manufacturing towns, drunkenness and prostitution, popular sedition
hanging over the heads of the rich by a frail thread, which an ordinary
accident, and slight imprudence, or a breath of the bad passions, would
snap asunder? This question I hasten to answer.

FOOTNOTES:

[Y] The female population of Lowell, between the ages of 15 and 25
years, corresponds to a total population of from 50,000 to 60,000 souls.

[Z] The rigid spirit of Puritanism has been carried to its utmost in
Lowell, owing to the great number of young girls collected together in
the factories. In 1836, a man was fined by the municipal authorities
for exercising the trade of _common fiddler_; he was treated as if
he had outraged the public morals, the magistrates fearing that the
pleasures of the dance might tend to corruption of manners.

[AA] New England comprises but one sixth part of the whole population
of the Union, but she owns one half of the shipping of the country, or
700,000 tons out of a little more than fourteen hundred thousand.



LETTER XII.

THE FACTORY GIRLS OF LOWELL.


                                         BOSTON, JUNE 22, 1834.

War, the last argument of kings and people, war, in which they put
forth their strength with pride, is not, however, the greatest
exhibition of human power. A field of battle may excite terror or a
feverish enthusiasm, pity or horror; but human strength applied to
create is more imposing, than human strength employed in slaughter
and destruction. The pyramids or the colossal temples of Thebes, the
Coliseum or Saint Peter's of Rome, reveal a higher grandeur than a
field of battle covered with desolation and death, were it strown with
three hundred thousand bodies, as in those two great fights in which
our fathers, under Meroveus and Charles Martel, presented a barrier
to the career of the barbarians, and saved the Western world from the
encroachments of the East. The power of man, like that of God, is
not less visible in small things than in great. There is nothing in
the physical order of things of which our race has a better right to
boast, than of the mechanical inventions, by means of which man holds
in check the irregular vigour, or brings forth the hidden energies, of
nature. By the aid of mechanical contrivances, this poor weak creature,
reaching out his hands over the immensity of nature, takes possession
of the rivers, of the winds of heaven, of the tides of the ocean. By
them, he drags forth from the secret bowels of the earth their hidden
stores of fuel and of metals, and masters the subterranean waters,
which there dispute his dominion. By them, he turns each drop of water
into a reservoir of steam,[AB] that is, into a magazine of power, and
thus he changes the globe, in comparison with which he seems an atom,
into a laborious, untiring, submissive slave, performing the heaviest
tasks under the eye of its master. Is there any thing which gives a
higher idea of the power of man, than the steam-engine under the form
in which it is applied to produce motion on railroads? It is more
than a machine, it is almost a living being; it moves, it runs like
a courser at the top of his speed; more than this, it breathes; the
steam which issues at regular periods from the pipes, and is condensed
into a white cloud, resembles the quick breathing of a racehorse. A
steam-engine has a complete respiratory apparatus, which acts like our
own by expansion and compression; it wants only a system of circulation
to live.

One evening, while in Virginia, I was looking at a distant locomotive
engine, approaching along the Petersburg and Roanoke railroad, one of
the fine works of which Mr Robinson, the engineer, yet a young man,
has executed so many in Virginia and Pennsylvania. The engine came on
at its usual rate of speed, through a narrow clearing cut for the road
in one of the primitive forests, formerly the domain of the great king
Powhatan and his copper-coloured warriors.[AC] The chimney threw out
thousands of sparks from its wide, funnel-shaped top; although yet at a
distance, the noise of the quick breathing of the pipes was distinctly
heard. In the darkness, in so wild a place, in the bosom of a vast
wilderness and the midst of a profound silence, it was necessary either
to be acquainted with mechanics, or to be imbued with the incredulity
of the age, not to believe this flying, panting, flaming machine, a
winged dragon vomiting forth fire. A short time since some Brahmins,
the fathers of ancient science, seeing a steamboat stem the current of
the sacred Ganges, really believed that it was some strange animal,
recently discovered by the English in some distant region.

In our modern societies the improvements of machinery have given us
manufactures, which promise to be a source of inexhaustible prosperity
and well-being to mankind.

The English manufactories alone yield about eight hundred million yards
of cotton stuffs annually, or about one yard for each inhabitant of
the globe. If it were required to produce this amount of cloth without
machinery, by, the fingers alone, it is probable that each of us would
hardly be able to card, spin, and weave his yard a year, so that the
whole time of the whole human race would be occupied by a task, which,
by the aid of machinery, is accomplished by five hundred thousand
arms in Great Britain. From this fact we may conclude, that when the
manufacturing system shall be well regulated and completely organised,
a moderate amount of labour by a small part of the human race, will be
sufficient to produce all the physical comforts for the whole. There
can be no doubt, that it will be so, some day or another; but this
beautiful order of things is yet remote. The manufacturing system is
a novelty, it is expanding and maturing itself, (see _Note 15_), and
as it ripens, it certainly will improve; the staunchest pessimists
cannot deny this, yet we should expose ourselves to the most cruel
disappointments, if we imagined that the progress of improvement can
be otherwise than slow, step by step. There are seven-leagued boots in
fairy-tales, but none in history. Meanwhile the manufacturing system
temporarily involves the most disastrous consequences, which it would
be useless to enumerate here. Who has not sounded its depths with
terror? Who has not wept over it? It is the canker of England, a canker
so inveterate, that one is sometimes tempted to think, that all the
ability displayed of late years by the British statesmen in attempts at
domestic reform, will prove a dead loss.

The introduction of the manufacturing system into a new country,
under the empire of very different circumstances, is an event worthy
of the closest attention. No sooner was I recovered from the sort of
giddiness with which I was seized at the sight of this extemporaneous
town, hardly had I taken time to touch it, to make sure that it was
not a pasteboard town, like those which Potemkin erected for Catherine
along the _road to Byzantium_, when I set myself to inquire, how far
the creation of manufactures in this country, had given rise to the
same dangers in regard to the welfare and morals of the working class,
and in regard to the security of the rich and of public order, as in
Europe; and through the polite attention of the agents of the two
principal companies (the Merrimack and the Lawrence), I was able to
satisfy my curiosity. The cotton manufacture alone employs six thousand
persons in Lowell; of this number nearly five thousand are young women
from 17 to 24 years of age, the daughters of farmers from the different
New England States, and particularly from Massachusetts, New Hampshire,
and Vermont; they are here remote from their families, and under their
own control. On seeing them pass through the streets in the morning
and evening and at their meal-hours, neatly dressed; on finding their
scarfs, and shawls, and green silk hoods which they wear as a shelter
from the sun and dust (for Lowell is not yet paved), hanging up in the
factories amidst the flowers and shrubs, which they cultivate, I said
to myself, this, then, is not like Manchester; and when I was informed
of the rate of their wages, I understood that it was not at all like
Manchester. The following are the average weekly wages paid by the
Merrimack corporation last May.

                                   {  3.00 Dolls.
  For picking and carding,         {  3.10
                                   {  2.78
  For spinning,                       3.00
                                   {  3.10
  For weaving,                     {  3.12
                                             { 3.45 Dolls.
  For warping and sizing,                    { 4.00
  In the cloth-room (measuring and folding),   3.12

These numbers are averages; the wages of the more skilful hands
amounting to five, and sometimes nearly six dollars. Note that last
March, in consequence of the crisis occasioned by the President's
quarrel with the Bank, there was a general reduction of from 30 to 40
cents a week. You know how much smaller are the wages of women than
of men;[AD] there are few women in Europe, out of a few great cities,
who can earn more than 20 cents a day or one dollar a week. It must
also be remembered, that, in the United States the necessaries of life
are not only much cheaper than in England, but even than in France, so
that a great many of these girls can save a dollar or a dollar and a
half a week. After spending four years in the factories, they may have
a little fortune of 250 or 300 dollars, when they often quit work and
marry.[AE]

In France, it would be difficult to conceive of a state of things, in
which young girls, generally pretty, should be separated from their
families, and thrown together, at a distance of 50 or 100 miles from
home, in a town in which their parents could have no person to advise
and watch over them. It is a fact, however, with the exception of
a very small number of cases, which only prove the rule, that this
state of things has yet had no bad effects in Lowell. The manners of
the English race are totally different from those of us French; all
their habits and all their notions wholly unlike ours. The Protestant
education, much more than our Catholic discipline, draws round each
individual a line over which it is difficult to step. The consequence
is more coldness in the domestic relations, a more or less complete
absence of a full and free expression of the stronger feelings of the
soul, but, in turn, every one is obliged and accustomed to show more
respect for the feelings of others. What amongst us would pass for a
youthful imprudence or a pretty trick, is severely frowned upon by
the English and Americans, and particularly by the Americans of New
England, who are, as has been said, double-distilled English. Nobody
in this country, then, is surprised to see the daughters of rural
proprietors, after having received a tolerable education, quit their
native village and their parents, take up their residence 50 or 100
miles off, in a town where they have no acquaintance, and pass two or
three years in this state of isolation and independence; they are under
the safeguard of the public faith. All this presupposes an extreme
reserve of manners, a vigilant, inexorable, and rigid public opinion,
and it must be acknowledged, that, under this rigourous system, there
is a sombre hue, an air of listlessness, thrown over society; but, when
one reflects on the dangers to which the opposite system exposes the
daughters of the poor, who have no guardian to warn and protect them,
when one counts its victims, however slight may be his sympathies with
the people, it is difficult to deny, that the Anglo-American prudery,
all things considered, is fully worth our ease and freedom of manners,
whatever may be their attractions.[AF]

The manufacturing companies exercise the most careful supervision
over these girls. I have already said, that, twelve years ago, Lowell
did not exist; when, therefore, the manufactories were set up, it
also became necessary to provide lodgings for the operatives, and
each company has built for this purpose a number of houses within its
own limits, to be used exclusively as boarding-houses for them. Here
they are under the care of the mistress of the house, who is paid by
the company at the rate of one dollar and a quarter a week for each
boarder, that sum being stopped out of the weekly wages of the girls.
These housekeepers, who are generally widows, are each responsible for
the conduct of her boarders, and they are themselves subject to the
control and supervision of the company, in the management of their
little communities. Each company has its rules and regulations, which
are not merely paper-laws, but which are carried into execution with
all that spirit of vigilant perseverance that characterises the Yankee.
I will give you a short summary of one of these codes, for they seem to
me to throw great light on some of the most striking peculiarities of
this country. I will take those of the Lawrence company, which is the
most recently formed; they are a revised and corrected edition of the
rules and regulations, of the other companies. They bear date May 21,
1833. Article first of the general rules is as follows: "All persons
employed by the Company must devote themselves assiduously to their
duty during working-hours. They must be capable of doing the work which
they undertake, or use all their efforts to this effect. They must on
all occasions, both in their words and in their actions, show that
they are penetrated by a laudable love of temperance and virtue, and
animated by a sense of their moral and social obligations. The Agent
of the Company shall endeavour to set to all a good example in this
respect. Every individual who shall be notoriously dissolute, idle,
dishonest, or intemperate, who shall be in the practice of absenting
himself from divine service, or shall violate the Sabbath, or shall
be addicted to gaming, shall be dismissed from the service of the
Company. _Art. 2._ "All ardent spirits are banished from the Company's
grounds, except when prescribed by a physician. All games of hazard and
cards are prohibited within their limits and in the boarding-houses.
The articles following from 3 to 13, determine the duties of the
agent, assistant agent, foremen, watch and firemen. Article thirteenth
directs, that every female employed by the Company shall live in one
of the Company's boarding-houses, attend regularly at divine service,
and rigidly observe the rules of the Sabbath. Article fourteenth
and last, contains an appeal to the operatives, on the necessity of
subordination, and on the compatibility of obedience with civil and
religious liberty. There is, besides, a special rule relative to
boarding-houses; it recounts, that the Company has built those houses
and lets them at a low price, wholly for the good of the hands,[AG] and
that the Company, therefore, imposes certain duties on the persons who
hire them. It makes them responsible for the neatness and comfortable
condition of the houses, the punctuality and good quality of the
meals, good order and harmony among the boarders; it requires that
the keepers of the houses shall receive no persons as boarders, who
are not employed in the Company's works, and it obliges them to give
an account of the behaviour of the girls. It also prescribes that the
doors shall be shut at ten, and repeats the injunction of attendance at
divine worship.

These regulations, which amongst us would excite a thousand objections
and would be in fact impracticable, are here regarded as the most
simple and natural thing in the world; they are enforced without
opposition or difficulty. Thus in regard to Sunday, for instance,
which with us is a holiday, a day of amusement and gaiety, it is here
a day of retirement, meditation, silence, and prayer.[AH] This is one
of the features in which the French type most strongly contrasts with
the Anglo-American. In a moral and religious point of view, there
prevail among us a laxity and a toleration, which form a counterpart
to the American _let-alone_ principle in political matters; whilst the
principle of political authority, which has always been established in
great vigour among us, under all forms of government, monarchy, empire,
or republic, corresponds to the austere reserve of American manners, to
their rigid habits of life, and to the religious severity which exists
here by the side of the great multiplicity of sects. So true is it,
that both order and liberty are essential to human nature, and that it
is impossible to establish a society on one of these principles alone!
If you abandon a portion of the social institutions exclusively to the
spirit of liberty, be assured that the principle of order will take no
less exclusive possession of some other portion. Yield up to liberty
the whole field of politics, and you are compelled to give religion
and manners wholly up to order. Leave manners and religion to liberty,
and you find yourself obliged to strengthen the principle of order in
politics, under pain of suffering society itself to fall into ruins.
Such are the general laws of equilibrium which govern the nations and
the universe of worlds.

Up to this time, then, the rules of the companies have been observed.
Lowell, with its steeple-crowned factories, resembles a Spanish town
with its convents; but with this difference, that in Lowell, you
meet no rags nor Madonnas, and that the nuns of Lowell, instead of
working _sacred hearts_, spin and weave cotton. Lowell is not amusing,
but it is neat, decent, peaceable, and sage. Will it always be so?
Will it be so long? It would be rash to affirm it; hitherto the
life of manufacturing operatives has proved little favorable to the
preservation of severe morals. So it has been in France, as well as
in England; in Germany and Switzerland, as well as in France. But as
there is a close connexion between morality and competence, it may be
considered very probable, that while the wages shall continue to be
high at Lowell, the influences of a good education, a sense of duty,
and the fear of public opinion, will be sufficient to maintain good
morals. Will wages, then, continue to be what they are? There are some
causes which must tend to reduce them; the rates of the duties which
protect American industry are progressively decreasing; on the 1st of
July, 1842, they will be reduced to a maximum of 20 per cent. But,
on the other hand, the processes become more perfect, the labourers
grow more skilful, the capitalists are realising their outlays, and
consequently will no longer expect to divide 10 or 12 per cent. A
certain diminution of wages is very possible, even after that of last
March, because labour is paid in the Lowell factories, better than
it is in the surrounding country; but there must be limits to this
diminution. In Europe, work is often wanting for the hands; here, on
the other side, hands are wanting for the work. While the Americans
have the vast domain in the West, a common fund, from which, by
industry, each may draw for himself and by himself, an ample heritage,
an extreme fall of wages is not to be apprehended.

In America as in Europe, competition among the head-workmen tends to
reduce their wages; but the tendency is not increased in America, as in
Europe, by the competition among the labourers, that is by an excess of
hands wanting employ, for the West stands open as a refuge to all who
are unemployed. In Europe, a coalition of workmen can only signify one
of these two things; raise our wages or we shall die of hunger with our
wives and children, which is an absurdity; or raise our wages, if you
do not, we shall take up arms, which is a civil war; in Europe, there
is no other possible construction to be put upon it. But in America,
on the contrary, such a coalition means, raise our wages, or we go to
the West. Every coalition which does not amount to this in the minds of
the associates, is merely the whim of the moment, an affair of little
importance. This is the reason why coalitions, which in Europe are
often able to shake the firmest fabric, present no real danger to the
public peace in this country, where authority is disarmed. This is the
reason why European countries, burdened with an excess of population,
need for their safety and welfare a West, into which each may overflow
after its own manner. This also is the reason why France is right in
keeping Algiers.

FOOTNOTES:

[AB] In passing into steam, water expands to one thousand seven hundred
times its volume.

[AC] This railroad was constructed for 60 miles through a vast forest
of oak and pine, the few houses now found along the line having been
erected since the execution of the work.

[AD] The wages of a mere labourer in the factories at Lowell are from 5
to 6 dollars a week; of a man who has a trade, as a smith, dyer, 8 to
10 dollars, of the engravers of patterns on the printing cylinders, 17
or 18 dollars.

[AE] Out of one thousand females in the Lawrence mills, only eleven are
married women, and nineteen widows.

[AF] Mr H. C. Carey, in his _Essay on Wages_ (p. 89), quotes the
following letter from the director of one of the factories in Lowell.
"There have been in our establishment only three cases of illicit
connexions, and in all three instances the parties were married
immediately, several months before the birth of the child, so that in
fact we have had no case of actual bastardy." Mr Carey adds, that he
was informed that there had been no such case at Dover, where there
is a very large manufactory. Although I do not believe that such an
exemplary degree of purity prevails in all the manufacturing districts,
yet I am convinced that the morale of the manufacturing operatives are
in harmony with those of the rest of the population.

[AG] The company gets only 4 per cent. on the capital invested in
the boarding-houses, while the average rate of dividends on the
manufacturing stock is from 5 to 6 per cent. semi-annually.

[AH] In the United States, the theatres are generally closed on Sunday,
out of respect for the rules of the _Sabbath_; the only exception
to this custom is among the French population of Louisiana. In New
England, religious scruples on this point are carried farther than
elsewhere; thus in Boston, a by-law of the city prescribes the shutting
up of the theatres on Saturday evening, because, according to some
precisians, the _Sabbath_ begins at sunset on that day.



LETTER XIII.

THE BANK.--SLAVERY.


                                ELMINGTON, (VA.) AUG. 24, 1834.

The elections of members of the House of Representatives will take
place in New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, the principal States in
the Union, next October and November. Although the members then
returned will not take their seats until the session which begins
in December, 1835, yet great importance is attached to the results
of these elections, even in respect to the approaching session of
Congress. On both sides preparations are making with the greatest
activity; both parties have chosen their text. As the harangues against
an aristocracy of money have aroused the prejudices of the labouring
classes, who form the majority of electors, against the Bank, the
watchword of the Opposition is no longer ostensibly the Bank. But it
says to the electors, referring to the late acts of the President
directed against the Bank, and the doctrines which on this occasion
he has put forth in his messages; "The executive power is guilty of
gross usurpation; hasten to the rescue of the constitution from its
monstrous encroachments. It is no longer a question about the bank; but
our liberties, bought by the blood of our fathers, are at stake, and
an audacious soldier, surrounded by a train of servile place-men, has
dared to trifle with our dearest rights." This is certainly the best
ground for the Opposition to take; for General Jackson, in the affair
of the Bank, as in most other circumstances of his life, has cared
little for forms. He has gone straight forward to his object, without
stopping to consider where he was placing his foot.

The Administration party, which well knows how unpopular the Bank
is with the multitude, since this unpopularity is chiefly its own
work, talks Bank and nothing but Bank. "The Opposition," they say,
"is mocking you, when it calls upon you to save the Constitution and
the laws. What do they care for the Constitution and the laws? It is
the Bank that they wish to save. Down with the Bank! General Jackson,
_the Hero of two Wars_, who pushed back the English bayonets from the
Union at the peril of his life, wishes to free the soil of the country
from this prop of tyranny and corruption. The Bank is nothing but
English influence which seeks to enslave you. It is now to be seen,
whether you will be freemen or worshippers of the Golden Calf. In
spite of the hypocritical protestations of the parasites of the Bank,
remember, at the polls, that the question, the only question, the whole
question, is Bank or no Bank." At bottom, what the Administration party
says, is true; the Opposition do not give up the cause of the Bank.
The question, which is at issue, and which is to be settled by the
elections, is, in fact, the question of the Bank.

But whose fault is it, if the Opposition has a rightful cause to call
the citizens to the defence of the Constitution? Besides, the leaders
of the Democratic party felt that their policy, which consisted in
setting up the local banks in opposition to to the National Bank, would
necessarily fail, and that the financial and commercial interests of
the country, comprising the local banks themselves, must, in the long
run, rally round the Bank of the United States. The abuse which they
had heaped upon the latter, would, therefore, fall directly upon the
local banks. It was impossible that the democratic multitude, which
had much more just grounds of complaint against the local banks, than
against the Bank of the United States, by which nobody had ever lost a
dollar, should not perceive this. Accordingly, after having hesitated
a long time, the heads of the party seem ready to take the bold stand
of openly denouncing all banks. Bank-bills, they say, are nothing but
wretched rag-money; the eulogies of the metals, gold and silver, are
now become the order of the day. Gold is called _Jackson money_; the
United States mint has been actively employed in striking gold coins,
half-eagles and quarter-eagles. The principal journals of the Jackson
party pay the daily wages of their journeymen printers in gold; the
warm friends of the Administration affect to carry gold pieces in
their pockets, and as paper only is generally used here in business
transactions, even of the most trifling amount, you may be certain
that a man who is seen with gold in his hands, is a Jackson-man. The
President lately made a visit to his seat in Tennessee, and paid his
expenses all along the road in gold, and the Globe, his official organ,
took care to inform the public of it. At a dinner, given in honour of
him, by the citizens of Nashville, he proposed this toast: "_Gold and
silver, the only currency recognised by the constitution!_"

This apotheosis of gold and silver, abstractly considered, is all
very well; hitherto the metals have made too small a proportion of
the currency of the United States; gold, particularly, was never
met with. At its last session Congress removed one of the obstacles
to gold remaining in the country and taking the place of small bank
notes, by raising its legal value. How far this act will effect its
object of keeping a certain quantity of gold in the country, I know
not; but I am persuaded, that the only prompt and effectual means of
sweeping away the small bills, will be a National Bank. The prudent and
experienced men of the party will certainly resist a formal declaration
of war against all banks; but it is hardly to be avoided, that in the
democratic party, the most rash and the most violent should give the
law to the men of moderation and experience. In this event, Mr Van
Buren will have need of all his address to preserve discipline in the
ranks. He is too well acquainted with the commercial situation of the
United States, to allow himself to dwell one moment on such a project
as the destruction of the banks. His creed is the overthrow of the Bank
of the United States, not because it is a bank, but because, in his
view, its existence is contrary to the constitution.

The tactics of the Opposition have already given it success in some
partial and unimportant elections, but even if they should have the
majority in the next Congress, it would be but an incomplete victory,
for the Bank would not be preserved. Many persons who have joined the
Opposition because its watchword was the Constitution and the laws,
would have kept aloof, had they seen the name of the Bank joined with
them, so rooted is the jealousy of this useful institution. Admitting,
then, that the Opposition triumphs in the coming elections, it will be
necessary to set some new springs in motion in order to save the Bank.
It is easy to refer at present to one on which the friends of the Bank
will not fail to rely.

The Union, homogeneous as it is in regard to language and general
character, is subdivided, as I have already said, into three groups,
daily becoming more and more strongly marked. North of the Potomac, the
States are poor in soil, but enriched by commerce[AI] and manufactures;
there are the great commercial towns, Boston, New York, Philadelphia,
and Baltimore, and the secondary ports of Salem, Portland, New Bedford,
Nantucket, and Providence; there, also, are almost all the manufactures
of the Union. These States do not admit slavery, with the exception
of Maryland, where the slaves are on the decrease, and the Lilliputian
State of Delaware, where slavery has, in fact, almost disappeared.
South of the Potomac, between the Atlantic and the Mississippi, are the
slave-holding States, wholly agricultural, and the only part of the
country in which cultivation is conducted on a great scale, producing
cotton, rice, sugar, and tobacco, without mechanical industry, and
having but little commerce, except the coasting trade, the foreign
trade being in the hands of the North. In the West, reaching from the
great lakes southwards, and lying on the Ohio and the Mississippi, is
a tract of the highest fertility, in which, since the peace of 1783,
have grown up the new States of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, besides
Michigan, which is now on the point of becoming a State. These are also
agricultural States, producing corn and cattle of all kinds, yielding
whiskey and salted provisions, cultivated by free hands, and in which
property is so far subdivided, that each family has its own farm.

Of these three groups, the North is most interested in the existence of
a Central Bank; it is there, also, that the financial machinery of the
Union is most thoroughly understood, and it is most fully perceived,
that such a Bank is one of its most indispensable wheels. But the North
alone, even with the support of some commercial towns in the South and
West, such as New Orleans and Cincinnati, does not make up a majority,
and in the North itself, in the rural districts back of New York and
Philadelphia, a jealousy of the commerce of the cities prevails,
which is worse than injustice, for it is ingratitude, and which
displays itself by a blind hostility to the Bank. In a word, although
the question of a National Bank is considered almost a question of
existence by the great commercial capitals of the North, without whose
enterprise that region would be still little better than a wilderness,
yet the North is far from being unanimous in favour of such an
institution, and were it so, would not alone be able to save it. The
North, then, must seek allies in the South or the West; there are some
symptoms of the increase of the Opposition in the West, but this is
only because the question of the Bank has been temporarily left out of
view. The West does not favour the Bank nor the banks. The hatred of
these eminently democratic States to the banking system is formally
proclaimed in the constitutions of Indiana and Illinois, by which banks
are expressly prohibited, unless the State think proper to establish
one itself, with its own funds; a measure which each has already made
preparations to adopt. It is to the South, then, that the North must
look for help.

The inhabitants of the South and the North are very different from
each other in many points (See _Letter X._), and in a certain degree
there are the same analogies and the same contrasts between the North
and the South, as between England and France.[AJ] The South, like,
France, is most distinguished for the brilliant qualities; the North,
like England, for the solid; great ideas have their origin rather
in the South; good execution belongs rather to the North. The North
is gifted with the English perseverance, at once the pledge and the
condition of success; the South, like us, is easily moved, but easily
discouraged; all ardour at the outset, but disconcerted by a check from
any unforeseen obstacle. It was a matter of general surprise through
the Union last year, that the South Carolinians had completed, and
completed in a good style of execution, a railroad from Charleston to
Augusta; the distance is equal to that from Havre to Paris. From the
intermixture of northern with southern men in Congress, we find in that
body a spirit of calculation and a practical good sense combined with
a lively imagination and large views; the well balanced combination
of these opposite qualities explains the union of boldness and wisdom
which generally characterises the acts of that body. Until recently,
when the West has suddenly loomed up, and taken its stand by the
side of these two rivals, the domestic politics of the United States
have consisted in maintaining the balance between the North and the
South.[AK]

There are important differences in the political views of the North
and the South. The North has more respect for the Federal bond, and
is disposed to tighten rather than to relax it. The South has the
opposite tendency. The South is opposed to the tariff, to the system
of internal improvements by the Federal government, to whatever tends
to enlarge the influence of the Federal authority. "The lighter is
the Federal yoke," says the South, "the more easily it will be borne,
the less cause there will be to fear, that any of the members of the
confederation will be tempted to shake it off." "By relaxing too much
the Federal bond," says the North, "you destroy it. If you go on
thus, even for a short time, the Union will be dissolved indeed, and
will exist only in name; the slightest accident will then be enough to
abolish even the name." In all these quarrels, however, even in that of
Nullification, when a part of the South threatened to break the Federal
compact, they have hitherto come to an understanding. Concessions have
been made by both sides, but more often by the North than by the South,
and as they have so long continued to preserve a Union, there is room
to hope, that they will still be able to live together for a long time
to come.

The general leaning of the South to an interpretation of the
constitution most favourable to the sovereignty of the States, has
led many of the southern politicians to maintain the doctrine of the
unconstitutionality of the Bank; although in opposition to a formal
decision of the Supreme Court of the United States, the chief-justice
of which, Judge Marshall, is more revered throughout the Union, than
any other southern man, and even more so in the South than elsewhere.
The Constitution, say the States' rights puritans, does not give
Congress power to establish a Bank of the United States. On the other
side, if they are ticklish as to what they call the encroachments of
one branch of the national government, the Congress, they are not less
so as to those of which the Opposition accuses another branch, that
is, the President. Thus at the same moment that they combat the Bank,
they combat the President also, on account of his measures against
the Bank. This third party is numerous in Virginia. Now allowing
the conclusions of the States' right party relative to the Bank to
be founded on a strict interpretation of the law, they are none the
less inadmissible in practice. And as it is impossible in the United
States to give currency to the maxim, _push the colonies rather than
principle_, the North entertains the hope that the States' rights
party, after the example of some of its leaders, such as Mr Calhoun
and Mr McDuffie, will relax a little of the rigour of their theories.
The Administration, on the other hand, is doing its utmost to preserve
the theoretical notions of Virginia on the Bank question in all
their original purity on their native soil, and Mr Van Buren, who is
far-sighted, lately sent the following toast to a 4th of July dinner in
that State: "_Unqualified war on the Bank of the United States_."

The North, fortunately for itself, has a means of acting upon the
South, by slavery. This requires some explanation. At the time of the
declaration of Independence (1776), slavery existed in all the States.
During the war of the Revolution, Pennsylvania, in 1780, adopted a
plan which soon exterminated it within her limits; Massachusetts, in
1781, proclaimed slavery to be incompatible with the laws already
existing; the other States of New England, and finally New York, and
the other States north of the Potomac, with the exception of Delaware
and Maryland, adopted measures similar to those of Pennsylvania.[AL]
This was an easy matter for these States, their slaves not forming more
than one twentieth or one fifteenth of the whole population. But it was
a very different affair in the South, where the proportion of slaves
was six or seven times greater, and where all the rural labour and
menial services were performed by slaves; the institution of slavery
was, therefore, permitted to stand, in the South. The acquisition of
Louisiana and Florida has enlarged the number of slave States, and
by an oversight, which will one day be bitterly rued, slavery has
been authorised in some of the new States, such as Missouri, where
it would be easy to do without the blacks.[AM] In 1790, there were
660,000 slaves[AN] distributed in six States, one Territory, and the
Federal District; in 1830 there were 2,000,000, in twelve States, two
Territories, and the Federal District. The white population of the
slave section, in 1790, was 1,250,000, or as 190 to 100; in 1830, it
was 3,760,000, or as 186 to 100. The proportional increase of the slave
population would appear still greater if we added the free blacks, and
struck out the States of Delaware and Maryland. In 1830, the number of
slaves in Louisiana and South Carolina was greater than that of the
whites.

In our days, slavery is a scourge to all the countries in which it
exists; of this the people of the United States, in the South as
well as in the North, are convinced; but how to put an end to it?
The bloody experiment of St. Domingo and its fatal consequences to
the majority of the blacks themselves, offer no encouragement to
immediate emancipation. The great experiment just making by the English
government in its colonies,[AO] is not yet advanced enough to afford
any light. Besides, the English colonies contain only about one third
of the number of slaves now in the United States. And supposing the
slaves once emancipated, what shall be done with them? This question
is the most embarrassing of all, to one who is acquainted with the
wretched condition of the free blacks in the United States. (See _Note
16_.) On the other hand, the difficulties increase with the progress of
time, and the Southern States are, or think they are, obliged to adopt
measures in regard to the black population, which may be defended by
the plea of necessity, but which are nevertheless excessively harsh.[AP]

In spite of all the precautions against an insurrection of the blacks,
the solicitude of the Southern States continually increases; from the
first of this month the blacks in the English West Indies, which are
within three days' sail of the United States, are partially free.
Between those islands and the southern and northern ports, there
is an active commerce, and the communication is frequent. Finally,
religious proselytism, which has carried the measure of emancipation
in England, has its organs in the United States. There are not wanting
philanthropists in Boston, Philadelphia, and Ohio, who are always ready
to facilitate the escape of runaway slaves. Last winter, while I was
at Richmond, 40 or 50 slaves disappeared, and there is no doubt that
the fanatics of Philadelphia or New England furnished them the means
of flight. The question of slavery, then, is, of all others, the most
deeply interesting and alarming to the Southern States. Whenever it
has been raised, even indirectly and secondarily, they have vehemently
remonstrated; the moment it is touched, their voice is heard; this is
their weak side; here the North has a hold upon them.

In regard to slavery, the Northern States have never departed from the
policy of concession. This conduct of the North may even appear like
culpable connivance, to Europeans not aware that the most precious
treasure of North America, that is to say, the Union, has been at
stake. The Northern States have written in their laws all that the
South has demanded; they have granted to the southern master the
right to claim his runaway slave before their own courts, so that the
republican soil of the North does not enjoy the privilege which belongs
to some of the monarchical countries of Europe, that of giving liberty
to whoever sets his foot upon it. The North has permitted slavery to be
maintained in the Federal District, in Washington, at the foot of the
Capitol steps. The North, seeing the South in a flame on the Missouri
question, stifled its just repugnance to her admission. The North,
which has an interest in the recognition of Hayti, has yielded that
point, because the South declares that it would be an encouragement to
the slaves to revolt. Thus to maintain harmony in the Union, the North
has pushed its concessions even to silencing its religious feelings,
its principles of liberty, its commercial interests. As the Union
promotes the good of all, all ought to be ready to make sacrifices to
preserve it, and it would be just, that the South should renounce its
theories about the constitutionality of a National Bank, theories which
are belied by long practice, and which have been formally condemned by
judges, of whom the South itself is proud.

Some months ago the public clamour imposed silence on the Abolition
Societies in the North, whose object is the abolition of slavery in the
South. The newspapers contain details of the devastation and pillage
committed by a handful of people on the poor, inoffensive blacks,
during three consecutive nights of July, in New York, and during the
same number in Philadelphia, about a week ago. Far be it from me to
accuse the Opposition, which has the majority in these two cities, of
having been an accomplice of these wretches! Yet I believe I state a
fact when I say, that those terrible riots, in which houses, schools,
and churches were plundered and pulled down every evening by the dozen,
and in which peaceable persons of colour were robbed and personally
abused, would have been more promptly repressed, had not the North,
above all things else, been eager to punish the Abolitionists, and
to show to the South that it had nothing in common with them. The
North, in a word, has given and continues to give to the South every
conceivable guarantee on the subject of slavery. The South, which may
one day need, not merely the passive forbearance, but the active aid of
the North against insurrection, should consider if the North exacts too
much in return, in asking toleration for an institution indispensable
to the North, and from which the South itself has received nothing but
favours.

FOOTNOTES:

[AI] In 1833, out of 108 millions the ports of the north imported 96
million dollars. Deducting the imports of New Orleans, those of all
the Southern States were only of the value of 2,700,000 dollars. The
exports of the South are much greater than its imports.

[AJ] I asked a fellow countryman, established at Richmond, whose
patriotism had not been cooled by a long absence from France, why he
preferred Richmond to the northern cities, which, in some respects, are
more favourable to business; "Because," he replied, "the Virginians are
the French of America."

[AK] It has always been endeavoured to balance the number of
non-slave-holding States, as much as possible, by an equal number
of slave States; by this means, the Senate would be exactly divided
between the two interests. In 1789, six of the thirteen States admitted
slavery; in 1792, there were 16 States, equally divided between the
two systems; in 1802, out of 17 States, nine did not admit slavery,
but in 1812, the admission of Louisiana restored the balance. From
1816 to 1819, four States were admitted, Alabama and Mississippi,
slave-holding, Indiana and Illinois, non-slave-holding. In 1820,
Maine, without slaves, and in 1821 Missouri with slaves, followed. In
1836 Michigan at the north, and Arkansas at the south, were received
into the Union, and next will come the turn of the slave-holding
Florida, and the non-slave-holding Wisconsin. It should be observed
that Delaware, in which slavery is allowed by law, may be considered a
non-slave-holding State, and is often reckoned so. The President has
generally been from the South.

[AL] They consisted in declaring all persons born after a certain
period free, the children of a slave to remain in the service of her
owner during a certain number of years.

[AM] At the time of its admission into the Union, Missouri contained
only ten or eleven thousand slaves, which might have been easily sold
in the neighbouring slave-holding States.

[AN] Deducting those in the Northern States.

[AO] The indemnity allowed to the owners amounts to about 125 dollars
a head, which for 2,500,000, the present number in the United States,
would amount to about 312 millions.

[AP] Some are surprised, that the slave and the free black are more
severely dealt with by the laws of the Southern States, than by those
of a colony belonging to an absolute monarchy, Cuba for instance, and
that, for example, it should be prohibited, under pain of fine and
imprisonment, to teach them to read or write. The contrary would be
much more surprising. In a country where there is perfect liberty for
the free class, it would be impossible to sustain slavery unless by the
severest legislation. If the slave should read in your constitutions
and bills of right, "that all men are born free and equal," how can
it be that he would not be in a standing conspiracy against you? It
is just to observe that, in the United States, the slaves, though
intellectually and morally degraded, are humanely treated in a physical
point of view. They are less severely tasked, better fed, and better
taken care of, than most of the peasants of Europe. Their rapid
increase attests their easy condition.



LETTER XIV.

THE ELECTIONS.


                                       NEW YORK, NOV. 11, 1834.

The autumnal elections have taken place in most of the States, and
have resulted favourably to the democratic party and the President.
Last April the mayor of New York, who is a Jackson man, was chosen by
the small majority of 181 votes out of 35,147, and the Opposition
prevailed in the Common Council. The majority in favour of General
Jackson is now 2,400; several causes have contributed to produce this
result.

The name of the Bank, whose cause is closely connected with that of the
Opposition, sounds more and more odious to the ears of the multitude;
this is unjust, but it is, nevertheless, true, and some of the late
measures of the Bank have redoubled the animosity of the democratical
party towards it. It refused to show its books to the committee of
inquiry appointed by the House of Representatives, unless in the
presence of the officers of the Bank, and its enemies have persuaded
the multitude, that the _Monster_ dared not reveal the secrets of
its den to the representatives of the people.[AQ] The Bank persists,
conformably to the custom of merchants, in demanding damages on account
of the protest by the French government of the bill of exchange sold to
the Bank by the Administration, and has withheld the dividends due the
United States on their stock. The purpose is merely, say the officers
of the Bank, to bring the question of damages before the proper
tribunal. But the democratic party takes this act as the text for its
tirades against the Bank. "Behold it," they say, "setting itself above
the laws, taking the execution of justice into its own hands, and under
false pretences, laying hold of the public money." In both these cases
it is quite possible that the right was wholly on the side of the Bank,
but appearances are against it, and nothing can be more injurious to
it in a country governed by universal suffrage. Many of its friends,
admitting that the course of the Bank has been strictly legal, would
have preferred that a more prudent policy had been adopted, both for
the interest of the Bank itself and of the Opposition.

The silence of the principal speakers in Congress, who are almost
all in the ranks of the Opposition, has no less contributed to
swell its losses since the close of the session. The friends of the
Administration in Congress, and more especially in the Senate, were
beaten in debate, they felt it themselves, and their whole appearance
was a formal confession of defeat; the whole party was disconcerted by
this hesitation and embarrassment of the leaders. Since the 30th of
June, the party, generals and soldiers, has had time to rally; they
have restored their ranks beyond the reach of the fire of Messrs Clay,
Calhoun, and Webster, and they have gained a victory, which four months
ago they could not have hoped for. The revival of business in the
country has also turned to the disadvantage of the Opposition. During
the April elections in New York, the community was just recovering from
a crisis, all classes had suffered and were still suffering. It was
difficult to deny, that the distress had been caused by the President's
attack on the Bank, in what he himself called an experiment. Commerce
is now active again, the autumn business has been good, and every
thing encourages the expectation of a not less favourable state of
the spring-trade. General Jackson's experiment seems then to have
succeeded; and a great number of persons who belong to the democratic
party as their natural element, and who had quitted it in the spring,
have very naturally fallen back into its ranks.

But it is proper to explain the real extent of this victory of the
Administration; the Opposition has not actually been driven from its
former positions, but the Jackson party has maintained the greater
number of those it before occupied, and has particularly stood firm
in Pennsylvania and New York. In a word, to judge by the elections
that have already taken place, the House of Representatives in the
session that begins at the close of 1835, will be, like the present
House, composed of a majority of Jackson men. The Opposition, however,
has gained rather than lost. It has carried the State of Maryland by
a considerable majority, and has even gained the democratic State of
Ohio, upon which it hardly calculated; ten Representatives out of
nineteen from that State, belong to the Opposition, and although the
Governor is of the Jackson party, the majority of the State legislature
is Anti-Jackson, an important circumstance because the legislatures
elect the Senators in Congress.

The elections in Pennsylvania, where the Opposition has lost two
representatives, have surprised no one, but those in New York have
disappointed all calculations. I know that some well-informed Jackson
men, who had formed correct anticipations in regard to former
elections, did not expect a majority of more than three or four
hundred in the city, and, as I have before observed, they had one of
2,400. The Opposition thought itself able to contest the possession
of the State, and relied upon carrying the city. It is certainly
extraordinary, that the commercial interest should be beaten in the
first commercial city in the New World, and such a result does no
honour to the system which has caused it. The unexpected triumph of the
Opposition in Ohio had redoubled their confidence in New York; they had
celebrated with great display the junction of the young giant of the
West with the Anti-Jackson forces. One of the magnificent steamboats
belonging to the New York and Albany line, and called the Ohio, had
been sent up the river with cannon, and the roar of its guns had been
mingled with the shout of the towns and villages on the Hudson. The
little frigate Constitution, the palladium of the opposition in New
York,[AR] had been publicly paraded before the eyes of the multitude.
A packet-boat had been sent up the canal from Albany, and made the new
and flourishing towns, which at once give to and take from that great
artery of the State, life, activity, and wealth, to resound with salvos
of artillery in honor of Ohio. But now the cannon of the Opposition is
silent, and that of Tammany Hall only is heard. The little frigate,
which during the elections was hung up before the head-quarters of
the Opposition, no longer displays the coloured lights with which her
rigging was then illuminated. The streets of New York, which do not
indeed require it, receive no additional light, except from the Jackson
processions, which parade them nightly by torch-light.

The New York elections are not only important in their results, but
also on account of the order which prevailed while they were going on.
During the last six months, the spirit of anarchy had raised its head
in the United States in such a manner as to inspire serious alarm,
even among those not prone to be timid. You know what happened in
New York during the April elections; several months later, in July,
the city became the theatre of a series of outrages against the poor
blacks, which were repeated several nights. In August the same excesses
ware committed in Philadelphia, under the same pretext, and with no
less audacity and perseverance: then came the brutal assault on the
convent in Charlestown, when the retreat of peaceful nuns devoted to
the education of young girls was attacked, plundered, and burnt down,
without the Selectmen of the town having the power or the courage to
make head against the rioters, and without the well-disposed citizens,
taken by surprise by this act of savage intolerance, venturing to
interfere. (See _Note 17_). Hardly a month since, there was also
an incendiary conflagration at Philadelphia on the evening of the
election; six houses were burnt, and the firemen were driven off
by the rioters, as at Charlestown, by main force. The same evening,
an event of a more grave character occurred; several muskets were
discharged by some of the Opposition whom the mob had assailed with
stones, several persons were wounded, and one or two killed. A week
before, during the preparatory elections, an obscure and peaceable
individual was killed by a stab with a dagger.

A repetition of these scenes of disorder was feared in New York; but
nothing of the sort occurred. Nearly 36,000 voters exercised their
right of suffrage without any disturbance, although both parties were
highly excited. The merit of this wise conduct is wholly due to the
people; the Common Council had, indeed, taken extraordinary measures
for the preservation of the peace, but what is here considered
extraordinary, hardly comes up to the ordinary police in Europe. If
the multitude in the United States abstain from acts of violence, it
is because they choose to do so; if they preserve order, it is because
they love order. Three hundred constables more or less, in a city of
260,000 souls, like New York, could do nothing. Some persons, however,
attribute this moderation of the democracy wholly to its confidence
in success, and insist, that, if there had been any symptoms of the
elections going the other way, the streets would have been thronged, as
in April, by bodies of men armed with clubs.

The fate of the Bank has been decided by these elections. In fifteen
months its charter expires, and the Bank will die, to be revived ere
long under a new form, when a new series of commercial disasters, shall
have proved to the conviction of the most incredulous, that they cannot
get along without it. It is worthy of note, that it falls by the hands
of the two States that owe it the most, New York and Pennsylvania.
The blindness of Pennsylvania in particular is inexplicable. Who
would expect this stupid fury in drying up the sources of its own
prosperity? For without the Philadelphia capital, the interior
districts of the State would yet be a wilderness; its one thousand
miles of canals and railroads, its innumerable bridges, the finest
wooden structures in the world, its numerous roads, its manufactures
and mines which now enrich it, would not exist. Some persons assert,
that Pennsylvania, which begins with perhaps the most enlightened
and refined city in the United States, ends with a rural population
of German origin, the most ignorant and stupid in North America. The
conduct of the Pennsylvanians in regard to the Bank is not calculated
to change the opinion of these severe judges.[AS] As for the New York
electors, it may be supposed, that, if the seat of the Mother Bank
were in their capital, the votes of the town and the State would have
resulted very differently.

The only chance left for the Bank is, that the portion of the South
which is under the influence of Virginia, should condescend to lend
it a helping hand. Such an act of generous compassion on the part of
the South is not probable, but it is not absolutely impossible. I
have often been present at discussions between men of the South and
the North, in which the latter have said to the former: "Without us
you would be at the mercy of your slaves; it is our union with you
which will prevent them from rising and cutting your throats." The
Southerners answered: "We will take it upon ourselves to keep down our
slaves; we shall have no need of your help against any attempts at
insurrection for a long time to come. All we ask of you is, not to stir
them up to revolt. But as for you, why you are yourselves overwhelmed
by a flood of ultra-democracy. Your workmen give you the law. Before
long you will be glad to get the aid of the South to restore the
balance which your universal suffrage has destroyed." The South has now
a fine opportunity to exercise in the North this moderating power of
which it boasts the possession.

Frederic the Great, having gained a victory over the Imperialists just
after the battle of Fontenoy, wrote to Louis XV.: "I have just paid the
draft which your majesty drew on me at Fontenoy." General Jackson has
honoured the bill drawn on him by the New York electors more promptly.
A circular has been directed by the Secretary of the Treasury to the
receivers of the public money, prohibiting the reception of certain
drafts on the branch banks. These drafts were issued, merely because it
was physically impossible for the president and cashier of the Mother
Bank to sign five and ten dollar notes, fast enough to supply the place
of those that were worn out or torn in the course of circulation. They
have the same form with the Bank-notes, and pass like them, although
the charter of the Bank makes no mention of them. This act of the
Administration will, however, do no injury to the Bank; for if it is
obliged to withdraw all these drafts, amounting to seven millions, from
circulation, there is nothing to prevent its issuing bills to the same
amount. The Bank is prepared for every event; the amount of its bills
in circulation comprising the drafts on the branches, does not exceed
17 millions, and its means in specie, or other property that can be
realised at a moment's warning, exceed 20 millions. It will merely be
necessary for the president, Mr Biddle, and the cashier, Mr Jaudon,
who were already crowded with business, to devote three or four hours
a day to signing bills; for the branch drafts were only designed to
relieve them from this duty. The order of the Secretary of the Treasury
amounts, therefore, merely to a task inflicted on those gentlemen.

On both sides of the Atlantic, there is at present a reaction against
the aristocracy of money. Whilst here the eternal chorus of NO
BANK! DOWN WITH THE BANK! NO RAG-MONEY! is forever displayed on the
liberty-poles and the flags of the democracy, amongst us the bankers
are denounced from the national tribune by our most able speakers.
Do those who hope that industry will soon raise itself to political
influence and dignity, deceive themselves then? Or are not rather the
industrial classes themselves, and particularly those who are at their
head, the financial class, yet unconscious of their future destiny,
and too slow to shake off the bad habits which they contracted when
the sword was law, and work was the lot of slaves and serfs? Do not
these Princes of Industry pay too little regard to those lofty and
noble sentiments which are well worth letters of nobility, and without
which no supremacy could ever be sustained? To engage in public affairs
with dignity, the hands must be clean, the public good must be prized
above the money bags; and yet, such is the state of commercial dealings
in our day, that, without inheriting a double share of generosity
and patriotism, it is difficult to escape from them without becoming
contaminated and callous. How many honorable men are there not in the
industrial ranks, who groan over the customs to which they are obliged
to conform, over the examples which they are obliged to imitate? The
Bank of the United States must pay the penalty of the vices, which
even in our day degrade commerce, but which are henceforth to belong
only to history. It is punished for the sins of others, for this great
institution has not itself deserved the reproach of cupidity; the
services it has rendered to the country are immense; those which it has
rendered itself, that is to say, its profits, have been moderate.

I must, however, do America the justice to observe, that, although
the desire to make money is universal, yet in the principal and older
commercial centres, there is more honesty and less illiberality than
amongst us. American selfishness is less contracted than ours; it does
not stoop to petty meannesses; it operates on a more liberal scale.
There are certainly wild speculators, blind and desperate gamblers here
also: but the objects of their schemes are almost always enterprises
of public utility. The spirit of speculation in the United States
has strown this vast country with useful works, canals, railroads,
turnpike-roads, with manufactories, farms, villages, and towns; amongst
us it has been more rash, wild, and foolish, and much less productive
in useful results. It is with us mere stock-jobbing, without any good
influence on the prosperity of the country; it is a game in which the
dice are loaded, in which the credulous lose the earnings of years in
a fever-fit of a moment. Its only results are ruin and despair, and if
it contributes to people any thing, it is the cells of the mad-house.
These are sad truths, but truths which it may be useful to utter.

FOOTNOTES:

[AQ] The reason given for this refusal was the indiscreet use by a
former committee of inquiry, of notes made during a similar examination.

[AR] This is a miniature frigate that takes its name from a favorite
ship in the American navy, which covered herself with glory in the last
war under the command of Hull, Bainbridge, and Stewart.

[AS] The able Correa, for some time Portuguese minister to the United
States, used to say, that this State reminded him of the Sphinx, _which
had the head of an angel, and the body of a beast_. This saying is
often quoted in the United States.



LETTER XV.

PITTSBURG.


                                  PITTSBURG, NOVEMBER 24, 1834.

Seventy-six years ago this day, a handful of Frenchmen sorrowfully
evacuated a fort, which stood on the point of land where the Alleghany
and Monongahela mingle their waters to form the Ohio. The French, with
their faithful allies the Indians, had made a vigourous resistance;
they had defeated the expedition sent against them in 1754, and
compelled Washington, then a lieutenant-colonel in the Virginia
militia, to surrender Fort Necessity. They had routed the troops of
the boastful Braddock, and spread terror, of which the memory is not
yet effaced, through the English colonies. But the destiny of France
was then in the hands of him, who of all her kings will be most
severely judged by the tribunal of history. Under that most dissolute
and selfish prince, France, sacrificed to the paltry intrigues of the
bed-chamber, humbled at home, could not triumph abroad. The French
were, therefore, obliged to abandon Fort Duquesne; on that day,
November 24, 1758, one of the most magnificent schemes ever projected,
was annihilated.

France had then possession of Canada and Louisiana; we were then
masters of the two finest rivers, the two largest and richest
basins of North America, that of the St. Lawrence and that of the
Mississippi.[AT] Between these two basins nature has raised no barrier,
so that in the rainy seasons, canoes can pass from Lake Michigan into
the bed of the Illinois, and continue their course thence without any
obstruction to the Gulf of Mexico. The plan of our heroic pioneers,
priests, sailors, and soldiers, had been to found the empire of New
France in this great valley. It is beyond a doubt, that this idea
had attracted the attention of Louis XIV., and that its execution
was already begun by the erection of a chain of posts, the sites
of which were admirably chosen. There is no country in the world
which comprises such an amount of so highly fertile land; none which
offers natural routes of communication comparable to the net-work of
navigable rivers and streams spread over this great region. There is
none more healthy, for with the exception of a few points or tracts
subject to autumnal fevers, but which rapidly lose this character
when brought under cultivation, there are only two infected spots,
New Orleans and Natchez, in which the yellow fever occasionally makes
its appearance, during a few months in the year. The sums swallowed
up by one of the foolish wars of Louis XV., would probably have been
amply sufficient to accomplish this noble project. But the enterprise,
although pushed forward by the local agents with admirable zeal and
sagacity, encountered only indifference from the ministers at home, the
great point of whose policy was to know, who was to be the favourite
mistress of his Most Christian Majesty on the morrow. The capture of
Fort Duquesne was soon followed by the conquest of all Canada by the
English; and in 1763, by the treaty of Paris (these treaties of Paris
never bode us any good), France, exhibiting an example of that complete
submission and flat despair, of which our annals exhibit so many
instances, and the English so few, ceded the basin of the St. Lawrence
and the left bank of the Mississippi to England, with one hand, and the
right bank of that great river to Spain, with the other.

Thus it came to pass, that the empire of New France, like so many other
magnificent schemes conceived in our country, existed only on paper,
or in the visions of youthful officers, full of sagacity and boldness,
and intrepid missionaries, heroes alike without a name, whose memory is
honoured only in the wigwam of some poor exiled Sachem. Fort Duquesne
is now become Pittsburg; in vain did I piously search for some relics
of the French fortress; there is no longer a stone, a brick, on the
Ohio, to attest that France bore sway here.[AU]

Pittsburg is at present essentially pacific; if cannon and balls are
seen here, it is because a trading people make it a rule to supply the
market with whatever is wanted. The cannon are new, fresh from the
mould, and equally at the disposition of the Sultan Mahmoud, or the
Emperor of Morocco, or the government of the States, whichever will pay
for them. Pittsburg is a manufacturing town, which will one day become
the Birmingham of America; one of its suburbs has already received that
name. It is surrounded, like Birmingham and Manchester, with a dense,
black smoke, which, bursting forth in volumes from the founderies,
forges, glass-houses, and the chimneys of all the manufactories and
houses, falls in flakes of soot upon the dwellings and persons of the
inhabitants; it is, therefore, the dirtiest town in the United States.
Pittsburg is far from being as populous as Birmingham, but it exhibits
proportionally a greater activity. Nowhere in the world is everybody so
regularly and continually busy as in Pittsburg; I do not believe there
is on the face of the earth, including the United States, where in
general very little time is given to pleasure, a single town in which
the idea of amusement so seldom enters the heads of the inhabitants.
Pittsburg is, therefore, one of the least amusing cities in the
world; there is no interruption of business for six days in the week,
except during the three meals, the longest of which occupies hardly
ten minutes, and Sunday in the United States, instead of being, as
with us, a day of recreation and gaiety, is, according to the English
custom, carried to a greater degree of rigour by the Anglo-Americans,
consecrated to prayer, meditation, and retirement. By means of this
energetic assiduity in work, which is common to all ages and classes,
and by the aid of numerous steam-engines which labour like humble
slaves, the inhabitants of Pittsburg create an amount of products,
altogether disproportioned to their number. The nature, bulk, and
weight of the articles make this disproportion more striking; for,
whether it be that American art, yet a novice, cannot give the finish
required for articles of luxury and ornament, or that the Americans
have the good sense to discern at a glance, that the manufacture of
objects of the first necessity or of essential use, is more profitable
than that of the trinkets with which civilisation seeks to adorn
herself wherever there is wealth, and even where there is none, only
the ruder and coarser kinds of work are done in Pittsburg.

Although Pittsburg is at this moment the first manufacturing town in
the Union, it is yet far from what it is destined one day to become.
It stands in the midst of an extensive coal-formation, the beds of
which are very easily worked. The district east of Pittsburg furnishes
much pig-iron, which is brought hither to be converted into malleable
iron, or into all kinds of machines, tools, and utensils. Pittsburg
has then coal and iron within reach; that is to say, power, and the
lever by which the power is to be applied. The vent for its wares is
still more vast than its means, for the whole basin of the Mississippi,
with all its lateral valleys, which on our continent would be basins
of the first class, lies open to it. The population, which improves in
its condition, as rapidly as it increases in numbers,[AV] creates an
indefinite demand for the engines and machines, hollow-ware, nails,
horse-shoes, glass, tools and implements, pottery, and stuffs of
Pittsburg. It needs axes to fell the primitive forests, saws to convert
the trees into boards, plough-shares and spades to turn up the soil
once cleared. It requires steam-engines for the fleet of steamers,
which throng the western waters. It must have nails, hinges, latches,
and other kinds of hardware for houses; it must have white lead to
paint them, glass to light them; and all these new households must have
furniture and bed linen, for here every one makes himself comfortable.

Thus Pittsburg is beginning to be what Birmingham and St Etienne are,
and what several places in the departments of the Aveyron and Gard will
become, when we become more enterprising, and use the proper exertions
to develop all the resources now buried in the bowels of our _belle
France_, for so it is called everywhere abroad. Pittsburg is beside and
must be a commercial city, a great mart. Standing at the head of steam
navigation on the Ohio, it is, directly or indirectly, that is through
the medium of the more central cities of Cincinnati and Louisville,
the natural _entrepôt_ between the upper and lower country, the North
and the South. Pennsylvania has spared no pains to secure and extend
the advantages resulting from this situation. It has made Pittsburg
one of the pivots of its great system of internal improvements, which
was undertaken with such boldness, and has been pursued with such
perseverance. Pittsburg is connected with Philadelphia by a line of
railroads and canals nearly four hundred miles in length, and the
numerous branches of the Pennsylvania Canal give it a communication
with all the most important points in the State. A direct communication
with Lake Erie is, indeed, wanting, but it will soon have a double
and triple one. A railroad, 300 miles in length is projected between
Baltimore and the Ohio, and one third of the distance is already
completed; the legislature of Pennsylvania have made it a condition
that the western terminus of this work shall be at Pittsburg. A canal,
for which the plans and drawings were furnished by General Bernard, is
to connect Chesapeake Bay by the way of Washington with the Ohio, and
the same condition in favour of Pittsburg has been prescribed in this
case.

Pittsburg is one of the few American towns, which owe their birth
to war; it was at first one of the chain of French forts, and was
afterward occupied by the English as a frontier post against the
savages. In 1781, Pittsburg consisted of a few houses under the
protection of the cannon of Fort Pitt. The origin of Cincinnati was
similar; both commenced with a fortress, but more fortunate than some
of our great commercial towns, such as Havre, which is stifled in the
embrace of its fortifications, Pittsburg and Cincinnati have caused all
traces of their original destination to disappear. Of Fort Pitt, which
the English constructed just above the site of Fort Duquesne, nothing
remains but a small magazine which has been converted into a dwelling
house; another trace of the martial epoch (which here forms the
mythological ages), is the name of Redoubt Alley, which is taken from
a battery once erected there, to sweep the Monongahela. At Cincinnati,
Fort Washington has been razed, and on its site now stands a bazaar
built by Mrs Trollope. Not one of the least singular changes that have
taken place in America within a half century, is the difference between
the old mode of founding a town, and the manner in which they are at
present made to rise out of the ground.

Some weeks ago I visited the anthracite coal district in Pennsylvania
(see _Note 18_); the Anthracite, the most convenient kind of fuel, is
at present in general use all along the Atlantic coast from Washington
to Boston, and its introduction has made a revolution in household
matters. Six or seven years since, when the demand for it was suddenly
very much increased, the district which contains the coal-beds became
the subject of speculation, at first prudently conducted, but finally
growing wild and extravagant. The speculators vied with each other
in tracing out town-plots; I have seen detailed plans, with straight
streets and fine public squares scrupulously reserved, of cities which
do not actually consist of a single street, of towns which hardly
contain three houses. This frenzy gave birth, however, to one town of
3,000 inhabitants, Pottsville, to ten or twelve railroads, great and
small, to several canals, basins, and mining explorations, that have
proved pretty successful. As for the great cities, several of them
have really become flourishing villages, although the dreams of their
founders have not proved true.

In this anthracite region, in the manufacturing districts of the North
East, along the New York canals, and in all parts of the West, a
traveller often has an opportunity of seeing the process of building
towns. First rises a huge hotel with a wooden colonnade, a real
barrack, in which all the movements, rising, breakfasting, dining, and
supping, are regulated by the sound of a bell with military precision,
uniformity, and rapidity, the landlord being, as a matter of course,
a general or, at least, a colonel of the militia. The bar-room is
at once the exchange, where hundreds of bargains are made under the
influence of a glass of whiskey or gin, and the club-room, which
resounds with political debate, and is the theatre of preparations for
civil and military elections. At about the same time a post-office is
established; at first the landlord commonly exercising the functions of
postmaster. As soon as there are any dwelling-houses built, a church
or meeting-house is erected at the charge of the rising community;
then follow a school-house and a printing press with a newspaper, and
soon after appears a bank, to complete the threefold representation of
religion, learning, and industry.

A European of continental Europe, in whose mind the existence of a
bank is intimately associated with that of a great capital, is very
much surprised even for the hundredth time, at finding one of these
institutions in spots yet in an intermediate state between a village
and the primitive forest inhabited by bears and rattle-snakes. On the
banks of the Schuylkill, which has lately been canalled, and which,
flowing from the coal-region, empties itself into the Delaware near
Philadelphia, may be seen the beginnings of a town, built during the
time of the mining speculations, at the head of navigation. Port
Carbon, for that is its name, consists of about thirty houses standing
on the declivity of a valley, and disposed according to the plan of the
embryo city. Such was the haste in which the houses were built, that
there was no time to remove the stumps of the trees that covered the
spot; the standing trees were partially burnt and then felled with the
axe, and their long, charred trunks still cumber the ground. Some of
them have been converted into piles for supporting the railroads that
bring down the coal to the boats; the blackened stumps, four or five
feet high, are still standing, and you make your way from one house
to another by leaping over the prostrate trunks and winding round the
standing stumps. In the midst of this strange scene, appears a large
building with the words, OFFICE OF DEPOSIT AND DISCOUNT. SCHUYLKILL
BANK. The existence of a bank amidst the stumps of Port Carbon,
surprised me as much as the universal neatness and elegance of the
peaceful Philadelphia, or the vast fleet which is constantly receiving
and discharging at the quays of New York, the products of all parts of
the world.

I return to the triple emblem of the church, the school with the
printing-press, and the bank. A society which is formed by accretion
around such a nucleus, must differ more and more from the present
European society, which was formed chiefly under the auspices of
war, and by a succession of conquests, following one upon another.
American society, taking for its point of departure labour, based
upon a condition of general ease on one side, and on a system of
common elementary education on the other, and moving forward with
the religious principle for its lode-star, seems destined to reach
a degree of prosperity, power, and happiness, much superior to what
we have attained with our semi-feudal organisation, and our fixed
antipathy against all moral rule and all authority. It presents,
doubtless, especially in the newer States, many imperfections, and it
will have to submit to various modifications; this is the lot of all
unfinished works, even when God himself is the maker. But a few errors
and follies are of little import in the eyes of those whose thoughts
are occupied with the great interests of the future rather than with
the paltry troubles of the present hour. Of little moment are the
disgust and disappointment that a European of delicate nerves may have
to encounter, if, for the purpose of killing time, he ventures upon
a western steamboat, or into a western tavern; so much the worse for
him, if he has fallen into a country where there is no place for an
idle tourist, seeking only for amusement! Let the foreigner smile at
the simplicity and extravagance of national vanity. That patriotic
pride, rendered excusable by brilliant success, will be moderated; the
errors and the follies are daily correcting themselves; the unavoidable
rudeness of the backwoodsman will be softened, as soon as there are no
more forests to fell, no more swamps to drain, no more wild beasts to
destroy. The evil will pass away, and is passing away; the good remains
and grows and spreads, like a grain of mustard.

FOOTNOTES:

[AT] The valley of the Mississippi with a small part of that of the
St. Lawrence belonging to the United States, is six times larger than
all France. A large tract in the extreme west is sterile; but the most
fertile portion, already occupied by States and Territories, is three
times as large as France.

[AU] At Kingston, (U. C.) the site of Fort Frontenac, I found the
remains of a wall built by La Salle, or one of his successors, in the
barrack yard of one of the English regiments.

[AV] The valley of the Mississippi contained, exclusive of Indians,

  In 1762  about 100,000  inhabitants,
  In 1790        150,000
  In 1800        580,000
  In 1810      1,365,000
  In 1820      2,625,000
  In 1830      4,232,000

The Indians, now mostly removed to the west of the Mississippi, number
only about 300,000 souls.



LETTER XVI.

GENERAL JACKSON.


                          LOUISVILLE, (KY.), DECEMBER 15, 1834.

You must have been astonished in France at the President's Message;
here the sharp and reckless tone of a portion of the press had prepared
the public mind for some energetic demonstration; but the Message
has exceeded the hopes of those who wished to assume an attitude of
defiance in regard to France, and the fears of those who dreaded some
imprudent step. Had such a paper come from any former President,--from
Washington to John Quincy Adams,--it would have been looked upon as
an expression of the sentiments of a majority of the American people.
Neither of them would have been willing thus to commit the United
States, without being sure that the national will really required it.
Their rule of action would have been to let themselves be pushed on
by the nation, rather than to draw it after them, or to go beyond it;
and this, in fact, is more conformable to notions of self-government.
They would have had the question profoundly discussed by the cabinet,
not only orally, but in writing, as Washington did at the time of the
establishment of the first bank in 1791. They would have consulted
individually some of the leading statesmen of the country of all
parties and all interests. They would have listened patiently to the
representations of those upon whom the heavy burden of war would have
most directly fallen, the merchants of Boston, New York, Philadelphia,
Baltimore, Charleston, New Orleans, and other large ports; and finally,
after having weighed all objections, measured all difficulties, if
they had been convinced that the interest and honour of their country
absolutely required the appeal to the last argument, they would have
reluctantly addressed the challenge to their oldest ally and friend, to
the firmest stay of liberty and improvement in the Old World.

General Jackson has changed all this; the rules of conduct and the
policy of his administration are no longer those adopted by the
wisdom of his predecessors. Some may maintain that this change is
for the better; on this point, the future, and no distant future,
will decide; but the fact of a change is undeniable. General Jackson
possesses in the highest degree the qualities necessary for conducting
a partisan warfare. Bold, indefatigable, vigilant, quick-sighted, with
an iron will and a frame of adamant, devoted to his friends, harsh
and terrible to his enemies, making light of obstacles, passionately
fond of danger, his campaigns against the Creeks and Seminoles were
marked by the most brilliant success, and his resistance to the English
army under Packenham, at New Orleans, was heroic. By these exploits
and the enthusiasm which military services excite in all countries,
General Jackson found himself the most popular man in the Union, when
the founders of the national independence disappeared, and naturally
became the candidate for the presidential chair. Objections were made
to his unbending temper, the impatience of contradiction which he had
shown throughout his whole career, his obstinacy in following his own
impulses, in spite of the provisions of the laws, and his disposition
to use the sword of Alexander, rather than to conform himself to the
delays of constitutional forms. His natural propensities, strengthened
by the habits of military command, and by the peculiarities of that
kind of warfare in which he had been engaged, must, it was urged, have
become ungovernable; and it would be impossible for him to acquire that
moderation, which is necessary in the exercise of civil authority. It
was predicted that in politics, as in war, he would be zealous for his
friends, implacable towards his adversaries, violent against whoever
should attempt to check his course; that, instead of being above
party-quarrels, he would come down into the arena in person. His arrest
of a judge in New Orleans, the execution of the militia men, and of the
two Englishmen, Arbuthnot and Ambristier, his invasion and conquest
of Florida in time of peace, his anger and threats when Congress was
deliberating upon charges founded on these summary acts, were all dwelt
upon.

But his chivalric character, his lofty integrity, and ardent
patriotism, seemed sufficient guarantees for his conduct, and from
reasons of domestic policy, which it would take too much time to
explain, many enlightened men, who had at first treated the idea of
supporting him for the presidency with ridicule, gave into the plan,
trusting that they should be able to exercise a salutary influence over
him. His fiery temper seemed in fact to be calmed by his elevation; the
recollection of his professions, which, at the moment they were made,
were made in good faith, was yet fresh; he had conscientiously resolved
to observe the principles consecrated by Washington, Jefferson, and
and the other patriarchs of America, to keep himself scrupulously
within the narrow limits of prerogative, as he had traced them or
allowed them to be traced out for him; to follow the current of public
opinion, without seeking to bar its course or divert it from its
regular channels; to be moderate, patient, and calm. During his first
term, he continued pretty faithful to his resolution, to his professed
principles, and to the advice of those who raised him to his seat. But
this state of constraint was insupportable to him; it is too late to
reform at the age of sixty years.

Besides, it is not all temperaments, or, I should rather say, the
distinctive qualities of all men, that can adapt themselves to that
high sphere of serenity, in which he who governs others should move.
Such a conformity was even more difficult for General Jackson than
for any other man; the turbulence and impetuosity of youth had not
been tempered in him either by age or by the fatigues of war. And in a
country where universal suffrage prevails, political disputes are of a
character to exhaust the patience of an angel. Step by step, then, the
stormy propensities of the Tennessee planter were seen returning. The
character of the bold, daring, restless, obstinate, fiery, indomitable
partisan chief, of the conqueror of the Creeks and Seminoles, gradually
broke through the veil of reserve, caution, gravity, and universal
good-will which had covered it, and tore in pieces the constitutional
mantle in which his friends had taken so much pains to wrap him.

At length, in 1832, South Carolina furnished a natural occasion for
giving the rein to his warlike propensities, which had now been curbed
for four years. That State had, on its own individual authority,
declared the tariff act of Congress null and void, and had armed
its militia to sustain its nullification Ordinance. The President
immediately began preparations for war, retaining, however, the
language of moderation, and obtained an act of Congress (the Force
Bill) authorising him to employ all means to maintain the laws of the
United States; when this storm was laid (see _Note 5_), General Jackson
was proclaimed the saviour of the Constitution; and perhaps sufficient
care was not taken to prevent a very natural mistake of an old soldier,
and to make him sensible that the congratulations of a grateful people
were addressed less to his warlike attitude, than to the pacific
measures taken under his auspices. In the heat of debate and the shout
of acclamation that followed the restoration of order, the old military
leaven began to ferment in the President's heart, and without a pause,
he rushed into a vigourous campaign against the Bank. This was a war
almost without provocation, certainly without a just cause, and for
some time it appeared that the General would be worsted. But he held
his own, and neither bent nor broke. In this affair he was the same
OLD HICKORY that the Indians had found always and everywhere on their
trail, whom they could neither tire nor surprise, and upon whom they
could get no hold, either by force or fraud. The last elections of
Representatives assure him the victory, and the Bank is condemned to
the fate of the Creeks and Seminoles, of Mr Clay and Mr Calhoun, of the
Spanish government of Florida, and of the English General Packenham
(see _Note 19_.)

The intoxication of success seems to have restored all the fire of
his youth, and at an age when other men look only towards repose, he
requires new perils and new fatigues. Last winter, Mr Clay declared in
the Senate, that, if phrenology were a true science, President Jackson
must certainly have the bump of combativeness, for his life had been
nothing but the perpetual exercise of that appetite; at fourteen years
of age, against the English, then against his neighbours the first
settlers of Tennessee, not a very tractable race, and who handled the
knife, the sword, the pistol, and the rifle, with as much promptness as
himself; next against the Indians, the English, the Indians again, and
the inoffensive Spaniards; then against Mr Clay, Mr Calhoun, and South
Carolina, and finally, for want of other adversaries, he was engaged
in a bout with the Bank. The General seems, in fact, to be possessed
with the demon of war; for no sooner had he put his foot on the throat
of the Bank, than he required a new enemy, and finding in America none
but vanquished adversaries, or objects unworthy of his anger, he flings
down the glove to France. Thus far the defiance thrown out to France
is merely the expression of General Jackson's humour. But, unluckily,
this act of an individual emanates from a man who is President of
the United States until the 4th of March, 1837, and who is even more
pertinacious in his enmities than in his friendships. Unluckily too,
the defiance has been inserted in a solemn document, which is looked
upon in Europe as the faithful exhibition of the sentiments of the
American people. And finally, the man who has set the United States in
this posture, has just made an experiment which shows the degree to
which he can lead the people to espouse his personal quarrels.

His tactics in politics, as well as in war, is to throw himself forward
with the cry of, _comrades, follow me!_ and this bold stroke has
succeeded admirably in the case of the Bank. If he had recommended to
Congress to withdraw the public deposits from that institution, he
would certainly have failed; Congress would have declared against it.
He, therefore, boldly took the first step himself, and ordered the
removal, in opposition to the advice of the majority of his cabinet,
two months before the meeting of Congress, without the slightest
possible pretence of the urgency of the measure. _I will take the
responsibility_, he said. The Secretary of the Treasury refused to
execute the order, because he considered it a fatal abuse of power, and
he was dismissed. The majority of the House of Representatives, and in
the last elections, of the people, have sanctioned those dictatorial
acts. General Jackson has, indeed, lost most of his friends in the
enlightened classes and among the merchants, but he cares little for
individuals, however distinguished; by virtue of universal suffrage, it
is numbers that rule here.

Will the bold policy by which he carried the multitude against the
Bank, be as successful now that he attempts to edge them on against
France? It may be compared to one of those feats of strength, in which
one may succeed the first and even the second time, but will break his
back the third. General Jackson may be considered to possess that sort
of popularity which is irresistible for a short time; but the duration
and solidity of which are in the inverse ratio of its intensity and
brilliancy; this, however, is a mere conjecture. One thing is certain,
that the General has the majority in the House of Representatives,
and from what is known of the composition of the next Congress, there
is every appearance that he will keep it during the term of his
Presidency; whilst the Opposition, which now has the majority in the
Senate, may lose it after the present session. Besides, it is not plain
to me, that the Opposition will be unanimous in censuring the measures
of General Jackson in regard to France. The opponents of General
Jackson, as well as his friends, are obliged to court their common
sovereign, the people. Now in all countries the multitude are very far
from being cosmopolites; their patriotism is more lively and warm, but
it is also more brutal, more unjust, and more arrogant, than that of
the higher classes. In France, they cry with enthusiasm, _Our country
before all things!_ Here the word is, _Our country, right or wrong!_
which is the perfection of national selfishness.

As General Jackson is not, however, a madman or a fool, it is difficult
to imagine, that he wishes the United States to pass at once from a
close friendship to a state of hostility with France. If he thinks
that France has exceeded all reasonable bounds of delay, that she has
exhausted all the patience she had a right to expect from an old ally,
from a nation whose independence was bought with our blood and our
treasure, why is he not content with proposing measures of commercial
restriction? A duty upon our goods would also be a means of paying
the twentyfive millions. He knows, that, if France has more to lose
than the United States in a war of tariffs, the United States, whose
commerce and navigation are much more extensive than ours, have more
to lose in a war of cannon, of which the sea would naturally be the
theatre. But which class in the United States will suffer most by a
war? The commercial, certainly. Who own the vessels and the goods? Oh!
the merchants and ship-owners who vote against the General and his
friends, his adversaries whom he detests and despises; the traders
of Boston, who beheaded his statue on the bows of the Constitution
frigate; those of New York, who have had caricature medals struck at
Birmingham, holding up his government to hatred and contempt; the
capitalists of Philadelphia, friends of Mr Biddle and admirers of Mr
Clay. General Jackson troubles himself very little about the interest
of such fellows as these.

On the contrary, an increase of the customs duties, whatever should
be the motive of it, would be particularly hurtful to the Southern
States, and would be very unwelcome to them. As it is the South that
produces cotton, the principal article of export from the United States
to France, the reprisals which the French government would not fail to
make, would fall chiefly upon the South. Now the democratic party at
present needs the support of the South, and is courting Virginia in
particular, the most influential of the Southern States. The success
of the plans of the democratic party, that is to say, the election of
Mr Van Buren to the presidency, depends much upon the attitude taken
by Virginia, not in 1836, the year of the election, but the present
year, not tomorrow but to-day. Public opinion is yet undecided in
Virginia; it is desirable, at any price, to prevent it from leaning in
any degree to the side of the Opposition, and it is well understood
that Virginia will not consent to laying any especial burdens on the
South. The Virginia legislature is now in session, and one of its
first acts will be the choice of a Senator in Congress. If Mr Leigh,
the present Senator, is chosen, then it will be committed in favour of
the Opposition, and perhaps lost to the democratic party. The loss of
the legislature may involve that of the State; the loss of Virginia
may involve that of the South. Considerations of this kind have much
more weight here than would be imagined in Europe. In the midst of the
changing institutions of this country, politicians live only from hand
to mouth.

It sometimes happens that European governments are clogged in their
foreign policy by domestic difficulties. General Jackson would have
been more cautious, if he had not thought that such is the position of
the French government at this moment. But be assured, that he also has
his domestic embarrassments, which affect his measures. This is more
peculiarly the case with him than with any other President, because he
is more a man of party, more entangled in party meshes, than any of his
predecessors. Congressional intrigues and sectional interests create
the same difficulties here, particularly for an administration like
his, which amongst us result from an ill-balanced population, and the
burden of the past. The French government may be confident of this, and
ought to act conformably.



LETTER XVII.

PUBLIC OPINION.


                                 LOUISVILLE, DECEMBER 22, 1834.

The first impression produced in the United States by General Jackson's
Message, was astonishment, as the tone was wholly unexpected to every
one. In Europe, I suppose that it will have excited more than surprise,
and it will be a matter of wonder, how a measure so rash and reckless
could have emanated from a government, which, from its origin, has
been characterised by address and prudence. I have already attempted
to give an explanation of this mystery, and I have stated, that this
_quasi_ declaration of war was altogether an individual affair of
General Jackson, that in this, as in every thing else, he has acted
from his own impulse. The enlightened statesmen, who surrounded him
in the beginning of his government, and whose wise counsels repressed
his ardour, no longer have any influence. One after another has been
separated from him, and several, such as Mr Calhoun, who, during his
first term, was Vice-President, are now become his irreconcileable
enemies. His position, as the head of the democratic party, obliges
him, therefore, to supply some fuel for the furious passions, which the
late contests had kindled.

It would be a mistake to judge of the reception of a document of this
character in this country, by what would take place under similar
circumstances in Europe. Public opinion has not the same arbiters here
as in European societies; what is called public opinion in Europe, is
the generally current opinion among the middling and higher classes,
that of the merchants, manufacturers, men of letters, and statesmen,
of those who, having inherited a competency, devote their time to
study, the fine arts, and, unfortunately too often, to idleness. These
are the persons, who govern public opinion in Europe, who have seats
in the chambers, fill public offices, and manage or direct the most
powerful organs of the press. They are the polite and cultivated,
who are accustomed to self-control, more inclined to scepticism than
fanaticism, and on their guard against the impulses of enthusiasm;
to whose feelings all violence is repugnant, all rudeness and all
brutality offensive; who cherish moderation often even to excess, and
prefer compromises and half-measures. Among persons like these, General
Jackson's message would have met with universal condemnation, or rather
if General Jackson had derived his ideas from such a medium, he would
never have dictated such a message.

The minority, which in Europe decides public opinion, and by this means
is sovereign, is here deposed, and having been successively driven
from post to post, has come to influence opinion only in a few saloons
in the large cities, and to be itself under as strict guardianship as
minors, women, and idiots. Until the accession of General Jackson,
it had, however, exercised some influence over all the Presidents,
who were generally scholars, and all of whom, aside from their party
connections, were attached to it by family and social relations, and
by their habits of life. Up to the present time, this class had also
preserved some influence over the two houses; but it has now completely
broken with the President, or rather the President has broken with it;
it has no longer any credit, except with one of the Houses, because
the Senate still consists of men whom it may claim as belonging to it
by their superior intelligence, education, and property. The democracy
does not fail, therefore, to stigmatise the Senate as an aristocratic
body, and to call it the House of Lords. The mass, which in Europe
bears the pack and receives the law, has here put the pack on the back
of the enlightened and cultivated class, which among us on the other
hand, has the upper hand. The farmer and the mechanic are the lords of
the New World; public opinion is _their_ opinion; the public will is
_their_ will; the President is _their_ choice, _their_ agent, _their_
servant. If it is true that the depositaries of power in Europe have
been too much disposed to use it in promoting their own interests,
without consulting the wishes and the welfare of the mass beneath them,
it is no less true that the classes which wield the sceptre in America
are equally tainted with selfishness, and that they take less pains to
disguise it. In a word, North America is Europe with its head down and
its feet up. European society, in London and Paris as well as at St.
Petersburg, in the Swiss republic as well as in the Austrian empire, is
aristocratical in this sense, that, even after all the great changes
of the last fifty years, it is still founded more or less absolutely
on the principle of inequality or a difference of ranks. American
society is essentially and radically a democracy, not in name merely
but in deed. In the United States the democratic spirit is infused into
all the national habits, and all the customs of society; it besets
and startles at every step the foreigner, who, before landing in the
country, had no suspicion to what a degree every nerve and fibre had
been steeped in aristocracy by a European education. It has effaced all
distinctions, except that of colour; for here a shade in the hue of the
skin separates men more widely than in any other country in the world.
It pervades all places, one only excepted, and that the very one which
in Catholic Europe is consecrated to equality, the church; here all
whites are equal, every where, except in the presence of Him, in whose
eyes, the distinctions of this world are vanity and nothingness.[AW]
Strange inconsistency! Or rather solemn protest, attesting that the
principle of rank is firmly seated in the human heart by the side of
the principle of equality, that it must have its place in all countries
and under all circumstances!

Democracy everywhere has no soft words, no suppleness of forms; it has
little address, little of management; it is apt to confound moderation
with weakness, violence with heroism. Little used to self-control, it
gives itself unreservedly to its friends, and sets them up as idols to
whom it burns incense; it utters its indignation and its suspicions
against those of whom it thinks that it has cause for complaint,
rudely, and in a tone of anger and menace. It is intolerant towards
foreign nations; the American democracy in particular, bred up in the
belief that the nations of Europe groan ignobly under the yoke of
absolute despots, looks upon them with a mixture of pity and contempt.
When it throws a glance beyond the Atlantic, it affects the superior
air of a freeman looking upon a herd of slaves. Its pride kindles at
the idea of humbling the monarchical principle in the person of the
"tyrants who tread Europe under foot."

It may, then, be expected, that public opinion here will approve the
Message, both as to its manner and matter, that it will consider it
full of moderation and propriety. It is probable, that most of the
men and the journals of the Opposition will fear to censure it openly
and boldly. Not that the Jackson men themselves are unanimous in its
favour; but that the speakers and writers of the Opposition consider
themselves and are, bound to pay homage to the sovereign people,
that they are all obliged to court the multitude, which is not very
manageable in regard to points of national dignity and vanity. A
certain number of journals and of political men have expressed their
views as to the occasion and the consequences of a declaration of war
with independence, and have been able to reconcile their patriotism
with a lofty courtesy toward the oldest and the most faithful ally of
America; but these are exceptions to the general rule. Some of the
best informed and most influential of the Opposition journals have,
to the general astonishment, suddenly turned right-about-face, and
welcomed the part of the Message relative to France with acclamations.
Thus they appear more democratic than the democracy, furious upon a
point of honour, ready to sacrifice every thing in order to obtain
redress for an outrage, to which, after twenty years, they have now
first become sensible. He, who yesterday was a peaceful and reasonable
writer, is to-day a thunderbolt of war, can talk of nothing but the
violated national dignity, thinks only of blowing up the flame. The
cause of this sudden change is this; if the United States were at
war, they would spend a great deal of money, and a Bank then would be
indispensable to the Federal government. Now _a_ Bank and _the_ Bank
is at bottom all one. This is what is called policy, cleverness, but
it remains to be seen if the democratic party will be the dupe of such
arts, and if those who are most interested in the existence of the
Bank, that is, the merchants of New York, Boston, and New Orleans, and
even those of Philadelphia, wish to have a Bank at any price.

Happily for the peace of the world, the majority of the Senate of the
United States consists of men eminent for their experience, their
ability, and their patriotism, who judge the interests of their country
on grounds of high policy, and who, among other questions, will not
fail to consider this; whether it would not be the worst of all means
of securing the liberty of the seas, an object which they have at
heart, for the French and American navies to destroy each other. They
do not hesitate, when circumstances require it, to take a stand above
the demands of an ephemeral popularity, and to meet the difficulties
face to face. A handful of firm and eloquent men in this illustrious
assembly, was sufficient last winter to sustain the shock of the
popular masses, and to check and bear them back. The Senate has only to
continue equal to itself, to deserve well of its country and of mankind.

FOOTNOTES:

[AW] In Roman Catholic countries, the churches, vast structures, are
open to all without distinction; each takes his seat where he pleases;
all ranks are confounded. In the United States the churches are very
numerous and very small, being built by joint-stock companies. They
are appropriated to the exclusive use of the proprietors, with the
exception of one free-seat for the poor, each one's share of property
being designated by an enclosed space or a pew. The whole floor of the
church is thus occupied by pews, and the gallery is generally divided
in the same manner, though a part of the latter is generally open and
free to all. Each pew is sold and transferred like any other property;
the price varies according to the town, the sect, or the situation.
The proprietors pay an annual tax for the support of public worship,
lighting, and warming the church, and the minister's salary, the amount
of the tax being proportioned to the value of the pew. Sometimes the
church itself owns the pews, and the rent covers the expenses of the
public worship. According to this system, the place occupied by the
worshippers depends on their wealth, or, at least, on the price they
are able or willing to pay for their pews.



LETTER XVIII.

CINCINNATI.


                                MEMPHIS, (TENN.), JAN. 1, 1835.

Cincinnati has been made famous by Mrs Trollope, whose aristocratic
feelings were offended by the pork-trade, which is here carried on
on a great scale. From her accounts many persons have thought that
every body in Cincinnati was a pork merchant, and the city a mere
slaughter-house. The fact is that Cincinnati is a large and beautiful
town, charmingly situated in one of those bends which the Ohio makes,
as if unwilling to leave the spot. The hills which border the _Belle
Rivière_ (Beautiful River, the French name of the Ohio) through its
whole course, seem here to have receded from the river bank, in order
to form a lofty plain, to which they serve as walls, whenever the Ohio
does not serve as a foss, and on which man might build a town above
the reach of the terrible floods of the river. Geologists, who have
no faith in the favours of the fabled Oreads, will merely attribute
this table-land to the washing away of the mountains, in the diluvian
period, by the River Licking, now a modest little stream, which,
descending from the highlands of Kentucky, empties itself into the Ohio
opposite Cincinnati. However this may be, there is not, in the whole
course of the river, a single spot which offers such attractions to the
founders of a town.

The architectural appearance of Cincinnati is very nearly the same with
that of the new quarters of the English towns. The houses are generally
of brick, most commonly three stories high, with the windows shining
with cleanliness, calculated each for a single family, and regularly
placed along well paved and spacious streets, sixty feet in width.
Here and there the prevailing uniformity is interrupted by some more
imposing edifice, and there are some houses of hewn stone in very good
taste, real palaces in miniature, with neat porticoes, inhabited by the
aristocratical portion of Mrs Trollope's hog-merchants, and several
very pretty mansions surrounded with gardens and terraces. Then there
are the common school-houses, where girls and boys together learn
reading, writing, cyphering, and geography, under the simultaneous
direction of a master and mistress.[AX] In another direction you see a
small, plain church, without sculpture or paintings, without coloured
glass or gothic arches, but snug, well carpeted, and well-warmed by
stoves. In Cincinnati, as everywhere else in the United States, there
is a great number of churches; each sect has its own, from Anglican
Episcopalianism, which enlists under its banner the wealth of the
country, to the Baptist and Methodist sects, the religion of the
labourers and negroes. On another side, stands a huge hotel, which
from its exterior you would take for a royal residence, but in which,
as I can testify, you will not experience a princely hospitality; or a
museum, which is merely a private speculation, as all American museums
are, and which consists of some few crystals, some mammoth-bones, which
are very abundant in the United States, an Egyptian mummy, some Indian
weapons and dresses, and a half-dozen wax-figures, representing, for
instance, Washington, General Jackson, and the Indian Chiefs, Black
Hawk and Tecumseh, a figure of Napoleon afoot or on horseback, a French
cuirass from Waterloo, a collection of portraits of distinguished
Americans, comprising Lafayette and some of the leading men of the
town, another of stuffed birds, snakes preserved in spirits, and
particularly a large living snake, a boa constrictor, or an anaconda.
One of these museums in Cincinnati is remarkable for its collection of
Indian antiquities, derived from the huge caves of Kentucky, or from
the numerous mounds on the banks of the Ohio, of which there were
several on the site of Cincinnati.[AY]

As for the banks they are modestly lodged at Cincinnati, but a plan of
a handsome edifice, worthy of their high fortune, and sufficient to
accommodate them all, is at present under consideration. The founderies
for casting steam-engines, the yards for building steamboats, the
noisy, unwholesome, or unpleasant workshops, are in the adjoining
village of Fulton, in Covington or Newport on the Kentucky bank of the
river, or in the country. As to the enormous slaughter of hogs, about
150,000 annually, and the preparation of the lard, which follows, the
town is not in the least incommoded by it; the whole process takes
place on the banks of a little stream called Deer Creek, which has
received the nickname of the Bloody Run, from the colour of its waters
during the season of the massacre, or near the basins of the great
canal, which extends from Cincinnati towards the Maumee of Lake Erie.
Cincinnati has, however, no squares planted with trees in the English
taste, no parks nor walks, no fountains, although it would be very
easy to have them. It is necessary to wait for the ornamental, until
the taste for it prevails among the inhabitants; at present the useful
occupies all thoughts. Besides, all improvements require an increase of
taxes, and in the United States it is not easy to persuade the people
to submit to this. (See _Note 20_.) Cincinnati also stands in need of
some public provision for lighting the streets, which this repugnance
to taxes has hitherto prevented.

Cincinnati has had water-works, for supplying the inhabitants with
water, for about 20 years; for an annual rate, which amounts to about
8 or 12 dollars for a family, each has a quantity amply sufficient
for all its wants. A steam-engine on the banks of the river raises
the water to a reservoir on one of the hills near the city, 300 feet
high, whence it is conducted in iron pipes in every direction. The
height of the reservoir is such that the water rises to the top of
every house, and fire-plugs are placed at intervals along the streets
to supply the engines in case of fire. Several of the new towns in
the United States have water-works, and Philadelphia, among the older
cities, has an admirable system of works, which, owing to a series of
unsuccessful experiments, have cost a large sum.[AZ] At this moment,
a plan for supplying Boston with water is under discussion, which
will cost several millions, because the water must be brought from a
distance. New York is also engaged in a similar work, the expense of
which will be about five millions. The Cincinnati water-works have
not cost much above 150,000 dollars, although they have been several
times completely reconstructed. It is generally thought in the United
States, that the water-works ought to be owned by the towns, but those
in Cincinnati belong to a company, and the water-rate is, therefore,
higher than in Philadelphia and Pittsburg. The city has three times
been in negotiation for the purchase of the works, and has always
declined buying on advantageous terms; the first time the establishment
was offered for 35,000 dollars, and the second time for 80,000; the
third time, 125,000 dollars were demanded, and 300,000 or 400,000 will
finally be paid for it. In this case, as in regard to lighting the
streets, the principal cause of the refusal of the city to buy was the
unwillingness to lay new taxes.

The appearance of Cincinnati as it is approached from the water, is
imposing, and it is still more so when it is viewed from one of the
neighbouring hills. The eye takes in the windings of the Ohio and
the course of the Licking, which enters the former at right angles,
the steamboats that fill the port, the basin of the Miami canal,
with the warehouses that line it and the locks that connect it with
the river, the white-washed spinning works of Newport and Covington
with their tall chimneys, the Federal arsenal, above which floats the
starry banner, and the numerous wooden spires that crown the churches.
On all sides the view is terminated by ranges of hills, forming an
amphitheatre yet covered with the vigourous growth of the primitive
forest. This rich verdure is here and there interrupted by country
houses surrounded by colonnades, which are furnished by the forest.
The population which occupies this amphitheatre, lives in the midst of
plenty; it is industrious, sober, frugal, thirsting after knowledge,
and if, with a very few exceptions, it is entirely a stranger to the
delicate pleasures and elegant manners of the refined society of our
European capitals, it is equally ignorant of its vices, dissipation,
and follies.

At the first glance one does not perceive any difference between the
right and left bank of the river; from a distance, the prosperity of
Cincinnati seems to extend to the opposite shore. This is an illusion;
on the right bank, that is, in Ohio, there are none but freemen;
slavery exists on the other side. You may descend the river hundreds of
miles, with slavery on the left and liberty on the right, although it
is the same soil, and equally capable of being cultivated by the white
man. When you enter the Mississippi you have slavery on both sides of
you. A blind carelessness, or rather a fatal weakness in the rulers,
and a deplorable selfishness in the people, have allowed this plague
to become fixed in a country where there was no need of tolerating its
existence. Who can tell when and how, and through what sufferings, it
will be possible to eradicate it?

I met with one incident in Cincinnati, which I shall long remember.
I had observed at the hotel table a man of about the medium height,
stout and muscular, and of about the age of sixty years, yet with the
active step and lively air of youth. I had been struck with his open
and cheerful expression, the amenity of his manners, and a certain
air of command, which appeared through his plain dress. "That is,"
said my friend, "General Harrison, clerk of the Cincinnati Court of
Common Pleas"--"What! General Harrison of the Tippecanoe and the
Thames?" "The same; the ex-general, the conqueror of Tecumseh and
Proctor; the avenger of our disasters on the Raisin and at Detroit;
the ex-governor of the Territory of Indiana, the ex-senator in
Congress, the ex-minister of the United States to one of the South
American republics. He has grown old in the service of his country,
he has passed twenty years of his life in those fierce wars with the
Indians, in which there was less glory to be won, but more dangers to
be encountered, than at Rivoli and Austerlitz. He is now poor, with
a numerous family, neglected by the Federal government, although yet
vigourous, because he has the independence to think for himself. As
the Opposition is in the majority here, his friends have bethought
themselves of coming to his relief by removing the clerk of the court
of Common Pleas, who was a Jackson man, and giving him the place, which
is a lucrative one, as a sort of retiring pension. His friends in the
East talk of making him President of the United States. Meanwhile we
have made him clerk of an inferior court." After a pause my informant
added, "At this wretched table you may see another candidate for the
presidency, who seems to have a better chance than General Harrison; it
is Mr McLean, now one of the judges of the Supreme Court of the United
States."

Examples of this abandonment of men, whose career has been in the
highest degree honourable, are not rare in the United States. I had
already seen the illustrious Gallatin at New York, who, after having
grown old in the service of the republic, after having been for forty
years a legislator, a member of the cabinet, a minister abroad,
after having taken an active part in every wise and good measure of
the Federal government, was dismissed without any provision, and
would have terminated his laborious career in poverty, had not his
friends offered him the place of president of one of the banks in
New York. The distress of President Jefferson in his old age is well
known, and that he was reduced to the necessity of asking permission
of the Virginia legislature to dispose of his estate by lottery;
while President Monroe, still more destitute, after having spent his
patrimony in the service of the State, was constrained to implore the
compassion of Congress; and these are the men to whom their country
owes the invaluable acquisitions of Louisiana and Florida. The system
of retiring pensions is unknown in the United States. No provision is
made for the old age of eminent men who accept the highest offices in
the State, although it is impossible for them to lay up anything out of
their comparatively moderate salaries, and several of them have seen
their fortunes disappear with their health in the public service. The
public functionaries are treated like menial servants; the system of
domestic life is such in the United States, that every American, in
private life, treats the humblest of his white domestics with more
respect, than most of them show, in public life, to officers of the
highest rank. On every occasion and in a thousand forms, the latter
are reminded, that they are nothing but dust, and that a frown of the
people can annihilate them.

This treatment of their public officers by the Americans is the
mathematical consequence of the principle of popular sovereignty;
but I consider it as consistent neither with reason nor justice. If
it is true, that nations have an imprescriptible right to regulate
the conduct of the depositaries of power conformably to their own
interests, it is equally true, that men of superior abilities and worth
have a natural and sacred right to be invested with high powers and
functions. If it is criminal to sport with the welfare of the mass, it
is no less so to trample under foot the wise and good. And if those
whom talents and zeal for the public good call to important posts, are
repulsed by the prospect of ingratitude and contempt, to what hands
shall the care of the commonwealth be confided? What will then be the
fate of the sovereign people? There is no less despotism in a people,
who, impatient of all superiority, repays the services of illustrious
citizens only with neglect, and capriciously throws them aside, like so
much garbage, than in an Asiatic prince, who reduces all to the same
level of servitude, treats all with the same insolence and brutality,
and considers virtue and genius overpaid by the honour of being
permitted to kneel on the steps of his throne.

In conformity with the prevailing ideas on the subject of offices
and officers, no sort of provision has been made for the protection
of the latter. They are removeable without any kind of pretence or
formality, without being informed of the ground of their removal, and
without any reason being given to the public. In this way a terrible
rod of tyranny hangs over them, although under the mild and moderate
administration of former Presidents little use was made of it; but,
since the accession of General Jackson, a regular system of removal
from office has been sanctioned, and office has become the reward of
party-services; it has been publicly declared, that the _spoils of
victory belong to the conquerors_. President Jackson has filled all
the custom-houses and post offices with his creatures, and this policy
has gained over some States, counties, and towns; at every change of
opinion, the State changes its executive officers; the legislators
change their secretaries, printers, and even their messengers; the
courts, their clerks; the towns, their treasurers, their inspectors of
markets, weights and measures, and even their scavengers and watchmen.
Men in office now understand, that the preservation of their places and
the bread of their families are hazarded at every municipal, State,
or Federal election, according as they hold of the town, State, or
general government. Formerly they took no part in election manoeuvres,
the Presidents having expressly forbidden the officers of the Federal
government to meddle with them; at present, they are the most active
agents in them. The President has now at his command an army of 60,000
voters,[BA] dependent on his will, whose interests are bound up in
his, and who are his forlorn hope. So true is it that extremes meet,
and that, by pushing to excess a single principle, however true, we
shall come to conclusions, which, practically speaking, amount to the
overthrow of the principle itself. Thus by drawing out too fine the
principle of the popular sovereignty, we may come nearer and nearer
to tyranny and the oppression of the people. Is not this a proof that
logic is not always reason, and that truth is often, if not always,
to be found in the harmonious combinations of seemingly contradictory
principles?

FOOTNOTES:

[AX] According to the official report of the Trustees and visitors of
the common schools, dated July 30, 1833, there were then in Cincinnati
6,000 children between the ages of 6 and 16 years, exclusive of 230
children of colour for whom there is a separate school. About 2,300
children attended the common schools and 1,700 private schools. The
number of common schools is 18, under the care of 12 masters and 5
assistants, 6 mistresses and 7 assistant mistresses. The masters
receive 400 dollars a year, and the assistants 250; the school
mistresses 216, and the assistants 168. These salaries are thought to
be too low.

[AY] This museum has one show which I never saw anywhere else; it is a
representation of the Infernal Regions, to which the young Cincinnati
girls resort in quest of that excitement which a comfortable and
peaceful, but cold and monotonous manner of life denies them. This
strange spectacle seems to afford a delicious agitation to their
nerves, and is the principal source of revenue to the museum.

[AZ] The water used in Philadelphia is supplied by the Schuylkill,
a fall in which is made to drive the pumps, by which the reservoirs
are filled. The Fairmount works are arranged and ornamented with much
taste, and at very little expense; the ornamental part, strictly
speaking, merely consists of some lawns, wooden balustrades, and two
wretched statues; yet the effect is very elegant.

[BA] In a report on executive patronage lately made to the Senate by Mr
Calhoun, the following statement of the number of persons employed by
the Federal government is given:

  Administrative and financial agents  12,144  Naval affairs  6,499
  Military Service and Indian affairs   9,643  Post Office   31,917
                                                             ------
                                            Total            60,203



LETTER XIX.

Cincinnati.


                                 NATCHEZ, (MISS.) JAN. 4, 1835.

Cincinnati contains about 40,000 inhabitants, inclusive of the
adjoining villages; although founded 40 years ago, its rapid growth
dates only about 30 years back. It seems to be the rendezvous of all
nations; the Germans and Irish are very numerous, and there are some
Alsacians; I have often heard the harsh accents of the Rhenish French
in the streets. But the bulk of the population, which gives its tone
to all the rest, is of New England origin. What makes the progress of
Cincinnati more surprising is, that the city is the daughter of its own
works. Other towns, which have sprung up in the United States in the
same rapid manner, have been built on shares, so to speak. Lowell, for
example, is an enterprise of Boston merchants, who, after having raised
the necessary funds, have collected workmen and told them, "Build us a
town." Cincinnati has been gradually extended and embellished, almost
wholly without foreign aid, by its inhabitants, who have for the most
part arrived on the spot poor. The founders of Cincinnati brought with
them nothing but sharp-sighted, wakeful, untiring industry, the only
patrimony which they inherited from their New England fathers, and the
other inhabitants have scrupulously followed their example and adopted
their habits. They seem to have chosen Franklin for their patron-saint,
and to have adopted Poor Richard's maxims as a fifth gospel.

I have said that Cincinnati was admirably situated; this is true in
respect of its geographical position, but, if you follow the courses
of the rivers on the map, and consider the natural resources of the
district, you will find that there are several points on the long line
of the rivers of the West as advantageously placed, both for trade and
manufactures, and that there are some which are even more favoured
in these respects. Pittsburg, which has within reach both coal and
iron, that is to say, the daily bread of industry, which stands at
the head of the Ohio, at the starting point of steam-navigation, at
the confluence of the Monongahela and the Alleghany, coming the one
from the south and the other from the north; Pittsburg, which is near
the great chain of lakes, appears as the pivot of a vast system of
roads, railroads, and canals, several of which are already completed.
Pittsburg was marked out by nature at once for a great manufacturing
centre and a great mart of trade. Louisville, built at the falls of the
Ohio, at the head of navigation for the largest class of boats, is a
natural medium between the commerce of the upper Ohio and that of the
Mississippi and its tributaries. In respect to manufacturing resources,
Louisville is as well provided as Cincinnati, and the latter, setting
aside its enchanting situation, seemed destined merely to become the
market of the fertile strip between the Great and Little Miami.

But the power of men, when they agree in willing anything and in
willing it perseveringly, is sufficient to overbear and conquer that
of nature. In spite of the superior advantages of Louisville as an
_entrepôt_, in spite of the manufacturing resources of Pittsburg,
Cincinnati is able to maintain a population twice that of Louisville
and half as large again as that of Pittsburg in a state of competence,
which equals, if it does not surpass, the average condition of that
of each of the others. The inhabitants of Cincinnati have fixed this
prosperity among them, by one of those instinctive views with which
the sons of New England are inspired by their eminently practical and
calculating genius. A half-word, they say, is enough for the wise, but
cleverer than the wisest, the Yankees understand each other without
speaking, and by a tacit consent direct their common efforts toward the
same point. To work Boston fashion means, in the United States, to do
anything with perfect precision and without words. The object which the
Cincinnatians have had in view, almost from the origin of their city,
has been nothing less than to make it the capital, or great interior
mart of the West. The indirect, means which they have employed, have
been to secure the manufacture of certain articles, which, though
of little value separately considered, form an important aggregate
when taken together, and getting the start of their neighbours, with
that spirit of diligence that characterises the Yankees, they have
accordingly distributed the manufacture of these articles among
themselves. This plan has succeeded.

Thus with the exception of the pork trade, one is surprised not to
see any branch of industry carried on on the great scale of the
manufacturing towns of England and France. The Cincinnatians make
a variety of household furniture and utensils, agricultural and
mechanical implements and machines, wooden clocks, and a thousand
objects of daily use and consumption, soap, candles, paper, leather,
&c., for which there is an indefinite demand throughout the flourishing
and rapidly growing States of the West, and also in the new States of
the Southwest, which are wholly devoted to agriculture, and in which,
on account of the existence of slavery, manufactures cannot be carried
on. Most of these articles are of ordinary quality; the furniture,
for instance, is rarely such as would be approved by Parisian taste,
but it is cheap and neat, just what is wanted in a new country,
where, with the exception of a part of the South, there is a general
ease and but little wealth, and where plenty and comfort are more
generally known than the little luxuries of a more refined society.
The prosperity of Cincinnati, therefore, rests upon the sure basis of
the prosperity of the West, upon the supply of articles of the first
necessity to the bulk of the community; a much more solid foundation
than the caprice of fashion, upon which, nevertheless, the branches
of industry most in favour with us, depend. The intellectual also
receives a share of attention; in the first place, there is a large
type-foundery in Cincinnati, which supplies the demand of the whole
West, and of that army of newspapers that is printed in it. According
to the usual English or American mode of proceeding, the place of human
labour is supplied as much as possible by machinery, and I have seen
several little contrivances here, that are not probably to be found
in the establishments of the Royal Press or of the Didots. Then the
printing-presses are numerous, and they issue nothing but publications
in general demand, such as school-books, and religious books, and
newspapers. By means of this variety of manufactures, which, taken
separately appear of little consequence, Cincinnati has taken a stand,
from which it will be very difficult to remove her, for, in this
matter, priority of occupation is no trifling advantage. The country
trader, who keeps an assortment of everything vendible, is sure to
find almost everything he wants in Cincinnati, and he, therefore, goes
thither in preference to any other place in order to lay in his stock
of goods. Cincinnati is thus in fact the great central mart of the
West; a great quantity and variety of produce and manufactured articles
find a vent here, notwithstanding the natural superiority of several
other sites, either in regard to the extent of water-communication or
mineral resources.

M. Fourrier has characterised the spirit of the 19th century by the
term _industrial feudalism_. The human race, according to some, has
thrown off one yoke only to bear another, less burdensome perhaps, but
also less noble. The warlike lords of the Middle Ages have passed away
but the industrial lords have come to take their place, the princes
of manufactures, banks, and commerce. These new masters will embitter
the life of the poor with less distress and privation, but they will
also shed less glory upon it. They will increase the body's pittance,
but diminish the soul's. At the sight of the great manufactories of
England and some of those of the European continent, of those which are
multiplying so rapidly in New England, in that wonderful creation the
city of Lowell, one is tempted to think that the industrial feudalism
is already established in the former, and is creeping beneath the
democratic institutions, like the snake under the grass, in the latter.
Those who do not believe that the human race can go backward, and
who prefer to rock themselves in the cradle of hope, rather than to
yield to flat despair, while they admit the existence of this tendency
of the age, console themselves by the contemplation of its other
characteristic features, at the head of which they place the general
spirit of emancipation, which breaks down all obstacles in its way. If
in England, for instance, there are, in the factories, a thousand germs
of despotism, there are, in the working classes, a thousand germs of
resistance, in the population a thousand germs of liberalism; there are
Trades' Unions, there are radicals: neither of these opposite forces
alone will decide the destinies of the future. From their opposing
impulses will result a single force, different from both, yet partaking
of both. The force of emancipation will make what to some seems about
to become feudalism, simply patronage.

Patronage has not finished its career upon the earth; it will endure
while Providence shall continue to cast men in different moulds; it
will subsist for the good of the weak and the poor, and for that of
the class of men, so numerous in southern Europe, for example, who
require the support of somebody more powerful than themselves. But
it will be modified in character, growing successively less and less
violent, and more and more mild. The inferior has been a slave, a serf,
a paid freeman; he may in time become an associate or partner without
ceasing to be an inferior. However this may be, there is no germ of
industrial feudalism in Cincinnati, there are no great factories or
workshops. Mechanical industry is subdivided there, pretty much as the
soil is amongst us; each head of a family, with his sons and some newly
arrived emigrants as assistants and servants, has his domain in this
great field. Cincinnati is, therefore, as republican in its industrial
organisation, as in its political. This subdivision of manufactures has
hitherto been attended with no inconvenience, because in the vast West,
whose growth is visible to the eye, the production cannot at present
keep pace with the consumption. But how will it be in a century, or
perhaps in fifty years? Will not the condition of mechanical industry
undergo some great change, or rather will not the whole of this vast
region undergo a complete change of character and condition, which will
involve a reorganisation of the industrial system?

The moral aspect of Cincinnati is delightful in the eyes of him who
prefers work to every thing else, and with whom work can take the
place of every thing else. But whoever has a taste for pleasure and
display, whoever needs occasional relaxation from business, in gaiety
and amusement, would find this beautiful city, with its picturesque
environs, an insupportable residence. It would be still more so for
a man of leisure, desirous of devoting a large part of his time to
the cultivation of the fine arts and the rest to pleasure. For such
a man, indeed, it would not be possible to live here; he would find
himself denounced from political considerations, because men of leisure
are looked upon in the United States as so many steppingstones to
aristocracy, and anathematised by religion, for the various sects,
however much they may differ on other points, all agree in condemning
pleasure, luxury, gallantry, the fine arts themselves. Now the United
States are not like some countries in Europe, particularly France,
where religion and the pulpit can be braved with impunity. Hemmed in
by the laborious habits of the country, by political notions, and by
religion, a man must either resign himself to the same mode of life
with the mass, or seek a soil less unfriendly to his tastes in the
great cities of New York, Philadelphia, or New Orleans, or even in
Europe. There is, therefore, no such thing in Cincinnati as a class
of men of leisure, living without any regular profession on their
patrimony, or on the wealth acquired by their own enterprise in early
life, although there are many persons of opulence, having one hundred
thousand dollars and upwards. I met a young man there, the future heir
of a large fortune, who, after having been educated at West Point and
received a commission, had retired from the service in order to live
at home. Wearied out with his solitary leisure, burdened with the
weight of his own person, he could find no other relief than to open a
fancy-goods shop.

Every where in the United States where there are no slaves, and out
of the large towns of the sea-coast, a strict watch is kept up in
regard to persons of leisure, obliging those who might be seduced
by a taste for this kind of life to fall into the ranks and work,
at least until age makes repose necessary. Public opinion is on the
lookout to banish any habits of dissipation, however innocent, that
might get a footing in society, and make a life of leisure tolerable.
Religious and philanthropical societies, instituted under various
names, take upon themselves the task of enforcing the decrees of public
opinion; like vigilant sentinels, they compel a rigid observance of
the austerities, or if you choose the _ennuis_, of Sunday, labour
to suppress intemperance and gaming, the spirit of which, if once
diffused among a people so wholly devoted to money-making, might lead
to the most fatal consequences. These societies and committees pursue
their task with a more than British perseverance, and sometimes with
a puritanical fanaticism. When Mr John Quincy Adams became President,
he had a billiard-table placed in the President's House, and such is
here the real or affected abhorrence of every thing called a game,
that this billiard-table was actually one of the arguments against
the re-election of Mr Adams. "It is a scandal, the abomination of
desolation," was the general cry. Mr Adams, whose private character is
above suspicion, was, if we must believe the Opposition journals of
the day, a teacher of immorality, because he had a billiard-table in
his house, and General Jackson has doubtless caused that scandalous
piece of furniture to be broken up and burnt, since he has become
master of the White House. Any where else this rigour would be called
intolerance, inquisition; here it is submitted to without a murmur,
and few persons are really annoyed by it, or show that they are. The
American can support a constant and unrelaxing devotion to labour;
he does not feel the need of amusement and recreation. The silence
and retirement of his Sunday seem to be a more effectual relaxation
for him, than the noisy gaiety of our festivals; one might even say
that he was destitute of the sense of pleasure. All his faculties and
energies are admirably and vigourously combined for production; he
wants those without which pleasure is not enjoyment, and amusement is
but a painful effort; and, between these two kinds of work, he would of
course prefer that which is gainful, to that which is expensive.

Such a social organisation is the very best for a pioneer people.
Without this devotion to business, without this constant direction
of the energies of the mind to useful enterprises, without this
indifference to pleasure, without those political and religious
notions which imperiously repress all passions but those whose objects
are business, production, and gain, can any one suppose that the
Americans would ever have achieved their great industrial conquests?
With any other less exclusive system, they would yet, perhaps, be
meditating the passage over the Alleghanies. Instead of having that
great domain of the West, immense in its extent and resources, already
cleared and cultivated, furrowed with roads and dotted over with
farms, they would probably be still confined to the sandy strip that
borders the Atlantic. It must be allowed that this ardent and entire
devotion to business gives the nation a strange aspect in the eyes of
a European: And this explains the fact that the Americans have found
so little favour with most foreigners who have visited their country.
But, in return, they are sure of the gratitude of that innumerable
posterity for whom they are preparing with such energy and sagacity
an abode of plenty, a land of promise. This posterity, it is said,
will change the habits of their fathers, will adopt new tastes, and
even new institutions. So be it! It is of little consequence whether
the Americans of the 20th or 21st century, shall retain the national
character, customs, and laws of the Americans of the 19th. But the
more interesting consideration is, whether the Americans of our day
do not fulfil, as perfectly as human nature is capable of doing, the
mission which Providence has entrusted to them, that of acting as a
nation of pioneers and subduers of the forest; and if they do not
deserve to be excused, like all nations and individuals, for having the
defects inherent in their good qualities. The question thus stated will
be easily answered by every one who sets any value on the interests and
welfare of the future.



LETTER XX.

WESTERN STEAMBOATS.


                                     NEW ORLEANS, JAN. 8, 1835.

One of the points in which modern society differs most from the
ancient, is, certainly, the facility of travelling. Formerly it was
possible only for a patrician to travel; it was necessary to be rich
even to travel like a philosopher. Merchants moved in caravans,
paying tribute to the Bedoweens of the desert, to the Tartars of the
steppes, to the chieftains perched, like eagles, in castles built
in the mountain passes. Instead of the English stage-coach, or the
post-chaise, rattling at high speed over the paved road, they had the
old Asiatic litter or palanquin, still preserved in Spanish America, or
the camel, the ship of the desert, or four bullocks yoked to the slow
wagon, or for the common citizens or the iron warriors, the horse; and
instead of those sumptuous steam-packets, genuine floating palaces, the
small and frail bark, pursued by robbers on the rivers and by pirates
by sea, the sight of which extorted from the Epicurean Horace the
exclamation of terror,

    Illi robur et æs triplex--Circa pectus erat.

The roads were then rough and narrow paths, rendered dangerous by the
violence of men, or by the monsters of the forest, or by precipices. A
long train of luggage, provisions, servants, and guards, was necessary,
and from time to time the traveller reposed himself with some
hereditary friend of his family, for there were then no comfortable
hotels, in which he can now procure all he needs for money, and command
the attentive services of officious attendants. If there were any place
of shelter, it was some filthy den, like the caravanserais of the East,
wretched, naked, and comfortless, where he found nothing but water and
a roof, or like the inns of Spain and South America, which are a happy
mean between a caravanserai and a stable. The great bulk of mankind,
slaves in fact and in name, were then attached to the glebe, chained to
the soil by the difficulty of locomotion.

To improve the means of communication, then, is to promote a real,
positive, and practical liberty; it is to extend to all the members
of the human family the power of traversing and turning to account
the globe, which has been given to them as their patrimony; it is to
increase the rights and privileges of the greatest number, as truly
and as amply as could be done by electoral laws; I go further, it is
to establish equality and democracy. The effect of the most perfect
system of transportation is to reduce the distance not only between
different places, but between different classes. Where the rich and
the great travel only with a pompous retinue, while the poor man, who
goes to the next village, drags himself singly along in mud and sand,
over rocks and through thickets, the word equality is a mockery and
a falsehood, and aristocracy stares you in the face. In India and
China, in the Mahometan countries, in half-Arabian Spain and her former
American colonies, it matters little whether the government is called
republic, empire, or limited monarchy; the peasant and the labourer
cannot there persuade himself that he is the equal of the soldier, the
brahmin, the mandarin, the pacha, or the noble, whose retinue runs over
him, or covers him with mud. Spite of himself, he is filled with awe
at its approach, and servilely bends before it as it passes him. In
Great Britain, on the contrary, in spite of the wealth and the great
privileges of the nobility, the mechanic and the labourer, who can go
to the office and get a ticket for the railroad cars, if they have a
few shillings in their pockets, and who have the right, if they will
pay for it, of sitting in the same vehicle, on the same seat with the
baronet or the peer and duke, feel their dignity as men, and touch, as
it were, the fact, that there is not an impassable gulf between them
and the nobility.

These considerations would make me slow to believe in the tyrannical
projects of a government which should devote itself zealously to the
task of opening roads through the country, and diminishing the time and
expense of transportation. Is it not true that ideas, as well as goods,
circulate along the great highways, the canals, and the rivers, and
that every travelling clerk is more or less a missionary? Those who are
possessed with the retrograde spirit, are fully convinced of this fact;
they favour no projects of internal improvement; they fear an engineer
almost as much as they do a publisher of Voltaire. As it is undeniable
that one of the first railroads in Europe was constructed in the
Austrian empire, as the imperial government has opened many fine roads
from one end of its possessions to the other, and as it is encouraging
the introduction of steamboats on the Danube, I may venture to conclude
that Von Metternich deserves a better reputation than he enjoys, on
this side the Rhine. You know, on the other hand, that during the short
ministry of M. de Labourdonnaye, in 1829, the surveys and plans of
various roads in Vendée disappeared from the archives, and have never
since been found. Only a few months ago, in Puebla, one of the free and
sovereign States of the Mexican confederacy, which, however, enjoys a
very high reputation for ignorance and bigotry, the representatives
of the people, animated with a holy wrath against those ruthless
unbelievers (mostly foreigners), who have pushed the sacrilegious
spirit of innovation so far as to set up a line of stage-coaches
between Vera Cruz and Mexico, and to repair the great road between the
two cities, imposed an annual tax of 135,000 dollars upon them, and
prohibited their taking any tolls within the limits of the State.

There is a region where, by simply perfecting the means of
water-transportation, a revolution has been produced, the consequences
of which on the balance of power in the New World are incalculable.
It is the great Valley of the Mississippi, which had, indeed, been
conquered from the wild beasts and Red Skins previous to the invention
of Fulton, but which, without the labours of his genius, would never
have been covered with rich and populous States. After the conquest
of Canada had put an end to the brilliant but sterile exploits of the
French on the Ohio and the Mississippi, the Anglo-Americans, then
subjects of the king of Great Britain, began to spread themselves over
the Valley. The first settlers seated themselves in Kentucky, and
occupied the soil for agricultural purposes. In a short time they had
effaced from its surface the slight traces, which the French, almost
exclusively engaged in hunting, had left of their passage. Instead
of the little and restless, but indolent race produced by a cross of
French with Indian blood, the new comers, avoiding all mixture with
the natives, produced a laborious and energetic population, which,
on this fertile soil, and like its natural productions, acquired
those gigantic proportions, which characterise the West-Virginian,
the Kentuckian, and the Tennesseean, no less than the trees of their
forests. Without ever laying aside their rifles, which forty years ago
were carried to divine service in Cincinnati itself, they cleared and
brought under the plough, the fertile tracts, which were converted into
fine farms for themselves and their rapidly multiplying families. They
had to pass days of terrour and distress, and in many an encounter with
the Indians, from whom they conquered the wilderness, more than one
husband, and more than one father, fell under the balls of the Red men,
were dragged into the most wretched captivity, or underwent the horrid
torments of the stake. The name of Blue Licks still sounds in the ears
of Kentucky, like that of Waterloo in ours. Before the decisive victory
of the Fallen Timber, gained by General Wayne, two American armies,
under the command of Generals Harmer and Saint Clair, were successively
defeated with great slaughter. The story of this long struggle between
the whites and the Red men is still repeated in the bar-rooms of the
West.

In 1811, although the formidable Tecumseh and his brother the Prophet,
had not yet been conquered by General Harrison, the American had
extended his undisputed empire over the most fertile districts of the
West. Here and there villages had been built; and the forest every
where showed _clearings_, in the midst of which stood the log-house of
some squatter or some more legal proprietor. On the left bank of the
Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee had been erected into States, and Western
Virginia had been settled. A current of emigration had transported
the industrious sons of New England upon the right bank of the river,
and by their energy the State of Ohio had been founded, and already
contained nearly 250,000 inhabitants. Indiana and Illinois, then
mere Territories, gave fair promise of the future. The treaty of 1803
had added to the Union our Louisiana, in which one State and several
Territories, with a total population of 160,000 souls had already been
organised. The whole West, at that time, had a population of nearly a
million and a half: Pittsburg and Cincinnati were considerable towns.
The West had, then, made a rapid progress, but separated as it was from
the Gulf of Mexico by the circuitous windings and the gloomy swamps of
the Mississippi, from the eastern cities by the seven or eight ridges
that form the Alleghany Mountains, destitute of outlets and markets,
its further progress seemed to be arrested. The embryo could grow but
slowly and painfully, for want of the proper channels through which the
sources of life might circulate.

At present, routes of communication have been made or are making from
all sides, connecting the rivers of the West with the Eastern coast, on
which stand the great marts, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore,
Richmond, and Charleston. At that time, there was not one which was
practicable through the whole year, and there was not capital enough to
undertake one. All the commerce of the West was carried on by the Ohio
and the Mississippi, which is, indeed, still, and, probably, always
will be, the most economical route for bulky objects. The western
boatmen descended the rivers with their corn and salt-meat in flat
boats, like the Seine coal-boats; the goods of Europe and the produce
of the Antilles, were slowly transported up the rivers by the aid of
the oar and the sail, the voyage consuming at the least one hundred
days, and sometimes two hundred. One hundred days is nearly the length
of a voyage from New York by the Cape of Good Hope to Canton; in the
same space of time France was twice conquered, once by the allies
and once by Napoleon. The commerce of the West, was, therefore,
necessarily very limited, and the inhabitants, separated from the rest
of the world, had all the rudeness of the forest. It was in this period
and this state of manners, that the popular saying, which describes
the Kentuckian as half horse, half alligator, had its origin. The
number of boats, which made the voyage up and down once a year, did not
exceed ten, measuring on an average about 100 tons; other small boats,
averaging about 30 tons measurement, carried on the trade between
different points on the rivers, beside which there were numerous flat
boats, which did not make a return voyage. Freight from New Orleans to
Louisville or Cincinnati was six, seven, and even nine cents a pound.
At present the passage from Louisville to New Orleans is made in about
8 or 9 days, and the return voyage in 10 or 12, and freight is often
less than half a cent a pound from the latter to the former.

In 1811, the first steamboat in the West, built by Fulton, started
from Pittsburg for New Orleans; it bore the name of the latter city.
But such are the difficulties in the navigation of the Ohio and
Mississippi, and such was the imperfection of the first boats, that
it was nearly six years before a steamboat ascended from New Orleans,
and then not to Pittsburg, but to Louisville, 600 miles below it. The
first voyage was made in twentyfive days, and it caused a great stir in
the West; a public dinner was given to Captain Shreve, who had solved
the problem. Then and not before, was the revolution completed in the
condition of the West, and the hundred-day boats were supplanted. In
1818, the number of steamboats was 20, making an aggregate of 3,642
tons; in 1819 the whole number that had been built was 40, of which
33 were still running; in 1821, there were 72 in actual service. In
that year the Car of Commerce, Captain Pierce, made the passage from
New Orleans to Shawneetown, a little below Louisville, in 10 days.
In 1835, after fourteen years of trials and experiments, the proper
proportion between the machinery and the boats was finally settled
(See _Note_ 21). In 1827, the Tecumseh ascended from New Orleans to
Louisville in eight days and two hours. In 1829, the number of boats
was 200, with a total tonnage of 35,000 tons; in 1832, there were 220
boats making an aggregate of 40,000 tons, and at present there are
240, measuring 64,000 tons. According to statements made to me by
experienced and well-informed persons, the whole amount of merchandise
annually transported by them between New Orleans and the upper country,
is at least 140,000 tons. The trade between the basins of the Ohio,
the Tennessee, and the Upper Mississippi, not included in this amount,
forms another considerable mass. To have an idea of the whole extent
of the commerce on the western waters, we must also add from 160,000
to 180,000 tons of provisions and various objects, which go down in
flat-boats. This amount is, indeed, enormous, and yet it is probably
but a trifle compared with what will be transported on the rivers of
the West in 20 years from this time; for on the Erie canal, which,
compared with the Mississippi is a line of but secondary importance,
and at a single point, Utica, 420,000 tons passed in a period of seven
months and a half.

Such is the influence of routes of communication on which cheapness
is combined with dispatch.[BB] In Mexico, where nature has done so
much, and where, in return, man has done so little, in those countries
where natural resources are, perhaps, tenfold greater than those of
the United States, but where man is a hundred fold less active and
industrious, transportation is effected wholly on the backs of mules or
men, even in the plain country. The annual amount of the transportation
from Vera Cruz, the principal port, to Mexico, the capital of the
country, does not, therefore, amount to 6,000 tons, and the descending
freight is much less. The western steamboats look very much like the
Vigier baths on the Seine; they are huge houses of two stories.[BC]
Two large chimneys of columnar form vomit forth torrents of smoke
and thousands of sparks; from a third a whitish cloud breaks forth
with a loud noise; this is the steam-pipe. In the interior they have
that coquettish air that characterises American vessels in general;
the cabins are showily furnished, and make a very pretty appearance.
The little green blinds and the snugly fitted windows, pleasingly
contrasting with the white walls, would have made Jean-Jacques sigh
with envy.

The more ordinary capacity is from 200 to 300 tons, but many of them
measure from 500 to 600; their length varies from 100 to 150 feet.
Notwithstanding their dimensions and the elegance with which they are
fitted up, they cost but little, the largest boats being built for
about 40,000 dollars, including their engines and furniture.[BD] A
very nice boat 100 feet long, of the legal measurement of 100 tons but
carrying 150, only costs from 7,000 to 8,000 dollars. It is estimated
that the large boats cost about 100 dollars a ton, legal measurement,
and the small ones, 80 dollars. But if these elegant craft cost
little, they do not last long; whatever care is taken in the choice
of materials and for the preservation of the boat, it is rare that
they wear more than four or five years. An old captain, lately giving
me an account of a boat about the construction of which he had taken
great pains, told me, with a deep sigh, that "she died at three years."
The magnificent vegetation of the West, those thrifty, tall, straight
trees, by the side of which our European oaks would appear like dwarfs,
growing rapidly on the thick layer of soil deposited by the great
rivers of the West in the diluvian period of geologists, last just in
proportion to the time occupied by their growth. And in this case, as
in regard to human glory and the splendour of empires, the rule holds
good, that time respects only what he has himself founded.

The number of passengers which these boats carry, is very considerable;
they are almost always crowded, although there are some which have
two hundred beds. I have myself been in one of these boats which
could accommodate only 30 cabin passengers, with 72. A river voyage
was formerly equivalent to an Argonautic expedition, at present it
is one of the easiest things in the world. The rate of fare is low;
you go from Pittsburg to New Orleans for 50 dollars, all found, and
from Louisville to New Orleans for 25 dollars. It is still lower for
the boatmen, who run down the river in flat boats and return by the
steamers; there are sometimes 500 or 600 of them in a separate part of
the boat, where they have a shelter, a berth, and fire, and pay from
4 to 6 dollars for the passage from New Orleans to Louisville; they
are, however, obliged to help take in wood. The rapidity with which
these men return, has contributed not a little to the extension of the
commerce of the West; they can now make three or four trips a year
instead of one, an important consideration in a country where there is
a deficiency of hands. On the downward voyage, their place is occupied
by horses and cattle, which are sent to the South for sale, and by
slaves, human cattle destined to enrich the soil of the South with
their sweat, to supply the loss of hands on the sugar plantations of
Louisiana, or to make the fortune of some cotton planters. Virginia is
the principal seat of this traffic, "the native land of Washington,
Jefferson and Madison, having become," as one of her sons sorrowfully
observed to me, "the Guinea of the United States."

Excellent as these boats are, great as is the service they render
America, when the first feeling of curiosity is once satisfied, a long
confinement in one of them has little that is attractive for a person
of a cultivated mind and refined manners. There are few Europeans
of the polished classes of society, and even few Americans of the
higher class in the Eastern cities, who, on escaping from one of these
floating barracks, would not feel disposed, under the first impulse
of ill humour, to attest the correctness of Mrs Trollope's views of
western society. There is in the West a real equality, not merely an
equality to talk about, an equality on paper; everybody that has on a
decent coat is a gentleman; every gentleman is as good as any other,
and does not conceive that he should incommode himself to oblige his
equal. He is occupied entirely with himself, and cares nothing for
others; he expects no attention from his neighbour, and does not
suspect that his neighbour can desire any from him. In this rudeness,
however, there is not a grain of malice; there is on the contrary an
appearance of good humour that disarms you. The man of the West is
rude, but not sullen or quarrelsome. He is sensitive, proud of himself,
proud of his country, and he is so to excess, but without silliness or
affectation. Remove the veil of vanity in which he wraps himself, and
you will find him ready to oblige you and even generous. He is a great
calculator, and yet he is not cold, and he is capable of enthusiasm.
He loves money passionately, yet he is not avaricious; he is often
prodigal. He is rough because he has not had time to soften his voice,
and cultivate the graces of manner. But if he appears ill-bred, it is
not from choice, for he aspires to be considered a man of breeding; but
he has been obliged to occupy himself much more with the cultivation
of the earth, than of himself. It is perfectly natural that the first
generation in the West should bear the impress of the severe labours it
has so energetically and perseveringly pursued. If these reflections,
however, are consoling for the future, they cannot give to a life
aboard the Ohio and Mississippi steamboats any charms for him who sets
value on amiable and engaging manners.

Besides, the voyage on the Mississippi is more dangerous than a passage
across the ocean; I do not mean merely from the United States to
Europe, but from Europe to China. In the former, you are exposed to the
risk of explosions, and of fire, and in ascending, to that of running
against snags and planters. Then there is the danger of your boat
falling afoul of another, running in an opposite direction, in a fog,
to say nothing of the inconvenience of getting aground on sand-bars.
Add to these things the monotonous aspect of the country on the river,
the solitude of its flat and muddy banks, the filthy appearance of its
yellow and turbid waters, the strange habits of most of the travellers
crowded into the same cage with yourself, and you may conceive, that,
in course of time, such a situation becomes extremely unpleasant. The
Louisiana planters, therefore, who go North in the hot season in search
of a fresher and purer air than that of New Orleans, make their annual
migrations by sea, aboard the fine packet-ships, which run regularly
between that city and New York. Explosions of the boilers are frequent,
either on account of the ignorance and want of skill of the engineers,
or on account of the defective nature of the boilers themselves, and
they are always attended with serious injury, because the boats are so
much crowded with passengers. A few days ago, sixty persons were killed
and wounded aboard a single boat, but these accidents do not occur in
well managed boats, in which no unseasonable economy has been practised
in the purchase of the machinery and the wages of the engineers.[BE]
Some law containing provisions similar to those in force in France, is
required here, but in order to be practicable, it should be made to
apply to the whole Valley, which would only be the case with an act of
Congress. Public opinion, however, would not permit Congress to meddle
with the matter, and the cry of Federal encroachment on State rights
would be raised at once. One State only, Louisiana, has passed a law
on the subject, but it is very defective, and I do not suppose that
it is enforced. Preventive measures are what is wanted, inspection of
the machinery and licensing of competent engineers, while the law of
Louisiana only provides for the punishment of the captain on board
whose boat an accident happens, with a special penalty in case he
should be engaged in any game of hazard, at the time of the accident.

There have been many accidents by fire in the steamers, and many
persons have perished in this way, although the river is not very
wide. The Brandywine was burnt near Memphis, in 1832, and every
soul on board, to the number of 110, was lost. The Americans show a
singular indifference in regard to fires, not only in the steamboats,
but also in their houses; they smoke without the least concern in the
midst of the half open cotton-bales, with which a boat is loaded,
they ship gunpowder with no more precaution than if it were so much
maize or salt pork, and leave objects packed up in straw right in the
torrent of sparks that issue from the chimneys. The accidents caused
by the trunks of trees in the bed of the river, called logs, snags,
sawyers, or planters, according to their position, have been very
numerous; attempts have been made to prevent this class of disasters,
by strengthening the bows, and by bulk-heads which double the hull in
that part. The Federal government has two snag-boats, constructed with
great ingenuity, which are employed in removing these obstructions
from the rivers, but the bordering States, whose taxes are very light,
have contributed nothing towards these objects. The machinery of the
Heliopolis and Archimedes, contrived by Captain Shreve, has done much
toward clearing the channel, but there is still much to be done.

The chances of accident might be diminished in various ways, by
well-directed measures, and at a moderate expense. The character of
the river is now well understood, and there are many engineers in the
United States, who can manage the Great Father of Waters. Unluckily
the Federal government, which does not know what to do with its money,
(for it has now on hand a surplus of eleven millions,) is checked
by a doctrine with which, one cannot tell why, the democratic party
have become possessed, and which forbids the general government from
engaging in public works within the limits of the individual States.
Thus, although the whole Union is interested in the improvement of
the navigation of the western rivers, the Federal government does not
venture to undertake it with energy and on a liberal scale. General
Jackson's predecessor, Mr Adams, was a warm friend to the action of
the government in internal improvements. He thought, like Mr Clay and
other men of superior abilities, that the progress of the young States
of the West would be very much accelerated, to the advantage of the
whole Union, if the central government would undertake to execute,
in whole or in part, a system of public works of general interest.
But one of the watchwords of the opponents of Mr Adams was, _No
Internal Improvements!_ and the very States which would have been most
immediately benefited by it, rallied to this cry. So utterly can party
spirit blind the most clear-sighted of men!

If accidents of so serious a nature succeeded each other with such
frequency in Europe, there would be a general outcry. The police and
the legislative power would vie with each other in their efforts to
put a stop to them. Steamboats would become the terror of travellers,
the public would abandon them, and they would be left deserted on the
rivers. The effect would be the same, in a degree, around the large
eastern cities, because society there is beginning to be regularly
organised, and a man's life counts for something. In the West, the
flood of emigrants, descending from the Alleghanies, rolls swelling and
eddying over the plains, sweeping before it the Indian, the buffalo,
and the bear. At its approach the gigantic forests bow themselves
before it, as the dry glass of the prairies disappears before the
flames. It is for civilisation, what the hosts of Genghis Khan and
Attila were for barbarism; it is an invading army, and its law is the
law of armies. The mass is everything, the individual nothing. Wo to
him who trips and falls! he is trampled down and crushed under foot.
Wo to him who finds himself on the edge of a precipice! The impatient
crowd, eager to push forward, throngs him, forces him over, and he is
at once forgotten, without even a half-suppressed sigh for his funeral
oration. _Help yourself!_ is the watchword. The life of the genuine
American is the soldier's life; like the soldier he is encamped, and
that, in a flying camp, here to-day, fifteen hundred miles off in a
month. It is a life of vigilance and strong excitement; as in a camp,
quarrels are settled in the west, summarily and on the spot, by a duel
fought with rifles, or knives, or with pistols at arm's length. It is
a life of sudden vicissitudes, of successes and reverses; destitute
to-day, rich tomorrow, and poor the day after, the individual is
blown about with every wind of speculation, but the country goes on
increasing in wealth and resources. Like the soldier, the American of
the West takes for his motto, _Victory or death!_ But to him, victory
is to make money, to get the dollars, to make a fortune out of nothing,
to buy _lots_ at Chicago, Cleveland, or St. Louis, and sell them a
year afterward at an advance of 1000 per cent.; to carry cotton to New
Orleans when it is worth 20 cents a pound. So much the worse for the
conquered; so much the worse for those who perish in the steamboats!
The essential point is not to save some individuals or even some
hundreds; but, in respect to steamers, that they should be numerous;
staunch or not, well commanded or not, it matters little, if they move
at a rapid rate, and are navigated at little expense. The circulation
of steamboats is as necessary to the West, as that of the blood is to
the human system. The West will beware of checking and fettering it by
regulations and restrictions of any sort. The time is not yet come, but
it will come hereafter.

There are certain feelings in the human heart that must show themselves
in some form or another, and if repressed in one point, will break out
in another. Respect for the depositaries of authority, which until
the time of our revolution, had so firmly cemented European society
together, has constantly been on the wane on this side of the Atlantic,
and in the West is totally obscured. There the authorities, for so
they are called, have as little power as pay; there are governors
who govern nothing, judges who are very liable to be brought to
judgment themselves. The chief magistrate is pompously styled in the
constitutions of these new States commander-in-chief of the army and
navy of the State. Pure mockery! for it is at the same time provided,
except in time of war; and even in time of peace, he has hardly the
power of appointing a corporal. Yet the feeling of discipline and
obedience subsists, and it is instinctively transferred to those men
who are in fact the generals of the great migration. If little concern
is felt in regard to the Governor of the State, every body is docile
and obedient to the innkeeper, the driver of the coach, and the captain
of the steamboat; with them no one ventures to maintain the principles
of self-government. All rise, breakfast, dine, sup, when the landlord
or his lieutenant-general, the bar-keeper, thinks fit to ring the bell,
or beat the gong; it is just as it is in a camp. They eat what is
placed before them, without ever allowing themselves to make any remark
about it. They stop at the pleasure of the driver and the captain,
without showing the least symptom of impatience; they allow themselves
to be overturned and their ribs to be broken by the one, they suffer
themselves to be drowned or burnt up by the other, without uttering a
complaint or a reproach; the discipline is even more complete than in
the camp. It has been said that the life of founders of empires, from
the times of Romulus to that of the buccaneers, consists of a mixture
of absolute independence and passive obedience. The society which is
now founding itself in the West, has not escaped the common law.

This part of the United States, which was a mere wilderness at the
time of the Declaration of Independence, and on which no one spent a
thought, when the capital was fixed at Washington, will be the most
powerful of the three great sections of the Union, at the taking of
the next census. Before long, it will singly be superior to the two
others taken together, it will have the majority in Congress, it will
govern the New World. Already the old division into North and South
is becoming of secondary moment, and the great division of the Union
will soon be into the East and the West; the present President is a
man of the West. The democratic party have just held a convention
at Baltimore to agree upon the selection of candidates for the next
presidential election. Mr Van Buren, who is from the East, has been
chosen, but although he had the unanimous vote of the convention, he
seems about to find a formidable competitor in the bosom of his own
party, in the person of Mr White of Tennessee. On the subject of the
Vice-Presidency there was an animated debate in the convention itself;
some proposed Mr Rives from the South, others Mr Johnson from the West.
Mr Rives passes for a man in every respect superior to his antagonist,
his diplomatic services have been highly esteemed by his countrymen. Mr
Johnson is honest, indeed, but there is great doubt, or rather there
is no doubt at all, about his abilities. The only claim set up by his
friends is, a _strong suspicion_ that he killed the celebrated Indian
chief Tecumseh, in the battle of the Thames. But then Mr Johnson is
from the West, and he has been preferred to his rival, even at the risk
of offending Virginia, whose influence in the South is acknowledged to
be commanding. Mr Van Buren has yielded to this arrangement or probably
he has concerted it, because he would rather risk the loss of the South
than of the West. This, then, the West is already become; and when
we reflect that the only visible instrument of this progress is the
steamboat, we shall not wonder that the whole political system of some
men is comprised in physical improvements, and the interests connected
with them.

FOOTNOTES:

[BB] Freight on our canals is only about half as high as in the United
States; but this advantage is counterbalanced by the excessive slowness
of our movements.

[BC] The Homer, a noted boat built by Mr Beckwith of Louisville, one of
the most skilful builders in the West, has a third story.

[BD] A boat of the same dimensions would cost nearly 100,000 dollars in
France; this is owing to the low price of the timber, the coarseness of
the steam-engines, which, on account of the cheapness of fuel, there
would be no advantage in making with more nicety, and the skill of the
mechanics; the Americans excel in working in wood.

[BE] A good engineer gets about 100 dollars a month in the large boats,
and there are two to a boat. In France the wages of the same man would
be from 20 to 25 dollars a month.



LETTER XXI.

INTERCOMMUNICATION.


                                 BUFFALO, (N. Y.) JULY 9, 1835.

The territory of the United States consists; 1. of the two great
inland basins of the Mississippi and the St. Lawrence, which run, the
former from north to south towards the Gulf of Mexico, the latter
from south to north toward the gulf to which it gives its own name:
2. on the eastern side, of a group of smaller basins, which empty
their waters into the Atlantic ocean, and of which the principal
are those of the rivers Connecticut, Hudson, Delaware, Susquehanna,
Potomac, James, Roanoke, Santee, Savannah, and Altamaha. The Alleghany
Mountains, which, from their lying in the direction of the length of
the continent, are called the back-bone of the United States, form a
natural water-shed, dividing the great inland basins from the eastern
group of small basins. On the west, the valleys of the St. Lawrence and
Mississippi are bounded by the Mexican Cordilleras, which here take the
name of Rocky Mountains. At the foot of this chain spreads out a wide
desert, bare of vegetation, and which, excepting some cases, can never,
it is said, be peopled by man.

Almost the whole English-American population is as yet on the left of
the Mississippi. On the right bank there is only one State, and that
one of the least important of the confederacy, and one Territory,
that of Arkansas, which will soon become one of the members of the
Union.[BF]

The Alleghany chain does not reach a great height; being hardly as
lofty as the Vosges, while the Rocky Mountains exceed in elevation the
Pyrenees and even the Alps.

The Alleghany system, although of no great height, rises from a very
wide base, of which the breadth is nearly 150 miles by an air-line.
Viewed as a whole, it consists of a number of cavities separated by as
many ridges or crests, and stretching with great uniformity, nearly
from one end of the chain to the other, from the shores of New England,
where the mountains are washed by the sea, to the Gulf of Mexico, in
the neighbourhood of which they gradually sink down. These alternations
of the ridges and cavities form a series of parallel furrows, which
may be traced on the surface, with some breaks, through a distance of
1200 or 1500 miles. The geological formations are arranged very nearly
in conformity with these furrows, through great distances; there are,
however, exceptions from this rule, for sometimes the same layer is
seen to pass from one furrow to another, always cutting the former at a
very acute angle.

Notwithstanding this general character of regularity, these cavities
are not hydrographical basins or river valleys. But the rivers, instead
of hollowing out beds between two successive ridges, and thus passing
off to the sea, frequently pass from one furrow to another, breaking
through the weak points of the ridges. These openings or gaps, as
they are here called, are highly useful as routes for roads, canals,
and railroads, enabling the engineer, by following the course of the
rivers, to flank heights, which it would have been almost impossible
to top. Of all these openings the most interesting is that made by the
Potomac through the Blue Ridge, at Harper's Ferry, which Jefferson, in
his Virginian enthusiasm, said was worth a voyage across the Atlantic.

The United States may then be divided hydrographically into two
distinct regions, the one to the east, the other to the west, of the
Alleghanies; or into three, as under: 1. the Mississippi valley: 2. the
valley of the St. Lawrence with the great lakes: 3. the Atlantic coast.
This vast country may also be divided into the North and the South, and
it has two commercial capitals, New York and New Orleans, which are, as
it were, the two lungs of this great body, the two galvanic poles of
the system. Between these two divisions, the North and the South, there
are radical differences, both in a political and an industrial point
of view. The social frame in the South is founded on slavery; in the
North, on universal suffrage. The South is a great cotton-plantation,
yielding also some subsidiary articles, such as tobacco, sugar, and
rice. The North acts as factor or agent for the South, selling the
productions of the latter, and furnishing her in return with those of
Europe; as a sailor, carrying her cotton beyond sea; as an artisan,
making all her household utensils and farming tools, her cotton-gins,
her sugar-mills, her furniture, wearing apparel, and all other articles
of daily use, and finding her also in corn and salted provisions.

From these views it appears that the great public works in the United
States must have the following objects: 1. To connect the Atlantic
coast-region with the region beyond the Alleghanies; that is, to
unite the rivers of the former, such as the Hudson, the Susquehanna,
the Potomac, the James, or its bays, such as the Delaware and the
Chesapeake, either with the Mississippi or its tributary the Ohio,
or with the St. Lawrence, or the great lakes Erie and Ontario,
whose waters are carried by the St. Lawrence to the Ocean: 2. To
form communications between the Mississippi Valley and that of the
St. Lawrence, that is, between one of the great tributaries of the
Mississippi, such as the Ohio, the Illinois, or the Wabash, and Lake
Erie or Lake Michigan, which, of all the great lakes of the St.
Lawrence basin, reach the furthest southwards. 3. To connect together
the northern and southern poles of the Union, New York and New Orleans.

Independently of these three new systems of public works, which are
in fact, in progress, and even in part completed, there are numerous
secondary lines, intended to make the access to the centres of
consumption more easy, or to open outlets from certain centres of
production, whence arise two new classes of works; the one including
the various canals and railroads, which, starting from the great
cities as centres, radiate from them in all directions, and the other,
comprising the similar works executed for the transportation of coal
from the coal-regions.


SECT. I. LINES EXTENDING ACROSS THE ALLEGHANIES.

The works which have hitherto almost wholly occupied, and still chiefly
occupy, the attention of statesmen and business men in the United
States, are those designed to form communications between the East
and the West. There are on the Atlantic coast four principal towns,
which long strove with each other for the supremacy; namely, Boston,
New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore. All four aimed to secure the
command of the commerce of the new States which are springing up in
the fertile regions of the West; and they have sustained the struggle
with different degrees of success, but always with a rare spirit of
intelligence. They have not, however, been equally favoured in respect
to natural advantages. Boston is too far north; she has no river
which permits her to stretch her arms far toward the West, and she is
surrounded by a hilly country, which throws great obstacles in the
way of rapid communication, and makes all works designed to promote
it expensive. Philadelphia and Baltimore are shut up by ice almost
every winter, and this obstruction is, on the part of the latter,[BG]
a drawback from the other advantages of her position, her greater
nearness to the Ohio, her more central latitude, and the beauty of
her bay, which is above 250 miles in length, and receives numberless
streams, as the Susquehanna, Potomac, Patuxent, Rappahannock, &c.
Philadelphia is badly placed; Penn was led astray by the beauty of the
Schuylkill and the Delaware; he thought that the broad plain spread
out between their waters to the width of nearly three miles, would
afford an admirable site for a city, whose streets should be run
with regularity, and whose warehouses, easy of access, would permit
thousands of vessels to load and unload at once. He forgot to secure
for his city a great hydrographical basin, capable of consuming the
merchandise which it should import, and of sending it in return the
products of its own labour, and he neglected to make an examination of
the Delaware, which he took for a great river, but which, unluckily is
not so. If he had founded the city of Brotherly Love on the banks of
the Susquehanna, it might have maintained a long struggle against New
York.

New York is, then, the queen of the Atlantic coast. This city stands on
a long, narrow island, between two rivers (the North River and the East
River); ships of any burden and in any numbers may lie at the wharves;
the harbour is very rarely closed by ice; it can be entered by small
vessels with all winds, and by the largest ships at all times except
when the wind is from the northwest. New York has beside the invaluable
advantage of standing upon a river for which some great flood has dug
out a bed through the primitive mountains, uniformly deep, without
rocks, without rapids, almost without a slope, and cutting through the
most solid mass of the Alleghanies at right angles. The tide, slight as
it is on this coast, flows up the Hudson to Troy, 160 miles from its
mouth; and such is the nature of its bed, that whale-ships are fitted
out at Poughkeepsie and Hudson, of which the former is 75 and the
latter 116 miles above New York, and that, except in the lowest stage
of the water, vessels of 9 feet draft can go up to Albany and Troy, in
any tide.

New York possesses in addition great advantages in respect to the
character of its population. Originally a Dutch colony, conquered by
the English, and lying in the neighborhood of New England, she presents
a mixture of the solid qualities of the Saxon race, of the Dutch
phlegm, and the enterprising shrewdness of the Puritans. This mixed
breed understands admirably how to turn to account all the advantages
which nature has bestowed on the city.

Hardly was the war of independence at an end, when the great men whose
patriotism and courage had brought it to a happy close, filled with
ideas of the wealth yet buried in the bosom of the then uninhabited
West, began to form plans for rendering it accessible by canals. If it
is true, that Prussia, in the time of Voltaire, resembled two garters
stretched out over Germany, the United States in the time of Washington
and Franklin, and it is only fifty years since, might be likened to a
narrow riband thrown upon the sandy shore of the Atlantic. Washington
at that time projected the canal which has since been begun according
to the plans of Gen. Bernard, and which seeks the West by following up
the Potomac; but from want of capital and experienced engineers, what
in our day has become a long and fine canal, was then merely a series
of side-cuts around the Little Falls and Great Falls of the Potomac.
At the same time, the Pennsylvanians made some unsuccessful efforts
and spent considerable sums, in ineffectual attempts to render the
Schuylkill navigable, and to connect it with the Susquehanna. In the
State of New York, some short cuts, some locks and sluices, were then
the only prelude to greater schemes.[BH] The works undertaken at that
time and during the fifteen first years of the present century could
not be completed, or failed in the expected results. One work only was
successfully executed, the Middlesex Canal, which extends from Boston
to the River Merrimack at Chelmsford, a distance of 27 miles.[BI]

The war of 1812 found the United States without canals, and almost
without good roads; their only means of intercourse were the sea,
their bays, and the rivers that flow into them. Once blockaded by the
English fleets, not only could they hold no communication with Europe
and India, but they could not keep up an intercourse among themselves,
between State and State, and between city and city, between New York
and Philadelphia for instance. Their commerce was annihilated, and
the sources of their capital dried up. Bankruptcy smote them like a
destroying angel, sparing not a family.


FIRST LINE. ERIE CANAL.

The lesson was hard, but it was not lost. The Americans, to do them
justice, know how to profit by the teachings of Providence, especially
if they pay dear for them. The project of a canal between New York
and Lake Erie, which had already been discussed before the war, was
eagerly taken up again after the peace. De Witt Clinton, a statesman
whose memory will be ever hallowed in the United States, succeeded in
inspiring his countrymen with his own noble confidence in his country's
great destiny, and the first stroke of the spade was made on the 4th
of July, 1817. In spite of the evil forebodings of men distinguished
for their sagacity and public services; in spite of the opinion of the
venerated patriarch of democracy, of Jefferson himself, who declared it
necessary to wait a century longer before undertaking such a work; in
spite of the remonstrances of the illustrious Madison, who wrote that
it would be an act of folly on the part of the State of New York to
attempt, with its own resources only, the execution of a work for which
all the wealth of the Union would be insufficient; notwithstanding
all opposition this State, which did not then contain a population of
1,300,000 inhabitants, began a canal 428 miles in length, and in eight
years it had completed it at a cost of 8,400,000 dollars. Since that
time it has continued to add numerous branches, covering almost every
part of the State, as with net-work. In 1836, the State had completed
656 miles of canal including slack-water navigation, at the expense of
11,962,712 dollars, or 18,235 dollars per mile.[BJ]

The results of this work have surpassed all expectations; it opened an
outlet for the fertile districts of the western part of the State,
which had before been cut off from a communication with the sea and the
rest of the world. The shores of Lake Erie and Ontario were at once
covered with fine farms and flourishing towns. The stillness of the old
forest was broken by the axe of New York and New England settlers, to
the head of Lake Michigan. The State of Ohio, which is washed by Lake
Erie, and which had hitherto had no connection with the sea except by
the long southern route down the Mississippi, had now a short and easy
communication with the Atlantic by way of New York. The territory of
Michigan was peopled, and it now contains 100,000 inhabitants, and will
soon take its rank among the States.[BK] The transportation on the Erie
Canal exceeded 400,000 tons in 1834, and it must nearly reach 500,000
tons in 1835. The annual amount of tolls from the canals, and at
moderate rates, is about one million and a half dollars. The population
of the city of New York increased in the ten years, from 1820 to 1830,
80,000 souls.[BL] New York is become the third, if not the second port
in the world, and the most populous city of the western hemisphere. The
illustrious Clinton lived long enough to see the success of his plans,
but not to receive the brilliant reward which the gratitude of his
countrymen intended for him. He died, February 11, 1828, at the age of
59 years, and but for this premature death, he would probably have been
chosen President of the United States.

The Erie Canal is no longer sufficient for the commerce which throngs
it. In vain do the lock-masters attend night and day to the signal
horn of the boatmen, and perform the process of locking with a
quickness that puts to shame the slowness of our own; there is no
longer room enough in the canal, whose dimensions however are rather
limited.[BM] The impatience of commerce, with whom time is money,
is not satisfied with a rate of speed about fourfold that which is
common on our canals. Merchandise of all sorts, as well as travellers,
flows in at every point in such quantities, that railroads have been
constructed along the borders of the canal, to rival the packet-boats
in the transportation of passengers only. There is one from Albany to
Schenectady, 15 miles in length, which, though not well built, cost
about 550,000 dollars. A second, which will be finished in 1836, runs
from Schenectady to Utica, and is 78 miles in length.[BN] A third
railroad is in progress from Rochester to Buffalo by way of Batavia and
Attica, about 80 miles in length, and it is probable that before long
the line will be completed from one end of the canal to the other.[BO]

A still greater undertaking is already in train; a company was
chartered in 1832, which will begin next spring the construction of a
railroad from New York city to Lake Erie, through the southern counties
of the State; on account of the circuitous route made necessary by the
uneven nature of the ground, the length of this road will be about 340
miles.[BP] Meanwhile the Canal Commissioners have not slept; in July,
the Canal Board, in compliance with an act of the Legislature, directed
the construction of a double set of lift locks on the whole line, in
order that there may be as little delay as possible in the passage of
boats, and the enlargement of the canal so that the width shall be
70 feet and the depth 6 feet, with a corresponding increase in the
dimension of the locks; larger boats may then be used the speed may be
increased, and perhaps it will be practicable to use steam tow-boats.
The cost of this work is estimated at about 12,500,000 dollars.

Finally, to make herself more entirely mistress of the commerce of the
West, and to penetrate her own territory more completely, the State of
New York is about to commence a new branch of the Erie canal (if we may
call a work of which the entire length will be 120 miles, a branch),
which will form an immediate connection with the River Ohio. This canal
is to run from Rochester, the flourishing city of millers, following
up the course of the Genesee, with a rise of 979 feet to the summit
level, and a fall of 78 feet thence to Olean, on the River Alleghany,
270 miles from its junction with the Monongahela at Pittsburg. The main
canal from Rochester to Olean is only 107 miles in length, but there is
a branch to Danville. The Alleghany, in its natural state, is navigable
only during a few months in the year; the total distance from New York
to Pittsburg by this route is 800 miles.

When there could no longer be a doubt of the speedy completion of the
Erie Canal, Philadelphia and Baltimore felt that New York was going
to become the capital of the Union. The spirit of competition aroused
in them a spirit of enterprise. They wished also to have their routes
to the West; but both had great natural obstacles to overcome. By
means of the Hudson, which had forced a passage through the heart of
the mountains, New York was freed from the greatest difficulty in the
way of effecting a communication between the East and the West, that
of topping the crest of the Alleghanies. Between Albany, where the
Erie canal begins, and Buffalo, where it meets the lake, there are no
high mountains. Baltimore could not look for a similar service to the
Patapsco, nor Philadelphia to the Delaware; neither of these cities can
approach the west by the basin of the great lakes, unless by a very
circuitous route; they are too far off. It became necessary for them,
therefore, to climb the loftiest heights, and thence to descend to the
level of the Ohio with their works.


SECOND LINE. PENNSYLVANIA CANAL.

What is called the Pennsylvania canal is a long line of 400 miles,
starting from Philadelphia, and ending at Pittsburg on the Ohio. It
was begun simultaneously with several other works, at the expense of
the state of Pennsylvania, in 1826. It is not entirely a canal; from
Philadelphia a railroad 81 miles in length, extends to the Susquehanna
at Columbia. To the Columbia railroad, succeeds a canal, 172 miles
in length, which ascends the Susquehanna and the Juniata to the foot
of the mountains at Holidaysburg. Thence the Portage railroad passes
over the mountain to Johnstown, a distance of 37 miles, by means
of several inclined planes constructed on a grand scale, with an
inclination sometimes exceeding one tenth, which does not, however,
deter travellers from going over them.[BQ] From Johnstown a second
canal goes to Pittsburg, 104 miles. This route is subject to the
inconvenience of three transhipments, one at Columbia at the end of
the railroad from Philadelphia, and the others at the ends of the
Portage railroad, one of these may be avoided by means of two canals
constructed by incorporated companies, namely, the Schuylkill canal,
which extends up the river of that name, and the Union canal, which
forms a junction between the upper Schuylkill and the Susquehanna. The
distance from Philadelphia to Pittsburg by this route is 435 miles, or
35 miles more than by the other route.

The Pennsylvania canal, begun in 1826, was finished in 1834. The State
has connected with this work a general system of canalization, which
embraces all the principal rivers, and especially the Susquehanna, with
its two great branches (the North Branch and the West Branch), and also
works preparatory to a canal connecting Pittsburg with Lake Erie, at
Erie, a town founded by our Canadian countrymen, and by them called
Presqu'île. Pennsylvania has executed, then, in all about 820 miles of
canals and railroads, of which 118 are railroads, at a cost of about
25,000,000 dollars, exclusive of sums paid for interest. Average cost
per mile, 35,000 dollars; average cost per mile, of canals, 32,500;
average cost per mile of railroads, 48,000.

This is much more than the cost of the New York works, although the
dimensions of the works are the same, and the natural difficulties
were not greater in one case than in the other; it is owing to bad
management in Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvanians had no Clinton to
guide them. An unwise economy, forced upon the Canal Commissioners by
the legislature, prevented them from securing the services of able
engineers, and for the sake of saving some thousands of dollars in
salaries, they have been obliged to spend millions in repairing what
was badly done, or in doing badly what more able hands would have
executed well at less cost.


THIRD LINE. BALTIMORE AND OHIO RAILROAD.

Still less than Philadelphia, could Baltimore think of a continuous
canal to the Ohio. Wishing to avoid the transhipments which are
necessary on the Pennsylvania line, the Baltimoreans decided on the
construction of a railroad extending from their city to Pittsburg or
Wheeling, the whole length of which would be about 360 miles. It is
now finished as far as Harper's Ferry on the Potomac, a distance of 80
miles, and the company seem to have given up the design of carrying it
further. It will here be connected with the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal,
of which I shall speak below, as the Columbia railroad is connected
with the Pennsylvania canal. It is probable, that, on approaching
the crest of the Alleghanies, the canal will in turn give away to a
railroad across the mountains, and thus the Maryland works will be
similar to the Pennsylvania line.[BR]


FOURTH LINE. CHESAPEAKE AND OHIO CANAL.

The plan, which had been cherished by Washington, of making a lateral
canal along the Potomac which should one day be extended across the
mountains to the Ohio, was resumed when New York had taught the country
that it was now ripe for the boldest enterprises of this kind. John
Quincy Adams, then President of the United States, favoured the project
with all his might. At that time it was not a settled principle, that
the Federal government had no right to engage in internal improvements.
The old idea, which Washington had cherished, of making the political
capital of the Union a great city, was not less to the taste of Mr
Adams and his friends. It was, therefore, resolved to undertake the
Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, and a company was incorporated for this
purpose. Congress voted a subscription of 1,000,000 dollars; the
city of Washington without commerce, without manufactures, with its
population of 16,000 souls, subscribed the same sum; the other little
cities of the Federal District, Georgetown and Alexandria, having
both together a population of about 10,000, furnished a half million;
Virginia contributed 250,000, and Maryland 500,000 dollars; and 600,000
dollars were raised by individual subscriptions. The work was begun
July 4, 1828. Next year, by aid of a loan of 3,000,000 from Maryland,
this great work will be carried to the coal-beds of Cumberland at
the foot of the mountains; the length of this division is 185 miles,
the estimated cost 8,500,000 dollars, or 46,000 dollars per mile.
The execution is on a bold scale, and superior to that of the works
before-mentioned; its dimensions exceed those generally adopted in the
proportion of 3 to 2, which gives a larger section in the ratio of 9 to
4.


FIFTH LINE. JAMES RIVER AND KANAWHA COMMUNICATION.

Virginia, formerly the first State in the confederacy, but now fallen
to the fourth in rank, and already outstripped by Ohio, which was not
in being during the war of Independence, is at length roused to action,
and has determined to profit by the lessons, which have come to her
from the North. A company, whose means consist of little more than the
subscriptions of the State and of the capital, Richmond, is about to
open a canal from the East to the West. James River, which flows into
Chesapeake Bay, is navigable for vessels of 200 tons to the foot of the
table-land, on which Richmond stands in so charming a situation. On the
east of the mountains, the canal, starting from Richmond, will follow
the course of James River, and on the West it will descend the Kanawha,
one of the tributaries of the Ohio, to Charleston, at the head of
steamboat navigation. The Alleghany crest will be passed by a railroad,
150 miles in length; the canal itself will be about 250 miles long.

       *       *       *       *       *

South Carolina, stirred up by the example of Virginia, is engaged in
a great railroad from Charleston to Cincinnati on the Ohio; and the
surveys are at present actively going on. The people of Cincinnati
are enthusiastically interested in this scheme.[BS] Georgia is also
dreaming of a great railroad from the Savannah to the Mississippi, at
Memphis; but this project has not assumed a substantial shape. North
Carolina does nothing, and projects nothing. If she ever becomes rich,
it will not be because she has seized fortune by the forelock, but
because fortune has come to her bedside.[BT]


SIXTH LINE. RICHELIEU CANAL.

The Canadians are constructing a canal which will form another
communication between the East and the West, that is, between the
Hudson and the St. Lawrence, between New York and Quebec. The great
fissure, which forms so fine a bed for the Hudson between New York and
Troy, does not end here, but stretches on towards the north to the St.
Lawrence, constituting the basin of Lake Champlain, which is a long
and narrow cavity in the midst of the mountains, and the bed of the
River Richelieu. Between Lake Champlain and the Hudson, there is only
a ridge 54 feet above the level of the former, and 134 above that of
the latter. The River Richelieu, which issues from the northern end
of the lake and flows into the St. Lawrence, is broken by rapids, and
a lateral canal, 12 miles in length, and of sufficient dimensions to
receive the lake-craft, will be opened here in the course of a year;
the cost will be 350,000 dollars; the distance from New York to Quebec
by the canals, rivers, and lakes, is 540 miles. The railroad from St.
John, where the rapids of the Richelieu begin, to Laprairie, on the St.
Lawrence, opposite to Montreal, a distance of 16 miles, effects for
Montreal what the canal does for Quebec; it cost about 160,000 dollars,
or 10,500 dollars per mile. The distance from Montreal to New York is
360 miles.


SECTION II. LINES OF COMMUNICATION BETWEEN THE MISSISSIPPI VALLEY AND
THAT OF THE ST. LAWRENCE.

There is no mountain chain between these two valleys; the basin of the
great lakes, whose united waters form the St. Lawrence, is separated
from the valley of the Mississippi only by a spur of the Alleghany
system, not exceeding 450 feet in height, and sinking rapidly down
toward the west, so as to be elevated but a few feet above the surface
of Lake Michigan. During the rainy season, when the streams are swollen
and the marshes of the water-shed are flooded, our Canadian countrymen
were wont to pass in boats from Lake Michigan into the Illinois, by the
Des Plains. The breadth of this dividing spur is more considerable than
its height. It is not a ridge or crest, but rather a table-land, which
imperceptibly merges by gentle slopes into the plains that surround it.
Its level summit is filled with marshes, and therefore offers great
facilities for feeding the canals which traverse it; further west,
where it is scarcely higher than the rest of the country, it is often
as dry as the surrounding prairies.


FIRST LINE. OHIO CANAL.

Only one work connecting the two valleys is as yet completed, this
is the Ohio canal, which traverses that State from North to South,
extending from Portsmouth, on the Ohio, to the little city of
Cleveland, which has sprung up on the shore of the lake since the canal
was made. It is 334 miles in length, and cost nearly 4,500,000 dollars,
or about 13,500 dollars per mile. This is low, yet the locks are all
of hewn stone; the ground, however, was very favorable. The work was
executed at the expense of the State, and was undertaken at the same
time at Pennsylvania and Baltimore, on the traces of New York, started
in the course of internal improvements. This young State, with a
population of farmers, not having a single engineer within her limits,
and none of whose citizens had ever seen any other canal than those of
New York, has thus, with the aid of some second rate engineers borrowed
from that State, constructed a canal longer than any in France, with
more skill and intelligence than was displayed by Pennsylvania, in
spite of the scientific lights of Philadelphia. This farming population
of Ohio, almost wholly of New England origin, has a business instinct,
a practical shrewdness, and a readiness to exercise all trades without
having learned them, that would be sought in vain in the Anglo-German
population of Pennsylvania. The legislators, under whose direction the
public works were executed in both States, were, as is usual in the
United States, a perfect copy of the mass of their constituents, with
all its good and bad qualities. The Ohio canal commissioners added to a
noble disinterestedness an admirable good sense, and to them is due the
greater part of the glory of having planned and executed it. They were
farmers and lawyers, who set themselves about making canals, naturally,
easily, and without even a suspicion that in Europe no one dares to
undertake such a work without long preparation and scientific studies.
Now it is no longer an art in that State to plan and construct canals,
but a mere trade; the science of canalling is there become quite an
affair of the common people. The first-comer in a bar-room will
explain to you, over his glass of whiskey, how to feed the summit level
and how to construct a lock. All our mysteries in civil engineering are
here fallen into the hands of the public, very much as the methods of
descriptive geometry are to be found in the workshops, where they had
been handed down by tradition, ages before Monge gave them the sanction
of theory.

I have before said that Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois form a great
triangle, wholly comprised within the Mississippi valley, with the
exception of a narrow strip along the lakes, belonging, of course, to
the St. Lawrence basin. The general slope of the surface is from north
to south; the streams run mostly in that direction; this is especially
true of the great tributaries of the Ohio. This arrangement of the
secondary valleys is no less favourable to the construction of canals
between the lakes, on the one side, and the Ohio and Mississippi on the
other, than the configuration and humidity of the dividing table-land.


SECOND LINE. MIAMI CANAL.

Ohio has constructed another canal, which, starting from Cincinnati on
the Ohio, runs north to Dayton, and is called the Miami canal. It is 65
miles in length, and cost nearly 1,000,000 dollars, or 15,400 dollars
a mile. By the aid of a grant of land from Congress, and the State's
resources, its prolongation is now in progress to Defiance, on the
river Maumee, the site of a fortress of that name built by Gen. Wayne
after his celebrated victory over the Indians. The Maumee, which was
called by the French the Miami of the Lakes, is one of the principal
tributaries of Lake Erie, and is to be canalled by the State. The
distance from Dayton to Defiance is 125 miles; estimated cost 2,750,000
dollars, or 22,000 dollars per mile.


THIRD LINE. WABASH AND ERIE CANAL.

Ohio and Indiana, with the aid of a grant of land[BU] from Congress,
have undertaken in concert a canal, which will connect the Wabash,
one of the tributaries of the Ohio, with the Maumee. The greater part
of the canal will be parallel to the two rivers, or in their beds;
the length of the whole work will be 382 miles, of which 195 are in
Indiana, and 87 in Ohio. The greater portion of the Indiana section
lateral to the Wabash has been completed, but Ohio has not yet been
able to commence her portion, because, owing to an absurd system of
establishing boundaries, the mouth of the Maumee, whose whole course
is in Ohio, will fall within Michigan.[BV] Ohio protests against this
arrangement, Michigan stands firm to her claims; both sides have voted
the sums needful for war, and both have taken arms; hostilities have
even been begun, but the interference of the Federal government has
led the parties to consent to an armistice. In this quarrel, Ohio
has reason on her side, but Michigan appeals to the letter of the
laws as favourable to her. It is probable that in creating Michigan
a State, Congress will attach this strip to Ohio, to whom it is so
important.[BW] In this unsettled state of things, Ohio has suspended
the execution of her part of a work, which will give new importance to
the mouth of the Maumee.


FOURTH LINE. ILLINOIS AND MICHIGAN CANAL.

The project of a canal from the Chicago, at the southern end of lake
Michigan, to the head of steam navigation, that is, to the foot of
the falls, in the River Illinois, has long been discussed. It is said
to be of very easy construction; and that by means of a cut of the
maximum depth of 26 feet, the summit level can be reduced to the level
of Lake Michigan, so that the lake can be used as a feeder. It will be
96 miles in length, and will traverse a level or slightly undulating
country, bare of trees, and still known by the name given it by the
French Canadians, _Prairie_. It is proposed to construct this canal of
larger dimensions than is common in the United States, so as to make
it navigable by the lake-craft and steamboats. It is one of the most
useful works ever undertaken in the world.[BX]


FIFTH LINE. WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA CANAL.

The canal which has been commenced by Pennsylvania between the Ohio and
the town of Erie, 112 miles in length, and for feeding which extensive
works have already been constructed around Lake Conneaut, will make
another and a short line of water communication between the basins of
the Mississippi and the St. Lawrence.


DIFFERENT LINES.

Lastly, two canals are about to be undertaken, which will connect the
Pennsylvania works with those of Ohio, and of consequence, form new
connections between the Mississippi and the St. Lawrence. One of these
is the Sandy and Beaver canal, which, beginning at the confluence of
the Big Beaver with the Ohio, follows the latter to the mouth of the
Little Beaver, ascends the valley of this stream, and passes down that
of the Sandy River to the Ohio canal at Bolivar; the length will be
90 miles. From Bolivar to New York by the Ohio canal, Lake Erie, Erie
canal, and the Hudson, the distance is 785 miles; by the new canal
the distance from Bolivar to Philadelphia, that is, to the ocean, is
only 512. The Mahoning canal leaves the Ohio canal at Akron, following
the valleys of the Little Cuyahoga, the Mahoning, a tributary of the
Big Beaver, and the Big Beaver, to the Ohio; it is about 90 miles in
length; the distance from Akron to the river Ohio is 115 miles.

The generally level character of the surface of Ohio, Indiana, and
Illinois is not less favourable to the construction of railroads than
to that of canals. But as capital is scarce in this new country,
which is as yet but imperfectly brought under cultivation, but few
enterprises of much importance have hitherto been undertaken. The
financial companies and institutions, which have always preceded the
introduction of canals and railroads, have, however, been already
established and are prosperous, and their success is the omen of the
approach of the latter. In the absence of companies, the States are
ready to adopt the most extensive schemes of public works; for the
American of the West is not a whit behind the American of the East in
enterprise. At present, I know of but a single railroad actually in
process of construction beyond the Ohio, and that does not seem to be
pushed forward with much activity; it is the Mad River railroad, which
is to extend from Dayton, on the Miami canal, to Sandusky, on the bay
of that name in Lake Erie; the length will be 153 miles. Many others
have been projected in this region, and Indiana has caused surveys to
be made for a railroad extending across the State from north to south,
or from New Albany on the Ohio to some point on Lake Michigan.[BY]


WORKS FOR IMPROVING THE NAVIGATION OF THE OHIO, MISSISSIPPI, AND ST.
LAWRENCE.

To this head belong the works executed in the beds of the rivers
themselves. The Mississippi is the _beau idéal_ of rivers in regard
to navigable facilities. From St. Louis to New Orleans, a distance of
nearly 1200 miles, there is water enough for steamers of 300 tons
throughout the year. Its yellow and muddy waters flow in a deep,
although very circuitous channel, and its general breadth is from 800
to 1,000 yards, in places where it is not expanded to a much greater
width by low, flat islands, thickly covered with trees. There are
no sand-banks in this part of the channel, yet there are formidable
dangers in the way of the inexperienced navigator; these are the trunks
of trees, that have been carried away from the banks, as has been
before mentioned, and in the removal of which the Federal government
keeps steam _snag-boats_, the Heliopolis and Archimedes, employed;
these boats are provided with a peculiar machinery by means of which
they drag the trees up from the bed, and saw them into pieces of an
inconsiderable length.

Captain Shreves, who has the command of these boats, and who invented
the machinery, is also employed in constructing sunk dams of loose
stones in the Ohio, which have the effect of increasing the depth of
water in the dry season. He is at present engaged with a flotilla
of steamboats in opening the bed of Red River, one of the great
tributaries of the Mississippi, which the drift timber has choked up
and covered over through a distance of 165 miles.[BZ] At Louisville,
the Ohio, whose bed has generally a very slight inclination, has a
descent of 22 feet in the distance of two miles, so as to be impassable
for steamboats, except during the season of high water. The Louisville
and Portland canal has been constructed by a company to avoid this
obstruction; it is nearly one mile and three fourths in length, and
cost 750,000 dollars.[CA] It receives the largest boats at a rate of
toll which for the Henry Clay amounts to 175 dollars, and for the
Uncle Sam 190 dollars. It has been proposed that Congress should buy
this canal, and make the passage toll-free; and the importance of the
navigation of the Ohio would justify the measure.

The St. Lawrence differs essentially from the Mississippi; instead
of an expanse of muddy waters, it presents to the eye a clear
blue surface. The Mississippi traverses a low, uninhabited, and
uninhabitable region, of which the soil consists entirely of sand;
or rather of mud deposited by the river-floods; not a stone as large
as the fist is to be found, and only a few bluff points are met
with which are above the reach of high water, and on which the pale
inhabitants struggle unsuccessfully with the pestilential emanations
of the surrounding swamps. The St. Lawrence flows through a broken,
hilly, and sometimes rugged country, with a fertile soil, everywhere
healthful, sprinkled with flourishing villages, which attract the eye
of the traveller from a distance by their houses newly white-washed
every year, and their churches built in the French style with their
spires covered with tin. The Mississippi, like the Nile, has its annual
overflow, or rather it has two in each year, but the spring-floods
are much the most considerable. The St. Lawrence, owing to the vast
extent of the lakes which serve as a reservoir and feeder to it, always
preserves the same level, the extreme range of its rise and fall being
only about 20 inches. The St. Lawrence, from the beauty of its waters,
from their prodigious volume, from the country which it waters, and
from the groups of isles scattered over it, would be one of the first
rivers in the world in the eyes of the artist, but in those of the
merchant, it is of quite a secondary importance. Its transparent waters
hardly hide the numerous rocks; the navigation is interrupted first
by the Falls of Niagara, and after it leaves Lake Ontario by numerous
rapids, cataracts, or rocks between that lake and Montreal, and none
but an Indian or a French Canadian, would dare to descend these points
in that portion of the river in a canoe; at several points, the most
powerful steamer would be unable to make head against the current.

The spirit of emulation which has prevailed among the States of
the Union, has extended to the British Provinces, to the English
population, which, leaving the lower part of the river to the French,
has occupied Upper Canada. The inhabitants of this Province have
embraced the opinion, that if the chain of communication which is
broken by the cataracts and rapids, could be made whole, much of
the produce, which now finds its way to the Mississippi, or to the
Pennsylvania and New York canals, would seek a more convenient vent by
the St. Lawrence, and that the British manufactures would take the same
route up the river, through the ports of Quebec and Montreal, to the
Western States. One canal has, therefore, already been executed around
the falls of the Niagara, which forms a communication between Lakes
Erie and Ontario; the Welland canal is 28 miles in length, exclusive of
20 miles of slack-water navigation. It is navigable by lake-craft of
120 tons, and has cost 2,000,000 dollars, nearly the whole of which was
furnished by the upper Province, Lower Canada and the mother country
having contributed a very trifling sum.

Since that work has been completed, the river below Lake Ontario has
been surveyed, and it has been found that the aggregate length of the
points not passable by steamboats of ten feet draft is only 30 miles,
pretty equally divided between the two provinces. Upper Canada, which
contains hardly 250,000 inhabitants, with no large towns and with
little capital, has begun her portion of the work along the rapids
within her limits. This work will be large enough to admit the passage
of steamboats drawing nine feet water, and of the burden of 500 tons. I
saw the labourers at work along the Long Saut Rapids at Cornwall, where
there will be a cut of 13 miles in length; the estimated cost of this
section is 1,250,000 dollars. The French population of Lower Canada,
swallowed up in political quarrels, the result of which cannot be
foreseen, neglects its essential interests in pursuit of the imaginary
interests of national pride. It has done nothing towards continuing,
within its limits, the great work, which has been begun by the poorer
province of Upper Canada.


SECT. III. LINES OF COMMUNICATION ALONG THE ATLANTIC.

FIRST LINE. INLAND CHANNELS BY THE SOUNDS AND BAYS ALONG THE ATLANTIC.

Upon examining the coast of the United States from Boston to Florida,
it will be seen that there is almost a continuous line of inland
navigation, extending from northeast to southwest in a direction
parallel to that of the coast, formed, in the north by a series of bays
and rivers, and in the south, by a number of long sounds, or by the
narrow passes between the mainland and the chain of low islands that
lie in front of the former. The necks of land that separate these bays,
rivers, and lagoons, are all flat and of inconsiderable breadth. From
Providence (42 miles south of Boston) to New York are Narragansett Bay
and Long Island Sound, together 180 miles in length. Thence to reach
to the Delaware you go to New Brunswick at the head of the Raritan Bay,
where you encounter the New Jersey isthmus, a level tract, not more
than 40 feet above the level of the sea, or than 35 to 40 miles in
width. This neck is now cut across by the Raritan and Delaware Canal,
a fine work, navigable by the small coasting craft, and 43 miles in
length, exclusive of a navigable feeder 24 miles, all lately executed
by a company, in less than three years, at a cost of about 2,500,000
dollars.[CB]

This canal terminates at Bordentown, on the Delaware. Hence the
navigation is continued to Delaware City, 70 miles below Bordentown,
and 40 below Philadelphia. There, the isthmus which divides the
Delaware from the Chesapeake, is cut through by a canal, of which the
summit level is only 12 feet above the surface of the sea; this is the
Chesapeake and Delaware canal, like the last mentioned of dimensions
suited to coasting vessels. The cost was very great, about 2,600,000
dollars; length 13 1-2 miles. Having entered the Chesapeake, the
voyage may be continued to Norfolk about 200 miles. Thence, to the
series of sounds and inland channels on the coast of North Carolina,
South Carolina, and Georgia, extends the Dismal Swamp Canal, whose
length is 20 miles, and whose summit level is only 10 feet above the
level of the sea; this is also adapted for coasting vessels. The works
intended to continue the navigation beyond the sounds connected with
the Dismal Swamp canal, have not been completed, and to the south of
the Chesapeake the line is, therefore, imperfect; but steamboats run
from Charleston to Savannah, by the channels and lagoons between the
mainland and the low islands which yield the famous long-staple cotton.



SECOND LINE. COMMUNICATION BETWEEN THE NORTH AND SOUTH BY THE MARITIME
CAPITALS.

Parallel to the preceding line which is designed for the transportation
of bulky articles, is another further inland for the use of travellers,
and the lighter and more valuable merchandise, on which steam is
becoming the only motive power, both by land and by water; by land on
railways, and by water in steamboats. You go from Boston to Providence
by a railroad, 42 miles in length, which cost 1,500,000 dollars, or
33,000 dollars a mile. From Providence to New York, passengers are
carried by the steamboats in from 14 to 18 hours; some boats have made
the passage in 12 hours. In passing from Narragansett Bay to the Sound,
it is necessary to double Point Judith, where there is commonly a rough
sea, to avoid which a railway is now in progress from Providence to
Stonington, a distance of 47 miles. A third railroad, of which the
utility seems questionable (since the boats in the Sound move at the
rate of 15 miles an hour), is projected from a point on Long Island
opposite Stonington to Brooklyn, a distance of 88 miles.

Between New York and Philadelphia, you go by steamboat to South
Amboy on Raritan Bay, 28 miles, whence a railroad extends across
the peninsula to Bordentown, and down along the Delaware to Camden,
opposite Philadelphia. In summer a steamboat is taken at Bordentown,
but in winter the Delaware is frozen over, and the railway is then
used through the whole distance to transport the crowd that is always
going and coming between the commercial and financial capitals of the
United States, between the great mart and the exchange of the Union,
between the North and the South. An ice-boat lands the traveller in
Philadelphia, a few minutes after he has left the cars at Camden. This
railroad is 61 miles in length, and cost 2,300,000 dollars, or 38,000
dollars a mile. It has but one track most of the way. I met many
persons at Philadelphia, who remembered having been two, and sometimes
three long days on the road to New York; it is now an affair of seven
hours, which will soon be reduced to six. Two railroads belonging to a
different group, of which one is completed, and the other nearly so,
will form, with the exception of an interval of several miles, a second
line across the peninsula, from New York to Philadelphia. The one
extends from Philadelphia to Trenton, 26 miles; the other from Jersey
City, opposite New York to New Brunswick, 30 miles; if, therefore,
rails were laid between New Brunswick and Trenton, a distance of 28
miles, over a perfectly level plain, the land communication between New
York and Philadelphia would be complete; but the State of New Jersey
has hitherto refused to authorise this connection, because it received
a considerable sum from the Camden and Amboy company for the monopoly
of the travel.[CC]

From Philadelphia to Baltimore, the route is continued by a steamboat
to Newcastle, and a railroad from thence to Frenchtown, across
the peninsula, 16 1-4 miles long, whence another steamboat takes
the traveller to Baltimore, in 8 or 9 hours after starting from
Philadelphia. The Newcastle and Frenchtown railroad cost 400,000
dollars, or 24,500 dollars a mile. The navigation of the Chesapeake
and Delaware is sometimes interrupted by ice, and it has, therefore,
been thought that it would be useful to have a continuous railroad from
Philadelphia; there would also be a saving of time, for the present
route is somewhat circuitous. Different companies have undertaken
different portions of this work, which will pass by Wilmington and
Havre de Grace, at the mouth of the Susquehanna.

The whole distance by this route is only 93 miles, instead of 118, the
distance by the present line, and the passage will occupy five or six
hours, instead of eight or nine. From Baltimore southwardly two routes
offer themselves; you may take the steamboat to Norfolk, a distance of
200 miles, which is accomplished in 18 or 20 hours, whence another boat
ascends the James River to Richmond still more rapidly, the distance
of about 135 miles being passed over in 10 hours; or you may go from
Norfolk to Weldon on the Roanoke by a railroad 77 miles in length, of
which two thirds are completed.[CD]

From Baltimore you may also go to Washington, by a branch of the
Baltimore and Ohio railroad, and thence by steamboat down the Potomac
to a little village, 15 miles from Fredericksburg, from which a
railroad is now in progress to Richmond. It will be 58 miles in length,
and will cost but 12,000 dollars a mile, including the engines, cars,
and depots. From Petersburg, 20 miles from Richmond, a railroad
extends to Blakely on the Roanoke, 60 miles, and the interval between
Petersburg and Richmond will soon be filled up. The Petersburg and
Roanoke railroad, which is shorter than the post-road, follows with
very little deviation an old Indian trail, a remarkable fact, which was
told me by the able engineer Mr Moncure Robinson. It extends, almost
entirely on the surface of the ground and without embankments, through
the sandy, uncultivated plains, intersected by pools of stagnant water,
which uniformly border the sea from the Chesapeake to Cape Florida, and
are annually infested by the fever of the country. The whole region
is most admirably adapted for railroads, which are constructed almost
wholly of wood. The surface is graded by nature, and the sandy soil
offers an excellent foundation for the wooden frame on which the rails
are placed. The still virgin forests, consisting of pine and oak,
afford an inexhaustible supply of timber for the construction of the
railways, free to whoever wishes to use it. But if the nature of the
country is well suited to this object, the condition of the population
is far from being so. In this sterile tract, the inhabitants are thinly
scattered over the surface, and there are only a few villages here and
there on the rivers. Large towns, in which alone the necessary capital
would be found, do not exist, and the aid of Northern capitalists has
been necessarily resorted to. Philadelphia capital has been largely
employed in the construction of the Petersburg and Richmond railroads,
and without it, the great line between the South and the North, will
not be continued across North Carolina, one of the poorest States in
the confederacy, and connected with the works completed or in progress
in Georgia and South Carolina.

There is, therefore, a great void of 325 miles, between the Roanoke
and Charleston, the chief city of South Carolina, or rather of 275
miles between the Roanoke and Columbia, the capital of that State.[CE]
From Charleston, a railroad 136 miles in length, extends through
the uncultivated and feverish zone of sand and pine-barrens to the
cotton-region; it terminates at Hamburg, on the River Savannah,
opposite Augusta, which is the principal interior cotton-market; the
cost of this work was only about 9,500 dollars a mile including some
cars, &c. Its construction is peculiar in this respect, that where its
level is above that of the surface, recourse has been had to piles
instead of embankments; the railway, thus perched upon stilts from 15
to 25 feet high, certainly leaves something to be desired in regard
to the safety of travellers, but it was necessary to construct it,
and to do so with a very small capital, and in this respect it has
been successful. The receipts have already been sufficiently large to
permit the company gradually to substitute embankments of earth for the
frail props on which it formerly rested. Another singular circumstance
about it is, that it was constructed almost entirely by slaves. This
road was undertaken with the purpose of diverting the cotton, which
descended the river Savannah to the town of the same name, from that
place to Charleston, and it has fully answered the expectations of its
projectors.

From Augusta, the Georgia railroad has lately been begun, and will
traverse some of the most fertile cotton districts in the State;
it will extend to Athens, a distance of 115 miles. To continue the
line from North to South, or from Boston to New Orleans, it would be
necessary that this railroad should be prolonged in the direction of
Montgomery, Alabama, whence a steamer takes the traveller to Mobile,
on the River Alabama.[CF] Between Mobile and New Orleans, there are
regular lines of steamboats running through Mobile Bay, Pascagoula
Sound, and Lakes Borgne and Pontchartain. The four last miles, between
the latter lake and New Orleans, are passed over in a quarter of an
hour on a railroad, which the Louisiana legislature calls in its bad
French _chemin à coulisses_. Such is the line between the North and
South, of which the execution is the most advanced; it will not be
the only one, but as civilisation establishes itself further west and
capital multiplies, several new routes will be formed, receding more
and more from the coast.

The Baltimore and Ohio railroad is connected at Harper's Ferry with
the Winchester railroad, 30 miles in length, which runs up the bed of
one of those long valleys that separate the successive ridges of the
Alleghany Mountains from each other. That in which Winchester stands,
is one of the most regular and fertile of these great basins, and is
celebrated under the name of the Virginia Valley. Although, therefore,
the Winchester railroad was constructed only for the purpose of giving
the produce of Winchester and its vicinity an easy access to the market
of Baltimore, yet it may one day become a link in the great chain of
communication extending through the Valley from north to south. A
company has already been chartered for continuing the work to Staunton,
a distance of 96 miles. Another line from the South to the North,
which will, perhaps, be connected with that of the great Valley, has
been projected at New Orleans, and authorised by the legislatures of
Louisiana and the other States through which it will pass; it is a
railroad from New Orleans to Nashville, the capital of Tennessee, and
I am assured that the work will soon be commenced. This line aspires
to nothing less than a competition with the magnificent river lines of
the Ohio and the Mississippi, in the transportation of passengers and
cotton.


SECT. IV. LINES RADIATING AROUND THE LARGE TOWNS.

FIRST CENTRE. BOSTON.

Three railroads extend from Boston in different directions; the first,
26 miles in length, to the manufacturing city of Lowell, which is
thus become a suburb of Boston, and the second, 44 miles in length,
to Worcester, the centre of an important agricultural district. The
former cost 60,000 dollars a mile, the latter 32,000. The third road is
the Providence railroad, already mentioned above as one of the links
in the great chain from north to south. The Lowell railroad enters
into competition with the Middlesex canal; the Worcester road is to
be continued to the River Hudson, where it will terminate opposite
Albany. It will also be connected with the city of Hudson, 30 miles
below Albany, by a railroad extending from West Stockbridge. It will
thus become to Boston a Western Railroad, which name it has in fact
received. A company has been authorised to execute the portion between
Worcester and Springfield, a distance of 54 miles, the whole distance
from Boston to Albany being 160 miles.[CG] The Eastern railroad, a
fourth work is about to be undertaken, passing through Lynn, famous for
its boots and shoes. Salem, a little city which carries on an extensive
trade with China, Ipswich, Beverly, and Newburyport towards Portland,
the principal town in the northern extremity of the Union.


SECOND CENTRE. NEW YORK.

Radiating from New York are, 1. The railroad to Paterson, an important
manufacturing town at the falls of the Passaic, 16 miles in length; 2.
The New Brunswick railroad already mentioned, which serves as a route
of communication with several important points, especially Newark, and
for the transportation of provisions for the New York market from a
portion of New Jersey; 3. The Harlæm railroad, almost exclusively for
passengers; and 4. The Brooklyn and Jamaica railroad, on Long Island,
12 miles in length, and designed both for pleasure excursions, and for
transporting articles of consumption to the markets of New York.[CH]


THIRD CENTRE. PHILADELPHIA.

Around Philadelphia, in addition to the great works extending to
Columbia, Amboy, and Baltimore, already mentioned, are 1. The Trenton
railroad; 2. The Norristown and Germantown road, designed for
passengers and for the accommodation of some manufacturing villages,
such as Manayunk, 16 miles in length; and 3. That of West Chester, a
branch of the Columbia railroad, 9 miles in length, designed for the
supply of the markets of the city. There are also several railroads
running through the city, of which the rails are laid on the level of
the street, and on which horse-cars only are used.


FOURTH CENTRE. BALTIMORE.

Beside the Baltimore and Ohio railroad with its Washington branch,
Baltimore is also about to have a railroad through York, to the
Susquehanna, opposite to Columbia, the length of which will be 73
miles. The object of this road is to contest with Philadelphia the
commerce of the valley of the Susquehanna. The Pennsylvania canal
with its various branches forms a canalisation of this river and its
tributaries above Columbia. But below Columbia, there are several
rapids and shoals which interrupt the navigation of the river, except
for downward-bound boats in the highest stages of the water. The
Philadelphia merchants, fearing that all the works executed at a great
expense by Pennsylvania, would turn out much less advantageously
for them than for the Baltimoreans, as these last have, indeed,
openly boasted, opposed for a long time both the canalisation of the
Susquehanna from Columbia to its mouth, and the permission to construct
that section of a railroad from Baltimore to Columbia, which would
lie within the limits of Pennsylvania. Their opposition has, however,
been at last overcome, and charters have been granted authorising the
construction of both works. The railroad company, to which Maryland has
just made a loan of 1,000,000 dollars, is pushing on the railway with
great activity.


FIFTH CENTRE. CHARLESTON.

Some short canals have been cut to facilitate the access to Charleston
from the interior, but they are in a bad state, and are of little
importance.


SIXTH CENTRE. NEW ORLEANS.

Independently of the short railway of five miles from Lake Pontchartain
to New Orleans, there are several other works, such as the Carrolton
railroad, which is a little longer, and two short canals extending from
the city to the lake. Some cuts have also been made between the lagoons
and marshes of the lower Mississippi. These canals, dug in a wet and
muddy soil, have presented serious difficulties in their construction;
but they are of no interest in regard to extent or importance.


SEVENTH CENTRE. SARATOGA.

Saratoga Springs in New York are visited for two or three months in the
summer, by crowds of persons who throng thither in shoals. There is
not a master of a family of Philadelphia, New York, and Baltimore, in
easy circumstances, who does not feel obliged to pass 24 or 48 hours
with his wife and daughters, amidst this crowd in their Sunday's best,
and to visit the field where the English army under General Burgoyne
surrendered its arms. There are at present two railroads to Saratoga;
one from Schenectady, 22 miles in length, a branch of the Albany and
Schenectady road, and another from Troy on the Hudson, 25 miles in
length. After the season is over they serve for the transportation of
fuel and timber.


SECTION V. WORKS CONNECTED WITH COAL-MINES.

The bituminous coal-mines of Chesterfield, near Richmond, are connected
with the river James by a short railway adapted only for horses, which
is 12 miles long, and cost 15,000 dollars a mile, inclusive of the
cars, depots, &c. Once delivered at the river, the coal is easily
transported along the whole coast, where it comes into competition with
the English and Nova Scotia coals.

The anthracite beds of Pennsylvania have caused the construction of a
much more extensive series of works. At present hardly any other fuel
is consumed on the coast for domestic and manufacturing purposes than
the anthracite, which is found only in a small section of Pennsylvania,
lying between the Susquehanna and the Delaware. It gives a more intense
and sustained heat than wood, which had also become very dear, and is
much better suited to the rigourous winters, which are experienced
in the United States, under the latitude of Naples. It is also much
preferable to the bituminous coal, which is the only sort of coal in
use with us; it makes no smoke, and is much more cleanly, not soiling
the carpets and drapery. The fire is very easily kept up, and a grate
needs to be filled only two or three times during the whole twentyfour
hours, to maintain a fire night and day. The servants, whom it spares
a great deal of trouble, prefer it, and on this point, as on several
others, their opinion is more important than that of their masters.
The only inconvenience attending it is, that it sometimes diffuses a
sulphurous smell. It is also beginning to take the place of wood in the
steamboats. The anthracite trade has, therefore, become considerable,
and several canals and railroads have been made or are making, to
transport the fuel from the mines to the points of consumption.

The principal of these lines are the following: 1. The Schuylkill
canal, which extends from Philadelphia to the vicinity of the mines
about the head of the Schuylkill. Its length from Philadelphia to Port
Carbon, is 108 miles; it cost, inclusive of the double locks, 3,000,000
dollars, or 28,000 dollars a mile, and yields a net income of 20 to 25
per cent.; 400,000 tons of coal are annually brought down upon it. 2.
The Lehigh canal runs from the Delaware to the mines near the heads of
the Lehigh; it is 46 miles long, and cost 1,560,000 dollars, or 34,000
dollars a mile. 3. The lateral canal along the Delaware starts from
Easton, at the mouth of the Lehigh, and ends at Bristol, the head of
navigation for sea-vessels. It transports to Philadelphia, the coal
that is brought down the Lehigh canal; it is 60 miles long, and cost
1,238,000 dollars, or 20,600 dollars a mile. This work was executed by
the State of Pennsylvania, and has been before enumerated among the
State works. 4. The Morris canal starts from Easton, and ends at Jersey
City, opposite New York. It serves to supply the New York market with
coal. The change of level is here for the most part effected, not by
locks, but by inclined planes, the operation of which is very simple;
the length of this work is 102 miles, cost 2,650,000 dollars, or 25,000
dollars a mile. 5. The Delaware and Hudson canal extends from the
Roundout creek on the Hudson, near Kingston, 90 miles above New York,
to the anthracite mines near the upper Delaware. The coal is brought
down to the canal, at Honesdale, from the mountains, at Carbondale,
on a railroad 16 miles in length; the canal is 109 miles long, and
cost 2,250,000 dollars or 20,000 dollars a mile; the railroad cost
300,000 dollars or 17,500 dollars a mile. 6. The Pottsville and Sunbury
railroad is designed to bring down to the Schuylkill the products of
the mines lying in the heart of the mountains between the Susquehanna
and the heads of the Schuylkill. It is remarkable for the boldness
of the inclined planes, some of which have an inclination of 25 and
33 per cent., and which are worked by very ingenious and economical
contrivances. It is 45 miles in length, and cost 1,120,000 dollars, or
25,000 dollars a mile. 7. The Philadelphia and Reading railroad, now
in progress, will enter into competition with the Schuylkill canal; it
is 56 miles in length, and cost, including the necessary apparatus,
26,300 dollars a mile. It is proposed to continue it to Pottsville,
35 miles from Reading; there would then be a continuous railroad from
Philadelphia to the centre of the Susquehanna valley.

Beside these seven great lines, several mining companies have
constructed various railways of less importance, which branch from
them in different directions. At the end of 1834, there were 165 miles
of these smaller works, constructed at an expense of about 1,125,000
dollars, which, added to the 542 miles, and 13,280,000 of the seven
works above enumerated, gives a total of 707 miles and 14,400,000
dollars, or deducting the Delaware canal, which has been before
reckoned, of 647 miles and 13,162,000 dollars. The aggregate length
of all the works which I have already enumerated, including only those
that are finished or far advanced, is 3,025 miles of canal, and 1,825
miles of railroad, made at a cost of above 112 millions. If we add
several detached works, such as the Ithaca and Owego, the Lexington
and Louisville, the Tuscumbia and Decatur (Alabama) railroads, and
various canals in New England, Pennsylvania, Georgia, &c., we shall
have a total of 3,250 miles of canal, and 2,000 miles of railroad,
constructed at an expense of upwards of 120 million dollars. (See _Note
22_.) The impulse is, therefore, given, the movement goes on with
increasing speed, the whole country is becoming covered with works in
every direction. If I were to attempt to enumerate all the railroads,
of which the routes are under survey, which have been or are on the
point of being authorised by charters from the several legislatures,
for which the subscription is about to be opened, or has already been
filled up, I should be obliged to mention all the towns in the Union.
A town of 10,000 inhabitants, which has not its railroad, looks upon
itself with that feeling of shame, which our first parents experienced
in the terrestrial paradise, when, after having eaten of the fruit of
the tree of knowledge, they saw that they were naked.

I have here spoken of the more perfect means of intercommunication,
canals and railroads, and not of common roads. If I had undertaken
to speak of these, I should have mentioned at their head, the great
work called the National or Cumberland road, which, starting from
Washington, or strictly speaking, from Cumberland, on the Potomac,
strikes the Ohio at Wheeling, and extends westwards, across the
centre of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, to the Mississippi; it has
been constructed wholly at the expense of the Federal government, and
up to the present time there have been expended upon it 5,400,000
dollars. It was begun in 1806, and is now nearly finished to Vandalia
in Illinois. A dispute between Illinois and Missouri in respect to its
termination, has delayed the completion of the last division. From
Washington to Vandalia, the distance is 800 miles, and from Cumberland
to Vandalia, 675 miles. The doctrine of the unconstitutionality of
Congress engaging in internal improvements having prevailed since the
accession of General Jackson to the presidency, Congress has offered
the National Road to the States within which it lies, and they have
accepted it on condition of its being first put in a state of perfect
repair. Several of the States have also spent considerable sums in
improving the condition of their roads; South Carolina, for instance,
has devoted about a million and a half to this object.

The public works of the United States are generally managed with
economy, as the statements above made testify; for the cost has been
much less than that of similar works in Europe, although the wages
of labour are two or three times higher than on the old continent.
The canals constructed by the States are, nevertheless, pretty well
finished; their dimensions are less than those of our canals, but
greater than those of England; the locks are almost always of hewn
stone.[CI] The bridges, viaducts, and aqueducts are generally wooden
superstructures resting on abutments and piers of common masonry.
The river-dams are always of wood. The railroads constructed by the
States, those of Pennsylvania in particular, have been built at a great
expense; they have a double track with stone viaducts and some tunnels;
the rails are wholly of iron, resting on stone blocks or sleepers. The
Lowell railroad company also wished to have their road constructed in
the most solid manner, and have displayed a luxury of granite, which,
if not injurious, is certainly superfluous. The Baltimore and Ohio
railroad has two tracks, but except for a short distance is on wood. In
the Northern States and near the large towns most of the railroads have
an iron edge rail and a roadway prepared for two tracks, but with only
one track laid. Such are the Worcester, Providence, and Amboy railways,
and such will be the Philadelphia and Reading road; but the rails rest
upon wooden cross-pieces, which, independently of their cheapness,
have some advantage over the stone sleepers, in regard to wear of the
cars, superior ease of motion, and greater facility of repairs. Those
railroads in the North on which there is less travel, and which are
more remote from the large towns, and all those of the South, have
but a single track, with no preparation for a second, and consist of
an iron bar, about two inches wide and half an inch thick, resting on
longitudinal sleepers.

On most of the American railroads, the inclinations are much greater
than what in Europe are usually considered the _maxima_. A rise of 35
feet to the mile, for instance, seems moderate to American engineers,
and even 50 feet does not frighten them. Experience has shown that
these inclinations, the latter of which is double of the _maximum_
established by our engineers, do not endanger the safety of travellers.
They do, indeed, diminish the rate of speed, unless additional power
is applied at certain points, to increase the force of traction; but
the Americans think that these inconveniences are more than overborne
by the reduction of the first cost of construction. The curves are
also greater; on the Baltimore and Ohio railroad, on which locomotives
are used, there are several with a radius of 400 or 500 feet, but
the consequence is, that on this road the mean rate of speed does
not exceed 12 or 13 miles an hour, only half as great as that on
the Liverpool railroad, but twice as great as that of a coach on an
ordinary road. In general, however, the American engineers endeavour
to avoid curves of less than 1000 feet radius. In France the Board of
Public Works (_Ponts et chaussées_), in their surveys and plans, have
fixed upon 2,700 feet as the _minimum_.

On some of the American railroads, however, even the rules of European
science have been exceeded; on the Lowell railroad the _minimum_
radius is 3,000 feet; on the Boston and Providence railroad there is
no curve of a less radius than 6,000 feet. The rate of velocity on the
American railroads is as various as the manner of their construction,
and the amount of their inclinations and curvatures. On the Boston and
Lowell road the rate is nearly 25 miles an hour, on the Boston and
Providence and Worcester roads it is about 20 miles; on the Camden and
Amboy railroad the mean velocity has been reduced to 15 miles; on the
Charleston and Augusta road, it is only about 12, and it is still less
on the Baltimore and Ohio railway.

One of the chief means of economy in the construction of these works
in this country, is the use of wood for bridges. The Americans are
unequalled in the art of constructing wooden bridges; those of
Switzerland, about which so much has been said, are clumsy and heavy
compared with theirs. The American bridges have arches of 100 and 200
feet span,[CJ] and they are not less remarkable for their cheapness,
than for their boldness. The bridge over the Susquehanna at Columbia
is 6,000 feet long and cost 130,000 dollars; it is roofed over, has
two carriageways and two side-ways for foot passengers. In general
the wooden superstructure of a covered bridge, with a double carriage
way, may be built at the rate of 8,000 to 14,000 dollars, according to
the locality and the character of the work, per 600 feet; a similar
structure with us would be built of hewn stone, and would cost at least
200,000 to 300,000 dollars. The masonry is generally of uncut stone,
or of undressed hewn stone, and is not, therefore, expensive. Three
different plans are followed in the construction of bridges; one is
that of a carpenter Burr, a second that of Col. Long, and the third,
which is the newest, most interesting, and most suitable for railroads,
on account of its firmness, is that of Mr Town; they are all remarkable
for requiring scarcely any iron. There are, however, some bridges
of hewn stone on the American railroads; such is the Thomas Viaduct
over the Patapsco, on the Baltimore and Ohio railroad, wholly of fine
granite; it is 700 feet long, and cost only 120,000 dollars, although
it has two road-ways, and is 60 feet high.

The greatest difficulty which the Americans encountered in the
execution of their public works, was not to procure the necessary
capital, but to find men capable of directing operations. In this
respect also, New York has done the Union signal service; the
engineers, who were formed by the construction of the Erie canal, have
diffused the benefits of the experience acquired in that work, over
the whole country. Mr Wright, the most eminent among them, and still
the most active of American engineers, notwithstanding his advanced
age, has been engaged in the superintendence of an inconceivable number
of undertakings.[CK] His name is associated with the construction
of canals from the Chesapeake to the Ohio, from the Delaware to the
Chesapeake, from the Hudson to the Delaware, from the James to the
Kanawha, on the St. Lawrence, and even on the Welland, as well as with
those of the railroads just mentioned. Within the last ten years the
number of able engineers in the United States has become considerable,
and they have written the records of their skill and science on the
soil of their country. General Bernard contributed not a little
to this result, by carrying with him into the New World the most
improved processes of European art, and setting an example of their
application. Mr Moncure Robinson, also a pupil of the French schools
of science, who excels in the art of combining great economy with
great solidity and neatness of execution, has constructed the inclined
planes of the Portage Railroad over the Alleghany, and has built the
Chesterfield, Petersburg and Roanoke, the Little Schuylkill, and the
Winchester railroads; he is, at present, engaged on the Pottsville
and Sunbury, the Philadelphia and Reading, and the Fredericksburg
and Richmond roads. Major McNeil has just finished the Boston and
Providence railway, and is engaged on the Stonington and the Baltimore
and Susquehanna roads. Mr Douglass, after having completed the Morris
canal, and the Brooklyn and Jamaica railroad, is preparing, for
the coming season, the operations on the New York water-works. Mr
Fessenden, who has executed the Worcester railroad, is now engaged on
the Eastern and Western railroads on the right and left of Boston. Mr
Knight, the principal engineer of the Baltimore and Ohio railroad,
is occupied in devising plans for topping the Alleghanies. The late
Mr Canvass White assisted in the construction of the Louisville and
Portland canal, and had finished the fine canal from the Raritan to the
Delaware, not long before his death. Mr Allen has built the Charleston
and Augusta railroad. Mr Jervis, who is now directing a part of the
great works of canalisation in New York, constructed the Carbondale and
Honesdale road.

To supply the want of men of science, demanded by the spirit of
enterprise, the Federal government authorises the officers of the
engineer corps and of the topographical engineers to enter into the
service of the companies. It also employs them itself, in surveying
routes and preparing plans, or constructing works on its own account.
General Gratiot, the chief engineer, therefore, performs the duties
of president of a board of public works (_directeur-général des
ponts et chaussées_). Cols. Albert and Kearney of the topographical
engineers, take an active part in the construction of the great canal
from the Chesapeake to the Ohio, of which the Federal government is
the principal share-holder. Capt. Turnbull superintends the canal from
Georgetown to Alexandria; Capt. Delafield the works on the National
Road, and Capt. Talcott the improvements of the navigation of the
Hudson. Col. Long passes from route to route, and conducts at one time
the surveys from Memphis to Savannah, at another those from Portland to
Montreal and Quebec. On the other hand, architects become engineers,
and Mr Strickland of Philadelphia, and Mr Latrobe of Baltimore,
superintend the construction of the railroad between these two cities;
and even simple merchants take upon themselves the responsibility of
great works, as in the case of Mr Jackson of Boston, who is in fact,
chief engineer of the Lowell railroad.

The spectacle of a young people, executing, in the short space of
fifteen years, a series of works, which the most powerful States of
Europe with a population three or four times as great, would have
shrunk from undertaking, is in truth a noble sight. The advantages
which result from these enterprises to the public prosperity are
incalculable, and the political effects are not less important. These
numerous routes, which are traversed with so much ease and speed,
will contribute to the maintenance of the Union more than a regularly
balanced national representation. When New York shall be only six or
eight days from New Orleans, not merely for a class of the rich and
privileged, but for every citizen, every labourer, a separation will be
impossible. Distance will be annihilated, and this colossus, ten times
greater than France, will preserve its unity without an effort.[CL]

It is impossible not to turn back my thoughts to Europe, and to make a
comparison, by no means favorable to the great kingdoms which occupy
it. The partisans of the monarchical principle maintain, that it is
as powerful in promoting the greatness and welfare of peoples, and
the progress of the human race, as the principle of independence and
self-government, which prevails on this side the Atlantic. For myself,
I believe them to be in the right; but it is necessary that some
tangible proofs of the correctness of their opinion should be given,
if we do not wish that the contrary doctrine should make proselytes.
It is by the fruits that the tree must be judged. Now the European
governments dispose of the property and the persons of more than 250
millions of men, that is, of a population twenty times more numerous
than that of the United States at the time these great works were
begun. The extent of territory which demands their care, is not quite
four times as great as that at present occupied by the States and the
organised Territories. The millions which the European nations raise so
easily for war, that is to say, to destroy and slaughter each other,
would not certainly be wanting to their princes for the execution
of useful enterprises. The latter have only to will it, and all the
peoples of Europe will be so completely blended together in interests,
feelings, and opinions, that the whole continent would be like a single
state, and a European war would be looked upon as no less sacrilegious
than a civil war. By putting off the day of these useful works, do not
the sovereigns give countenance to the reasonings of those, who assert
that the cause of kings is irreconcileable with the cause of nations?

FOOTNOTES:

[BF] Arkansas became a State in 1836. [It is a strange oversight of the
author to say, that Missouri is the only State west of the Mississippi,
when nearly the whole of Louisiana is on its right bank. Neither is it
correct to say, that Missouri is one of the least important States.
In point of territorial extent, geographical position, agricultural
resources, and mineral wealth, she is one of the most important,
and even in point of population, which is increasing with great
rapidity, is little behind many of her sisters. The Territory of Iowa,
established in 1837, on the north of Missouri, has now about 30,000
inhabitants, and is rapidly filling with settlers.--TRANSL.]

[BG] This difficulty is almost wholly, if not quite, remedied by
ice-boats.

[BH] In 1792 the New York legislature incorporated two companies, the
Western and the Northern Inland Lock Navigation companies, which,
however, did nothing of importance, the former with authority to
connect the Hudson by the Mohawk with Seneca Lake and Lake Ontario, the
latter to form a junction between the Hudson and Lake Champlain.

[BI] By Mr Baldwin, father of the late Loammi Baldwin, who constructed
the dry docks at Charlestown and Gosport.

[BJ] The official statements of the Canal Board, Feb. 23, 1837, are
here given instead of those of M. Chevalier. The statement in the text
does not include the Black River Canal and the Genesee Valley Canal,
begun in 1837, with a total length of 168 miles, exclusive of 40 miles
of improved navigation in the Black River; estimated cost, 3,000,000
dollars.--TRANSL.

[BK] Michigan became a State in 1837, at which time it had a population
of 175,000 souls.--TRANSL.

[BL] The increase of the population has since been at a still more
rapid rate; from 1830 to 1835, the number of inhabitants increased
from 203,000 to 270,000, or including Brooklyn, from 218,000 to
294,000.--TRANSL.

[BM] It is 40 feet wide on the surface and 4 feet deep; the locks are
95 feet long and 15 wide. The Languedoc Canal is 90 feet wide, and 6
1-2 feet deep, with locks 115 feet long, 36 feet wide in the centre,
and 18 at each end. The English Canals are generally of about the
dimensions of the Erie Canal.

[BN] The legislature incorporated the company on the express condition
that they should transport only travellers and their baggage.
Notwithstanding this provision, when the books were opened, seven times
the amount of capital needed was subscribed; the sum required was
2,000,000 dollars; the amount of subscriptions 14,000,000.

[BO] Several links in this chain between Auburn and Utica on one side,
and Rochester on the other, are already completed.--TRANSL.

[BP] In the session of 1836, the legislature authorised a loan of the
credit of the State for the sum of 3,000,000 dollars to the company;
the estimated cost of the road is 6,000,000. This road terminates at
Tappan Sloat on the Hudson.

[BQ] The maximum of inclination allowed by our _Administration des
Ponts-et-Chaussées_ (board of public works) is 1/200; in the great
lines executed at the expense of government, the inclination has
generally been kept below 1/333, which is the maximum adopted in the
fine railroad from London to Birmingham.

[BR] In 1836 the Maryland legislature voted the sum of 8,000,000
dollars in aid of public works, of which 3,000,000 were appropriated to
the Baltimore and Ohio railroad, and 3,000,000 to the Chesapeake and
Ohio Canal, and rest is divided between several works, one of which is
intended to connect Annapolis, the capital, with the Potomac. Baltimore
has also subscribed 3,000,000 dollars towards aiding the completion of
the railroad. [Virginia and Wheeling have also subscribed 1,000,000
each for the same object, and so far from being come to a stand, the
Baltimore and Ohio railroad is now pushed on with great vigour towards
Cumberland.--TRANSL.]

[BS] In 1836, the construction of this road has been authorised by
the legislatures of Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, and South
Carolina. The surveys have been completed, the route fixed upon, and
a board organised for pushing the work with vigour. Mr Hayne, late a
Senator in Congress, and since governor of South Carolina, and one of
the most highly respected men in the country, is president. Including
the two branches, one to Louisville, and one to Maysville, the whole
length of the road will be 700 miles; the estimated cost is 11,870,000
dollars.

[BT] [Two great works are now actively pushed on in Georgia, which
will form another connection between the Mississippi Valley and the
Atlantic; these are the Central railroad from Savannah to Decatur, 285
miles, and the Georgia railroad from Augusta to the same place, 160
miles in length; the Main Trunk of the Atlantic and Western railroad
is the common continuation of these two roads from Decatur to the
Tennessee, a distance of 120 miles. These works are already in a state
of forwardness, and a third, the Brunswick and Florida railroad,
now under survey, will extend from Brunswick to the head of the
Appalachicola, and connect the southernmost part of the western valley
with the Atlantic. In North Carolina, beside the Raleigh and Gaston
railroad, the railroad from the Roanoke to Wilmington is now nearly
completed. As steam-packets run from Wilmington to Charleston, and the
Chattahoochee is already connected with Montgomery, which stands at
the head of steamboat navigation on the Alabama, the continuation of
the Central railroad from Decatur to the Chattahoochee, a distance of
80 miles, is all that is wanted to complete the communication between
Boston and New Orleans by railroads and steamboats.--TRANSL.]

[BU] These grants of land are generally made so that every other
section (of six miles square) along the line of the work is retained by
Congress, and the rest are given to the State or company constructing
the canal. Sometimes, however, a certain number of acres in some other
quarter is granted outright.

[BV] No one can look at a map of the United States without being struck
by the appearance of the right lines, constituting the frontiers of
most of the States; this method of bounding a territory by meridians
and parallels of latitude is absurd, since it requires an infinite
number of geodesic operations, which have not been executed, and cannot
be so for a long time. Meridians and parallels do very well for the
divisions of the heavens; but for the earth, there are no suitable
boundaries but the beds of rivers, or water-sheds in the mountain
chains.

[BW] By the act establishing the State of Michigan (1836), Congress has
annexed this disputed belt to Ohio. [The whole line of this great work
is now nearly completed.--TRANSL.]

[BX] The work was begun on the canal, July 4, 1836; it is six feet
deep, and 60 feet wide at top; estimated cost 8,654,300 dollars. [The
progress of population in that region within the last two years has
given rise to new and very important projects. One of these is a canal
connecting the Rock River with Lake Michigan, at Milwaukie, and the
other is the junction of the Wisconsin with the Fox River of Green
Bay, thus adding two links to the chain of communication between the
Mississippi and St. Lawrence valleys.--TRANSL.]

[BY] In 1836, the legislature of Indiana adopted a general system
of public works, for the execution of which it authorised a loan of
10,000,000 dollars. The system embraces the canalisation of the Wabash
and White River, the connection of the Wabash with the Maumee, and of
Lake Michigan with the same river by canals, and a canal across the
centre of the State from Evansville by Indianapolis to the Wabash and
Erie canal. Appropriations were made by the same law for railroads
from Madison and Jeffersonville on the Ohio to the Wabash canal, and
in aid of the Lawrenceburg and Indianapolis railroad which has been
undertaken by a company. [The State of Illinois has also made provision
for a series of public works on an equally liberal scale; an act of
1837 establishes a Board of Public Works and an Internal Improvement
Fund, and provides for the construction of a railroad across the
State from north to south, reaching from the junction of the Ohio and
Mississippi by Vandalia and Peru to Galena, being about 460 miles in
length; of four roads crossing the State from east to west, namely,
from Shawneetown on the Ohio to Alton on the Mississippi, from Mt.
Carmel on the Wabash to Alton, from Terre Haute on the Wabash to Alton,
and from Covington on the Wabash to Quincy on the Mississippi, and of
another cross road from Bloomington, in the centre of the State to
Warsaw on the Mississippi. These works are now in active progress, as
are also some works for improving the navigation of the Illinois, Rock
River, Kaskaskia and Little Wabash. The youthful State of Michigan has
followed the example of these elder sisters, by establishing a Board of
Public Works, and directing the construction of three railroads across
the peninsula, from Monroe, Detroit, and Huron to Lake Michigan, and a
canal from the river Saginaw of Lake Huron to the Grand River of Lake
Michigan. There are also several railroads executed by companies in
Michigan.--TRANSL.]

[BZ] [This work was completed in the spring of 1838, at which time
several steamboats passed wholly through the place formerly occupied by
the raft. The removal of that obstruction, has extended the navigation
by steamboats 750 miles on the Red River, exclusive of 600 miles on
several branches.--TRANSL.]

[CA] It is 50 feet wide at bottom and 200 feet at top, and has four
locks, 170 feet long by 50 wide.

[CB] It is from 65 to 75 feet wide at top, and 7 feet deep. The locks
are well constructed, and very expeditiously worked.

[CC] [The link between New Brunswick and Trenton has since been
authorised by the State and constructed.--TRANSL.]

[CD] [The Baltimore and Philadelphia, Fredericksburg and Roanoke, and
Portsmouth and Roanoke railroads have since been completed.--TRANSL.]

[CE] It will be easy to construct a branch from the Charleston and
Augusta railroad to Columbia, and the route has been surveyed. [This
branch is now in progress, and as the Raleigh and Gaston railroad, from
the Roanoke to Raleigh, is also nearly completed, there remains only
the link between Raleigh and Columbia not yet undertaken.--TRANSL.]

[CF] [A prolongation of the Georgia railroad to Decatur, 160 miles from
Augusta, is already in progress, and the Montgomery and Chattahoochee
railroad, extending from West Point on the latter to the river Alabama,
forms another link in the chain between Boston or rather Bangor and New
Orleans.--TRANSL.]

[CG] During the session of 1836 the legislature of Massachusetts
subscribed 1,000,000 in aid of the Western Railroad; this measure was
the first step taken by the State in the promotion of public works,
and indicates a complete revolution in its policy on this point.
[This act was immediately followed by similar acts in aid of the
several other railroads now in progress in the State, and in 1838, by
a further grant of the credit of the State to the Western Railroad
to the amount of 1,200,000 dollars. That work will be completed to
Springfield in October (1839), and the section between Springfield and
West Stockbridge is already far advanced towards its completion. The
Lowell railroad has been extended to Nashua, and an eastern branch is
now completed to Haverhill, of which a continuation towards Exeter is
now in progress.--TRANSL.]

[CH] [To these should be added the railroads from Newark to Morristown,
and from Elizabethtown to Somerville, both intersecting the New
Brunswick railroad, and extending into a fine farming country. The
Brooklyn railroad has also been continued about 20 miles beyond
Jamaica.--TRANSL.]

[CI] On some of the canals the locks are partly of wood and partly of
stone; these composite locks are economical and easily kept in repair,
and deserve to be introduced in other countries. On many canals the
locks are wholly of wood.

[CJ] The bridge over the Schuylkill at Philadelphia consists of a
single arch of 300 feet span. [This beautiful structure has lately been
destroyed by fire.--TRANSL.]

[CK] At this very time, Mr Wright, in spite of his 60 years, is
directing in person the Harlæm railroad, the great New York and Erie
road, the great work of connecting the James and Kanawha, by a railroad
and canal, the works going on along the St. Lawrence in Upper Canada,
750 miles further north, and the railway from Havana to Guines in
the islands of Cuba. The aggregate length of all these works is 870
miles. The most eminent engineers have always several works under their
direction at once; it is understood, of course, that they are aided by
skilful and intelligent assistants, who do most of the work.

[CL] The lowest rate of speed on a railroad can be hardly less than 15
miles an hour, or about three times greater than the ordinary speed
of the stage-coaches in France and America. At this rate, a country
with railroads, nine times larger than France, would be on the same
footing in respect to intercommunication, as France without railroads;
supposing a velocity of 25 miles an hour, or five times greater
than that of the coaches, the proportion would then stand as one to
twentyfive, and a territory four and a half times greater than western
Europe, or five times greater than that included within the limits
of the 27 States, would be as easily and as promptly administered as
France is at present.



LETTER XXII.

LABOUR.


                      LANCASTER, (PENNSYLVANIA,) JULY 20, 1835.

There can be no success without special devotion to some one end;
individual or nation, to be successful and prosperous, beware of
attempting every thing. Human nature is finite, and, like it, you must
set some bounds to your wishes and efforts. Learn how to check yourself
and to be content, is the precept of wisdom. If it is a wise rule,
then are the Americans, at least partially, wise, for they practise it
partially. In general, the American is little disposed to be contented;
his idea of equality is to be inferior to none, but he endeavours to
rise only in one direction. His only means, and the object of his
whole thought, is to subdue the material world, or, in other words,
it is industry in its various branches, business, speculation, work,
action. To this sole object every thing is made subordinate, education,
politics, private and public life. Every thing in American society,
from religion and morals to domestic usages and daily habits of life,
is bent in the direction of this common aim of each and all. If there
are some exceptions to this general rule, they are few, and may be
referred to two causes; first, American society, exclusive as it is,
is not destined to remain forever imprisoned in this narrow circle,
and it already contains the germs of its future condition ages hence,
whatever that may be; and secondly, human nature, although bounded, is
not exclusive, and no force in the world can stifle its eternal protest
against exclusiveness in taste, institutions, and manners. Speculation
and business, work and action, these, then, under various forms, make
the exclusive object to which the Americans have devoted themselves,
with a zeal that amounts to fanaticism; this was marked out for them by
the finger of Providence, in order that a continent should be brought
under the dominion of civilisation with the least possible delay.

I cannot reflect without sorrow, that at one moment France seem called
to take part in this great mission with the two nations, between
whom God has placed it, not less morally in regard to character and
institutions, than physically in respect to geographical position;
namely the English and Spaniards. Whilst Spain, then queen of the
world, grasped South America and the vast empire of Mexico, civilised,
sword in hand, the native tribes, and built those monumental cities,
which will bear witness to its genius and its power, ages after
the calumnies of its slanderers shall have been forgotten, whilst
England was planting some insignificant colonies on the barren shore
of North America, France was exploring the vast basin of the Father
of Waters, and taking possession of the St. Lawrence, compared with
which our Rhine, _tranquille et fier_, is but a modest rivulet: we
were crowning with fortifications the steep rock of Quebec, building
Montreal, founding New Orleans and St. Louis, and here and there
subduing the rich plains of Illinois. At that time, we were occupying
the most fertile, best watered, and finest portion of North America,
the part best suited to become the seat of a magnificent empire, in
harmony with our notions of unity. Our engineers, with a sagacity for
which the Americans now express the greatest admiration, had marked
out by fortresses, the sites most suitable for large towns. Our flag
floated over Pittsburg, then Fort Duquesne, Detroit, Chicago, Erie,
then Presqu'île, Kingston, then Fort Frontenac, Michillimackinac,
Ticonderoga, Vincennes, Fort Charters, Peoria, and St. John, as well
as over the capitals of Canada, and Louisiana. Then our language might
have set up its claim to be the universal language; the French name
bade fair to become the first, not only in the world of ideas, by art
and letters, like the Greek; but also in the material and political
world, by the number of individuals who would take pride in bearing it,
by the immensity of the territory over which its dominion stretched,
like the Roman. Louis XIV. in the days of his deification, in the
Olympus which he had built himself, meditated this noble destiny for
his people and his race. With a lofty pride, he seemed to read their
future triumphs on the pages of fate. But there is left to us, who
are separated from him only by a single century, there is left, alas!
nought but vain and impotent regrets. The English have driven us
forever, not only from America, but also from the East Indies, where
that great prince had given us a footing. The descendants of our
fathers in Canada and Louisiana struggle in vain against the British
flood that swallows them up; our language is whelmed in the same
deluge; even our names for the cities we founded and the regions we
discovered, are corrupted in the harsh throats of our fortunate rivals,
and are too Saxonised to be any longer recognised. We have ourselves
forgotten, that there was ever a time when we could have claimed to
rule the New World; we no longer remember the generous men who devoted
themselves, that they might secure the dominion to us. To preserve the
name of the heroic La Salle from oblivion, it has become necessary that
the American Congress should raise a monument to his memory in the
rotunda of the Capital, between those to William Penn and John Smith.
We have had no stone for him among all our innumerable sculptures; our
painters have covered miles of canvass with their colours, but have not
drawn a line in honour of him.

Meanwhile, the gigantic upstarts of Europe defy us, elbow us, and crowd
us in. In vain did the genius of the the second Charlemagne restore
to us the capital of the first Frank Kaiser, and the finest provinces
of Clovis; capital and provinces have been snatched from us almost
immediately. One step more downward, and we should have been forever
forced back among the secondary states, the worn out and decrepit
nations, with no successors to receive and sustain with honor the
inheritance of our fathers' glories. What is it that has thus degraded
a great people, and robbed it of its well-earned future? In an absolute
monarchy like ours, it was enough, that we should be ridden by such a
prince as Louis XV., who had inherited nothing from his great ancestor
but his vices; it was enough, that during fifty years, France was the
plaything of his infamous selfishness, and of the shameful imbecility
of his creatures. Absolute governments may sometimes produce wonders
in a short space of time, but they are exposed to cruel reverses. Had
we been the conquerors in America, instead of having been conquered by
the English, what would have been the consequences? To judge what the
people of New France would have been, by what the Canadians and the
Creoles of Louisiana are, the boldness and rapidity of the progress
of civilisation would have been much less than it has been. When it
is proposed to conquer nations on the field of battle, France may
enter the lists with confidence; but when it is proposed to subdue
nature, the Englishman is our superior. He has firmer sinews and more
vigourous muscle; physically he is better made for labour; he carries
it on with more perseverance and method; he becomes interested in it,
and obstinately bent upon it. If he meets any obstacle in his task, he
attacks it with the devouring passion which a Frenchman can feel only
in the presence of an adversary in a human form.

With what zeal and devotion has the Anglo-American fulfilled his
mission as a pioneer in a new continent! Behold how he makes his way
over the rocks and precipices; see how he struggles in close fight
with the rivers, with the swamps, with the primeval forests; see how
he slaughters the wolf and the bear, how he exterminates the Indian,
who in his eyes is only another wild beast! In this conflict with
the external world, with the land and the waters, with mountains and
pestilential marshes, he appears full of that impetuosity with which
Greece flung itself into Asia at the voice of Alexander; of that
fanatical daring with which Mahomet inspired his Arabs for the conquest
of the Eastern Empire; of that delirious courage which animated our
fathers forty years ago, when they threw themselves upon Europe. On the
same rivers, therefore, on which our colonists floated, carelessly
singing, in the bark canoe of the savage, they have launched fleets
of superb steamers. Where we fraternised with the Red Skins, sleeping
with them in the forests, living like them on the chase, travelling,
in their manner, through rugged trails afoot, the persevering American
has felled the aged trees, guided the plough, inclosed the fields,
substituted the best breeds of English cattle for the wild deer,
created farms, flourishing villages, and opulent cities, dug canals,
and made roads. Those waterfalls which we admired as lovers of the
picturesque, and the height of which our officers measured at the risk
of their lives, he has shut up for the use of his mills and factories,
regardless of the scenery. If these countries had continued to belong
to the French, the population would certainly have been more gay than
the present American race; it would have enjoyed more highly, whatever
it should have possessed, but it would have had less of comfort and
wealth, and ages would have passed away, before man had become master
of those regions, which have been reclaimed in less than fifty years by
the Americans.

If we examine the acts passed by the local legislatures at each
session, we shall find that at least three-fourths relate to the
banks, which give credit to the working men; to the establishment of
new religious societies and churches, which are the citadels where the
guardians of industry keep watch; to routes and means of communication,
roads, canals, railways, bridges, and steamboats, which facilitate
the access of the producer to the markets; to primary instruction
for the use of the mechanic and the labourer; to various commercial
regulations; or to the incorporation of towns and villages, the work
of these hardy pioneers. There is no mention of an army; the fine
arts are not so much as named; literary institutions and the higher
scientific studies are rarely honoured with notice. The tendency of
the laws is above all to promote industry, material labour, the task
of the moment. In the older States, they always profess the greatest
respect for property, because the legislature feels that the greatest
encouragement to industry is to respect its fruits. They are especially
conservative of landed property, either from a lingering remembrance of
the feudal laws of the mother country, or because they are anxious to
preserve some element of stability in the midst of the general change;
yet the laws generally pay less regard to the rights of property than
is the case in Europe. Wo to whatever is inactive and unproductive,
if it can be accused, on however slight a foundation, of resting upon
monopoly and privilege! The rights of industry here have the precedence
of all others, efface all others, and it is on this account, that,
except in in the affair of public credit, in which the towns and States
pique themselves on the most scrupulous exactness in fulfilling their
engagements, in every dispute between the capitalists and the producer,
the latter has almost always the better.

Every thing is here arranged to facilitate industry; the towns
are built on the English plan; men of business, instead of being
scattered over the town, occupy a particular quarter, which is
devoted exclusively to them, in which there is not a building used as
a dwelling-house, and nothing but offices and warehouses are to be
seen. The brokers, bankers, and lawyers here have their cells, the
merchants their counting-rooms; here the banks, insurance offices, and
other companies, have their chambers, and other buildings are filled
from cellar to garret with articles of merchandise. At any hour, one
merchant has but a few steps to go after any other, after a broker or a
lawyer. This, it will be seen, is not according to the Paris fashion,
by which a great deal of precious time is lost by men of business
in running after one another; in this respect, Paris is the worst
arranged commercial city in the world. New York is, however inferior in
this particular to London or Liverpool; it has nothing like the great
docks and the Commercial House.

The manners and customs are altogether those of a working, busy
society. At the age of fifteen years, a man is engaged in business;
at twenty-one he is established, he has his farm, his workshop, his
counting-room, or his office, in a word his employment, whatever it
may be. He now also takes a wife, and at twentytwo is the father of
a family, and consequently has a powerful stimulus to excite him to
industry. A man who has no profession, and, which is nearly the same
thing, who is not married, enjoys little consideration; he, who is
an active and useful member of society, who contributes his share to
augment the national wealth and increase the numbers of the population,
he only is looked upon with respect and favour. The American is
educated with the idea that he will have some particular occupation,
that he is to be a farmer, artisan, manufacturer, merchant, speculator,
lawyer, physician, or minister, perhaps all in succession, and that,
if he is active and intelligent, he will make his fortune. He has no
conception of living without a profession, even when his family is
rich, for he sees nobody about him, not engaged in business. The man of
leisure is a variety of the human species, of which the Yankee does not
suspect the existence, and he knows that if rich to-day, his father may
be ruined tomorrow. Besides the father himself is engaged in business,
according to custom, and does not think of dispossessing himself of
his fortune; if the son wishes to have one at present, let him make it
himself!

The habits of life are those of an exclusively working people. From
the moment he gets up, the American is at his work, and he is engaged
in it till the hour of sleep. Pleasure is never permitted to interrupt
his business; public affairs only have the right to occupy a few
moments. Even meal-time is not for him a period of relaxation, in
which his wearied mind seeks repose in the bosom of his friends; it
is only a disagreeable interruption of business, an interruption to
which he yields because it cannot be avoided, but which he abridges
as much as possible. In the evening, if no political meeting requires
his attendance, if he does not go to discuss some question of public
interest, or to a religious meeting, he sits at home, thoughtful and
absorbed in his meditations, whether on the transactions of the day
or the projects of the morrow. He refrains from business on Sunday,
because his religion commands it, but it also requires him to abstain
from all amusement and recreation, music, cards, dice, or billiards,
under penalty of sacrilege. On Sunday an American would not venture to
receive his friends; his servants would not consent to it, and he can
hardly secure their services for himself, at their own hour, on that
day. A few days since, the mayor of New York was _accused_ by one of
the newspapers of having entertained on Sunday some English noblemen,
who came out in their own yacht to give the American democracy a
strange idea of British tastes. The mayor hastened to declare publicly,
that he was too well acquainted with his duties as a Christian to
entertain his friends on the _Sabbath_. Nothing is therefore, more
melancholy than the seventh day in this country; after such a Sunday,
the labour of Monday is a delightful pastime.

Approach an English merchant in his counting-room in the morning, and
you will find him stiff and dry, answering you only by monosyllables;
accost him at the hour of closing the mails, he will be at no pains to
conceal his impatience; he will dismiss you without always taking care
to do it politely. The same man, in his drawing-room in the evening, or
at his country-house in summer, will be full of courtesy and attention
towards you. The Englishman divides his time, and does but one thing
at once; in the morning he is wholly absorbed in business; in the
evening he plays the man of leisure, reposing and enjoying life; he
is a gentleman, having before his eyes, in the English aristocracy, a
perfect model to form his manners, and to teach him how to spend his
fortune with dignity and grace. The modern Frenchman is a confused
mixture of the Englishman of the evening and the Englishman of the
morning; in the morning a little of the former, in the evening a little
of the latter. The old French model was the former, or rather, to do
each one justice, was the original after which the English aristocracy
has formed itself. The American of the North and the Northwest, whose
character now gives the tone in the United States, is permanently a man
of business, he is always the Englishman of the morning. You find many
of the Englishmen of the evening on the plantations of the South, and
some are beginning to be met with in the great cities of the North.

Tall, slender, and light of figure, the American seems built expressly
for labour; he has no equal for despatch of business. Nobody also
can conform so easily to new situations and circumstances; he is
always ready to adopt new processes and implements, or to change
his occupation. He is a mechanic by nature; among us there is not a
schoolboy who has not made a _vaudeville_, a ballad, or a republican or
monarchical constitution; in Massachusetts and Connecticut, there is
not a labourer who has not invented a machine or a tool. There is not
a man of much consideration, who has not his scheme for a railroad, a
project for a village or a town, or who has not _in petto_ some grand
speculation in the drowned lands of Red River, in the cotton lands of
the Yazoo, or in the corn fields of Illinois. Eminently a pioneer, the
American who is not more or less Europeanised, the pure Yankee in a
word, is not only a working man, but he is a migratory one. He has
no root in the soil, he has no feeling of reverence and love for the
natal spot and the paternal roof; he is always disposed to emigrate,
always ready to start in the first steamer that comes along, from the
place where he had but just now landed. He is devoured with a passion
for locomotion, he cannot stay in one place; he must go and come, he
must stretch his limbs and keep his muscles in play. When his feet are
not in motion, his fingers must be in action, he must be whittling a
piece of wood, cutting the back of his chair, or notching the edge of
the table, or his jaws must be at work grinding tobacco. Whether it be
that a continual competition has given him the habit, or that he has
an exaggerated estimate of the value of time, or that the unsettled
state of everything around him keeps his nervous system in a state of
perpetual agitation, or that he has come thus from the hands of nature,
he always has something to be done, he is always in a terrible hurry.
He is fit for all sorts of work, except those which require slow and
minute processes. The idea of these fills him with horror; it is his
hell. "We are born in haste," says an American writer, "we finish our
education on the run; we marry on the wing; we make a fortune at a
stroke, and lose it in the same manner, to make and lose it again ten
times over, in the twinkling of an eye. Our body is a locomotive, going
at the rate of twentyfive miles an hour; our soul, a high-pressure
engine; our life is like a shooting star, and death overtakes us at
last like a flash of lightning."[CM]

"Work," says American society to the poor man; "work, and at eighteen
years of age, although a mere workman, you shall get more than
a captain in Europe. You shall live in plenty, be well-clothed,
well-lodged, and be able to lay up a part of your earnings. Be
attentive to your work, be sober and religious, and you will find a
devoted and submissive partner of your fortunes; you shall have a more
comfortable home, than many of the higher classes of the commonalty
in Europe. From a journeyman, you will become a master; you will have
apprentices and dependents under you in turn; you shall have credit
without stint; you shall become a manufacturer or agriculturist on
a great scale; you shall speculate and become rich; you shall found
a town and give it your own name; you shall be a member of the
legislature of the State, or alderman of the city, and finally member
of Congress; your son will have as good a chance to be made President
as the son of the President himself. Work, and if the fortune of
business should be against you, and you fall, you will soon be able to
rise again; for a failure is nothing but a wound in battle; it will not
deprive you of the esteem or confidence of any one, if you have always
been prudent and temperate, a good Christian and a faithful husband."

"Work," it says to the rich, "work, and do not stop to think of
enjoying your wealth. You shall increase your income without increasing
your expenses; you shall enlarge your fortune, but it will be only to
increase the sources of labour for the poor, and to extend your power
over the material world. Be simple and severe in your exterior, but at
home you may have the richest carpets, plate in abundance, the finest
linens of Ireland and Saxony; externally your house shall be on the
same model with all the others of the town; you shall have neither
livery nor equipage; you shall not patronise the theatre, which tends
to relax morals; you shall avoid play; you shall sign the articles and
pledges of the Temperance Society; you shall not even indulge in good
cheer; you shall set an example of constant attendance at church; you
shall always show the most profound respect for morals and religion,
for the farmer and mechanic around you have their eyes fixed upon you;
they take you for their pattern, they still acknowledge you to be the
arbiter of manners and customs, although they have taken from you the
political sceptre. If you give yourself up to pleasure, to parade, to
amusement, to dissipation and luxury, they also will give the reins to
their gross appetites and their violent passions. Your country will be
ruined, and you will be ruined with it."

It is possible to imagine various social systems differently organised
but equally favourable, theoretically, to the promotion of industry.
We may imagine a society organised for labour under the influence of
the principle of authority; that is, a society composed of a gradation
of ranks; we may conceive another constituted under the auspices of
the principle of liberty or independence. To organise _a priori_, for
purposes of industry, any given people, it is necessary, under penalty
of engendering a Utopian scheme, to consult the circumstances of its
origin and the condition of its territory, to know whence and how
it has come, and whither it is going. With the people of the United
States, a scion of the English stock, and thoroughly imbued with
Protestantism, the principle of independence, of individualism, of
competition, in fine, could not but be successful. The iron hearts of
the Puritans, the _Ultras_ of Protestantism, could not fail to find
this principle congenial to them. It is owing to this course that the
sons of New England, which was peopled by the _Pilgrims_, have played
the chief part in the occupation of the great valley of the Mississippi.

The civilisation of the West[CN] has sprung from the secret and
silent co-operation of two or three hundred thousand young farmers,
who started, each on his own account, from New England, often alone,
sometimes with a small company of friends. This system would not have
succeeded with Frenchmen. The Yankee alone in the woods, with no
companion but his wife, is all-sufficient for himself. The Frenchman is
eminently social; he could not bear the solitude in which the Yankee
would feel at his ease. The latter, although solitary, becomes excited
by his own plans and eager to accomplish them. The Frenchman cannot
become interested in any industrial enterprise except in connection
with others, whose concurrence with him is evident and palpable, or
rather he rarely becomes interested in any material task, for he
reserves his affections and sympathies for living objects. It is quite
impossible for him to fall in love with a _clearing_, to feel the same
transports at the success of a manufacture as for the safety of a
friend or the happiness of a mistress; but he is capable of applying
himself to the task with ardour, if his characteristic passions, his
thirst for glory and his spirit of emulation, are brought into play
by contact with human beings. If it were proposed, then, to settle
colonies with Frenchmen, it would be necessary to put little reliance
on individual efforts. In all things, as well as in a line of battle,
a Frenchman must feel his neighbour's elbow. Americans might be thrown
separately upon a new land, they would form little centres round which
constantly expanding circles of population and cultivation would grow
up. But if the new settlers were Frenchmen, it would be necessary to
carry with them a society ready constituted, social bonds already
binding them in, or at least a regular social framework, and bolts to
which the social bonds are to be attached; that is, they must have, at
starting, the great circle with its centre strongly marked.

Canada is almost the only colony that has been founded exclusively by
Frenchmen,[CO] and a complete social organisation was carried thither.
The country once explored, the royal fleet landed the _seigneurs_, who
had received fiefs from royal grants, and who were followed by vassals
transplanted from Normandy and Brittany, among whom the lands were
distributed. At the same time an endowed regular and secular clergy,
with ample domains and the right of collecting the tithe, was brought
to the St. Lawrence. Next came traders and companies, to whom was given
the monopoly of the fur-trade and the commerce of the colony. In a
word the three orders, the clergy, nobility, and third estate, were
imported ready made from Old France into New. The only thing which the
colonists left behind them, was the poverty of the greatest number.
The system was a good one for that period; the principle of order and
of ranks, which prevailed under the only form then practicable, was
in keeping with the character of the people. The proof of this is to
be found in the fact, that Canada has flourished under this system in
which the English conquerors have made no changes, and the population
has increased in the bosom of general ease. I have seen nothing which
more completely realised the _aurea mediocritas_, than the pretty
villages on the banks of the St. Lawrence. They do not exhibit the
ambitious prosperity of those of the United States; they are much more
modest than those of the republic; but if there is less show, there is
also more content and happiness. Canada reminded me of Switzerland; it
is the same aspect of calm contentment and quiet happiness. It would
be a subject of admiration were it not by the side of the American
colossus; its rapid growth would attract attention, were it not for
the miraculous expansion of the United States. Neither would it be
right to assert that the progress of Canada has been in spite of the
colonial system; the dispute about the _because_ and the _although_ is
easily settled in this case. All that was burdensome about the original
system remains untouched, and there is no complaint against it. The
seignorial dues, the tithe, the seignorial mill, and the _four banal_,
still exist in full vigour; and do not appear in the interminable list
of ninety-three grievances, lately drawn up by the Canadians.

FOOTNOTES:

[CM] In the hotels and on board the steamboats, the door of the
eating-room is beset by a crowd on the approach of a meal-time. As
soon as the bell sounds, there is a general rush into the room, and
in less than ten minutes every place is occupied. In a quarter of an
hour, out of 300 persons, 200 have left the table, and in ten minutes
more not an individual is to be seen. On my passage from Baltimore to
Norfolk, in the winter of 1834, I found that, notwithstanding the cold,
three fourths of the passengers had risen at 4 o'clock, and at six,
being almost the only person left abed, and feeling sure that we must
be near our port, I got up, and went upon deck; but it was not until
eight o'clock, that we came in sight of Norfolk. On mentioning the fact
afterward to an American, a man of sense, who was on board at the same
time, and who, wiser than I, had lain abed till after sunrise; "Ah,
sir," said he, "if you knew my countrymen better, you wouldn't be at
all surprised at their getting up at four o'clock, with the intention
of arriving at nine. An American is always on the lookout lest any of
his neighbours should get the start of him. If one hundred Americans
were going to be shot, they would contend for the priority, so strong
is their habit of competition."

[CN] I allude particularly to the Northwest, or that portion of the
West in which slavery does not exist.

[CO] In Louisiana, St. Domingo, and the other islands, the mass of the
population consisted of blacks.



LETTER XXIII.

MONEY.


                        SUNBURY, (PENNSYLVANIA,) JULY 31, 1835.

In a society devoted to production and traffic, money must be regarded
with other eyes, than among a people of military spirit, or nourished
in classical studies and scientific speculations. Among the latter,
it must be looked upon, theoretically at least, as vile metal. With
them honour and glory are more powerful and more common motives of
action than interest; they are the coin with which many persons are
content, the only coin which many persons are ambitious to acquire.
In an industrious society, on the other hand, money, the fruit and
object of labour, is not to be despised; a man's wealth is the measure
of his capacity and of his consideration among his fellow-citizens.
Whatever may be the cause, the fact is certain, that money is not
the same thing here that it is with us; that it weighs here where
with us it has no weight; that it appears openly here, where with us
it would hide itself. When I was in England, I was surprised at the
number of notices in the docks, threatening, for instance, a fine
for certain offences, with a promise of half to the informer. If a
prefect of the police should offer such a premium to informers among
us, our blood would boil with indignation. In this country the same
practice prevails, and seems to be still more frequent. When a crime
is committed, the authorities offer a reward of 100 or 200 dollars to
whoever will make known or deliver up the criminal. In Philadelphia, I
saw the governor of the State and the mayor of the city endeavouring to
outbid each other in promises; a murder had been committed during one
of the preliminary elections, and those officers, who were of different
parties, endeavoured to prove by the greatness of their offers, that
the opposite party was guilty of the act. In some cases of incendiarism
or poisoning, a reward of 1000 dollars has been offered. It should be
observed, however, that in England, out of London, and in this country,
there is no organised police like ours, and it, therefore, becomes
necessary that the citizens themselves should act as a police.

The maxim here is that everything is to be paid for. Museums and
institutions for higher instruction to which admission is gratuitous,
are here unknown. Nor are those unpaid offices, which take a citizen
from his business, and would make it impossible for him to provide for
the support of his family, if he discharged them faithfully, known
here. The municipal offices in the country have no pay attached to
them, because they take up little time and require little attention,
and because a man in the country has more leisure than the busy
inhabitant of the city. But in the cities all officers are paid, as
soon as their functions come to occupy much of their time. The custom
of paying by the day, which prevails in England, is very general here.
Members of Congress are paid at the rate of eight dollars a day, and
if a legislative committee prolongs its sessions beyond those of the
legislative body, the pay is continued on the same footing. All the
State legislatures are paid by the day. Canal commissioners, who are
generally men of some distinction, that is, rich men, are generally
paid in the same way, an account being kept of the number of days they
are employed in the public service; for them the pay amounts merely
to the payment of their expenses. Those, however, who are permanently
occupied, receive an annual salary. In some offices, the incumbents
are paid by fees for each affair in which they become engaged; this
is generally the case with the States' Attorneys and the Justices of
Peace, and with the Aldermen in some of the cities. The public officers
who are regularly employed, such as the Governors of the States, and
the Mayors of the principal cities have a fixed annual salary. It is a
settled principle here that all work should stand on the same footing
with industrial labour, and be paid in the same manner. Intellectual
merchandise and material merchandise, capital and talent, dollars
and science, are here placed on the same level; this practice puts
every one at his ease, and facilitates, abridges, and simplifies all
operations. No one feels the least embarrassment in asking for a
service, which he knows will be paid for. Everything is settled plainly
and easily, because in an industrious and prosperous society every one
has the power to be liberal.

Money is also made an instrument of punishment, as well as of reward.
It is well known that, in England, a conviction for adultery enriches
the wronged husband at the expense of the guilty paramour, and the same
practice would prevail here, if the crime were not extremely rare.
The American law is very sparing of bodily punishments for simple
misdemeanours, but it makes very free use of fines. On most bridges,
there are notices forbidding the passing with horses at any other pace
than a walk, under penalty of a fine of 2, 3, or 5 dollars. When a man
is suspected or even accused of a crime, such as forgery, arson, or
murder, it is not his person, but his purse that is secured; that is,
instead of being arrested, he is obliged to give bail in a sum which
is left to the discretion of the Judicial authority. Last year, while
a convention for revising the constitution of Tennessee was in session
in Nashville, one of the members, a militia general, of whom there are
thousands in the country, a man of large property, and therefore very
respectable, got into a quarrel with an editor of a newspaper, and
uttered violent threats against him. Some days afterward, in company
with another violent fellow, he actually discharged a pistol at his
adversary in the bar-room of a hotel, and wounded him dangerously. The
affair was brought before the proper authorities, and the assassin was
admitted to bail, being thus left at full liberty on depositing some
thousand dollars, continuing to sit in the Convention and to assist
in the formation of the new constitution of the State.[CP] So much
tenderness towards an assassin, and similar proceedings which I have
witnessed relative to incendiaries and persons guilty of forgery,
recall to mind those times of barbarism, in which criminals were
redeemed at a price. It will be readily imagined, after what has been
said, that imprisonment for debt is very abhorrent from American ideas;
in fact, a general clamour has been raised against it; most of the
States have already abolished it, and others will not long delay to
follow the example.

Money, is therefore, the sanction of the laws and of the most simple
police regulations. If a magistrate has good reason for believing that
an individual has intentions to break the peace, instead of taking him
into custody as a measure of prevention, he requires him to give bail
for his good behaviour. It is by money-penalties, also, that chartered
companies are obliged to conform to the provisions of their charters.
It is by fines, that even the magistrates are punished for neglect of
duty. To remedy the inconveniences arising from the minute subdivision
and dispersion of administrative authority in the New England States,
resort is also had to money. In that part of the Union, the repair of
roads is left to the care of the towns, and it is plain that the travel
through a whole State might be seriously incommoded by the neglect
of one town. It is, therefore, provided by law, that every town shall
be responsible for any accidents to travellers within its limits,
which may be owing to the bad state of the roads; it is not uncommon
to read accounts in the newspapers of a town being condemned to pay
a traveller, who has been overturned on its roads or bridges, 500 or
1000 dollars damages. The city of Lowell was very lately condemned to
pay 6,000 dollars to two travellers, who had broken their legs by such
an accident. The judge charged that the plaintiffs should not only be
reimbursed for the expenses of the cure, but also for the estimated
probable earnings of their industry during their confinement.

Amongst us, it is not money, but honour, that occupies the most
conspicuous place, and if it be admitted that the sentiment of honour
lies at the foundation of monarchies, and if every thing turn upon
this one principle, this is very well. The principle of honour is
quite as good in every view, whether logically, morally or practically
considered, as the principle of money. It is, indeed, more congenial to
the generosity of the French character; but then it is necessary that
the honour should be something real, that the consideration it gives,
should be incontestable; it is necessary that the authority which
is the source of honour, should be itself respected. If the supreme
authority is insulted and despised, public functions become not a
source of consideration, but of contempt. If jealousy and suspicion of
power are admitted and consecrated by the modern spirit of legislation
and administration, is it not true that your pretended recompense of
public service by the consideration and dignity they confer, is a
mockery, and that your whole system is founded upon a contradiction? If
royalty still sat all-powerful on the magnificent throne of Versailles,
amidst its guards glittering with steel and gold, surrounded by the
most brilliant court of which history preserves the record, and by
the fascinations with which the homage of the arts invested it; or if
the prince were a saviour of his country, raised on the buckler by his
victories, and dating his decrees from the palace of vassal kings,
or from the Schoenbrunn of the conquered Kaisers; if he crowned and
uncrowned kings, as our ministers now make and unmake sub-prefects; if
at a breath of his mouth, victorious veterans calmly met death; if the
world did him homage; if he were the anointed of the Lord, the choice
and idol of the people; if you had yet the monarchy of Louis XIV.,
or of Napoleon, you would be welcome to speak of consideration and
honour! It was then distinction enough to be noticed by a royal look.
The favour of the sovereign then secured the confidence, or at least
the outward homage of the people. The point of precedence was worthy
of being a subject of envy in the days of the splendour of Versailles,
or when one might lose oneself in the crowd of kings in the Tuileries.
But what does it signify now-a-days, when royalty has lost its poetical
attributes, when public ceremonies are abolished, when there is no
longer a court or court-dress? Titles have been profaned and degraded
by the ignorance and stupidity of those who ought to have supported
their dignity, or sullied by the jealousy of the commons. As for your
ribands you have been obliged to scatter them under the hoofs of
horses. The system of honour is, therefore, gone by; to restore it, a
revolution would be necessary; not a revolution like that of July, but
a revolution like that which was going on during the three centuries
between Luther and Mirabeau, and which, ripe at last, has been shaking
both worlds during the last fifty years; a revolution in the name of
authority, like that which our fathers accomplished in the name of
liberty.

Among the sayings attributed to M. de Talleyrand, the following is
often quoted; "I don't know an American that hasn't sold his horse
or dog." It is certain that the Americans are an exaggeration of the
English, whom Napoleon used to call a nation of shop-keepers. The
American is always bargaining; he always has one bargain afoot, another
just finished, and several more in meditation. All that he has, all
that he sees, is merchandise in his eyes. The poetical associations
which invest particular spots or objects with a character of sanctity,
have no place in his mind. The spire of his village church is no more
than any other spire to him, and the finest in his view, is the newest,
the most freshly painted. To him a cataract is a motive power for his
machinery, _a mill privilege_; an old building is a quarry of bricks
and stones, which he works without the least remorse. The Yankee will
sell his father's house, like old clothes or rags. In his character of
pioneer, it is his destiny to attach himself to nothing, to no place,
edifice, object, or person, except his wife, to whom he is indissolubly
bound night and day, from the moment of marriage till death parts them.

At the bottom, then, of all that an American does, is money; beneath
every word, money. But it would be a mistake to suppose that he is
not capable of making pecuniary sacrifices; he is in the habit of
subscribing to all useful objects, and he does so without reluctance or
regret, oftener than we are accustomed to do, and more liberally also;
but his munificence and his donations are systematic and calculated. It
is neither enthusiasm nor passion that unties his purse strings, but
motives of policy or considerations of propriety, views of utility and
regard for the public good, in which he feels his own private interests
to be involved. The American, therefore, admits some exceptions to
his general commercial rule of conduct. He gives money, he attends
committee-meetings, he draws up in haste a report or an opinion; he
even goes in person, at high speed, to Washington, in order to present
a set of resolutions to the President, or he hastens to a neighbouring
city to attend a public dinner, and returns in equal haste; but he
requires in this case that the exception to the general rule should be
sharply defined and the cause strongly marked, that the public interest
should be at stake. And he particularly insists that the sacrifice
should be of money only, once for all, and that his time should be
respected. To everything of a private nature, to everything that takes
up his time and demands his attention, he applies the mercantile
principle, nothing for nothing. He pays the services of others with
dollars, and he expects others to do the same by him, because he looks
upon compliments as too hollow and light to be put in the scale against
labour, and because distinctions, such for instance as precedence, are
unknown and incomprehensible to him. With him it is an indisputable
maxim, that the labourer is worthy of his hire. The ideas of service
and salary are so inseparably connected in his mind, that in American
almanacs it is common to see the rate of pay annexed to the lists of
public officers. He is of opinion that nobody can live on a dry crust
and glory; he thinks of the welfare of his wife and children, of a
provision for his old age, and if he were told that there is a country
in which these considerations are disregarded, for the purpose of
obliging a neighbour or paying a courtesy to a magistrate, such a thing
would appear absurd to him.

High pay is not, however, consonant with the spirit of democracy,
because it is incapable of discerning its propriety. The mechanic who
makes 500 dollars a year, thinks himself generous towards a public
officer to whom he gives 1,500 or 2,000; just as our citizens of the
middling class in Paris, who have an income of 10,000 francs, cannot
see why a public functionary should not be content with 12,000. The
Americans thought that among them, as elsewhere, there would be
two kinds of coin, money and public consideration, and they were
persuaded, on the authority of Franklin, that it would be easy to
find able public officers, whose salary should chiefly consist in the
honour of public station. But they were mistaken; for office is here
no title to respect, but quite the contrary; and as public services
are neither paid by dollars nor consideration, only a Hobson's choice
is left to the people. With the exception of a very small number of
places, which the delights of power still cause to be sought after,
notwithstanding the cost of the pleasure of commanding and having
dependents or subordinates, office is generally sought for only by
the floating part of the population, which has been unsuccessful in
business, and tried one occupation after another in vain. It is not
even, strictly speaking, a profession, but rather the temporary resort
of persons who have no settled pursuit, who, as soon as they find a
more eligible employment in industry or speculation, take leave of the
State. The West Point Academy sends out about forty lieutenants for
the army annually; about one third of these resign their commissions
before two or three years of service, because the pay of the officers,
although much higher than with us, is very inconsiderable compared with
the profits of a merchant or the salary of an engineer.

The duties of a public officer are generally less difficult in the
United States than in France. Among us every question that arises,
embraces a great complication of interests, and requires more
knowledge. The powers and duties of the government in France are much
more extensive and more various, and more care is exacted of persons
in the public employ among us, than in this country. Yet the average
of salaries here is much greater than with us. When the Congress and
the States shall stand in need of able men for functionaries, they will
do as the American merchants do to their clerks, they will pay them.
Congress, having lately become sensible of the importance of securing
the services of good naval officers, has just raised the pay of that
corps.[CQ] It may even be said that the number of office-holders who
are treated with illiberality, is very small.[CR] Out of 158 persons
employed in the service of the Treasury department at Washington, there
are only 5 who receive less than 1,000 dollars, and there are only two
who receive more than 2,000; this is the application of the principle
of equality to pay. As the price of common objects of consumption, that
is, bread, meat, coffee, tea, sugar, and fuel, is generally lower in
the United States than in France, and especially in Paris, a salary
of 1,500 or 2,000 dollars is sufficient in most cases to support a
family in comfort and abundance. An officer of the government, who
receives from 400 to 600 dollars in Paris, lives only by practising the
strictest economy if he is a bachelor, and suffers great privations
if he is a married man. At Washington he would receive from 1,000 to
1,200 dollars, and would live in abundance and comfort, if not in
style and luxury. Nor would he here, as with us, be condemned to the
punishment of Tantalus, for the pomp and splendour of the privileged
classes in the European capitals is unknown in the United States. In
Paris, the _employé_ is bespattered with mud by the equipage of a man
who spends his 20,000 dollars a year; in the streets of Philadelphia,
he would elbow a rich capitalist who kept no coach because he would not
know what to do with it, and who, with a revenue of 30,000 or 60,000
dollars, cannot spend more than 8,000 or 10,000 at the most. The ratio
of conditions, which in Paris is as one to forty, is here not more than
one to eight.

Here the condition of the richest merchant, and that of a mechanic and
a farmer, are not essentially different; the difference is merely in
degree and not in kind. All have similar houses, built on a similar
plan; only that one has a front five or six feet wider, and is one
or two stories higher than another; the distribution of apartments,
and the furniture are similar. All have carpets from the cellar to
the garret, all sleep in large high-post bedsteads very much like
each other, projecting out into a chamber without closets, alcoves,
or double door, and with bare walls; only the carpets of the one are
coarse, and those of the other are fine, the bedstead of the rich is
of mahogany, and that of the mechanic of cherry or walnut. In general
the table is served much alike; there is the same number of meals,
and there is nearly the same number of dishes. This is so much the
case, that, if my French palate had to decide between the dinner of a
great city hotel (excepting those of Boston, New York, Philadelphia,
and Baltimore), and that of a country inn, at which I should sit by
the side of the blacksmith of the place, with sooty visage and with
sleeves rolled up, I think that I should really pronounce in favour of
the latter. This is especially the case in the North, and particularly
in New England, the land of the Yankees. In the South, the condition
of the planter on his estate gains all that is taken from the mass
of the population, or the slaves. And even at the North, of late
years, commerce, which has collected men into large cities, has also
accumulated capital in single hands, and created great fortunes. The
inequality of condition is, therefore, beginning to manifest itself;
the style of the new houses in Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, with
their first story of white marble, is a blow at equality. The same
innovation is creeping in in New York; the anti-democratical tendency
of commerce is revealing itself.[CS]

It might be expected that among a people so deeply absorbed in material
pursuits, misers would abound; but it is not so. There is never any
niggardliness in a Southerner; it is sometimes found in the Yankee,
but nowhere do you see specimens of that sordid avarice, of which
examples are so common among us. The American has too high a notion
of the dignity of human nature, to be willing to deprive himself and
his children of those comforts which soften the asperities of life;
he respects his own person too much not to surround it with a certain
degree of decency. Harpagon is never to be met with in the United
States, and yet Harpagon is not by a great deal the most wretchedly
degraded miser, that European society exhibits. The American is
devoured with a passion for money, not because he finds a pleasure in
hoarding it up, but because wealth is power, because it is the lever by
which he governs nature. I ought also to do the Americans justice on
another point. I have said that with them every thing was an affair of
money, and yet there is one thing, which among us, a people of lively
affections, prone to love, and generous by nature, takes the mercantile
character very decidedly, and which among them has nothing of this
character; I mean marriage. We buy woman with our fortune, or we sell
ourselves to her for her dower. The American chooses her, or rather
offers himself to her, for her beauty, her intelligence, or her amiable
qualities, and asks no other portion. Thus, whilst we make a traffic
of what is most sacred, these shop-keepers exhibit a delicacy and
loftiness of feeling, which would have done honor to the most perfect
models of chivalry. It is to industry that they are indebted for this
superiority. Our idle cits, not being able to increase their patrimony,
are obliged in taking a wife to calculate her portion, in order to
decide if their joint income will be enough to support a family. The
American, having the taste and the habits of industry, is sure of being
able to provide amply for his household, and is therefore, free from
the necessity of making this melancholy calculation. Is it possible to
doubt, that a race of men, which thus combines in a high degree the
most contradictory qualities, is reserved for lofty destinies?

FOOTNOTES:

[CP] This man was finally condemned in light damages, and this was
his only punishment. The object of assault survived the attempted
assassination.

[CQ] PAY OF OFFICERS OF THE FRENCH AND AMERICAN NAVIES.

        _French Navy._                     _American Navy._

  Vice Admiral,       $7,525
  Rear Admiral,        6,000
                                     Senior Captain,         $4,500
                                     Capt. Com. a Squadron,   4,000
  Captain of Ship of the Line,
        1st class,     2,750         Captain,                 3,500
        2d class,      2,700
        of Frigate,    2,170         Commander,               3,500
        of Corvette,   1,650
  Lieut. Command.      1,150         Lieut. Command.          1,800
  Lieut.                 600         Lieut.                   1,500
  Lieut. of Frigate,     500         Passed Midship.            750
  Midshipman, 1st class, 220         Midshipman,                400
              2d class,  160
  The gunners, boatswain, sail-makers, and carpenters receive,
                In a ship of the line,  750 dollars,
                For a Frigate,          600    "
                On other duty,          500    "

In the French navy the pay of corresponding officers is from 400 to 200
dollars.

[CR] They are the governors of most of the States, and the heads of
the executive departments at Washington. These last receive only 6,000
dollars, and they are obliged to keep up a certain style of living.
It is singular that some subaltern officers are permitted to receive
enormous fees. Thus the inspector of flour in New York received in
1835, 10,000 dollars, the inspector of potash 20,000, and the inspector
of tobacco 34,500.

[CS] If the rich in the large towns of the North spend eight or ten
times as much as the clerk, it is not that they keep up much style,
or even that they have an equipage. When would the husband, always
immersed in business, or the wife, occupied with her household cares,
be able to use the coach? Suppose they had time to use it, and the
public opinion would not be offended by it, what could one do with an
equipage in the streets of Philadelphia? The principal difference in
the expenditure of the two classes, is that the rich man now and then
gives a ball, and piques himself on his parade, which the indulgent
democracy pardons for one day; this sort of luxury is much more
expensive here than with us, and it does not require a very brilliant
rout, in small houses, in which the company is received in two rooms 20
feet by 25, to cost 700 or 800 dollars.



LETTER XXIV.

SPECULATIONS.


                               JOHNSTOWN, (PENN.) AUG. 4, 1835.

The present aspect of this country is, in a high degree, calculated
to encourage the friends of peace in their hopes and wishes with
respect to a rupture with France. The Americans of all parties conduct
themselves in their private affairs like men who are convinced that
business will experience no interruption from that quarter. A person
who landed at New York, Boston, or Philadelphia, on the day that news
was received of the effect produced in France by the President's
message, and had since played Epimenides, would not now recognise
the United States; the most unlimited confidence has succeeded to
the general anxiety. Every body is speculating, and every thing has
become an object of speculation. The most daring enterprises find
encouragement; all projects find subscribers. From Maine to the Red
River, the whole country has become an immense _rue Quincampoix_. Thus
far every one has made money, as is always the case when speculation is
in the ascendant. And as soon-come soon goes, consumption is enormously
increased, and Lyons feels the effect. I said that every thing has
become an object of speculation; I was mistaken. The American,
essentially practical in his views, will never speculate in tulips,
even at New York, although the inhabitants of that city have Dutch
blood in their veins. The principal objects of speculation are those
subjects which chiefly occupy the calculating minds of the Americans,
that is to say, cotton, land, city and town lots, banks, railroads.

The amateurs in land at the north, dispute with each other the
acquisition of the valuable timber-lands of that region; at the
southern extremity, the Mississippi swamps, and the Alabama and the
Red River cotton lands, are the subject of competition, and in the
West, the corn fields and pastures of Illinois and Michigan. The
unparallelled growth of some new towns has turned the heads of the
nation, and there is a general rush upon all points advantageously
situated; as if, before ten years, three or four Londons, as many
Parises, and a dozen Liverpools, were about to display their streets
and edifices, their quays crowded with warehouses, and their harbours
bristling with masts, in the American wilderness. In New York building
lots[CT] have been sold sufficient for a population of two million
souls, and at New Orleans, for at least a million. Pestilential
marshes and naked precipices of rock have been bought and sold for
this purpose. In Louisiana, the quagmires, the bottomless haunts of
alligators, the lakes and cypress-swamps, with ten feet of water or
slime, and in the North, the bed of the Hudson with 20, 30, or 50 feet
of water, have found numerous purchasers.

Take the map of the United States; place yourself on the shore of Lake
Erie, which twenty years ago was a solitary wilderness; ascend it to
its head; pass thence to Lake St. Clair, and from that lake push on
towards the north, across Lake Huron: go forward still, thread your
way through Lake Michigan, and advance southwards till the water fails
you; here you will find a little town by the name of Chicago, one of
the outposts of our indefatigable countrymen when they had possession
of America. Chicago seems destined, at some future period, to enjoy
an extensive trade; it will occupy the head of a canal, which is to
connect the Mississippi with the lakes and the St. Lawrence; but at
present it hardly numbers two or three thousand inhabitants. Chicago
has in its rear a country of amazing fertility; but this country is yet
an uncultivated wild. Nevertheless the land for ten leagues round has
been sold, resold, and sold again in small sections, not, however, at
Chicago, but at New York, which, by the route actually travelled, is
2,000 miles distant. There you may find plans of Chicago lots numerous
enough for 300,000 inhabitants; this is more than any city of the New
World at present contains. More than one buyer will, probably, esteem
himself fortunate, if, on examination, he shall find not more than six
feet of water on his purchase.

Speculations in railroads have hardly been less wild than those in
land. The American has a perfect passion for railroads; he loves
them, to use Camille Desmoulins' expression in reference to Mirabeau,
as a lover loves his mistress. It is not merely because his supreme
happiness consists in that speed which annihilates time and space;
is also because he perceives, for the American always reasons, that
this mode of communication is admirably adapted to the vast extent of
his country, to its great maritime plain, and to the level surface
of the Mississippi valley, and because he sees all around him in the
native forest, abundance of materials for executing these works at a
cheap rate. This is the reason, why railroads are multiplied in such
profusion, competing not only with each other, but entering into a
rivalry with the rivers and canals. If the works now in process of
construction are completed (and I think that they will be,) there
will be, within two years, three distinct routes between Philadelphia
and Baltimore, exclusive of the old post-route; namely, two lines
consisting wholly of railroads, and a third consisting in part of
steamboats, and in part of railroad. The line that has the advantage of
half an hour over its rivals, will be sure to crush them.

The manner of establishing banks here is this; an act authorising
the opening of books in a public place, for subscription of stock,
is obtained from the legislature, and all persons have the right
to subscribe on payment of a certain sum, say five, ten, or twenty
per cent. on the amount of stock taken by them respectively. The
affair of opening the books becomes a matter of the greatest moment.
In France, we form lanes (_on fait queue_) round the doors of the
theatres; but in the United States, during the last year, the doors of
the sanctuaries in which the books for registering the subscriptions
for bank-stock have been deposited, have been thronged with the
most intense solicitude. In Baltimore, the books were opened for a
new bank, the Merchants' Bank, with a capital of two millions; the
amount subscribed was nearly fifty million. At Charleston, for a
bank of the same capital, ninety millions were subscribed, and as
the act in this instance required the advance of 25 per cent., the
sum actually paid in, in paper money to be sure, but yet in current
bills at par, amounted to twentytwo and a half millions, or more
than eleven times the capital required. This rage for bank-stock is
easily explained. Most of the banks here are, in fact, irresponsible
establishments, which have the privilege of coining money from paper.
The share-holders, by means of a series of ingenious contrivances,
realise 8, 9, 10, and 12 per cent. interest on capital, which they do
not actually hold; and this in a country where the five per cents. of
Pennsylvania and New York, and the six per cents. of Ohio are at 110 to
115. The Ohio sixes! What would the heroes of Fort Duquesne think of
that, if they should come back?

Most of these speculations are imprudent, many of them are foolish.
The high prices of to-day may and needs must be followed by a crisis
tomorrow. Great fortunes, and many of them too, have sprung out of the
earth since the spring; others will, perhaps, return to it before the
fall of the leaf. The American concerns himself little about that;
violent sensations are necessary to stir his vigourous nerves. Public
opinion and the pulpit forbid sensual graduations, wine, women, and the
display of a princely luxury; cards and dice are equally prohibited;
the American, therefore, has recourse to business for the strong
emotions which he requires to make him feel life. He launches with
delight into the ever-moving sea of speculation. One day, the wave
raises him to the clouds; he enjoys in haste the moment of triumph.
The next day he disappears between the crests of the billows; he is
little troubled by the reverse, he bides his time coolly, and consoles
himself with the hope of better fortune. In the midst of all this
speculation, whilst some enrich and some ruin themselves, banks spring
up and diffuse credit, railroads and canals extend themselves over
the country, steamboats are launched into the rivers, the lakes, and
the sea; the career of the speculators is ever enlarging, the field
for railroads, canals, steamers, and banks goes on expanding. Some
individuals lose, but the country is a gainer; the country is peopled,
cleared, cultivated; its resources are unfolded, its wealth increased.
_Go ahead!_

If movement and the quick succession of sensations and ideas constitute
life, here one lives a hundred fold more than elsewhere; all is
here circulation, motion, and boiling agitation. Experiment follows
experiment; enterprise succeeds to enterprise. Riches and poverty
follow on each other's traces, and each in turn occupies the place of
the other. Whilst the great men of one day dethrone those of the past,
they are already half overturned themselves by those of the morrow.
Fortunes last for a season; reputations, during the twinkling of an
eye. An irresistible current sweeps away everything, grinds everything
to powder, and deposits it again under new forms. Men change their
houses, their climate, their trade, their condition, their party,
their sect;[CU] the States change their laws, their officers, their
constitutions. The soil itself, or at least the houses, partake in
the universal instability.[CV] The existence of social order, in the
bosom of this whirlpool seems a miracle, an inexplicable anomaly. One
is tempted to think, that such a society, formed of heterogeneous
elements, brought together by chance, and following each its own
orbit according to the impulse of its own caprice or interest,--one
would think, that after rising for one moment to the heavens, like a
water-spout, such a society would inevitably fall flat in ruins the
next; such is not, however, its destiny. In the midst of this general
change, there is one fixed point; it is the domestic fire-side, or, to
speak more correctly, the conjugal bed. An austere watchman, sometimes
harsh even to fanaticism, wards off from this sacred spot everything
that can disturb its stability; that guardian is the religious
sentiment. Whilst that fixed point shall continue invariable, whilst
that sentinel shall persist in his vigilant watch over it, the social
system may make new somersets, and undergo new changes without serious
risk; it may be pelted by the storm, but while it is made fast to
that hold, it will neither split nor sink. It may even be divided into
separate and independent masses, but it will still grow in energy, in
resources, in extent.

The influence of the democracy is so universal in this country, that
it was quite natural for it to raise its head amidst the speculators.
There have, therefore, been strikes on the part of the workmen, who
wish to have a share in the profits of speculation, and who have
demanded higher wages and less work. The former demand was just, for
all provisions, all articles of consumption have risen in price. These
coalitions are by no means timid in this country; for the English
practice of haranguing in public and getting up processions prevails
here, and the working class here feels its strength, is conscious of
its power, and knows how to make use of it. The different traders
have held their meetings in Philadelphia, New York, and other places,
discussed their affairs publicly, and set forth their demands.
The women have had their meeting as well as the men. That of the
seamstresses of Philadelphia attracted notice; Matthew Carey, known
as a political writer, presided, assisted by two clergymen. Among the
demands of the trades, that of the journeymen bakers, who, by virtue
of the rights of man and the sanctity of the seventh day, would not
make bread Sundays, is worthy of attention. The principal trades have
decided that all work shall be suspended until the masters,[CW] if this
name can be applied here except in derision, have acceded to their
_ultimatum_. That every one may know this, they have caused their
resolutions to be published in the newspapers, signed by the president
and secretaries of the meeting. These resolutions declare that those
workmen, who shall refuse to conform to their provisions, will have
to abide the _consequences_ of their refusal. The _consequences_ have
been, that those refractory workmen, who persisted in their labours,
have been driven, with stones and clubs, from their workshops, without
any interference on the part of the magistrates. The _consequence_ is,
that at this very moment, a handful of boatmen on the Schuylkill canal,
prevent the coal boats from descending to the sea, lay an embargo upon
them, and thus interrupt one of the most lucrative branches of the
Pennsylvania trade, deprive the mariners and ship-owners, who transport
the coal to all parts of the coast, of wages and freights, and expose
the miners to the danger of being dismissed from the mines. Meanwhile
the militia looks on; the sheriff stands with folded arms. If this
minority of the boatmen, for these acts of disorder are the work of a
small minority, persists in their plans, a fight between them and the
miners is to be apprehended.[CX] In Philadelphia, the _consequence_
has been, that the carpenters, in order to reduce some contractors
to terms, have set fire to several houses, which these latter were
building. In this case, the authorities at length interfered, the
mayor issued a proclamation, reciting that, whereas there is reason
to believe these fires to be the work of some evil-minded persons, he
offers 1000 dollars reward to whoever shall disclose the authors of the
same. But it is too late. The municipal authorities, for the purpose,
it is said of gaining a few votes on the side of the Opposition,
instead of interposing their power between the workmen and the masters,
hastened, from the first, to comply with all the demands of the former
who were employed on the municipal works.

The philosopher, in whose eyes the present is but a point, may find
reason to rejoice in considering these facts. Workmen and domestics
in Europe live in a state of absolute dependence, which is favourable
only to him who commands. Legitimists, republicans, the _juste-milieu_,
all comport themselves toward the operative whom they employ, or the
domestic who is in their service, as if he were a being of an inferior
nature, who owes his master all his zeal and all his efforts, but who
has no claim for any return beyond a miserable pittance of wages.
One may be permitted to wish for the establishment of a juster scale
of rights and duties. In the United States, the absolute principle
of the popular sovereignty having been applied to the relations of
master and servant, of employer and operative, the manufacturer
and the contractor, to whom the workmen give the law, endeavour to
dispense with their aid as much as possible, by substituting more and
more machinery for human force; thus the most painful processes in
the arts become less burdensome to the human race. The master, whose
domestics obey him when they please, and who pays dear[CY] for being
badly and ungraciously served, favours, to the extent of his power, the
introduction of mechanical contrivances for simplifying work, in order
to spare himself the inconveniences of such a dependence.

It would be worth while to study not only the great manufacturing
machinery, but the common hand tools and domestic utensils, in this
country. These utensils, tools, and machines exert a powerful influence
upon the practical liberty of the greatest number; it is by means of
them, that the most numerous class of society gradually frees itself
from the yoke which tends to crush and abase it. In this point of view,
the present relations between the employer and the employed, between
the master and the servant, in this country, tend to hasten the coming
of a future, which every friend of humanity must hail with joy. But
if the philosophical satisfaction is ample, present, physical comfort
is almost absolutely wanting. But whoever is neither operative nor
domestic, whoever, especially, has tasted and enjoyed the life of the
cultivated classes in Europe, he will find the actual practical life in
America, the mere bone and muscle, as it were, of life, to consist of a
series of jars, disappointments, mortifications, I had almost said, of
humiliations. The independence of the operatives is sometimes the ruin
of the masters; the independence of servants involves the dependence of
the women, condemns them to household labours little consonant with the
finished education which many of them have received, and nails them to
the kitchen and the nursery from the day of their marriage to the day
of their death.

When the innovating force, acting without check or balance, operates
with an excess of energy, all classes suffer equally from the
derangement. Not only what in Europe are called the higher classes,
(but which here must take another name,) are deprived of a thousand
little enjoyments, which it is a matter of convention to despise in
books and set speeches, although every one sets a high value on them in
practice; but the whole social machine gets out of order, discomfort
becomes general, and the extravagant claims of the lower classes, to
speak as a European, recoil violently on themselves. At this very
moment, for example, the Sybarites of Philadelphia, whose hearts are
set upon having fresh bread on Sunday, are not the only persons who
suffer or are threatened with suffering. If the exaggerated pretensions
of the working classes are persisted in, they will lose their custom,
there will be no demand for labour. Speculations, if not made solid
by labour, will burst like soap-bubbles, and if a reaction comes, the
operative, who is little used to economise, will feel it more sensibly
than others.

FOOTNOTES:

[CT] A _lot_ is generally from 22 to 25 feet front, and from 80 to 100
deep.

[CU] The causes of religious changes are various. It is not rare
to see Americans, on becoming rich, abandon their former sect for
Episcopalianism, for instance, which is the most fashionable. The
change, however, from one sect to another is less considerable than
is supposed in Catholic countries; for the different Protestant sects
differ less from each other, than a Jansenist from a Molinist, or
a Jesuit from a Gallican. But we must except from this remark the
Anglican church, which has a peculiar character, discipline, and
liturgy, and the two not very numerous sects of Unitarians, who deny
the divinity of Christ, and Universalists, who reject the doctrine of
reprobation.

[CV] The American houses are low and slight; the walls are generally
only a brick and a half, sometimes only one in thickness; when,
therefore, the course of the street is changed, as is often the case in
New York, they are set forward or back with little difficulty, and they
are often even raised bodily. In the country, the houses are mostly
of wood, and are often transported a considerable distance on wheels.
Between Albany and Troy, I was stopped on the road by a house of more
than forty feet front, which was travelling in this manner.

[CW] This word is not used here; that of employers is substituted for
it.

[CX] The citizens of Pottsville have put an end to these outrages, by
repairing with a sheriff's mandate to the spot where the boatmen were
assembled, and seizing the ringleaders, whom they conducted to prison.
This courage of simple citizens, who in time of need convert themselves
into an armed force, is one of the surest guarantees of American
liberty; but it is relaxing in the cities.

[CY] In most of the provinces in France servants' wages are from 12 to
15 dollars a year; here they are from 10 to 12 dollars a month, and one
servant in France does the work of two in this country.



LETTER XXV.

BEDFORD SPRINGS.


                           BEDFORD SPRINGS, (PA.) AUG. 7, 1835.

Here I am at Bedford, one of the American watering-places; it is
hardly three days since I arrived, and I am already in haste to quit
it. The Americans, and, still more especially, the American women,
must be desperately listless at home, to be willing to exchange its
quiet comfort for the stupid bustle, and dull wretchedness of such a
residence. It would seem that in a country truly democratic, as is the
case here in the Northern States, nothing like our watering-places can
exist; and you will see that in proportion as Europe grows democratic,
if such is its destiny, your delightful summer resorts will lose their
charm. Man is naturally exclusive; there are few pleasures, which do
not cease to be such, the moment they become accessible to all, and for
that reason only. At Saratoga or at Bedford, the American soon grows
weary, because he sees that there are twenty thousand heads of families
in Philadelphia and New York, who can, as well as he, if the notion
seizes them, and it actually does seize them, have the satisfaction
of bringing their wives and daughters to the same place, and, once
there, of gaping on a chair in the piazza the whole day; of going,
arms in hand (I mean the knife and fork,) to secure their share of a
wretched dinner; of being stifled in the crowd of the ball-room during
the evening, and of sleeping, if it is possible, in the midst of such
a hubbub, upon a miserable pallet in a cell echoing one's tread from
its floor of pine boards. The American passes through the magnificent
landscapes on the Hudson without noticing them, because he is one of
six hundred or a thousand on board the steamer. And to confess the
truth, I have become an American myself in this respect, and I admired
the panorama of West Point and the Highlands, only when I found myself
alone in my boat on the river.

Democracy is too new a comer upon the earth, to have been able as yet
to organise its pleasures and its amusements. In Europe, our pleasures
are essentially exclusive, they are aristocratic like Europe itself,
and cannot, therefore, be at the command and for the use of the
multitude. In this matter, then, as in politics, the American democracy
has yet to create every thing afresh. The problem is difficult, but
it is not insoluble, for it was once resolved among us. The religious
festivals of the Catholic church were eminently democratic; all were
called to them, all took part in them. To what transports of joy did
not all Europe, great and small, nobles, burgesses, and serfs, give
itself up in the time of the crusades, when the victory of Antioch
or the capture of Jerusalem was celebrated by processions and _Te
Deums_? Even to this day, in our southern provinces, where faith is
not yet extinct, there are ceremonies truly popular; such are the
festival of Easter with the representations of the Passion exhibited
in the churches, and the processions with banners and crosses, the
brotherhoods of penitents with their quaint frocks and flowing robes,
and their long files of women and children; with the effigies of the
saints in full dress, and their relics piously carried about; and,
finally, with the military and civil pomp, which, notwithstanding the
atheism of the law, is mingled with the show. This is the poor man's
spectacle, and one which leaves on his mind better and more vivid
recollections, than the atrocious dramas of the _boulevard_ and the
fire-works of the Barrier of the Throne, leave to the suburban of Paris.

Already democracy, especially in the Western States, is beginning
to have its festivals, which thrill its fibres, and stir it with
agreeable emotions. There are religious festivals, the Methodist
camp-meetings, to which the people press with eager delight, in spite
of the philosophical remonstrances of the more refined sects, who
find fault with their heated zeal and noisy ranting, and in spite,
or rather in consequence, of the convulsionary and hysterical scenes
of the _anxious bench_. In the older States of the North, there are
political processions, for the most part mere party exhibitions, but
which are interesting in this respect, that the democracy has a share
in them; for it is the democratic party that gets up the most brilliant
and animated. Beside the camp-meetings, the political processions
are the only things in this country, which bear any resemblance to
festivals. The party dinners, with their speeches and deluge of toasts,
are frigid, if not repulsive; and I have never seen a more miserable
affair, than the dinner given by the Opposition, that is to say, by
the middle class, at Powelton, in the neighbourhood of Philadelphia.
But I stopped involuntarily at the sight of the gigantic hickory-poles
which made their solemn entry on eight wheels, for the purpose of being
planted by the democracy on the eve of the election. I remember one
of these poles, with its top still crowned with green foliage, which
came on to the sound of fifes and drums, and was preceded by ranks
of democrats, bearing no other badge than a twig of the sacred tree
in their hats. It was drawn by eight horses, decorated with ribands
and mottoes; Astride on the tree itself, were a dozen Jackson men of
the first water, waving flags with an air of anticipated triumph, and
shouting, _Hurrah for Jackson!_

But this entry of the hickory was but a by-matter compared with the
procession I witnessed in New York. It was in the night after the
closing of the polls, when victory had pronounced in favour of the
democratic party. (See _Letter XV._) The procession was nearly a mile
long; the democrats marched in good order to the glare of torches; the
banners were more numerous than I had ever seen them in any religious
festival; all were in transparency, on account of the darkness. On
some were inscribed the names of the democratic societies or sections;
_Democratic young men of the ninth or eleventh ward_; others bore
imprecations against the Bank of the United States; _Nick Biddle_
and _Old Nick_ here figured largely, and formed the pendant of our
_libera nos a malo_. Then came portraits of General Jackson afoot and
on horseback; there was one in the uniform of a general, and another
in the person of the Tennessee farmer, with the famous hickory cane in
his hand. Those of Washington and Jefferson, surrounded with democratic
mottoes, were mingled with emblems in all tastes and of all colours.
Among these figured an eagle, not a painting, but a real live eagle,
tied by the legs, surrounded by a wreath of leaves, and hoisted upon
a pole, after the manner of the Roman standards. The imperial bird
was carried by a stout sailor, more pleased than ever was a sergeant
permitted to hold one of the strings of the canopy, in a catholic
ceremony. From further than the eye could reach, came marching on
the democrats. I was struck with the resemblance of their air to the
train that escorts the _viaticum_ in Mexico or Puebla. The American
standard-bearers were as grave as the Mexican Indians who bore the
sacred tapers. The democratic procession, also, like the Catholic
procession, had its halting places; it stopped before the houses of
the Jackson men to fill the air with cheers, and halted at the doors
of the leaders of the Opposition, to give three, six, or nine groans.
If these scenes were to find a painter, they would be admired at a
distance, not less than the triumphs and sacrificial pomps, which the
ancients have left us delineated in marble and brass; for they are not
mere grotesques after the manner of Rembrandt, they belong to history,
they partake of the grand; they are the episodes of a wondrous epic
which will bequeath a lasting memory to posterity; that of the coming
of democracy.

Yet as festivals and spectacles, these processions are much inferior
to revivals, which take place in the camp-meetings. All festivals and
ceremonies in which woman does not take part, are incomplete. Why is it
that our constitutional ceremonies are so entirely devoid of interest?
It is not because the actors are merely commoners, very respectable
citizens surely, but very prosaic, and that the pomp of costumes and
the fascination of the arts, are banished from them; it is rather
because women do not and cannot have a place in them. A wit has said
that women are not poets, but they are poetry itself.

I remember what made the charm and the attraction of the processions
in my provincial city. We opened our eyes with wonder at the red robe
of the chief president; we gazed with delight at the epaulets and
gold lace of the general, and more than one youth was inspired with
military ardour at that show; we stretched forward with impatience
to catch a glimpse of the episcopal train; we threw ourselves on our
knees mechanically, on the approach of the canopy with its escort of
priests, and the venerable bishop, crowned with the mitre, and bearing
the host in his hands; we envied the glory of those boys, who had the
privilege of enacting St. Mark or St. Peter for the day; more than one
tall stripling was glad to sink his fifteen years, in which he prided
himself, for the sake of taking the character of St. John, clad in a
sheepskin; but the whole multitude held their breath, when, beneath the
forest of banners, through the peaked frocks of the penitents and the
bayonets of the garrison, amidst the surplices and albs of the priests,
there appeared in sight one of those young girls in white robes, who
represented the holy women and the Mother of the seven woes; or she,
who in the person of St. Veronica, displayed the handkerchief, with
which the sweat was wiped from the Saviour's brow as he ascended Mount
Calvary; or she, who, loaded with gold chains, ribands, and pearls,
represented the empress at the side of the emperor;[CZ] or those who
had just been confirmed by my lord bishop, and still bore the traces
of the emotions excited by that solemn act. So it is because there are
women in the camp-meetings, and because they take a not less active
part in them than the most rousing preachers, and it is on this account
only, that the American democracy throngs to these assemblages. The
camp-meetings with their raving Pythonissas have made the fortune
of the Methodists, and attracted to their church in America a more
numerous body of adherents than is numbered by any of the English sects
in Europe.

Take women from the tournaments, and they become nothing more than a
fencing-bout; from camp-meetings take away the _anxious bench_, remove
those women who fall into convulsions, shriek, and roll on the ground,
who, pale, dishevelled, and haggard, cling to the minister from whom
they inhale the holy spirit, or seize the hardened sinner at the door
of the tent, or in the passage-way, and strive to melt his stony
heart; it will be in vain, that a majestic forest overshadows the
scene, of a beautiful summer's night, under a sky that need not fear a
comparison with a Grecian heavens; in vain, will you be surrounded with
tents and numberless chariots, that recall to mind the long train of
Israel fleeing from Egypt; in vain the distant fires, gleaming amongst
the trees, will reveal the forms of the preachers gesticulating above
the crowd; in vain, will the echo of the woods fling back the tones of
their voice; you will be weary of the spectacle in an hour. But the
camp-meetings, as they are now conducted, have the power of holding the
people of the West for whole weeks; some have lasted a month.

I allow that the camp-meetings and political processions are as yet
only exceptions in America. A people has not a complete national
character, until it has its peculiar and appropriate amusements,
national festivals, poetry. In this respect, it will not be easy to
create American nationality; the American has no past from which to
draw inspiration. On quitting the old soil of Europe, on breaking off
from England, his fathers left behind them the national chronicles, the
traditions, the legends, all that constitutes country, that country
which is not carried about on the soles of one's feet. The American,
then, has become poor in ideality, in proportion as he has become rich
in material wealth. But a democracy always has some resource, so far as
imagination is concerned. I cannot pretend to decide how the American
democracy will supply the want of a past and of old recollections, any
more than I can undertake to pronounce, in what manner it will bridle
itself, and curb its own humours. But I am sure that America will have
her festivals, her ceremonies, and her art, as I am that society in
America will assume a regular organisation; for I believe in the future
of American society, or, to speak more correctly, of the beginnings of
society, whose growth is visible on the east and still more on the
west of the Alleghanies.

In France we have been for more than a century struggling against
ourselves, in the attempt to lay aside our national originality. We
are striving to become reasonable according to what we imagine to be
the English pattern; and after our example the Southern Europeans are
endeavouring to torture themselves into a parliamentary and calculating
demeanour. Imagination is treated as a lunatic. Noble sentiments,
enthusiasm, chivalric loftiness of soul, all that made the glory of
France, and gave Spain half the world, is regarded with contempt and
derision. The public festivals and popular ceremonies have become the
laughing-stock of the free thinkers. Love of the fine arts is nothing
more than a frivolous passion. We make the most desperate efforts to
starve the heart and soul, conformably to the prescriptions of our
religious and political Sangrados. To strip life of the last vestige
of taste and art, we have gone so far as to exchange the majestic
elegance of the costume, which we borrowed from the Spaniards when they
ruled Europe, for the undress of the English, which may be described
in one word, as suited to the climate of Great Britain. This could be
borne, if we had merely flung away our tournaments, our carousals, our
jubilees, our religious festivals, our elegance of garb. But unhappily
we have gone to the sources of all national and social poetry, to
religion itself, and tried to dry them up. Our manners and customs
scarcely retain the slightest tincture of their boasted grace. Politics
is abandoned to the dryest matter of fact. The national genius would
have to be given over as past cure, did not now and then some gleams
and outbursts prove that it is not dead but sleeps, and that the holy
fire is yet smouldering beneath the ashes.

France, and the peoples of Southern Europe, of whom she is the
coryphæus, certainly owe much to the philosophy of the 18th century;
for that was our Protest, that raised the standard of liberty amongst
us, opened a career for the progress of mind, and established
individuality. But it must be confessed that it is inferior to German,
English, and American Protestantism, because it is irreligious. The
writings of the Apostles of that great revolution will survive as
literary monuments, but not as lessons of morality; for whatever is
irreligious, can have but a transient social value. Place the remains
of Voltaire and Montesquieu, of Rousseau and Diderot, in the Pantheon;
but on their monuments deposit their works veiled under a shroud. Teach
the people to bless their memory; but do not teach it their doctrines,
and do net permit it to learn them from servile followers, whom those
great writers would disavow, if they could return to the earth; for men
like them belong to the present or a future age, but never to the past.

In return for all that has been taken from us, we have received the
representative system. This, it has been supposed, would satisfy
all our wants, would meet all our wishes in moral and intellectual,
as well as in physical things. Far be it from me to undervalue the
representative system! I believe in its permanency, although I doubt
whether we have yet discovered the form, under which it is suited to
the character of the French and the Southern Europeans; but whatever
may be its political value, it cannot be denied that it does not, that
it never can, of itself alone, make good the place of all that the
reformers have robbed us of. It has its ceremonies and its festivals;
but these smell too much of the parchment not to disgust our senses. It
has, to a certain degree, its dogmas and its mysteries, but it has no
hold on the imagination. Art has no sympathy with it; it has not the
power to move the heart; and it embraces, therefore, but one fourth of
our existence.

I can conceive how representative government should here be made the
key-stone of the social arch. An American of fifteen years of age is
as reasonable as a Frenchman of forty. Then society here is wholly
masculine; woman, who in all countries has little of the spirit of
the representative system, here possesses no authority; there are
no saloons in the United States. But even here the system no longer
exists in its primitive purity except on paper. The field of religion,
although much narrowed, it is true, still remains open here, and the
imagination still finds food, however meagre, within its limits. But
among us, it would be sheer fanaticism to set up the representative
system as the pivot of social life. All of us, God be thanked, have
a period of youth! Among us, women have a real power, although not
enumerated in the articles of the Charter; and our national character
has many feminine, I will not say effeminate, features. In vain would
you decimate France, and leave only the burghers of forty years, who
have the senses calmed, the mind clear of illusions, that is to say,
unpoetical and dry; you would hardly then have a community that would
be satisfied with constitutional emotions.

This is the cause why France is the theatre of a perpetual struggle
between the old and the middle-aged on one side, and the young, who
find their bounds too narrow, on the other. Youth accuses age of narrow
views, of timidity, of selfishness; the old complain of the greedy
ambition which devours the young, and of their ungovernable turbulence.
That is the only good government, which satisfies at once the demands
for order, regularity, stability and physical prosperity on the part
of those of riper years, and fills the longings of the young, and of
that portion of society which always continues youthful, for lively
sensations, brilliant schemes, and lofty aspirations. By the side of
their parliament, the English have their vast colonies, by which this
spirit finds vent, over the remotest seas. The Anglo-Americans have
the West, and also, like Great Britain, the ocean. This double invasion
of the East by the fathers, and of the West by the emancipated sons, is
a spectacle of gigantic magnitude and sublime interest. To suppose that
we, who stand in need of some vast enterprise, in which some may play a
part before the eyes of the world, and others may enjoy the spectacle
of their prowess,--to suppose that we shall be content to be forever
imprisoned within our own territory, with no other occupation than
that of watching or turning the wheels of the representative machine,
would be to wish that a man of taste, confined to this paltry hamlet of
Bedford, should imagine himself in paradise.

FOOTNOTES:

[CZ] This is one of the recollections of the Roman empire, which has
left deep impressions in the South of France.



LETTER XXVI.

POWER AND LIBERTY.


                                       RICHMOND, AUG. 16, 1835.

Richmond stands in an admirable situation on the slope of a hill whose
base is bathed by the James River. Its Capitol, with its brick columns
covered with plaster, with its cornice and architrave of painted
wood, produces an effect, at a distance, which even the Parthenon,
in the days of Pericles, could not have surpassed; for the sky of
Virginia, when it is not darkened by a storm, or veiled with snow, is
as beautiful as that of Attica. Richmond has its port nearer than the
Piræus was to Athens, while, at the same time it stands upon the falls
of James River. Richmond enchanted me from the first by its charming
situation and the cordiality of its inhabitants; and it pleases me by
its ambition, for it aspires to be a metropolis, and it is making the
due preparations to assume that character by the great works which it
is executing or aiding to execute, canals, railroads, water-works, huge
mills, workshops, for which the fall in the river affords an almost
unlimited motive power. Here I also found some countrymen, whose love
for their country had not been chilled by fifty years of absence and
eighty years of age, and who have preserved, amidst the simplicity of
American manners, that fine flower of courtesy, of which the germ is
daily disappearing amongst us. I went yesterday, for the second time,
to visit the cannon and mortars, given to America during her struggle
for independence, by Louis XVI. In the Capitol, by the side of the
statue of Washington, I found the bust of Lafayette. I heard the names
of Rochambeau and d'Estaing pronounced, as if they were old friends
who had left but yesterday. I seem to myself, at times to have been
miraculously transported, not into France, but on the frontiers.

My admiration of Richmond is not, however, blind; the founders of the
new city have plotted out streets one hundred feet wide, like the
highways in the style of Louis XIV.; but in our great roads, between
the quagmires on the right and left, there is at least a strip of
passable pavement or roadway. The streets of new Richmond have neither
pavement nor light. In the rainy season, they are dangerous bogs,
in which, I am told, that several cows, who are here allowed by the
municipal authorities to go at large, have met with the fate of the
master of Ravensworth in the Kelpie. Richmond has, also, something of
the aspect of Washington; with the exception of the business part of
the town, it is neither city nor country; the houses are scattered
about on an imaginary plan, and it is almost impossible to find any
lines to guide you, or to recognise the street K, F, or D, to which
you are referred; for the alphabet has furnished the names here, as the
arithmetic has done at Washington. The plot of Richmond has, however,
this advantage over that of Washington, that it is on a smaller scale
and will be more speedily filled up; whilst Washington with its
arrangements for a million inhabitants, will not, perhaps, have fifty
thousand, twenty years hence.

There is something in Richmond which offends me more than its
bottomless mudholes, and shocks me more than the rudeness of the
western Virginians,[DA] whom I met here during the session of the
legislature; it is slavery. Half of the population is black or mulatto;
physically, the negroes are well used in Virginia, partly from motives
of humanity, and partly, because they are so much live stock raised for
exportation to Louisiana; morally, they are treated as if they did not
belong to the human race. Free or slave, the black is here denied all
that can give him the dignity of man. The law forbids the instruction
of the slave or the free man of colour in the simplest rudiments of
learning, under the severest penalties; the slave has no family; he has
no civil rights; he holds no property. The white man knows that the
slave has opened his ear to the word which every thing here proclaims
aloud, liberty; he knows that in secret the negro broods over hopes and
schemes of vengeance, and that the exploits and martyrdom of Gabriel,
the leader of an old conspiracy, and of Turner, the hero of a more
recent insurrection, are still related in the negro cabins.[DB] The
precautionary measures which this knowledge has induced the whites to
adopt, are such as freeze the heart of a stranger with horror.

Richmond is noted for its tobacco and flour market. The Richmond flour
is prized at Rio Janeiro as much as at New York, at Lima as well
as at Havana. The largest flour-mill in the world is at Richmond,
running twenty pair of stones, containing a great variety of accessory
machinery, and capable of manufacturing 600 barrels of flour a day. The
reputation of the Richmond flour in foreign markets, like that of the
American flour in general, depends upon a system of inspection peculiar
to the country, which contravenes, indeed, the theory of absolute
commercial freedom, but is essential to the prosperity of American
commerce, and has never, that I have heard of, been a subject of
complaint. The flour is inspected previous to its being exported. The
weight of each barrel and the quality of of the flour are ascertained
by the inspector, and branded on the barrel-head. The superior
qualities only can be exported; the inspection is real and thorough,
and is performed at the expense of the holder. The Havana, Brazilian,
or Peruvian merchant is thus perfectly sure of the quality of the
merchandise he buys; both the buyer and the seller find their advantage
in it.

Commerce can no more dispense with confidence in the market than with
credit in the counting-house.

Tobacco is subjected to the same system of inspection, and in general,
all the coast States, all those from which produce is exported to
foreign parts, have established this system, and applied it to almost
all articles in which frauds can be committed. Thus in New York
wheat-flour and Indian corn-meal, beef, pork, salt fish, potash, whale
oil, lumber, staves, flax-seed, leather, tobacco, hops, spirits, are
all inspected. In regard to flour, the law is more rigourous than in
respect to other articles. The inspector brands with the word _light_
those barrels which are not of the legal weight, and the exportation of
which is also prohibited, and with the word _bad_ those which are of
poor quality. As for Indian corn, it is required that the grain shall
have been kiln-dried before grinding. Flour from other States cannot
be sold in the city of New York, even for local consumption, unless it
has been inspected the same as if for exportation. Every inspector has
the right to search vessels in which he suspects that there is flour
that has not been inspected, and to seize what has been so shipped,
or what it has been attempted to ship. There are beside various other
provisions and penalties to prevent fraud.

If the necessity of these inspections were not sufficiently proved by
their good effects and by long experience, it would be by the abuses
that prevail in those articles of commerce which are not subjected to
the system. Complaints have already been made in Liverpool, that bales
of cotton are often made up of an inferior article concealed beneath
an outer layer of good quality. From a report addressed to the Chamber
of American Commerce in this metropolis of the cotton trade, by the
principal cotton-brokers, it appears that this has not been confined to
two or three bales, amidst large quantities, but that whole lots of one
or two hundred bales have been found thus deficient.

What! it will be said, is there not, then, freedom of commerce in this
classic land of liberty? No! the foreign commerce is not free in the
United States, because the American people is not willing to expose
the industry and commerce of a whole country to be ruined by the
first rogue that comes along. The people of this country is eminently
a working people; every one is at liberty to work, to choose his
profession, and to change it twenty times; every one has the right
to go and come on his business, at pleasure, and to transport his
person and his industry from the centre to the circumference, and from
the circumference to the centre. If the country does not enjoy the
political advantages of administrative unity, neither is it hampered in
the most petty details of industry by excessive centralisation. No man
is obliged to go six hundred miles to solicit the license and personal
signature of a minister, overloaded with business, and harassed by
parliamentary solicitudes. But American liberty is not a mystical,
undefined liberty; it is a practical liberty, in harmony with the
peculiar genius of the people and its peculiar destiny; it is a liberty
of action and motion, of which the American avails himself to spread
himself over the vast territory that Providence has given him, and to
subdue it to his uses. The liberty of locomotion is almost absolute
with the exception of some restraints imposed by the observance of the
Sabbath. The liberty, or rather independence, in matters of industry
is also ample; but if it is abused by some individuals, the general
tendency is to restrain them by law or by dictatorial measures, or by
the influence of public opinion, sometimes expressed in the shape of
mobs.

The restraints on internal trade are few; there are, however, some
restrictions upon hawkers and pedlers who impose on the credulity
of the country people. If no effective bankrupt-law has yet been
enacted, severe penalties are provided against false pretences. If
stock-jobbing has not been prohibited, it is not from want of will on
the part of the legislators, for they are fully alive to the evils
of unproductive speculation, which diverts from industry the needful
capital; but because they do not see how it is to be effectually
prevented. Besides, it is not easy to commit frauds in the United
States, in the home trade; for here every body knows every body else,
and every one is on the watch against others; and it is not difficult
to ascend to the sources of a fraud. In respect to articles designed
for the foreign trade, detection is not so easy. There is also here a
sort of patriotism, which is by no means at war with the real interests
of the parties, and which operates with the fear of public opinion, in
keeping up a certain degree of honesty in domestic transactions, and
a tone of morality, which, if not wholly above reproach, is certainly
far superior to what prevails amongst us; whilst, to many persons, all
is fair in dealings with foreigners, whom they look upon as a kind of
barbarians.

Previous to 1789, we had numerous restrictions not only on foreign
commerce, but on domestic industry, in France. These were all blown
away by the Revolution; and certainly the destruction of most of them,
which had become antiquated and inapplicable to the existing state of
things, was a great gain; but we have run into the contrary extreme,
and abolished not only the burdensome restraints, but the most salutary
checks, and among them the inspection of exported articles. Yet on
the whole we have gained in respect to domestic industry, by sweeping
away those often cumbersome regulations; but in regard to our foreign
trade, the evil has certainly overborne the good, as the decline of our
maritime commerce fully proves.

On the peace of 1814, when the sea was again opened to our vessels,
our foreign commerce fell into the hands of petty traffickers, whose
cupidity exhausted the vocabulary of fraud. During the first years
after the Restoration, the French name became discredited in all the
markets of the Old and the New World. The Levant trade, of which we
had the monopoly, passed into the hands of the English and Austrians.
The stuffs, with which we formerly supplied the East, being no longer
subject to inspection on exportation, fell short in measure and were
inferior in quality. Formerly packages of our goods changed hands
without distrust and without search; but it became necessary to submit
them to a rigourous examination, for their contents often turned out
to be quite different from the invoice. South America was the great
theatre of these frauds; water was actually sold for Burgundy, rolls
of wood for rolls of ribands. The Bordelese, who, not without reason,
charge the prohibitive system with the decline of their prosperity,
cannot be blind to the fact, that their own unscrupulous rapacity
contributed pretty largely to this result.

As customers could no longer be found to deal with us, these frauds
have necessarily been checked. Our foreign trade has gradually fallen
into the hands of a few great houses, and this concentration, which
has powerfully contributed to the prevalence of honorable dealings in
English commerce, has done something towards reviving ours. The small
dealers have been driven out of the field; and it is to this cause that
we have to attribute the good condition of our trade with the United
States. But let us not deceive ourselves; some sleights of hand are
still played off; Bordeaux is not yet wholly purged of the infection;
French commerce abroad is yet cankered by foul sores. It must be
confessed, that, if our public policy has been marked by a good faith
and a spirit of disinterestedness, that give us a right to denounce the
Punic faith of _perfidious Albion_, the English race can proudly oppose
the bold and honourable spirit of its commercial dealings to the
pusillanimity and unworthy shifts of our own. Let us confess our shame,
and submit to the necessary diet for the cure of so loathsome a leprosy.

The United States constitute a society which moves under the impulse
and by the guidance of instinct, rather than according to any
premeditated plan; it does not know itself. It rejects the tyranny of
a past, which is exclusively military in its character, and yet it is
deeply imbued with the sentiment of order. It has been nurtured in
the hatred of the old political systems of Europe; but a feeling of
the necessity of self-restraint runs through its veins. It is divided
between its instinctive perceptions of the future and its aversion to
the past; between its thirst after freedom, and its hunger for social
order; between its religious veneration of experience, and its horror
of the violence of past ages. Hence the apparent contradictions which
appear in its tastes and its tendencies; but the confusion is only
apparent.

In each State there are two authorities, distinct in their composition
and their attributes. The one corresponds to the government in the
European social system, to the old Cæsar. At its head is a magistrate
who bears the old name of Governor,[DC] with the pompous title of
commander-in-chief of the sea and land forces. This authority is
reduced to a shadow. In the new States of the West, which have come
into the world since the establishment of Independence, its attributes
have been gradually suppressed, or rather the citizens have reserved
the exercise of them to themselves. Thus the people itself appoint most
of the public officers. The management of funds is rarely confided
to the Governor, but is generally entrusted to a special board of
Commissioners. The Governor has not the control of the forces of the
State; strictly speaking, indeed, there are none; but in case of
necessity, the Sheriff has the right to summon the _posse comitatus_,
and to oblige all bystanders, armed or not, to render him assistance,
and to act as police officers. There is no regular police, there are
no passports; but nobody can stop at an inn without entering his name
and residence on the register. This register is open to the examination
of all in the bar-room, which is a necessary appendage of every public
place, and there it remains at all times to be turned over by all. The
bar-keeper fills, in fact, the post of commissioner of police, and the
crowd that assembles in the bar-room to read the newspapers, smoke,
drink whiskey, and talk politics, that is to say all travellers, would,
in case of necessity, be ready to act the part of constables. This is
real self-government; these are the obligations and responsibilities,
that every citizen takes upon himself when he disarms authority. The
power of the Governor, who was formerly the representative of royalty,
the brilliant reflexion of the omnipotence of the proud monarchs of
Europe, is crumbled to dust. Even the exterior of power has not been
kept up; he has no guards, no palace, no money. The Governors of
Indiana and Illinois have a salary of 1000 dollars a year, without a
house or any accessories. There is not a trader in Cincinnati, who
does not pay his head-clerk better; the clerks at Washington have 700
dollars a year.

This fall of power is to be explained by other considerations than
those drawn from the principle of self-government. The ancient power
was Cæsar, was military in its character. American society has denied
Cæsar. In Europe, it has been necessary that Cæsar should be strong
for the security of national independence; for in Europe we are always
on the eve of war. The United States, on the contrary, are organised
on the principle, that war between the States is an impossibility, and
that a foreign war is scarcely probable. The Americans, therefore, can
dispense with Cæsar, but we are obliged to cleave to him. Yet it is not
to be inferred that they can and will long dispense with authority, or
that they are even now free from its control. There is, in America,
religious authority, which never closes its eyes; there is the
authority of opinion, which is severe to rigour; there is the authority
of the legislatures, which sometimes savours of the omnipotence of
parliament; there is the dictatorial authority of mobs.

Still more; by the side of the power of Cæsar, in political affairs,
another regular authority is beginning to show itself, which embraces
within its domain the modern institutions and new establishments of
public utility, such as the public routes, banks, and elementary
schools, that, in the United States, have acquired an unparallelled
magnitude. Thus there are Canal Commissioners, Bank Commissioners,
School Commissioners. Their power is great and real. The Canal
Commissioners establish administrative regulations, which they change
at will, without previous notice. They fix and change the rate of
tolls; they are surrounded by a large body of agents, entirely
dependent upon them and removeable at pleasure; they are charged with
the management of large sums of money; the sums that passed through the
hands of the Pennsylvania Commissioners amounted to nearly 23,000,000
dollars. They are certainly subjected to a less minute and rigourous
control, than is extended to the most trifling affairs of our Board of
Public Works or our Engineer Department. If they had had our financial
regulations, our system of responsibility, our court of accounts, they
would, certainly, have spent ten years more in executing the works
entrusted to them, and they would have executed them no better and
no cheaper. The Bank Commissioners in the State of New York, by the
provisions of the Safety Fund Act, are clothed, by right, if not in
fact, with a sort of dictatorship; they have, in certain cases, power
of life and death over the banks.

It is in the new States, especially, that one should see the
Commissioners exercise their powers. Last summer the Ohio Canal
Commissioners, perceiving or thinking that they perceived, a conspiracy
among the persons engaged in the transportation of goods on the
New York canals to raise the rates of freight, immediately adopted
a resolution to this effect; whereas certain persons have shown a
disposition to make exorbitant charges, the rates of toll on all
articles that may have paid on the New York canal, above a certain
rate of freight, shall be double. This was establishing a _maximum_,
not only on their own territory, but on that of a neighbouring State.
A director-general of our public routes, who should take such a
liberty, would be forthwith denounced as violating the principles of
commercial freedom. In the United States, every body agrees that the
Ohio Commissioners were right; that the profits of the transportation
companies would be somewhat less, but the public would be the gainer,
and the former accordingly submitted.

In the United States, then, the general weal is the supreme law; and it
immediately raises its head and vindicates its rights, when it feels
the encroachments of private interest. The system of government in this
country is, therefore, not so much a system of absolute liberty and
free will, as a system of equality, or rather it takes the character
of a strong rule by the majority. In looking at some of the provisions
in the charters of incorporated companies, one is tempted to ask how
associations could be formed on such conditions, and how they have
been able to procure capital. In Massachusetts, the share-holders are
individually responsible for the debts of the company. In Pennsylvania,
it is expressly provided, that, if at any time the privileges granted
to the corporation shall prove to be contrary to the public good, the
legislature may revoke them. This is the germ of despotism; but in
the United States, Cæsar is disarmed; the old feudal line has neither
fangs nor claws. Industry is prompt to take alarm at the exercise of
despotism by Cæsar; but it is only in extreme cases, that it will feel
any distrust of a society which lives and flourishes by labour, and all
whose ends and aims, public and private, are self-aggrandisement by
means of productive labour.

To understand fully the meaning of the word liberty, as it is used in
this country, it is necessary to go to the sources of the American
population; that is to say, to the origin of the distinction between
the Yankee and the Virginian race. They have arrived at their notions
of liberty by different avenues, the one by the gate of religion, and
the other by that of politics, and have, therefore, understood it very
differently.

When the Yankee came to settle himself in the New World, it was not for
the purpose of founding an empire, but to establish a church. He fled
from a land, which had shaken off the yoke of the papal Babylon, only
to fall under that of the Babylon of episcopacy. He left behind him
Satan, his pomp, and his works; he shook from the soles of his feet the
dust of the inhospitable land of the Stuarts and the Anglican bishops;
he sought a refuge in which he might practise his own mode of worship
and obey what he believed to be the law of God. The Pilgrims, landed
on Plymouth rock, established a liberty according to their own notion;
it was a liberty for their own use exclusively, within whose embrace
they felt perfectly at ease themselves, without caring if others
were stifled by it. It might have been expected, that, proscribed
themselves, they would at least have admitted religious toleration; but
they did not grant it the narrowest corner, and even now it is far from
having elbow room among them. Originally, the right of citizenship was
extended only to Puritans like themselves; the state and the church
were confounded; it was not until 1832 that they were definitely and
completely separated in Massachusetts. The Jew and the Quaker were
forbidden to touch the soil under the severest penalties, and in case
of return, under pain of death. At present, if the law tolerates the
Roman Catholic, public opinion does not, as the burning of the Ursuline
convent in 1834, and the scandalous scenes exhibited at the trials
of the incendiaries, testify. Still less mercy is shown to unbelief;
witness the trial of Abner Kneeland for blasphemy, on account of his
pantheistic writings.[DD]

The Yankee type exhibits little variety; all Yankees seem to be cast
in the same mould; it was, therefore, very easy for them to organise
a system of liberty for themselves, that is, to construct a frame,
within which they should have the necessary freedom of motion. On their
arrival they accordingly formed the plan of one, not merely tracing its
general outlines and form, but dividing it into numerous compartments
controlling all the details of life, with as much minuteness as
the Mosaic law did that of the Hebrews. Thus organised, it became
impossible for any man not cut to the same pattern, to establish
himself among them. Although most of those laws which thus reduced life
to rules,[DE] have been abrogated, especially since the Revolution,
still their spirit survives. The habits which gave them birth, and to
which, by a natural reaction, they gave strength, still exist, and to
this day it is observable, that no foreigner settles in New England.

As for us, who resemble each other in nothing, except in differing from
every body else, for us, to whom variety is as necessary as the air, to
whom a life of rules would be a subject of horrour, the Yankee system
would be torture. Their liberty is not the liberty to outrage all that
is sacred on earth, to set religion at defiance, to laugh morals to
scorn, to undermine the foundations of social order, to mock at all
traditions and all received opinions; it is neither the liberty of
being a monarchist in a republican country, nor that of sacrificing the
honour of the poor man's wife or daughter to one's base passions; it
is not even the liberty to enjoy one's wealth by a public display, for
public opinion has its sumptuary laws, to which all must conform under
pain of moral outlawry; nor even that of living in private different
from the rest of the world. The liberty of the Yankee is essentially
limited and special like the nature of the race. We should consider it
as framed after the model of the liberty of Figaro; but the Yankee is
satisfied with it, because it leaves him all the latitude he desires,
and because of all the lessons of the Bible, that of the forbidden
fruit, which we have not been able to fix in our brain, has made the
deepest impression on his.

As the Yankee does not suffer under these restraints, as he is, or what
amounts to the same thing, thinks himself, free, a preventive authority
is unnecessary for him. This is the reason why there is no appearance
of authority in New England, and that an armed force, a police, are
even more unknown there than in the rest of the Union. The absence
of a visible authority imposes on us, and we think that the American
in general, and the Yankee in particular, is more free than we are.
I am persuaded, however, that if we measure liberty by the number of
actions that are permitted or tolerated in public and private life, the
advantage is on our side, not only in comparison with New England, but
also with the white population of the South.

The Virginian is more disposed to understand liberty in our manner.
His disposition has a greater resemblance to ours; his faculties are
much less special, more general than those of the Yankee; his mind is
more ardent, his tastes more varied. But it is the Yankee that now
rules the Union; it is his liberty which has given its principal
features to the model of American liberty. Yet to extend its empire,
it has been obliged to borrow some of the characteristic traits
of Virginian liberty; or, I might say, of French liberty, for the
high-priest of American democracy was a Virginian, who had imbibed in
Paris the doctrines of the philosophy of the 18th century. American
liberty, as it now is, may be considered the result of a mixture, in
unequal proportions, of the theories of Jefferson with the New England
usages. From these dissimilar tendencies has resulted a series of
contradictory measures, which have become strangely complicated with
each other, and which might puzzle and deceive a careless observer. It
is in consequence of these opposite influences in the bosom of American
society, that such conflicting judgments have been passed upon it;
it is because the Yankee type is at present the stronger, whilst the
Virginian was superior in the period of the revolution, that the ideas
which the sight of America now suggests, are so different from those
which she inspired at the epoch of Independence.

FOOTNOTES:

[DA] When the assembly is in session, Richmond is full of country
gentlemen from Western Virginia, real giants, taller, stouter, and
broader than the giants who are exhibited among us for money. When
I found myself surrounded by these men, with their loud voices and
Herculean frame, I experienced the same feeling with the companions
of Magellan, when they found themselves alone amidst a crowd of
Patagonians. These good people, to testify their good will, lavish
upon you the same weighty caresses, as those which the Spaniards at
first took for blows, and when you feel their heavy hands fall like
a sledge upon your European shoulders, nothing less than the frank
smile that lights up their broad faces, would convince you of their
friendly disposition. The first time I was in Richmond, I occupied the
chamber, that had just been left by one of these gentlemen; wishing to
consult some of the papers of the session, I sought in vain for any
thing like his library. His whole parliamentary outfit consisted of a
mass of empty bottles, a barrel of biscuit, a case of liquors, and the
fragments of a huge cheese.

[DB] A gang of negroes rose against their masters in Southampton in
1831, and murdered several white families, without distinction of age
or sex, and the alarm became general through the country. The murderers
were soon captured and executed.

[DC] The respect of the Americans for old names and titles is shown in
their retaining most of those that were in use under the English rule.
Thus the States are divided into counties, and there are in several
towns, for instance, in Charleston, a King's Street and a Queen's
Street. In Virginia, there are Prince Edward's, Prince George's,
King's and Queen's, King George's and King William's Counties. Georgia
retained its name, even when at war with the monarch in honour of
whom it bore it. I was very much surprised to hear a court of justice
in Pennsylvania opened with the old French word _oyez! oyez! oyez!_
repeated by the crier, without his understanding the meaning. The
English received it from the Normans, and the Americans have retained
it, because they received it from their fathers. In France we not only
changed the name of Choisy-le-Roi into Choisy-le-Peuple, but we even
suppressed the prefix of Saint, in the names of the Streets.

[DD] It is unnecessary to say that the author has here fallen into a
gross error. Even in the affair of the convent at Charlestown, it was
the supposed abuse of a particular institution, not the Roman Catholic
religion itself, that kindled the flame.--TRANSL.

[DE] I doubt if the power of the community over the individual has
been pushed to such an extent anywhere else as in New England; in
Connecticut there were laws forbidding a person to continue tippling
more than half an hour at a tavern, or to drink more than half a
pint of wine, and it was ordered that taverns and victualling-houses
should be closed at half past nine o'clock. No young man not married
could keep house without the consent of the town; and no housekeeper
could receive a young man to sojourn in his family without the same
permission. Laws were made against swearing, lying, uttering false news
or reports, or using tobacco without a certificate from a physician
that it was necessary to health. Other regulations prohibited smoking
in public places, and this very year the city government of Boston has
forbidden smoking in the Mall, which, however, I do not consider a
measure of excessive rigour. It is unnecessary to say that the laws of
the New England colonies were extremely severe in religious matters;
every individual was required to join some Congregational society,
and no one was eligible to any public trust, unless he had so done.
Dissenters were taxed for the support of the established church. Jews
and Quakers were banished, and forbidden to return under pain of death.
The _Blue Laws_ of Connecticut contained some curious provisions in
respect to marriage, and at Taunton, in Massachusetts, in 1836, two
justices forbade the bans of matrimony, on the ground that the parties
could not provide for themselves after the marriage, and that they had
not sufficient discernment to enter into a contract of such moment.



LETTER XXVII.

SOCIAL IMPROVEMENT.


                                 CHARLESTON, SEPTEMBER 1, 1835.

The United States are certainly the land of promise for the labouring
class. What a contrast between our Europe and America! After landing
in New York, I thought every day was Sunday, for the whole population
that throngs Broadway seemed to be arrayed in their Sunday's best.
None of those countenances ghastly with the privations or the foul
air of Paris; nothing like our wretched scavengers, our ragmen, and
corresponding classes of the other sex. Every man was warmly clad
in an outer garment; every woman had her cloak and bonnet of the
latest Paris fashion. Rags, filth, and suffering degrade the woman
even more than the man; and one of the most striking features in the
physiognomy of the United States, is, undeniably, the change which
has been introduced, in the train of the general prosperity, into
the physical condition of women.[DF] The earnings of the man being
sufficient for the support of the family, the woman has no other duties
than the care of the household, a circumstance still more advantageous
for her children than for herself. It is now a universal rule among
the Anglo-Americans, that the woman is exempt from all heavy work,
and she is never seen, for instance, taking part in the labours of
the field, nor in carrying burdens.[DG] Thus freed from employments
unsuited to her delicate constitution, the sex has also escaped that
hideous ugliness and repulsive coarseness of complexion which toil and
privation every where else bring upon them. Every woman here has the
features as well as the dress of a lady; every woman here is called
a lady, and strives to appear so. You would search in vain among the
Anglo-Americans, from the mouth of the St. Lawrence to that of the
Mississippi, for one of those wretched objects, who are feminine only
with the physiologist, in whom our cities abound, or for one of those
haggish beldams that fill our markets and three fourths of our fields.
You will find specimens of the former class only among the Indians
and negroes, and of the latter, only among the Canadian French and
Pennsylvania Germans; for their women labour at least as much as the
men. It is the glory of the English race, that they have ever and every
where, as much as possible, interpreted the superiority of the man
to the woman, as reserving to the former the charge of the ruder and
harder forms of toil. A country in which woman is treated according to
this principle presents the aspect of a new and better world.

Figure to yourself an Irish peasant, who at home could scarcely earn
enough to live on potatoes, who would look upon himself as a rich man
if he owned an acre of ground, but who, on stepping ashore at New York,
finds himself able to earn a dollar a day by the mere strength of his
arm. He feeds and lodges himself for two dollars a week, and at the end
of a fortnight he may have saved enough to buy ten acres of the most
fertile land in the world. The distance from New York to the West, is
great, it is true; but the fare on the great canal is trifling, and
he can easily pay his way by the work of his hands. It is also true,
that the poorest Irishman would not think of buying so little as ten
acres; the least that one buys in the West is eighty. What of that?
The savings of a few months will enable him to compass them; besides,
_Uncle Sam_ favours emigrants, and if, in theory, he does not sell his
land on credit, he is, in fact, very indulgent to the pioneer who comes
to subdue the savage wilderness, and he allows him to occupy the soil
temporarily without charge. Thus the Irish, who would go to fisticuffs
with any body for denying in their presence that the isle of Erin was
a terrestrial paradise, and who, under the inspiration of whiskey,
sing the glories of that _first pearl of the sea_, quit it by fifty
thousands for the United States. On their arrival, they cannot believe
their own eyes; they feel of themselves to find out whether they are
not under some spell. They do not dare to describe to their friends in
Europe the streams of milk and honey that flow through this promised
land.[DH]

Even in this section of the country, where the workman in the towns
and the labourer in the country, instead of being as in the North the
sovereigns of the country, are slaves, there is more plenty, more
physical comfort among the labouring class than is found amongst
us. The coloured population, therefore, increases in numbers faster
than our rural population. Not that our peasant gives birth to
fewer children than the blacks of Virginia and Carolina; but death,
led by the hand of want, is active in keeping down the excessive
multiplication of arms that would soon become formidable competitors
of the fathers, and in closing forever mouths that would cry for
bread which their parents could not supply. The attention of the
benevolent in Europe has long been directed towards the reduction of
the public expenditures, and a more equal distribution of the burden of
taxation, as a means of improving the condition of the poor; but all
these plans, supposing them to succeed according to the views of the
projectors, would merely amount to taking a few coppers less from the
pockets of the poorer class. Whilst a system of measures concerted in
such a manner as to diffuse among them a love of order and habits of
regularity and industry, to enlarge the field of labour, and to render
its terms more favourable to them, would have the effect to fill those
pockets. The relief of one class of the community by merely shifting
its burden to the back of another, has a revolutionary character
which ill agrees with the notions of a generation that is weary of
revolutions, or with the nature of a government established for the
very purpose of staying the revolutionary flood; on the contrary, all
that develops the resources of industry is in harmony with the present
leaning of all minds. Labour is an admirable instrument of concord, for
all interests gain by the prosperity of industry. This is the pure and
true source of all wealth, public and private. Labour alone creates;
and it is it alone that can relieve the wants of the needy, without
impoverishing him who has enough, or even reducing the luxury of the
opulent; that can give wealth to some, competency to others, and to all
_the fowl in the pot_, which, since the revolt of Luther, has been the
great social problem in the material order of things.

The admirable prosperity of the United States is the fruit of
labour, much more than of any reform in taxation. The soil has not
the luxuriant fertility of the tropical regions; roasted larks fly
into nobody's mouth; but the American is a model of industry. This
country is not a second edition of the Greek and Roman republics; it
is a gigantic commercial house, which owns its wheat-fields in the
Northwest, its cotton, rice and tobacco plantations in the South, which
maintains its sugar works, its establishments for salting provisions,
and some good beginnings of manufactures, which has its harbours
in the Northeast thronged with fine ships, well built and better
manned, by means of which it undertakes to carry for the world, and to
speculate on the wants of all nations. Every American has a passion
for work, and the means of gratifying it. If he wishes to cultivate
the ground, he finds waste land enough for his farm in the Northwest
or the Southwest. If he chooses to be a mechanic, that he may finally
become a manufacturer, he has no difficulty in getting credit; he
finds unemployed waterfalls all along the rivers, of which he takes
possession, and on which he sets up his wheels. If he has a taste for
commerce, he puts himself into the hands of a merchant, who after some
years of apprenticeship and trial, sends him to take charge of his
business in the interior, or to the Antilles, or South America, or
Liverpool, or Havre, or Canton. He may labour without apprehension,
and produce without stint; having no rent to pay, his flour, his salt
provisions, fear no competition in the markets of South America and the
sugar islands. As for cotton, the United States alone almost supply the
world, and he cannot plant enough. The career open to the Americans, as
active, bold, and intelligent merchants, is unlimited, and is entered
with admirable spirit and success; they beat their rivals, even the
English, on every field. If the American devotes himself to some branch
of domestic industry, here he finds ample room for activity, for the
home consumption is indefinite; every body here enjoys himself, or at
least spends. Every one produces much, because all consume much; each
consumes freely, because he gains freely, has no fears for the morrow
neither for himself nor his children, or at least takes no thought for
it.

The most efficient measures of the public administration for the
amelioration of the condition of the people in France, would be such
as would tend to increase the industrial qualities of the mass, and
to furnish them with the means of putting these qualities in action;
such are, a system of industrial education; the establishment of
institutions of credit, which should place within the reach of all,
the instruments of industry, or, in other words, capital, which is
now inaccessible not only to the operative and the labourer, but to
a great proportion of the _bourgeoisie_; the execution of a complete
system of routes of communication, from village roads to railroads,
for manufactures and commerce are impracticable where facilities
of transportation do not exist; the modification of many laws and
customs, judicial and administrative, that now embarrass industry,
without being of the least advantage in any point of view.

I dare hardly speak of popular education, where I now am. The people
in the Southern States, are slaves. The maxim here is that they need
no instruction; to instil into them a sentiment of fear is the only
moral nature suitable to their condition. They have, therefore, no
other education than that of their own hands, and that, of course,
must be limited, because their intellectual and moral nature is in
fetters. In the Northern States, the labouring classes are whites, and
there the law makes a liberal provision for popular instruction. Almost
every where in the North, all the children go to the primary schools.
Elementary education is there of a more practical character than with
us; it is our primary instruction, with the omission of the ideal,
and the addition of some instruction in commercial and economical
affairs; but there is no practical industrial education here except by
apprenticeship. There are no mechanical or agricultural seminaries. It
is not thought necessary here to shut up the young in such institutions
to inspire them with a taste for commerce, agriculture, or the
mechanical arts; they suck it in with their mother's milk; they breathe
the air of industry under the paternal roof, in the places of public
resort, in the public meetings, every where, at all times, and in every
act of life. When an American wishes to learn a trade, he goes into
the workshop, the counting-house, the manufactory, as an apprentice.
By seeing others act, he learns how to act himself; he becomes an
artisan, a manufacturer, a merchant; all the faculties of his firm and
watchful mind, all the energies of his ambitious spirit are centred in
his workshop or warehouse. He directs all his powers to making himself
master of his business, to learn the lessons of others' experience,
and he succeeds of course, as every one does who obeys the voice of
his destiny. I do not pretend that the Americans are right in not
having recourse to a theoretical preparation for a particular branch
of business, for which we have instituted such costly establishments.
I only record the fact, with the observation that they get on very
well without it. Our national character has little disposition for
business; we work from necessity and not from choice. Our ideas have
little of a commercial or mechanical turn. To make a Frenchman a
skilful husbandman, an able merchant, a dexterous mechanic, a long and
painful training is necessary; he must change his natural bent, and
metamorphose all his thoughts and habits; in a word, with us a special
professional education must precede apprenticeship. The American learns
by example merely; we must learn by general principles; we stand more
in need of them, and we have a greater aptitude for mastering them,
than they.

       *       *       *       *       *

Before passing to the institutions best suited to develop industry,
I would observe that a political system which should be particularly
calculated to create and sustain them, cannot be taxed with
materialism. Industry influences the moral nature of man; the material
prosperity of a people has an important bearing on the public
liberties. Men cannot practically enjoy the rights secured to them
by law, when they are manacled and fettered by poverty; the English
and their children in America call competency, _independence_. The
Anglo-Americans have reached wealth through their political liberty;
other nations, and we, I think, are of the number, must arrive at
political franchises by the progress of national wealth. I now come to
the consideration of a credit system.

Suppose, on one side, the land-holder who has granaries bursting
with corn, his stable filled with cattle, his storehouse crowded
with barrels of whiskey and salt meat; then, the merchant with his
warehouses full of cloth, and the grocer, well supplied with tea,
coffee, and sugar; and on the other, the labourer, the mason, the
carpenter, the smith, all skilled in their trade and wanting work to
supply them with daily food. A canal or a railroad is projected; the
country has capital enough to construct it, since it contains the arms
to execute the works, and the necessaries for subsisting the labourers.
The construction of the work is indispensable in order to enable the
workman to turn his muscles to account, and gain his daily bread, and
to give the merchant a market for his goods. Now in this case, amongst
us, there is no other medium of communication between the labourer and
the holder of articles of consumption, than the engineer, a man of
science but not of capital, and the citizens of the towns which are
interested in the scheme; these last have a competence and no more,
and they have no means of raising, on their lands or their houses, the
ready money which must serve as a medium of exchange between the wares
of the merchant, the produce of the cultivator, and the labour of the
operative. Amongst us, therefore, the most useful projects remain on
paper. In this country, by the side of the engineer and the citizen,
you have one or more banks, in which all, labourers, landholders, and
traders, put confidence, often, indeed, much more than is deserved.
The bank guaranties to the cultivator and the trader payment for their
produce and merchandise, and to the labourer, his wages; for this end,
it offers the share-holder of the projected enterprise, in exchange for
his personal engagement renewable at a certain date, and often on the
pledge of the very canal or railroad shares, a paper-money, which the
labourer receives in payment of his wages, and with which he procures
the necessary supplies from the producer or the trader. Thus every
judicious and practicable project is at once carried out into execution.

In order to arrive at the same result amongst us, it would be
necessary, in the first place, that we should possess somewhat more
of that genius for business which is the characteristic of the
American, and, in the next, that the banks should be able to accept
with confidence the engagements of the share-holder of the work; the
latter requisite, could not be obtained as in the United States,
because amongst us, except in the manufacturing towns, the _bourgeois_
in general does not engage in business; he is a proprietor living on
his income and not increasing it. The American _bourgeois_, on the
contrary, is actively engaged in business, and is constantly employed
in increasing his means; and besides, the banks have more hold on his
real property, than they could have in France.

Finally, it would be necessary that the public, proprietors and
labourers, traders as well as landholders, should have full confidence
in the bills issued by the bank, which is impossible in a country
where all paper-money suggests the idea of _assignats_. Even if
the people had not that disastrous experiment before their eyes,
it would be difficult to teach them to look upon a scrap of paper,
although redeemable at sight with coin, as equivalent to the metals.
A metallic currency, has, in our notions, a superiority to any other
representative of value, which to an American or an Englishman is quite
incomprehensible; to our peasants, it is the object of a mysterious
feeling, a real worship; and, in this respect we are all of us more or
less peasants. The Americans, on the other hand, have a firm faith in
paper; and it is not a blind faith, for if we have had our _assignats_,
they have had their continental money, and they need not go far back in
their history to find a record of the failure of the banks in a body.
Their confidence is founded in reason, their courage is a matter of
reflexion Last winter, for example, it was known to the public that
certain banks in New York had on hand only five dollars in specie for
one hundred paper-dollars in circulation, and even less. In France this
would have been the signal of a general panic, and the bill-holders
would have thrown themselves in crowds upon the bank to exchange their
paper for coin. The bank, thus stormed, would have stopped payment;
fifty or seventy bills in a hundred, would have become mere rags in the
hands of the holders, and what would be more fatal, the banks, which
lean upon each other, and hold each other's notes to a large amount,
would have failed one after another, as those of the Federal District
did last April. Each bank failure would have been followed by numerous
individual failures, which would have involved other banks in their
fall, and the country would have been ruined. The Americans in this
fearful crisis, did not quail; they stood firm, like veterans under the
fire of a battery or encountering a cloud of Arabs at the foot of the
pyramids with bayonets crossed and serried files. None of the New York
banks stopped payment, and scarcely six or seven small banks failed
through the country.

Let us not deceive ourselves; it will be a long time before we shall be
in a condition, in France, to enjoy such a system of credit as exists
in the United States or England; in this respect we are yet in a state
of barbarism, from which we cannot pass to a more perfect condition of
things, except by a complete revolution in our commercial habits and
ideas, and even to a certain degree of our national manners.

I do not pretend to decide beforehand what the precise organisation of
a system of credit for France should be; but I think it may be safely
affirmed, that the system which prevails here would not do for us.
In appropriating to ourselves the improvements of the English and of
their successors in America, we must modify them in conformity with
the genius of the nation, or they will wither on our soil. As the East
is the cradle of religion, so England in our day is the mould in which
the political and commercial institutions that seem destined to rule
the world have been cast; but as the religious conceptions of the East
have had to undergo a radical change in order to gain a footing in the
West, so the political and commercial creations of our neighbours,
must undergo a transformation before they can become fixed amongst
us. Coming into the world under circumstances of a peculiar nature,
amidst a people of an original and peculiar character, born under the
unhealthy shadow of conquest and civil war, they are not suited to
be transferred bodily to another soil. They are already undergoing
modifications in America, although they are here amongst the scions
of the English stock. Among the people of the south of Europe and
among us, when they have taken their final shape, it is probable that
they will no more resemble their British type, than a Benedictine or
a Sister of Charity resembles an Indian fakir or dervish. It would be
presumptuous to attempt to pronounce at present what precise form the
institutions of credit will assume; yet it is reasonable to presume,
that to be in harmony with our character and disposition, they must
lean upon the government, combine their operation with its action,
become, in a word, public establishments, and they must be ready to
extend a large share of their benefits to the agricultural interest.

The public credit, which, in France, must be the bulwark of private
credit, still feels and will continue to feel the effect of our former
bankruptcy. It should be our aim to make the breaches of the public
faith under the monarchy and under the republic forgotten, and to
strengthen the foundations and enlarge the sphere of the national
credit, which will thus become a suitable basis for the banks, for
in France we shall not trust in the bankers, nor will the banks have
confidence in themselves, any further than they are propped up by
the government, and become in fact public establishments. Many sound
heads consider it indispensable that the system of credit, should be,
in many respects, amalgamated with the financial system of the State.
This is no rash speculation, or untried novelty. In the Southern and
Western States, which, like France, are chiefly agricultural, the
principal banks are dependent on the State governments, they are
employed in collecting the taxes, and transferring funds on account of
the State treasury. This is the case, in a greater or less degree, in
the Carolinas, Georgia and Alabama, and still more so in Indiana and
Illinois.

The greatest change, which institutions of credit will have to
undergo in their introduction amongst us, will be the adaptation of
them to the wants of agriculture. We are more an agricultural than a
manufacturing people; three fourths or four fifths of our population
live by agriculture. The English are especially devoted to manufactures
and commerce; their banks are most easily accessible to the merchant,
next to the manufacturer, and but little or not at all, to the
agriculturist. The feudal traits, which landed property still retains
among them, contribute to this result. In this country, the banks have
been organised on the English model. They have become excessively
numerous in the Northern States,[DI] which are inhabited by a people
eminently possessing the manufacturing and commercial spirit. Those
which have been established in the agricultural States of the South
and West, have fallen through at different crises, of which the most
disastrous was that of 1819. In 1828, the local banks had ceased to
exist in Kentucky and Missouri; each of the States of Tennessee,
Indiana, Illinois, Mississippi, and Alabama, had but one, or had not
yet established any. At present they are created in the South and West
with something of a public character, the state either becoming the
principal share-holder or guarantying the loan for raising a capital.
Several of them have a decided tendency to connect themselves with the
agricultural interest. Louisiana has adopted the most comprehensive and
important measures in this respect.[DJ]

It is evident that the extension of credit in France would be the means
of a greater saving to the people, than any reform in the budget. The
average rate of interest on all transactions of all kinds is at least
15 or 20, perhaps, 25 per cent. Suppose that this could be reduced
only two per cent., a result which does not seem very difficult to be
obtained, it is plain, that as positive a saving would be made to the
country as could be made by a diminution of the expenses of government,
and that the former would be applicable to as many millions as the
latter would be to thousands. It is not possible to give an exact
estimate of the amount of the annual transactions in France, it must
be enormous, for every time an article of property changes hands,
there is a transaction affected by the rate of interest; now the total
annual produce of French industry is estimated at nearly 2,000 millions
dollars; and we must suppose the amount of transactions to be ten or
twelve times greater. The annual amount of commercial transactions
alone is about 4,000 millions. Admitting the average credit to be four
months, and the mass of transactions to amount to 16,000 millions, a
saving of two per cent. a year would be equal to 100 millions. Add to
this that the creation of institutions of credit would make a saving
once for all of 300 or 400 millions, by the substitution of paper for a
portion of the metallic currency. (See _Letter V._)

It would be superfluous to dwell upon the salutary influence of a
judicious system of public works on the prosperity of all classes,
and more especially of the lower classes. On this point every one
is already convinced; it would be an enterprise worthy of a great
people to undertake such a system, which should include canals, local
roads, and railroads on the great routes; which should drain our bogs
and supply water to the districts that need irrigation; which should
convert Rouen and Havre, Lille and Calais, Orleans, Rheims, and Troyes
into suburbs of Paris; should consummate the union of Belgium with
France; should make Strasburg one of the greatest _entrepôts_ in the
world; should restore life to Bordeaux, which is now pining away, by
giving it a more easy access to the central and southern departments;
should revive Nantes, which is dead, by connecting it with the
flourishing interior provinces, and particularly with Paris, the heart
of France; should bring Lyons into contact with the Rhine and the
Danube; should develop our mineral wealth, which now lies useless in
the bowels of the earth, for want of means of transportation; should
not, as is too often the case, overlook our peaceful and laborious
country population, but should deliver every farm and village from the
six months' blockade, to which they are now condemned by the mud of
every winter. This would be a grand and noble enterprise.

There is a common bond of union between the various branches of social
improvement; a good system of public works would exercise a powerful
influence on the extension of credit, and, reciprocally, a liberal
system of public and private credit, would communicate activity to
public enterprises. I go further; it is impossible that our public
works should be carried forward with vigour, without the aid of
credit. To pretend to execute them wholly by means of taxes, would be
madness. Without public and private credit, the Americans would never
have had any public works. They have entered upon the construction
of their great canals and their innumerable railroads only through
the instrumentality of the banks and their loans. In 1828, the three
cities of the Federal District, Washington, Georgetown, and Alexandria,
having together a population of 32,000 souls, with little trade, no
manufactures, or agricultural resources, for the country around is
sterile, subscribed 1,500,000 dollars towards the construction of the
great canal from the Chesapeake to the Ohio, raising the funds by a
loan in Holland. Our large towns Bordeaux, Marseilles, Rouen, Lyons,
will have canals and railroads, whenever they shall see fit to do with
moderation what Washington, Georgetown, and Alexandria have attempted
on too great a scale.

The improvement of the means of transportation often causes such a fall
in the price of articles, that the construction of a canal or road
relieves the inhabitants to an extent much exceeding the amount of
the most oppressive tax. In France, where wine is abundant, and where
it is a light drink which does not brutify a man, it is important to
bring it within the reach of the poorer classes, and to accustom them
to the daily use of it. There are still several districts in central
and southern France, in which wine is transported on the back of mules,
for a distance of 40 miles. Transportation, the same distance, by a
canal, would only be one sixth of the price of mule carriage, or would
make a saving of five cents a gallon, which is more than the excise on
the common wines; so that the construction of a canal, considered in
this light, would be a greater relief to certain consumers, than the
suppression of the excise.

In regard to legislation, we have reason to congratulate ourselves
on having a uniform system of laws, instead of a jumble of rules and
customs derived from all ages and various sources. The spirit of
Napoleon pervaded the creation of this noble work; but Napoleon was
wholly pre-occupied with Roman ideas; he wished to found an empire of
adamant on the Roman model; his counsellors were possessed with the
notion that the Roman law was pure, absolute, immutable justice. They
have, therefore, given us a code of laws, protecting various interests
rather according to the degree of importance which they possessed
eighteen hundred years ago, than that which they have acquired in
modern times. In the time of the Romans, landed property was almost
the only property; agriculture was the only branch of industry held
in respect; manufactures were merely a department of domestic labour,
and were carried on by the slaves in the house; commerce was abandoned
to foreigners and freedmen. At that time, no one dreamed of the
possibility of those huge factories on the English plan, or of that
powerful machinery which is the soul of our industry; or those immense
docks and and store-houses, which enable a man, in his closet, to
arrange and direct the most extensive operations, without touching an
article of merchandise, or even inspecting samples, merely by setting
his signature to a warrant or a receipt. The system of accounts was
then unknown; the idea of banks did not occur to the most far-sighted
intellect. Governments took little thought for the means of making
exchanges sure, easy, and speedy; the great roads opened by the prætors
and emperors, were military roads. Little care was given to economy of
time; for time has a value only in an industrious community.[DK] On the
contrary, there was every reason for endeavouring to keep property in
the great families. Landed property, with reference to which all the
laws were framed, is inconsistent with the idea of constant change. The
object of legislation was stability and permanency; the forms which it
established, were favourable to delay.

Following this example, Napoleon and his counsellors have given us a
code of laws, in which every thing is sacrificed to landed property.
The law treats the manufacturer and the merchant with suspicion; it
looks upon them as the sons of the slave and the freedman, or at
least, as persons of no consideration, commoners whom it is permitted
to treat without ceremony. On the other hand, the presumption is
always in favour of the proprietor; he is protected not because he
is a cultivator and producer, but simply and abstractly because he
is a proprietor, the owner of the soil, the successor of the Roman
patrician and the feudal lord. Thus our laws overlook the importance
of manufacturing industry, and the great destiny which awaits it; they
shackle and check it by the complicated formalities to which they
subject it, and the vexatious details with which they embarrass its
movements.

Let me not, however, be too severe on our code; I do not know any
other, which, all things considered, is more advantageous to industry.
Even the American legislation has retained the defects of the English
laws; it partakes in their vagueness and uncertainty; it is under the
almost exclusive dominion of precedents which it still borrows from
English decisions as if North America were still an English colony.
In most of the States, the undefined and conflicting pretensions of
the common law and equity jurisdiction still remain in force. In some
of the old States, as Virginia, the legislation yet bears many of the
features of the feudal system. American law, however, has the great
advantage of a simpler and less expensive process than ours or the
English, and especially of a great economy of time by a reduction of
the delays attending the English and French practice. As for the use
of the jury in civil cases, it is of doubtful expediency. I often hear
it said, that it would be better to leave them to three judicious and
irremovable judges, than to twelve citizens, who often carry their
individual prejudices, or party passions, or class jealousies into the
jury-box. With a jury, the influence of a skilful advocate often weighs
much, the merits of the cause too little. Finally, in this country,
the commercial tribunals have no compulsory jurisdiction; the ordinary
courts take cognizance of all causes, unless there is a previous
agreement between the parties to submit all differences that may arise
between them to arbiters or a committee of the chamber of commerce,
which is merely a voluntary association, and is not to be found in all
parts of the country.

FOOTNOTES:

[DF] The legal condition of all classes of females in the United States
is the same as that of the women of the middle classes in England. The
same is the case with their moral condition, except that they have even
more liberty before marriage, and are more dependent after.

[DG] In England a woman is never seen, as with us, bearing a hamper of
dung on her back, or labouring at the forge.

[DH] An Irishman, who had recently arrived, showed his master a letter
which he had just written to his family: "But, Patrick," said his
master, "why do you say that you have meat three times a week, when you
have it three times a day?" "Why is it?" replied Pat; "it is because
they wouldn't believe me, if I told them so."

[DI] In 1811, out of 88 local banks, there were 55, or two thirds, in
New England and New York, although those States contained but little
more than one third of the population. In 1834, the States north of the
Potomac had 414 banks, with a capital of 106 millions; the Southern
and Western States had only 88 with a capital of 60 millions, about
one half of which were in a few commercial towns. The population of
the former was then 6,500,000, of the latter 7,500,000; the ratio of
the banks, therefore, was as 4 to 3, while that of the population
was as 6 to 7. Massachusetts and Connecticut alone, in which the
character of the mother-country is most strongly preserved, had 174
banks or one third of the whole number of local banks, with a capital
of 40 millions, or one-fourth of the whole banking capital of the
country, although their population was only one thirteenth of the whole
population. The extension of the culture of cotton, and of the trade
which it creates, has since, however, tended to turn the balance in
favour of the south, and several large banks have been established in
the southern capitals with branches in the interior.

[DJ] Several bank charters in Louisiana contain a provision obliging
the bank to lend a large proportion of the capital to the planters. The
Citizen's Bank is bound to advance one half its capital to landholders,
beside which they have the advantage of being share-holders without
having paid up anything. The bank borrowed its effective capital of
European capitalists; its nominal capital is double that sum. It gives
in return mortgages on the estates of the share-holders to that amount,
with the guarantee of the mortgage by the State. Each share-holder is
entitled to credit to the amount of half his stock at the rate of six
per cent. The other half of the capital is devoted to the commercial
operations of the bank. The share-holders then, have their share in the
profits. It will be seen that this system depends on the legislation in
regard to mortgages.

[DK] The Neapolitans are said to have made the following objection to
a company, which proposed to run a steamboat between their city and
Sicily: "Your boat takes us over in one day, and yet you demand the
same fare, as a sail vessel which is three days. That is absurd; how
can you expect that we will pay as much for being found one day as for
three?" This is the reasoning of a people, who have no idea of setting
an economical value on time.



LETTER XXVIII.

SOCIAL REFORM.


                         AUGUSTA, (GEORGIA,) SEPTEMBER 3, 1835.

It is impossible to foresee the time when the blacks in this country
shall be set free; there is here a great gulf between the black and
the white. The difficulty here is not exactly of a pecuniary kind;
for, to apply to the two million and a half of American negroes the
process which the English have applied to their colonies, only 300
millions would be required, a sum which is not beyond the means of
North America. By rendering the process of emancipation more gradual,
so as to render it more slow and safe than in the English Islands, a
much less sum would be sufficient; but another obstacle occurs, against
which money can do nothing. The English nature is exclusive; English
society is divided into an endless number of little coteries, each
jealous of its superior, and despising its inferior. The Englishman is
in his own country, what his country is in reference to the rest of the
world, an islander.

This spirit of exclusiveness which prevails in society at home, appears
again in the relations of the English with other people. The Englishman
cannot fraternise with the Red Skins or the blacks; between him, and
them there is no sympathy, no mutual confidence. The Anglo-Americans
have retained and even exaggerated this trait of their fathers; and to
the men of the North as well as to those of the South, to the Yankee
as well as to the Virginian, the negro is a Philistine, a son of Ham.
In the States without slaves, as well as in those in which slavery is
admitted, the elevation of the black seems impossible. An American
of the North or of the South, whether he be rich or poor, ignorant or
learned, avoids a contact with the negro, as if he were infected with
the plague. Free or slave, well or meanly clad, the black or the man of
colour is always a Pariah; he is denied a lodging at the inns; at the
theatre or in the steamboats he has a distinct place allotted him far
from the whites; he is excluded from commerce, for he cannot set his
foot on 'Change nor in the banking rooms. Everywhere and always, he is
eminently unclean. Thus treated as vile, he almost always becomes so.

In Europe, blacks or coloured persons have sometimes filled high
stations; there is not an instance of the kind in the United States.
The republic of Hayti has its accredited representatives at the court
of France; it has none in Washington. An anecdote was told me at New
York of the disappointment of a young Haytian, who was a near relation
of one of Boyer's ministers, and who had received a good education in
France; having arrived in New York, he could not get admittance into
any hotel, his money was refused at the door of the theatre, he was
ordered out of the cabin of a steamboat, and was obliged to quit the
country without being able to speak to any body. At Philadelphia, I
heard of a man of colour who had acquired wealth, a rare thing among
that class, who used sometimes to invite whites to dine with him, and
who did not sit at table, but waited upon his guests himself. At the
dessert, however, upon their pressing him to be seated with them,
he would yield to their urgency. At the end of 1833, in one of the
New England States, and I think it was in Massachusetts,[DL] a man
of colour being on board a steamer with his wife, wished to get her
admitted into the ladies' cabin; the captain refused her admission.
A suit was, therefore, brought against the captain, by the man, who
was desirous of having it decided by the courts, whether free people
of colour, conducting themselves with propriety, could enjoy the same
privileges with whites in a State, in which they were recognised as
citizens by the laws. He gained his cause on the first hearing, but was
cast on appeal.

The different nations of the great Christian family, after having for
ages received the doctrines taught by the successors of St. Peter, have
selected out of the Christian scheme, some one principle most congenial
to their nature, and made it the basis of their character. The French,
a most Christian people, have chosen the principle of universal
charity. In our eyes, there are no longer Gentiles; our prepossessions
in favour of foreigners increase as the square of the distance that
separates their country from ours. The Spanish, a chivalric people,
have adopted with enthusiasm the adoration of the Virgin, which is of
a more modern origin. The Protestants have taken up the principle of
individual conscience, and this is nearly all that they have accepted
from Christianity; they have renounced the successive additions of the
church to the faith of the Apostles, and they have even rejected a part
of what Christ himself had engrafted on the Jewish theology. Among
Protestants, the Yankees have carried this retrograde tendency to the
greatest extreme; they have, except in some few points, relapsed into
Judaism, and returned to to the Mosaic law. They appeal in preference
to the maxims and doctrines of the Old Testament; they borrow their
names from it, and amongst the peculiarities that strike a Frenchmen
in New England, one of the strongest is the great prevalence of Hebrew
names, such as Phineas, Ebenezer, Judah, Hiram, Obadiah, Ezra, &c., on
the signs and in advertisements.

As the religion of the people exercises a controlling influence over
the general tone of its feeling and character, the Yankees, having
thus fallen back into Judaism, possess, like the Jews, that exclusive
spirit which was already inherent in their insular origin. The fact
is, that their religious notions square exactly with this depression
of the blacks. The blacks seem to them inferior beings; they revolt
against the thought of any assimilation with them, even in the
slightest degree; a mixture of the two races, or, as they call it,
_amalgamation_, is in their eyes an abomination, a sacrilege, which
would deserve to be punished, as the sin of the Hebrews with the
daughters of Moab was punished. The emancipation of the negro comprises
two things; the one, formal; that is manumission by the master, which
it would not be difficult to effect, if a sufficient indemnity were
offered to the planters and the country could pay it; and the other,
moral, that is, a real acknowledgment of the rights of the black, by
admitting him to the personal privileges of the white man, which would
meet with insurmountable obstacles at the North as well as the South,
and would, perhaps, be even more repugnant to the former than to the
latter.

The principal difficulty of emancipation, so far as regards the slave
himself, is also of a moral character. To render him fit for the
enjoyment of liberty, it is necessary that he should be initiated
in the duties and dignity of man, that he should labour in order to
pay his tax to society, and maintain his family with decency, that he
should learn to obey other motives than the fear of the lash. He must
learn the sentiment of self-respect; he must wish and know how to be a
father, son, husband. He only can have a perfect right to liberty, who
is in a condition to enjoy it with profit to himself and to society.
Slavery, odious as it is, is one form of social order, and should be
preserved where no better form can be substituted for it, as it must
disappear where the inferior is ripe for a better state of things.

In regard to the lower orders in Europe, the difficulty is of the same
kind with that which stands in the way of the emancipation of the
American slaves; it is only different in degree, and it is already half
overcome. In order that the hireling should be raised from his present
abject state, the higher classes must be ready to treat him as a being
of the same nature with themselves, and he himself must have acquired
higher sentiments than such as belong to his present condition. He
must not only be inspired with the desire of being happier, but also
with the ambition of being better. To establish new relations between
the different classes, both parties must labour with that firm will,
which recasts ideas and habits. The question of the improvement of
the condition of the lower classes is essentially a moral question. A
moral remodelling of society is the necessary preliminary. Now, whoever
pronounces the world moral in the wider sense of the term, means
religion. Philanthropy and philosophy have no hold on the moral nature
of man, unless they borrow it from religion. Religion only can move
the hearts of all classes deep enough, and enlighten the minds of all
strongly enough, to cause the rich and the poor to conceive new ideas
of their mutual relations, and to realize them in practice.

History teaches us, that civilisation, in its successive phases, has
gradually improved the condition of the lower classes; it proves also
that each of the great changes that have taken place in the condition
of the multitude, has been consummated or prepared by religion, and
accompanied by a change in religion itself. It was religion that struck
off the fetters of the slave, that gradually freed the serf from the
glebe. The free principles of the French revolution were only the
precepts of the Christian religion practised by persons who were no
longer Christians, and the revolutionary actors themselves gave to
Christ the title of _sans-culotte_, in their eyes a title of honour.

To render the efforts of the higher classes in favour of the people
vigourous and sustained, they must, then, be directed by religion.
To raise the lower orders effectually from their abasement, religion
must fix them steadily on that high moral level, to which they have
occasionally soared by sublime, but fitful and soon drooping flights.
Now, the higher classes have not faith. If among the highest, the
irreligious philosophy of the 18th century has of late lost adherents,
it restores and increases its numbers from among the lower ranks.
Incredulity has lowered its aim a peg; its train has lost in quality,
but gained in quantity. Irreligion is at work among the populace of
the cities, disposes them to revolt, and would make them unfit for the
regular enjoyment of liberty. When we have roads, when schools have
taught the whole population to read, which will be soon, you will see
irreligion infecting the country people, if you do not provide against
its approaches beforehand.

Christianity, or at least Catholicism, seems to be on the eve of
suffering a general desertion amongst us. And yet how far are we
from having drawn from the Christian principles, which some among us
affect to consider as exhausted, all the elements of popular liberty
and happiness which they contain! We are a most Christian people in
this sense, that we believe in the unity of the whole human family,
and we prove it by our good will to all nations; but it seems as if
we expend abroad all the heat that Christianity has developed in our
souls. We, the apostles of the brotherhood of nations, we have not
yet breathed into our relations to each other the principle of the
fraternity of men. We of the middle class, the sons of freedmen, think
that labourers, the sons of slaves, are of a different nature from
ourselves. We have still a remnant of the old pagan leaven at the
bottom of our hearts. We do not, indeed, with Aristotle, teach the
doctrine of two distinct natures, the free nature and the slave nature,
but we act in practice as if we were brought up in that faith. We are
not yet become the fathers and elder brothers of the peasant and the
operative; but in our relations to them, we are still their _masters_,
and hard masters too.

And unfortunately, whilst society, driven about by the waves, at the
mercy of chance and without a compass, is exposed to disasters, which
the control of religion alone can prevent, religion makes no effort
to resume the helm and recover her authority. In the midst of nations
which are rushing onward at every risk, Catholicism stands still,
silently shrouded in her mantle, with her arms folded, and her eyes
bent on heaven. The Church bore all the shocks of the revolutionary
storm with a heroic resignation; she meekly submitted to be scourged
with rods, like the Just One; like him she has been fixed to the cross,
and has opened her mouth only to pray for her executioners. But the
sufferings of the Just have saved sinners and changed the face of the
world; nothing betokens that the recent sufferings of the Catholic
church will have any saving power. From the tomb where it was laid for
dead, we see it bring back no scheme for the restoration of suffering,
longing humanity.

The Roman Church is yet what it was four hundred years ago; but within
that period the world has become quite another thing; it has made great
progress, and freed itself from the meshes of the past, with the firm
purpose not to be again involved in them. If civilisation, then, is
about to assume a new form, as every thing forebodes, religion, which
is at once the beginning and end of society, the key-stone and the
corner-stone, religion, must also re-cast herself. Would it be the
first time that Christianity has modified her forms and rules, to adapt
herself to the instincts and the tendencies of the nations she has
sought to bless?

In this country, religion has wrought the elevation of the lower
classes. Puritanism has been the starting point of the democratic
movement. The Puritans came to America, not in quest of gold, nor
to conquer provinces, but to found a church on the principle of
primitive equality. They were as I have before said, new Jews; they
wished to govern by the laws of Moses. In the beginning the state was
completely swallowed up by the church; they divided themselves into
religious congregations, in which all the heads of families were equal,
conformably to the Mosaic law, over which the elders and the saints
presided, and in which all earthly distinctions were abolished or
contemned. One of the first objects of their care, under the influence
of their religious views, was to establish schools, in which all the
children should be educated together and in the same manner. Although
unequal in respect to property, all adopted the same habits of life.
The physical exertions, to which all were obliged to devote themselves
in common, in order to defend themselves from famine and the savages,
strengthened their habits and feelings of equality. Now, New England,
which is inhabited exclusively by the sons of the Puritans, and in
which their traditions and their faith are still kept unchanged, has
ever been, and is yet, the focus of American democracy.

Thus American democracy has been enabled to organise and establish
itself. All our efforts, on the contrary, to found a democracy in
France in 1793, would have been vain, even had we not been unfitted for
democratic habits, because we wished to build on irreligion, on the
hatred of religion. Manners and feelings must prepare and inspire the
means of social improvement; the laws must express and prescribe them.
Politics and religion, then, must join hands in this difficult task.
Politics, as well as religion, must be transformed for the furtherance
of civilisation, and the safety of the world.

I admire the results, which the political system of the United
States has produced in America. But it seems to me impossible, that
the institutions by which the condition of the people has been so
much bettered here, can be naturalised amongst us. There must be
harmony between the political and religious schemes that are suited
to any one people. Protestantism is republican; puritanism is
absolute self-government in religion, and begets it in politics. The
United Provinces were Protestant; the United States are Protestant.
Catholicism is essentially monarchical; in countries, which are
Catholic, at least by recollections, habits, and education, if not
by faith, a regular democracy is impracticable. The anarchy of the
former Spanish colonies fully proves to what bitter regrets Catholic
nations expose themselves, when they attempt to apply to themselves the
political institutions of Protestant countries.

Under the influence of Protestantism and republicanism, the
social progress has been effected by the medium of the spirit of
individuality; for protestantism, republicanism, and individuality
are all one. Individuals stand apart from one another, or if they are
associated together, they have formed only limited associations, which
have no common bond of union. The republic of the United States is
indefinitely subdivided into independent republics of various classes.
The States are republics in the general confederation; the towns are
republics within the States; a farm is a republic in a county. Banking,
canal, and railroad companies, are so many distinct republics. The
family is an inviolable republic in the state; each individual is a
republic by himself in the family. The only effective militia consists
of volunteer companies, which have no connexion with each other. The
religious organisation of the country resembles its civil and political
organisation. The different sects are independent of each other, and
most of them tend to split up into completely detached fragments.

Our national genius, on the contrary, requires that in France we
should act chiefly under the influence of association and unity, which
are characteristic traits of Catholicism and monarchy. France is a
specimen of the completest political and administrative unity that
there is in the world. Our individual existence must be bound up with
others; we love independence, but we do not feel that we live unless
we make a part of a whole. Solitude overpowers us; the personality of
the Englishman or the American can sustain itself alone; ours must be
linked with that of others. For a people eminently social, like the
French, how is it possible that the spirit of association should not be
the best? But it must retain the distinction of ranks; for with us, a
republican association would degenerate into anarchy.

If, then, I should attempt to define the conditions most favourable
to the improvement of society in France, I should say that they
require it to be undertaken under the influences of religion; that
its accomplishment should be confided to the constituted authorities,
central and local, and particularly to royalty; that it should be
effected by means of institutions bearing the double impress of unity
and hierarchical association, and reposing immediately on the general
association, which is the state, or supported by powerful intermediary
associations, which should be themselves attached to the state. The
nearer we approach these conditions, the more complete will be our
success, the sooner shall we have the happiness of seeing our beloved
France, prosperous within, recover the high station which she ought to
occupy in the world.

FOOTNOTES:

[DL] In Massachusetts and most of New England the blacks are legally
citizens, and, as such, have the right of voting; they do not, however,
at present exercise this right, either because they are prevented from
doing so, or because their names are designedly omitted on the list
of tax-payers, which in some States forms the list of voters. [Blacks
vote and always have voted in Massachusetts.--TRANSL.] The constitution
of Connecticut, formed in 1818, excludes them from this franchise. In
New York, real estate of the value of 250 dollars, and the payment
of taxes is made the electoral qualification of blacks. [The new
constitution of Pennsylvania, formed in 1838, restricts the right of
suffrage to the whites, although it was extended to blacks by the old
constitution.--TRANSL.] The Western States, in which slavery does not
exist, do not admit blacks to vote, and in the slave-holding States, it
may readily be imagined that they do not enjoy that privilege.



LETTER XXIX.

THE EMPIRE STATE.


                                    ALBANY, SEPTEMBER 11, 1835.

It has been already shown (_Letter X._), that there are in the United
States two strongly marked types, the Yankee and the Virginian, the
mutual action and reaction of which have hitherto been the life of the
Union. A third is rising in the West, which seems destined to become
the bond and umpire of the two others, if it is able to preserve its
own unity; which will not, however, be easy, for the West comprises
slave-holding and non-slave-holding States. For the present, this
high office is filled by the Middle States, or rather by New York,
which is the most important State not only of this group, but of the
whole Union. To be a mediator between two types, it is necessary to
unite in one person the principal qualities of both; the State of
New York, then, should combine the large views of the South with
the spirit of detail that marks the North. To be, even imperfectly,
the personification of the principle of unity in the great American
confederation, it is indispensable that the claimant of that honour
should possess in a high degree the spirit of unity. To achieve the
work of centralisation or consolidation in America, even partially,
demands a high degree of the genius of centralisation. For some time
there has appeared in the administration of the State of New York, a
character of grandeur, unity, and centralisation, that has procured it
the title of the _Empire-State_. Although it is the nearest neighbour
of the New England States, and actually borders upon three of them,
although a large number of its inhabitants are of New England origin,
it has succeeded in freeing itself from the spirit of extreme division
that is characteristic of the Yankees, or rather in counterbalancing it
by a proportional development of the spirit of unity.

The Opposition, which is in the minority in the legislature in the
State, and does not, therefore, feel in good humour, endeavours to
create among the people a dislike to this control of the central power.
"You are led," it says, "by the Albany Regency; a half-dozen of the
friends of Mr Van Buren, taking their cue from Governor Marcy, make
you their puppets." The Opposition exaggerates; but it is certain,
that the organisation of the State, and the forms of administration,
which have been established of late years under the influence of Mr Van
Buren, and which form a precedent for the future, bear the impress of a
centralism, at which the friends of unlimited individual independence
have a right to take alarm, but which wise men must applaud; for it is
by means of it that the State of New York is become superiour to the
others, and it is by it alone that it can maintain its superiority.
This combination of expansive force, which prevails every where else in
the American confederacy, with a sufficient cohesive power, has given
to the constitution of New York an elasticity, which, for communities
as well as for individuals, is the condition of a long and prosperous
existence.

The organisation of the public schools and of public instruction in
general is centralised. Most of the States have a school-fund, the
income of which in New England is distributed among the towns, who
dispose of it according to their own good pleasure, without the State
having the right to exercise any real control over it, or imposing
any conditions in regard to it. New York proceeds more imperially;
it obliges the different towns to raise a sum equal to that to which
they are entitled from the State, under penalty of not receiving their
share of the State fund. This method is preferable to that followed
in Connecticut, which distributes annually among the towns about the
same sum as New York, but exacts no account of the manner in which it
has been employed, and cannot even be sure that it has been actually
devoted to the purpose of instruction.

In 1834, the public schools in New York were attended by 541,400
pupils; now the number of children between five and sixteen years of
age in the districts from which returns were received, comprising
very nearly the whole State, was only 543,085. The whole expenditure
for schools was 1,310,000 dollars, of which 750,000 dollars was for
pay of teachers. The amount expended in France for the same object is
only three times as great as that expended by New York, which has one
sixteenth of the population of France. The number of children in our
schools is 2,450,000, or one thirteenth of the population, which is
only one third of the proportion in New York.

All the common schools in New York are under the supervision and
control of a board of commissioners, mostly composed of several of
the chief officers of the government, and of which the Secretary of
State is the most active member. The commissioners make provision for
the instruction of teachers, require an account of the condition of
the school, and select the text books. Virginia, Ohio, and some other
States have adopted a similar system in this respect; but New York
has this peculiarity, that it has also a board, styled the board of
Regents of the University, who are appointed by the legislature, and
have the control of the higher schools called academies. There are
seven colleges in the State, one of which is styled the University of
New York, and corresponds, very remotely it is true, to the English and
German Universities.

The control of the government over the academies is at present very
limited; it is little more than an annual visit by one or more of the
Regents of the University, but it can easily be extended, whenever the
State shall think proper, by means of the system of pecuniary aid; in
1834, the sum distributed among these seminaries was 12,500 dollars.
The number of pupils in the Academies was a little more than 5,000, or
two and a half pupils out of each thousand souls. In France, there were
80,000 pupils in the colleges, which is the same ratio to the whole
population. It would appear from this comparison, that in the United
States, where the advantages of elementary instruction are universally
realised, the desire for a higher degree of instruction is less general
than with us, for the number of families that can afford to pay is
proportionably much greater in the United States than in France. Thus
in regard to a higher education, we recover, in some measure, the
superiority, which the Americans, at least in New York, have over us in
respect to elementary education.

The same spirit of unity and centralisation has dictated a general
regulation of a singular character in respect to the banks, which may
prove to be of great value in practice, and to which there is nothing
similar, either in the other States, or in any other country. The
Safety-Fund-Act establishes a bank fund appropriated to making good
any losses incurred by the failure of any of the banks. Each bank is
required to pay annually to the State treasurer, a sum equal to one
half of one per cent. on its capital, until it shall have so paid in
the sum of three per cent. on the capital stock. Whenever the bank
fund is reduced by paying the debts of an insolvent bank, it must be
restored to the proper amount by the same process. The banks, together
with the fund, are under the supervision of three Commissioners, one
of whom is appointed by the Governor, and the two others by the banks.
The Commissioners visit each bank at least once in four months, examine
into its operations, and satisfy themselves that it has conformed
itself to the provisions of its charter. They are beside required to
make a particular examination of any bank on the demand of three other
banks, and in case of detecting any violation of the charter, to apply
to the court of chancery for an injunction against it.

This law contains several sections designed to aid the Commissioners in
the execution of their duties, and to prevent their being imposed on by
the banks; it gives them the right to inspect the books, and to examine
the officers of the bank under oath. The salary of the Commissioners is
2,000 dollars, which is paid out of the bank fund. Any bank director
or officer who shall make false returns to the legislature, or false
entries in the books, or exhibit false papers with intent to deceive
the Commissioners, is subject to imprisonment for not less than three
nor more than ten years. Every bank subject to this act may receive
legal interest on loan and discounts; but on notes which shall be
mature in sixty-three days from the time of discount, it shall receive
only six per cent. per annum. It is further provided that the issues or
circulation of any bank shall not exceed twice its capital stock, and
that its loans and discounts shall never exceed twice and a half that
amount; but this provision has not hitherto been rigidly observed.

The number of banks in the State is eighty-seven, of which only
seventy-seven are subject to the provisions of the Safety-Fund-Act,
the others having been established before the date of the act. But as
all will be obliged to renew their charters within ten years, with the
exception of the Manhattan bank alone, which has a perpetual charter,
they will all, with one exception, be brought under the act. The
aggregate of the bank capital in the State is 31,280,000 dollars; the
bank fund amounts to above 538,000 dollars. The annual amount of the
loans and discounts of the banks is estimated at about 300 millions,
exclusive of the operations of the three branches of the United States
Bank; that of the banks of the city of New York alone, is about 180
million, or twice as much as that of the Bank of France.

Nothing, however, has contributed so much to give New York its
_imperial_ reputation, as the energy it has displayed in canalling its
territory. All the resources of the State were devoted to this object;
all the energies of its citizens were bent for eight years on the
accomplishment of this great work. In spite of the worst predictions
and earnest remonstrances of some of the most respected men in the
Union, the confidence of this young State never faltered for a moment.
Complete success attended its efforts; the great canal, begun in 1817,
was finished in 1825. The State has since executed a great number of
canals, at an expense of above twelve millions, the greater part of
which has been raised by loan. Several others are still in progress.

The Erie canal, the most important of these works, is simple in
construction, not very deep nor very wide. But if it is not peculiarly
interesting as an object of art, it is an object of admiration
considered as a great commercial artery. From our canals, which are
navigated by heavy and clumsy boats slowly and painfully dragged
forward by a man, you can get no idea of this great channel, with its
fleet of light, elegant, covered barks gliding along at a rapid rate,
and drawn by a powerful team. Every minute boats are passing each
other, and the boatman's horn warns the lock-master to be in readiness.
Each moment, the landscape varies; now you pass a river by an aqueduct,
now you traverse large new towns, fine as capitals, with all their
houses having pillared porticoes and looking externally like little
palaces; it is an admirable spectacle of life and variety. The amount
of property annually transported on the Erie Canal is 430,000 tons, on
the Champlain canal, 307,000 tons, at very moderate rates of toll. The
annual amount of tolls is 1,500,000 dollars; that on the French canals
and rivers is only 900,000 dollars.

In 1817, when it began the great canal, the State of New York contained
1,250,000 inhabitants, scattered over a surface about one fourth as
large as France. Whilst in Europe, grave publicists were discussing
the question, whether a State should undertake the execution of public
works, and the most powerful governments were listening scrupulously
to the debate, in order to determine whether they had the right to
enrich their subjects by productive enterprises,--the same governments
who never doubted their right to waste millions of men and treasure
in devastating Europe,--the modest authorities of this miniature
empire solved the question, without dreaming that it could embarrass
great potentates in other quarters. The State of New York undertook
the execution of public works, and has found its advantage in them;
after having executed them, it has managed them itself on its own
account, and found even greater advantages in this. The income from the
canals, with the aid of some slight additions, has been sufficient to
sink nearly half the debt contracted in their construction. Thus the
brilliant success of the Erie canal, became the signal for the greatest
undertakings of a similar character by the other States. Pennsylvania,
Ohio, Maryland, Virginia, and Indiana have followed the example of New
York, and have undertaken to open routes of communication of every
kind, through their territories, at their own expense, even at the risk
of incurring the reproaches of the timid economists of Europe.

New York has carried her interference in public works still further;
in all the charters for railroad companies, the State reserves to
itself the right of acquiring the property of the railroad, after the
expiration of ten years, and on certain conditions named in the act of
incorporation, which are truly liberal on the part of the State; they
stipulate the re-payment of the first cost and the sums expended in
repairs, and the supply of any deficiency in the dividends below ten
per cent.[DM]

Thus the State of New York, in its imperial humour, has laid hands
on public instruction, banks, and the means of communication, with
the purpose of centralising them; the design is already effected in
respect to public works; it is not yet fully accomplished in regard
to the schools and the banks; but its fulfilment approaches gradually
and surely. As I have already said, the spirit of centralisation has
penetrated more deeply into the administration of the State, than into
the acts of the legislature; a guarantee, that the laws of unity will
not remain paper rules.

The lessons of New York have turned to the profit of its neighbours;
like it, they also begin the work of centralisation, in embracing
schools, banks, and public works within the action of the State. They
see, by its example, that the spirit of individual enterprise does not
suffer, when the government subjects to its control and its authority
these three great springs of national prosperity, and even when it
sets them in action on its own account; for nowhere is the spirit of
enterprise more vigourous and clear-sighted than in New York. In spite
of the Safety-Fund-Act, there are nowhere more numerous applications
for the incorporation of banking companies. Notwithstanding the school
laws, nowhere do institutions of education increase more rapidly.
Nowhere are there more railroads in progress. The State contains 80
miles of canal and 100 of railroads, constructed by companies; from
150 to 200 miles of railroad are now in process of construction, and a
company has been organised for constructing a railroad from the Hudson
to Lake Erie through the southern counties, a distance of 350 miles.

It would be too much to suppose that a country like France, where
so much value is set on the principles of unity and centralisation,
would be less courageous than these little republics, born under the
influence of the individual principle, and that we should any longer
delay to take an _imperial_ course in regard to institutions of credit,
public works, and industrial education. The object to be accomplished
is not merely to increase the wealth of the country. But there are
other and more elevated motives to induce modern governments to take
part in such institutions, and thus to extend their control over the
interests and operations of industry.

The progress of civilisation, considered with reference to the
individual, consists in this; that each becomes more and more suited to
bear the weight of his individuality. Social order, being thus supplied
with stronger individual guarantees, seems to require less and less
of legal and public ones; but in this matter, there is an important
distinction to be kept in view. Civilisation gradually strips man of
the grosser habits and the brutal propensities of savage life. There
are many prohibitions and commands in the Deuteronomy, which in our day
would be perfectly superfluous. Mankind hardly has further need to be
taught: _Thou shalt not kill_. The lictor and the headsman are losing
their social importance; the constable, the sheriff, and the gaoler
are, it is to be hoped, on the eve of taking their places every where.
Public order has begun, and will continue more and more, to dispense
with the use of the sword; and thus individual reason substitutes its
voluntary sanction for the imperative sanction of political power and
the force of arms.

The human understanding is expanded and enlightened by cultivation;
the heart is elevated and purified; yet the elementary passions are
the same. They are combined under different forms, and are turned to
different objects; but if they are moderated, it is only in outward
appearances; if they are polished, it is only on the surface; within
all is as rough and fierce as ever.[DN] In politics, particularly,
jealousy and ambition exist in the same degree amongst us as they
did amongst the Greeks and Romans; they no longer wield the dagger
or administer the poison, they do not even employ an assassin or a
Locusta; but they are neither less unjust, nor less insatiable, nor
less bitter than in ancient times; they do not stab the body, but they
wound the honour; slander takes the place of the stiletto, and serves
them as well as the juices of venomous plants; civilisation furnishes
them a thousand new means of assuaging their thirst. I do not believe
that Sylla and Marius, Cæsar and Pompey, hated each other more
cordially than General Jackson, President of the United States, and Mr
Biddle, president of the United States' Bank. If one were to search out
the types of Cain and Abel among modern statesmen, the list would be of
frightful length.

To that force of dissolution, which increases instead of diminishing,
in proportion to the increasing number of individuals admitted to
a share of political influence, it is necessary to oppose cohesive
elements of equal activity and intensity. It is for this reason that
in the future, as well as in the past, the existence of society
involves that of religion. Even did not religion touch the tenderest
cords and stir the liveliest sensibilities of the human heart; if it
did not offer to the imagination a vast field in which to wander in
safety; even if it were not indispensable to peace of conscience and to
domestic tranquillity, it would be impossible to get along without it,
for it has also a political necessity. It has been rightly said, that
if there were no God, it would be necessary to feign one.

A single institution, however, would not suffice to regulate and govern
the passions at all times and in all places, unless it were to follow
men in all their movements, control them in all their acts, bind them
hands and feet, or, in a word, unless it were despotic, after the image
of the old theocracies. It is not, then, to be hoped, that, in our free
countries, religion alone can counterbalance human passions and confine
them within the limits, in which they subserve the progress of society;
or at least, if it can do this in one of the social hemispheres, the
family, it will always be insufficient in the other, the state. For
this reason, the Middle Ages established a salutary principle, when
they separated the temporal power from the spiritual authority, and
gave strength and independence to each. From that time, all efforts to
confound these two powers, or, which amounts to the same thing, to
dispense with one of them, have been completely unsuccessful; they have
generally resulted in establishing a tyranny.[DO]

A temporal authority, armed with ample prerogatives, is, then,
indispensable at the present day, even in behalf of liberty itself.
On the other hand it is impossible to deny that the tendency of
civilisation is to strip the throne of its ancient attributes, either
in whole or in part. On this head, our age has taken a decided stand.
The resistance of kings to the efforts of those who have assailed the
throne, has served to exasperate the latter to such a pitch, that a
party,--that of the republicans,--has been formed, the sole object
of which is the complete and radical abolition of monarchy, and the
singular doctrine of the inutility and even the danger of all power has
found numerous and warm adherents.

The people are right to desire the kings to lay down or to curtail
their old prerogatives; the governments, that are the heirs of
conquest, ought to abdicate whatever there is of violence and brutality
in their authority. It would be premature to assert that universal
peace is about to dawn on the earth; it is not so to affirm that war
is henceforth to be a secondary and accidental matter in the history
of nations. Industry, that is to say, the art of creating wealth,
multiplying the means of happiness, and adorning the globe, the
residence of the human family, will henceforth take precedence of the
art of slaying and wasting. The sword is ceasing to be the highest
emblem of power. But kings are right, in their turn, to prevent their
power being reduced to an empty shadow. Independently of all individual
ambition, from the lofty height on which they are placed, they see that
the preservation of the order of society demands the presence of a
power worthy of the name. And what proves the justness of their view is
the fact, that men of all parties who have taken part in the government
during our revolutionary crisis, have all agreed in this point whatever
may have been their former opinions; it is the only point on which they
have been unanimous.

The truth is, that while we are taking from governments, we must
also be giving to them. War is no longer the principal object of the
activity of nations; the employment of brute force becomes less and
less necessary to the preservation of society; let us then gradually
reduce, with a firm hand, those prerogatives of power which give it an
exclusively warlike character, and which leave our lives and liberties
at the discretion of its armed creatures! Since industry is occupying
a wider and wider space in the existence of the individual and the
nation, let us cause it to enter more and more completely into the
sphere of government, by including in the attributes of government
its three springs, banks, means of communication, and schools; on
condition, be it understood, that government shall use the new powers
with which it shall be thus invested, for the general good.

The banks, means of communication, and schools are instruments of
governments, which it would be unwise to leave wholly out of the
influence of the public authority, but which there could be no harm
in partially incorporating with it, in such a manner as not to stifle
the spirit of individual enterprise. The public authority would then
exercise its functions conformably with the tendencies of the national
character, and would preside over the most important events of the
national life; it would then really deserve the name of government; it
would possess a new means of coercion and restraint, which is the only
one compatible with the progress of the spirit of liberty. Instead of
having a hold on the body and blood of the subject, it would have a
hold on his industry and his purse. A new degree of inviolability would
thus be secured to the individual, without the social order losing
its needful guarantees. By this means in fine the political advent of
industry would be accomplished. Instead of being a cause of agitation
and change, once sure of its rank and secure in its seat, industry
would act an important conservative part in society.

Every thing is now ripe for this political transfiguration. Forty
years ago, the people looked for their own elevation in the overthrow
of the old order of things. Hatred has now ceased to be their chief
counsellor; the thirst for destruction is cooled; they think less of
shaking off the yoke of tyrants, more of freeing themselves from the
burdens of ignorance and poverty. The road to liberty which would now
be preferred in Europe, passes through competency, education, and
industry. Those who were once the temporal and spiritual heads of the
people would soon regain their lost rank, if calming the fears with
which the curses uttered against the last of kings and the last of
priests had filled them, they knew how to put themselves at the head
of such a march; for the people could follow them with joy. By what
fatality is it, that they still doubt and hesitate?

I know not if I deceive myself, but it seems to me, that, in this
matter, the example must come from France. Not that she has greater
sums in her treasury; not that she counts more soldiers under her
flag, more ships in her ports, more cannon in her fortresses, but that
she has the most sagacious intellect, and the noblest heart; that the
world is accustomed to receive the watchword from her. London, with
its thousands of ships, might be burnt to the ground, and the rest of
the world would be no otherwise affected by the event, than as by a
lamentable disaster which has befallen a foreigner; the recoil of a
mere riot in Paris is felt to the ends of the world. The revolution
of July gave birth to Parliamentary Reform; the Reform bill would
never have brought forth July. It is because France is the heart of
the world; the affairs of France interest all; the cause which she
espouses is not that of a selfish ambition, but that of civilisation.
When France speaks, she is listened to, because she speaks not her
own feelings merely, but those of the human race. When she acts, her
example is followed, because she does what all desire to do.

France was the first on the European continent to enthrone liberty;
it is for her to re-seat the principle of authority, for the fulness
of its time is come. She protected the people when protection was
necessary; it is now for her to protect kings; not by the edge of the
sword, although she must not break her own, which has done so much for
civilisation (for that would be sacrilege), but by the wisdom and the
moral superiority of her new principles of government, by the creative
power of the new attributes with which she invests authority.

FOOTNOTES:

[DM] Several States have reserved to themselves a similar right, but
generally on less liberal conditions. Massachusetts, however, has
adopted the same, extending the term of possession by the company to
twenty years. New Jersey has stipulated that it shall have the right of
acquiring the property of several works, at a price not exceeding their
first cost.

[DN] Mde. de Stael exclaims; "Strange destiny of mankind, condemned
ever to retrace the same circle by the passions, whilst it is ever
advancing in the career of thought!"

[DO] I have already said, that when the Puritans landed in New England
they wished above all things to found a religious society. They
organised themselves by the laws of Moses. Political society did not
exist in fact, although there was a nominal governor to represent the
temporal authority, or was swallowed up in the church; the town was
merged in the congregation. Thus in a short time, their government came
to resemble that of the Jesuits in Paraguay, with only this difference,
that each one here had his share in the tyranny. The Blue Laws of
Connecticut are a monument of this state of things, in which the common
acts of life were subjected to the most vexatious restrictions. The
New Englanders were soon obliged to renounce their Mosaic system of
government, and without perfectly separating politics from religion,
they gave to each of the two powers an independent existence. They
did not establish the political power firmly beyond the town; but the
municipal constitution was solid and firm, sometimes even to excess,
for the very reason that it started from the religious organisation.



LETTER XXX.

SYMPTOMS OF REVOLUTION.


                                 BALTIMORE, SEPTEMBER 25, 1835.

Two years ago Mr Clay began a speech in the Senate, with these words,
which have become celebrated on this side of the Atlantic: "We are
in the midst of a revolution." It was at the time, when by an act of
authority before unheard of in American history, General Jackson had
just settled the bank question, which his friends in Congress and even
his own ministers had refused to decide. These words have often been
repeated by others. More recently, since the scenes of murder, outrage,
and destruction which have been exhibited through the United States,
both in the slave-holding States, and in those in which slavery does
not exist, in the country as well as in the towns, at Boston, the
republican city _par excellence_, as as well as at Baltimore, for which
the bloody excesses of which it was the theatre in 1812, have gained
the title of the _Mob Town_, good citizens have repeated with grief;
"We are in the midst of a revolution."

It must be granted to the honour of the English race, that it is,
more deeply than any other, imbued with a feeling of reverence for
the law. Until lately, the Americans have shown themselves in this
respect, as well as in others, to be double-distilled Englishmen.
There are nations, who conceive of law under a living form, that is,
only so far as it is personified in a man. They know how to obey a
leader, but they cannot learn to respect a dead letter. With them the
glory and prosperity of a State depend little on the character of the
laws, but much on that of the men who are their organs. In their view,
the empire rises and falls by turns, according as the sovereign,
whatever may be his title, is a superior man or an ordinary personage.
Such appears to be, in general, the character of the Asiatics. The
Englishman is formed in a different mould; he willingly bows to the
authority of a text; but he stoops to man with reluctance. He does not
need that obedience to law should be inculcated by the voice of man, he
obeys it without an effort and by instinct. In a word the Englishman
has in himself the principle of self-government. This fact accounts for
the success of his political system in the United States, where the
native character of the English race is fairly developed.

Unfortunately the reverence for the laws seems to be wearing out with
the Americans. This people, eminently practical in every thing else,
have allowed themselves to be pushed into the excess of theory in
politics, and have here taken up the _quand même_ logic; they have
shrunk from none of the consequences of popular sovereignty, at least
while those consequences were flattering to their pride; as if there
were a single principle in the world, not excepting Christian charity
itself, which could be carried to its extreme logical consequences
without resulting in absolute absurdity. They have, therefore, been
driven in the United States to deny that there is any principle true in
and by itself, and to assert that the will of the people is, always and
necessarily, justice; the infallibility of the people in every thing
and at all times, has, in fact, become the received doctrine, and thus
a door has been opened to the tyranny of a turbulent minority, which
always calls itself the people.[DP]

The appearance of this miscalled popular justice, administered by
the hands of a few desperate or furious men, who call themselves the
successors of the Boston _Tea Party_ of 1773, is a great calamity
in the bosom of a country, where there is no other guarantee of the
public peace than a reverence of the laws, and where the legislator,
taking for granted the prevalence of order, has made no provisions
against disorder. This popular justice has the greater condemnation
of being for the most part grossly unjust. Most of the men who have
been atrociously hanged, or flogged, or tortured in twenty other ways
in the South,[DQ] as abolitionists, that is as guilty of instigating
the slaves to rise against their masters, were, according to all
appearances, merely guilty of having expressed their abhorrence of
slavery with too little caution. It is even doubtful whether the
pretended plots, for being engaged in which whites and blacks have
been summarily executed, had a real existence. At least no proof of
their reality has yet been brought forward, which would be admitted
by a court of justice. During the outrages last month at Baltimore,
which were continued for four days, this self-styled justice was most
stupidly unjust. The mob gave out that it wished to punish those knaves
who had shamefully abused the credulity of the poor in the affair of
the Bank of Maryland. It is a matter of public notoriety, that the
bankruptcy of the bank was fraudulent; that just before it stopped
payment, it had offered a high rate of interest on deposits of any
amount, in order to attract to its counter the savings of the labouring
classes; but it was also a matter of notoriety, that the criminal acts
of the bank were wholly the work of one Evan Poultney, who alone was,
in fact, the bank. Instead of going to take vengeance for the ruin of
the artisan, the widow, and the orphan, on the author of it, the mob
went to call to account the bankruptcy commissioners, appointed by the
court. It was not till the third day that it bethought itself to make
a visit to Poultney, who, without being at all disconcerted, began
to cry out that he was a sinner, that he had been guilty of wronging
his neighbour. He beat his breast in sign of repentance, and in a
puritanical slang accused himself more loudly than the rioters had
done. Blinded, like Orgon, by so much sanctity, they excused themselves
to Tartufe like him, carefully swept the hall and the marble door-steps
which they had soiled, and hastened to sack the house of the mayor,
because a small detachment of militia, spontaneously assembled, had
fired upon them in self-defence, after having stood patient for some
time under a shower of stones.

These disorders are alarming from their general prevalence, and from
their frequent repetitions, and they are the more so, the less their
importance is realised. They meet with few voices to condemn them, but
they find many to excuse them. One of the defects of democracy is that
it is forgetful of the past, and careless of the future. A riot, which
in France would put a stop to business, prevents no one here from going
to the Exchange, speculating, turning over the dollars, and making
money. On meeting in the morning, each one asks and tells the news;
here a negro has been hanged, there a white man has been flogged; at
Philadelphia, ten houses have been demolished; at Buffalo, at Utica,
some people of colour have been scourged. Then they go on to the price
of cotton and coffee, the arrivals of flour, lumber, and tobacco, and
become absorbed in calculations the rest of the day. I am surprised to
see how dead the word equality falls, when a good citizen pronounces
it; the reign of law seems to be at an end; we have fallen under that
of expediency. Farewell to justice, farewell to the great principles of
1776 and 1789! All hail to the interest of the moment, interpreted by
nobody knows who, for the success of some petty intrigue of politics or
business!

Five men, five white men, have been hanged at Vicksburg in Mississippi,
without even the form of a trial; they were gamblers, you are told, the
scourge of the country. The _most respectable_ citizens of Vicksburg
assisted in their execution. But the law which guaranties to all your
fellow-citizens the trial by a jury of peers; but that old Saxon
justice of which you boast! What is become of them? No tribunal would
have been able to rid us of the rogues; morality and religion condemn
them, and their decree, for want of others, we have executed; it was
necessary. _Expediency!_ In Virginia, travellers from the Northern
States, on the slightest pretences, for some tavern gossip, or some
conversation in the coach, have been dragged before the self-styled
_Committees of Vigilance_, beaten, tarred, and feathered. Others,
whose crime consisted in inadvertently having in their pocket, some
papers which the slave-holder has been pleased to pronounce abolition
writings, have been seized by these fanatics, and hanged as emissaries
of insurrection. What is become of that article of the constitution,
which secures to the citizens of each State the protection of the
laws in every other State? If we were to insist on these points, we
should endanger our union with the South. _Expediency!_ Merchants of
New York! The planters of one of the parishes of Louisiana have set a
price on the head of one of your number, because, as they say, he is
an abolitionist, an amalgamator. Will not your national sensibility,
so lively in regard to France, be touched by this act of audacity? Our
commerce with the South constitutes half the prosperity of New York.
_Expediency!_ Men of New England! Citizens of the cradle of American
liberty! Sons of the pilgrims, self-exiled first to Holland, and then
to the sandy shores of Massachusetts, rather than bow their opinions to
the will of the Stuarts! You, so proud of your liberties, how can you
abandon the dearest of all, the liberty of the press, to the hands of a
postmaster? Always the same reply: _Expediency!_

It would seem as if political principles no longer existed in the
United States but at the pleasure of the passions, and the laws had no
force when they jarred with interest. When a State feels itself injured
by a tariff, it declares the law null and void, arms its militia, buys
powder and throws down the glove to Congress. When another State,
as Ohio, is dissatisfied with the boundary line assigned to it, it
declares war against Michigan, its neighbour, in order to extend its
frontiers by force. When the fanatics of Massachusetts, in their savage
intolerance, feel offended by the presence of a Catholic convent, in
which the sisters devote themselves to the work of educating young
girls without distinction of sect, they plunder it and set it on
fire, and the sacred edifice is burnt, in sight of a city with 70,000
inhabitants, without a drop of water being thrown upon the flames,
and without its being possible to find a jury that would convict the
authors of the cowardly outrage. When a Governor of Georgia[DR] comes
into collision with an upright magistrate, who interposes his authority
between the rapacity of the whites and the poor Indian whom they are
impatient to rob, he denounces the just judge to the legislature, and
urges the passing of a law that will make him a State criminal. And, I
repeat it, the worst and most fatal symptom of the times is, that the
perpetration of these outrages, however frequent they become, excites
no sensation. The destruction of the churches and school-houses of
the blacks in New York was looked upon as a show, and the merchants
of the city as they passed, paused to take a moment's relaxation from
the sight; the fall of the buildings was greeted with loud cheers. In
Baltimore, a numerous crowd applauded the work of demolition without
inquiring whose house was pulled down, and the women, in the excitement
of the moment, waved their handkerchiefs in the air.

Another symptom still more alarming! Civil courage, the virtue of the
Hampdens, the glory of the English race, which shone with so pure a
lustre in the United States whilst the authors of their independence
survived, seems to be for a time extinct; I say for a time, for there
is a stock of energy in the American character, which cannot fail some
time or another to revive and put forth its strength anew. The press,
which with a few honourable exceptions, does not possess and does not
merit, in the United States, the consideration which it enjoys in
France; the press, which is here so outrageously violent and brutal
in its treatment of members of Congress belonging to the opposite
party, is, on the other hand, more cautious and reserved in regard to
the multitude. The American press is free in so far as it gives no
bonds and pays no stamp duty, but it is dependent on a capricious,
despotic, and not very enlightened public opinion, which requires it to
flatter the passion of the hour, and does not look to it for lessons
of morality. The public opinion of the democracy is a master who is
easily offended, and who quickly shows his displeasure. The American
journalist is well aware that for the slightest display of boldness
he will be deserted; and since the late events, this is not his only
fear, for he knows that if his enemies should choose to brand him
as an abolitionist, for example, it would be easy to raise a mob of
vagabonds, who would pillage and pull down his house, tar and feather
his person, and drive him from home without any interference by the
public authorities.[DS] He is therefore exceedingly circumspect. In
a word, the _reign of terrour_ is begun in the United States. Men of
courage and devotion to the cause of law have no rallying point in
the press; and even when the public authority would be disposed to
support them, it proves insufficient, either through fear, or concern
for party interests, or want of physical force. To the small number of
good citizens in whom the state of the country excites the liveliest
alarm, there appears to be no resource left, but that of organising
themselves in patriotic societies, forming themselves into military
companies, of creating, in fine, a national guard, under the form which
the laws and national customs would sanction. They feel that this step
is necessary, but they hesitate, because they fear to kindle a civil
war. The Baltimoreans, however, seem determined to make the trial.[DT]
It has also been proposed to make the towns responsible by law for
the damages committed within their limits. Such a law, if it did not
have the effect wholly to prevent the disorders, for the taxes here are
mostly paid by the rich, would at least have the merit of repairing the
losses suffered by means of them.

The present generation in the United States, brought up in devotion
to business, living in an atmosphere of interest, if it is superiour
to the last generation in commercial intelligence and industrial
enterprise, is inferior to it in civil courage and love of the public
good. Deplorable fact! When Baltimore was not long since given up to
the genius of destruction four whole days, when the protection of
the city had been vainly transferred from the mayor to the sheriff,
and from the sheriff to the commanding officer of the militia, when
the prisons had been forced, and the spirit of order began at last
to revive, not a man was found in this city of 100,000 souls to
put himself at the head of the movement. When the most respectable
citizens, and those most deeply interested in the restoration of the
public tranquillity held a meeting in the Exchange, the mountain in
labour brought forth only a long series of whereases on the advantage
of public order, and a string of wordy resolutions which resolved
nothing. Nothing, shameful to relate, but the presence of a veteran
relic of the Revolution with the weight of eighty-four years on his
head, who had retired from Congress to end his long career in repose,
but who felt his blood boil in his veins and mantle in his cheeks at
the spectacle before him,--nothing but his presence gave courage to
this assembly of men in the vigour of life, who were letting their
city fall a prey to a handful of drunkards and depraved boys. The
indignant old man, started up and interrupted the reading of the
resolutions; "Damn your resolutions!" cried he; "give me a sword
and thirty men, and I will restore order!" "What! General Smith,"
said one of these irresolute makers of resolutions, "would you fire
upon your fellow citizens?" "Those who break the laws, drive their
neighbour from his house, plunder his property and reduce his wife and
children to beggary," answered Gen. Smith, "such fellows are not my
fellow-citizens." These words, which expressed the thoughts of all, but
which no one dared utter, were received with a thunder of applause. The
aged senator was named commander of the military force by acclamation,
and a few days after was chosen mayor. Since that time Baltimore has
been quiet. But when we reflect that order has been restored in a
large and flourishing city, only because there happened to be present
a veteran whom death had spared, and who had energy enough, with one
foot in the grave, to come forward and teach his fellow citizens, by
example, the lessons of the golden age of American liberty, are we not
forced to exclaim with Mr Clay; "We are in the midst of a revolution."

Mr Clay is no false prophet; for the events that have succeeded each
other since he uttered these words, announce that a crisis is at hand.
The American system no longer works well. In the North, the removal
of all restrictions on the right of suffrage, without the creation
of any counterpoise, has destroyed the equilibrium. In the South,
the old foundation borrowed from the ante-Christian ages, on which
it has been attempted to raise the superstructure of a new social
order in the nineteenth century, shakes and threatens to bury the
thoughtless builders under the ruins of their half-finished work.
In the West, a population sprung from the soil under the influence
of circumstances unparallelled in the history of the world, already
affects a superiority, or rather lays claim to dominion, over the
North and South. Everywhere, the relations established by the old
federal compact, become unsuited to the new state of things. The
dissolution of the Union, the mere thought of which would have caused a
shudder of horrour, ten years ago, which was numbered among those acts
of infamy that are not to be named,--the dissolution of the Union has
been demanded, and no thunder fell upon the head of the perpetrator of
the sacrilege. At present it is a common topic of conversation. The
dissolution of the Union, if it should take place, would be the most
complete of all revolutions.

What will be the character of this revolution, which is felt to be
approaching? To what institutions will it give birth? Who must perish
in the day of account? Who will rise on the storm? Who will resist the
action of ages? I have not the gift of prophecy, and I shall not try
to pierce the mystery of the destinies of the New World. But I have a
firm faith, that a people with the energy and intelligence which the
Americans possess; a people which has like it the genius of industry,
which combines perseverance with the resources of ingenuity, which
is essentially regular in its habits and orderly in its disposition,
which is deeply imbued with religious habits; even when a lively faith
is wanting, such a people cannot be born of yesterday to vanish on
the morrow. The American people, in spite of its original defects, in
spite of the numerous voids which a hasty growth and a superficial
education have left in its ideas, feelings, and customs, is still a
great and powerful people. For such nations, the most violent storms
are wholesome trials which strengthen, solemn warnings which teach,
elevate, and purify them.

FOOTNOTES:

[DP] It has been observed, that the disorders are always committed by
a handful of men followed by a train of a mischievous boys. It is rare
that more than one hundred persons take part in the acts of violence,
and often not half that number is engaged in them.

[DQ] A Virginia newspaper relates that an abolitionist, having fallen
into the hands of a Committee of Vigilance, was stript naked, and
stretched at his length on his face, when a cat was several times
dragged across his bare back by the ruffians. A New York Journal
repeats the statement with no other comment than some witticism.

[DR] Gov. Lumpkin.

[DS] An editor of a newspaper was lately driven from Boston by a mob,
on account of his abolition principles, and not long since another was
subjected to the same ostracism in New Orleans for having offended a
militia company by his remarks.

[DT] The question of an armed police has for some time attracted
the attention of enlightened individuals in the United States; the
constable's staff and the _posse comitatus_ of the sheriff are no
longer sufficient to maintain order and keep the peace. Independently
of political difficulties, however, economical considerations stand in
the way of the project. Virginia, for example, has nearly two-fifths of
the superficial area of France. An armed police of one thousand men,
which would be inconsiderable for that extent of country, would cost
her about 800,000 dollars a year, a sum, say the calculators, which
would more than pay the interest of a loan that would enable us to
construct a canal or a railroad from Richmond to the Ohio. So the canal
is made, and the armed police put off for another day. Meanwhile if
some travellers from the North are hanged or flogged as abolitionists
by the slaveholders, in a moment of excitement, the affair is regretted
at first, but it is thought to be more important to have a canal or
railroad which shall make Richmond the rival of New York, than to save
two or three _fanatics_ from the lash or the halter. This system is
deplorable. But I know not that we have a right to denounce it, for we
must confess, that something analogous prevails amongst us. We demand
money without hesitation for war, for organising and keeping up a large
military force, for filling our arsenals with cannon; but how difficult
is it to procure any for useful enterprises, roads, canals, railroads,
schools, penitentiaries, to which the United States devote almost all
their resources?



LETTER XXXI.

THE MIDDLE CLASSES.


                                       BALTIMORE, OCT. 8, 1835.

American society is composed of quite different elements, from those of
which European society in general, and French society in particular,
consists. On analysing the latter, we find, in the first place, the
shadow of an aristocracy, comprising the wrecks of the great families
of the old order that have been saved from the revolutionary storm,
and the descendants of the Imperial nobility, who seem to be already
separated from their fathers by the distance of ages.

Next below this is a numerous body of the Middle Classes
(_bourgeoisie_), consisting of two distinct sets; the one, the active
class, is engaged in commerce, manufactures, agriculture, and the
liberal professions; the other, generally designated amongst us as
the _bourgeoisie oisive_, consists of men without active employment,
landholders who derive an income of 500 or 1500 dollars from their
estates, by rents or sharing the produce with the cultivator, without
attempting to increase it, and the small body of holders of public
stock.

These two divisions of the Middle Class differ essentially from each
other, the one labouring, the other only consuming and enjoying what
they have. The one increases its means, and consequently is able
to keep itself above the waves, and maintain, if not to raise, its
level; the other, as M. Lafitte has said, successively transported
by time into one stage of society after another, in each of which
large additions are made to the general wealth, finds itself growing
relatively poorer, and must decrease in numbers. They differ no less
in their origin; the one belongs essentially to the commons; the other
has some pretensions to nobility, it is the offspring, or at least the
heir and successor of the country-gentry. During the period of the
Restoration, they differed also in their political views; the members
of the one class for the most part took the left side, those of the
other preferred the right side. At present, the former accepts the new
dynasty without reluctance; the latter, more difficult to be satisfied
in regard to the preservation of order, and ready to take alarm at
every violation of old established privileges, still preserves a secret
preference for the legitimate line. In respect to religious sentiments,
the latter is sceptical, and prone to believe that the Voltairean
philosophy and the theories broached by the Opposition during the
fifteen years, are the _nec plus ultra_ of the human understanding;
the former, shaken in its faith, still keeps alive the sacred fire of
religious feeling, rejects the disorganising doctrines of the 18th
century, and holds in scorn the lucubrations of the liberal publicists
of the Restoration. The one piques itself on its adherence to the
positive, the material; the other concerns itself about the great
conservative principles of society, but refuses to recognise the new
interests, which must be allowed to share in the privileges of those of
the past.

These two sections of the Middle Class are not wholly and sharply
separated from each other; but they run into and across each other. A
large proportion partakes somewhat of both characters, and joins one
side or the other, according to times and circumstances. Yet, although
often confounded in the same individual, the two interests are,
nevertheless, substantially distinct from each other. The base of the
pyramid is occupied by the peasants and operatives, divided into two
sections; the one of which has become possessed of property, the other
has not yet reached that point but aspires after it with eagerness. On
one side, we have the mechanics and small proprietors; on the other,
the labourers. It is universally acknowledged that the Middle Class, at
present, rules in France. The aristocracy is driven from power or keeps
itself aloof. The mechanics and small proprietors hardly yet begin to
raise their heads. The labourers are nothing.

In the Northern States of the American Union, society is much less
complex in its composition, than in France. Exclusive of the coloured
caste, there are here only two classes; the middle class and the
democracy. Of the two conflicting interests, one only has a public
existence here; it is labour. The Middle Class consists of the
manufacturers, merchants, lawyers, physicians. A small number of
cultivators, and persons devoted to letters or the fine arts, is to be
added to these.

The democracy is composed of the farmers and mechanics. In general,
the cultivator is the owner of the soil; in the West, this rule is
without exceptions. Great landholders do not exist, at least as a
class, in the North and the Northwest. There is strictly speaking no
class of mere labourers; for although there are day-labourers, and
both in the cities and country many workmen without capital, yet these
are in fact apprentices, for the most part foreigners, who become
in turn proprietors and master-workmen, and not unfrequently rich
manufacturers, wealthy speculators.

Between these two classes there is, however, no line of demarcation,
for the attempts of some coteries to establish certain fashionable
distinctions do not deserve notice, or at least are only of a negative
value, as timid and often absurd protestations against the abuse of
equality. The two classes have the same domestic habits, and lead the
same life, and differ considerably only in respect of the sect to which
they are attached, and the pews they occupy. The relations which
exist at present between the wealthy _bourgeoisie_ and the wrecks of
the aristocracy in France, give an accurate notion of the relative
condition of the two classes of American Society.

Political influence is, at present, entirely in the hands of the
American democracy, as with us it is monopolised by the Middle Classes.
The latter have no chance of getting possession of power in the United
States, except temporarily, or by means of accidental divisions in
the democratic ranks, when they may rally to their standard a portion
of the farmers and mechanics, as happened in 1834, after General
Jackson's attack on the Bank. So in France, it will be impossible for
the aristocracy to raise, not its own banner (for it has none), but
that of the legitimate line, unless the folly of the government should
excite new troubles, and inspire the Middle Class, who now support it
heartily, with fears for the public security.

In the Southern States, the existence of slavery produces quite a
different state of society, from that of the North; half of the
population there consists of mere labourers in the strictest sense,
that is of slaves. Slavery necessarily requires great estates, which
in fact, form aristocracy. Great estates still continue to be held in
the South, notwithstanding the custom of equal partition has very much
narrowed them.

Between these two extremes in the South, an intermediate class has
sprung up, consisting, like our Middle Class, of the workingmen and
the men of leisure, the new interest and the old interest. Commerce,
manufactures, and the liberal professions, on one side; on the other,
the landholders, corresponding to our moderate country landholders,
living on their estates by the sweat of their slaves, having no taste
for work, not prepared for it by education, and even taking little
oversight of the daily business of the plantation; men who would be
incapable of applying themselves to any occupation if slavery were
abolished, just as our proprietors would be unable to get a living, if
they were to be deprived of their estates.

It is plain that the equal partition of estates must have tended to
increase the number of this class of men of leisure; it is numerous
in the old Southern States, Virginia, the Carolinas, and Georgia, and
also in Louisiana; the check which these States at first experienced
in their career, whilst the North was advancing without let, and the
contemporaneous increase of this class, are two correlative facts,
which account for each other. But we do not find this class in the
new States of the South. The new generation there, as in the North,
devoured with the passion of making money, has become as industrious
as the Yankees. The cultivation of cotton offers it a wide field of
activity; in Alabama and Mississippi, the cotton lands are sold at a
very low price. The internal slave-trade furnishes hands in abundance,
which are easily procured on credit when one has friends, but no
patrimony. The sons of the old Southern States, instead of vegetating
on a fragment of the paternal estate, with a handful of negroes, sell
off their property at home, extend their means by aid of a loan, which
they are sure of being able to repay promptly, and go to the Southwest,
to establish a a cotton-plantation, a sort of agricultural manufactory,
in which they are obliged to exercise more or less of the activity, and
to feel more or less of the hopes and fears of a manufacturer.

Thus the class which works little or not at all, is disappearing in the
United States. In the Western States, which are the true New World, it
no longer exists at all, in the North or in the South; you meet with no
one there who is not engaged in agriculture, commerce, manufactures,
the liberal professions, or the clerical office. The United States,
then, differ from us in having no aristocracy, no idle Middle Class, no
class of mere labourers, at the least in the North. But a distinction
should be made in regard to the absence of these three classes; for
while it may be admitted that the two last are absolutely becoming
extinct, it would be more correct to say that the first has not yet
begun to exist.

Civilisation, in its passage from one continent to the other, has,
then, got rid of two classes. This twofold disappearance is, however,
only a single phenomenon, or, at most, two phases of a single fact, the
industrial progress of mankind. It seems to me to be inevitable, that,
in this matter, the Old World should follow the example of the New; it
moves towards the same end under the influence of peculiar causes, and
it is irresistibly driven onward by what is commonly called the force
of events, that is, by the decree of providence.

There is a rule superior to all social conventions, codes of
legislation, or systems of jurisprudence; it is, that when a class has
ceased to take part in the workings of society, its doom is pronounced;
it cannot preserve its privileges, unless the march of civilisation
comes to a stand, and it is kept stationary, as it was in Rome from
Augustus to Constantine; but when the column again sets forward, those
who will not serve as soldiers, and are unfit to be officers, those who
can do duty neither in the ranks nor in command, who can act neither
in the tent nor the field, all these are abandoned as stragglers,
and their names are struck from the roll. The law is inflexible and
unsparing; no human power can rescue those whom it condemns from their
doom; they only can save themselves, by taking part in the general
movement.

This explains the annihilation of the aristocracy of the nobility in
France. Between it and royalty, as between royalty and the English
aristocracy, there was a long struggle, but the results were as
different as the characters of the nations. In France, monarchical
unity triumphed; Louis XI. struck down the aristocracy; Richelieu
muzzled it; Louis XIV. obliged it to wear the collar. Thus reduced in
a political point of view, it was left in possession of the field of
taste and art, which it devoted to the promotion of irreligion and
corruption of manners. When, therefore, it was weighed in 1789, it was
found wanting; the decree of destiny had gone forth, and the revolution
executed it with a cannibal ferocity. The unhappy aristocracy
remembered its lofty nature only at the point of death; it mounted the
scaffold with dignity.

For the same reason, the idle portion of the Middle Class tends towards
its fall, for it accomplishes no purpose, which cannot be effected
without it. It does not enrich society by its labour, although it lays
claim to be reckoned in the number of producers, under the pretext that
it holds the soil and exercises a sort of superintendence over its
cultivation. The truth is, that it is wholly ignorant of agriculture;
it has received by tradition a certain routine, but the peasantry is as
fully possessed of the tradition, and needs no teachers on that matter.
The proprietor is sometimes, indeed, paid in kind by the peasant, and
then sells the grain himself; but the peasant could easily attend to
that business, and would manage it quite as well as his landlord.
Neither does this class serve as the representative of knowledge;
for in this respect, its acquisitions are limited to a little polite
literature, an agreeable accomplishment surely, but not answering to
the wants and spirit of the age.

Where a nobility exists and maintains its prerogatives, as in England,
it performs a twofold office. In the first place, it devotes itself
to the most difficult of all arts, that of governing men, and in this
it excels; whether because it cultivates it by the traditions of
experience, or because it vigilantly recruits its ranks by enlisting
in them such men as have already proved their superiour knowledge of
the different interests of society. This reason cannot be urged by
our idle Middle Class as an argument for its preservation; for it is
notoriously ignorant of the science of government.

The second office of a nobility, not less essential than the first in
our polished age, is to serve as a pattern and example in the art of
living, to teach the art of consuming, without which that of producing
procures only partial and illusive gratification, and to encourage the
fine arts. On this head nothing can be said in favour of the class
alluded to. It excels neither in grace, nor elegance, nor address. The
importance which it has acquired by the destruction of the aristocracy,
has been fatal to the old French politeness, to that exquisite courtesy
on which our fathers prided themselves. Within the last fifty years,
whilst the English have been improving in this respect, much more
successfully than their stiff and unpliant humour seemed to promise, we
have forgotten much and unlearned much, under the controlling influence
of our Middle Class.

As for the art of consuming with grace and living well, and that care
of the person, the only fraction of which that they can be sensible
to, the English call comfort, our Middle Class has lessons to learn,
but none to give. It is not, however, the fault of nature; for no
people has received finer and acuter senses than ours. Surely, our
nerves are more sensitive, our ear and our palate more delicate than
those of the English. Our superiority on these points, is attested
by the fact, that, from one end of the world to the other, we are in
possession of most of the trades which relate to the person; the office
of cook, head-dresser, dancing-master, valet, or tailor, is everywhere
monopolised by the French. But to surround oneself with the English
comfort, and that more refined comfort which we can conceive of, one
must be rich. Now our Middle Class is poor, and politically considered
this is one of its greatest faults; it grows poorer daily, either by
the operation of the law which commands the equal partition of estates,
or of that idleness which condemns it to a stationary income, whilst
public wealth and luxury are increasing all around it. It cannot,
therefore, encourage the fine arts, for the patronage of the arts is
costly; besides taste is growing rare in France since the fall of the
aristocracy.

Nor can it be affirmed that the unemployed Middle Class in France
represents the element of order, and that if it were to disappear,
France itself would perish in frightful convulsions. For the labouring
class is already ripe for a better state of society, and requires only
the advantages of instruction, and of more favourable terms and more
numerous opportunities for industry, to be in a condition to exercise
all the rights of a citizen as usefully as the greater portion of the
Middle Class. And even if the latter represents in whole or in part
the element of order, it is only by the aid and the instrumentality
of four hundred thousand bayonets, exclusive of those of the Middle
Class itself, and thus it retains its predominance only by opposing the
multitude to the multitude; a critical and dangerous position, which
cannot long be held, for the very bayonets are beginning to become
intelligent.

The _bourgeoisie oisive_ has, then, only one course to take; that
is, to pass into the ranks of the working men, to fit themselves to
become the leaders of the people in its labours. When this is done,
our fields, which belong especially to their domain, will change their
aspect as if by enchantment, and our peasants, who, it cannot be too
often repeated, at present form the poorest and most numerous class in
France, will be raised to a better condition, of which they are worthy.
The idle Middle Class must now become with the government, to which the
first step in all great projects of improvement belong, responsible
for the progress of twentyfive millions of agricultural labourers.

In this change it has every thing to gain itself. By this means it will
maintain and confirm its own social rank, for it will thus recover the
confidence of the multitude, and will turn its superiority to a good
account by exercising a beneficent patronage towards its inferiors. It
will exchange a straitened condition for competency or even wealth,
and the tedium of a life of inaction for the satisfaction of having
done well, the consciousness of having faithfully performed a great
duty. This honourable desertion of the standard of idleness for that
of industry is now going forward daily. Let us rejoice at it: let
us pray that it may speedily become universal. Let us especially
urge government to accelerate it, by encouraging the development of
industry, by all the means and aids that can improve the condition
and resources of agriculture, and inspire the young generation with a
desire to devote themselves to this first of arts.



LETTER XXXII.

ARISTOCRACY.


                                   PHILADELPHIA, OCT. 13, 1835.

No great society can be durable, except in so far as authority is
established in it. We may easily imagine a case, however, in which the
authority may be temporarily thrown into the shade; when a great nation
is in search of political and social forms suited to its wants, when
it is obliged to pass from trial to trial, to feel its way, and turn
itself successively to different points; when, beside, its separation
from the rest of the world guaranties its independence, and frees it
from the necessity of organising itself under the apprehension of
assaults from abroad, it is then permitted, it is even necessary, that
it should provide for the greatest possible freedom of motion, and that
it should cast off all unnecessary and unprofitable restraints. But
then a society without a fixed order and political ties, is an anomaly,
a passing phenomenon. The social bonds of opinion and religion, the
only ones which exist here, cannot supply the want of political ties,
unless they are straightened to such a degree as to become despotic.
Besides, when large towns like New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore,
have once grown up, and there is a numerous floating population, which
opinion and religion cannot watch closely, manners and belief have need
of the firm support of the laws.

The serious character and frequent occurrence of disorders in the
American Union, at the present time, prove that the period has come,
when it will be necessary for authority to be organised. There are
interests in the South, for example, which are filled with alarm, and
which for want of legal protection, protect themselves, right or wrong,
in a brutal manner, and feel the necessity of a power upon which they
can rely for safety. In the Middle Class of the cities of the North,
there is a population enervated or rather refined by wealth, which
is no longer ready to exercise that portion of self-government that
consists in the suppression of violence by force, and in the democracy,
there is a restless and turbulent element which force alone can hold in
check. These two classes, which are peculiar to the North, and whose
numbers daily increase, will soon be unable to live with each other,
without the intervention of power.

Authority has two bases, upon which, to stand firm, it must be
supported, like man upon two feet; these are unity or centralisation,
and the distinction of ranks. The corresponding bases of liberty are
equality, and independence. The spirit of unity or centralisation is
already beginning to appear in several of the United States. (See
_Letter XXIX._).

It is not strictly correct to say that the Americans have renounced
the principle of authority; for they have from the beginning adopted
the principle of the sovereignty of the people. It is true that they
understood it, at first, negatively; that is as a simple denial of
authority in the European sense, or of military power founded on
conquest; but when the doctrine of equality had once secured to
the democracy the superiority over the Middle Class, the democracy
gradually took upon itself the exercise of that sovereignty, for its
own interest, well or ill understood, at the dictation of its passions
good or bad; here, then, was power in the fullest extent of the word,
here was a dictatorate: not indeed permanent and steady, but showing
itself by starts and at intervals. For the most of the time it may
be said to have slumbered, and left the field free to the spirit of
individuality; it has roused itself occasionally only to strike a
decisive blow, and to sink back again into its slumbers; but however
irregular may have been its action, still here has been power, and
power legal in its character and bold in its operations, and gradually
extending their sphere.

The New England States, which are the incarnation of the spirit of
division and individualism, have advanced little in this direction.
The old Southern States, although they have more of the spirit of
centralisation, have also shown themselves timid in this matter. The
Middle States, and particularly New York, have made the greatest
progress; those of the West, and particularly of the Northwest, seem
disposed to imitate them.

This centripetal power has operated in two ways; negatively, in setting
limits, and sometimes narrow ones, to the independence of personal
action, whether exercised singly by individuals or collectively by
companies. It has, for example, reduced the privileges of incorporated
companies in general, and the railroad and banking companies in
particular, or rather it has assumed to itself to be omnipotent
in regard to them; at this moment, the democracy in the North is
raising the hue and cry after all companies. It has imposed various
restrictions upon commerce, such for instance, as the inspection laws
relative to exported produce. Positively, it has interfered with the
private transactions of individuals, and suspended or annulled them;
thus in the West, _ex post facto_ laws have been passed in favour of
debtors; or the courts which refused to yield, have been abolished
in a body, as in Kentucky; or monopolies have been created and sold
for the profit of the State, as in New Jersey. Within a few years
other measures of a more fundamental and comprehensive nature have
been adopted, and the centralisation of the schools, the means of
communication, and the banks, the three institutions of the most
vital importance in a society devoted to industry, has already been
commenced. Thus the germ of a vigourous central authority, which will
embrace all the ruling interests of the country, is already beginning
to sprout. In this respect the North and the South, the East and the
West, with the exception of New England, which is held back by its
spirit of subdivision,[DU] seem to be unanimous.

If any danger is to be feared in the Northern States, during the coming
period, it is not the absence, but the excess of power that is to be
apprehended. Whilst the democracy in these States retains its jealousy
of the military, it appears to be regardless of the accumulation of
power in the hands of the legislators. It refuses to appeal to arms,
even for the suppression of the most brutal violence; but it is willing
to use or abuse the omnipotence of the popular representation, and it
would not hesitate, in case it should be provoked by circumstances, to
exercise it in the most tyrannical manner. A representative government
loses the character of a compromise between the different social
interests, and degenerates into an instrument of despotism in the hands
of the multitude. In America, it had its origin in the concessions
of the Middle Class to the democracy. At present the positions are
reversed; the Middle Class now stands in need of concessions and does
not seem likely to get them.

Instead of the physical tortures of the Inquisition, this despotism, if
it gains strength and stability, would practice the most cruel moral
tortures, it would have its Procustes' bed for intellect and wealth;
its level for genius. Under pretence of equality it would establish
the most fatal uniformity. As it would be successively exercised by
the changing favourites of the multitude, it would be eminently fickle
and capricious; ever calling in question and unsettling all that was
established,[DV] it would end by palsying the spirit of enterprise,
which has created the prosperity of the country.

In the Southern States, the white democracy has a pedestal in slavery.
In order to realise its own elevation, it is not obliged to be
continually engaged in lowering the superiour classes; it exercises
its authority on what is beneath, and thinks less of attacking what is
over it. In the South, society is divided into masters and slaves; the
distinction of higher and lower class is there of secondary importance,
particularly at the present time, when the alarming state of their
relations with the blacks, obliges all whites to act in concert. In
the South, moreover, slavery will soon oblige the local governments to
maintain an armed police, which, while it keeps down the slaves, will
also serve to prevent the repetition of excesses, by which this section
of the union has recently been sullied, and the imitation of those
outrages on private property and public order, of which the North has,
of late, so frequently been the theatre.

Centralisation is one half of authority; distinction of ranks,
the other half, cannot be easily supplied in the United States,
particularly in the North, where, however, it is necessary that some
institution should give stability and strength to authority. There are
two sorts of aristocracy; aristocracy of birth, and aristocracy of
talents. I do not now speak of the aristocracy of money, for this has
no chance of establishing itself, and can acquire influence only by
being merged in one of the two others.

All great societies which have existed up to this time, have
established with more or less solidity, one or the other of these
aristocracies, or, to speak more correctly, both. An aristocracy
of talents existed even in the bosom of the Egyptian and Hindoo
castes; but Christianity first distinctly established an order of
classification founded on intellect, not only in each nation, but
throughout the Catholic Church; the Roman Catholic clergy was
organised on this principle. It could not be otherwise; the unity of
God and of the human race was an article of faith; for the Christian
there was only one God, the father of all men, before whom all
distinctions of birth were as nothing.

But by the side of this aristocracy of intellect, all nations which
have reached a lofty political elevation, and founded durable empires,
have had an aristocracy of birth, a civil and military nobility. Among
some not very numerous peoples of antiquity, the nobility was composed
of all free citizens, who were inferior in numbers to the slaves. Such
were the republics of Greece, whose political superiority, however,
was of short duration. Such were the Arabs, among whom there were
rayas, Christians, and Jews, below the faithful. The nations which have
had most weight in the balance of European civilisation, have been
differently constituted; above the free citizens, they had a hereditary
privileged class. Such was Rome; such is England; in the same way the
empire of Islam was not solidly or firmly fixed, until a handful of
Turks was placed over the Arabs, as a privileged class.

It is worthy of notice, that the last of the great societies which
have passed over the face of the earth, Christian society, or that
in which the aristocracy of intellect was first fully developed, is
also that in which aristocracy of birth has been most strongly marked.
The sons of Japhet, who gave the impulse and acted as leaders to this
movement of civilisation, brought with them from the North, a strong
spirit of family, with which their political systems have been deeply
impregnated; thus arose the most strictly hereditary nobility which has
ever been seen. Till that time the hereditary system had been applied
to caste; the Germans extended hereditary distinctions and functions
to family, with the additional restriction of primogeniture. What
before had been an exception in favour of royal families, they applied
to all noble families. This organisation, more or less modified, still
prevails in most of the European States. But yesterday, it seemed as
vigourous as ever in England. It is true that it has there conformed
itself to the spirit of the age, that it has become pliant and elastic,
opened its ranks to the aristocracy of intellect, and consecrated its
wealth and employed its privileges, not in gratifying its own caprices,
nor in satiating its passions, but in spreading all around it, the
net-work of a vast and beneficent patronage.

At the present day, there is a violent reaction against hereditary
distinctions and aristocracy of birth. On all points of the territory
occupied by the Western civilisation, the aristocracy of feudal origin
is battered down, here by the democracy, there by the Middle Class, and
elsewhere by royalty. In the general league against it, the emperor
of Russia gives his hand to the American democracy and the French
_bourgeoisie_, and the British democracy in the person of O'Connell, is
allied with the king of Prussia and the emperor of Austria.

Whatever opinion we may entertain of the present value of aristocracy
of birth, we are obliged to acknowledge, that, in the past, it has
rendered great services to the human race. But for the establishment
of the feudal system, the barbarian hordes would have continued to
drive over the face of Europe, tribe dashing against tribe, nation
hurled against nation. The principal distinction between the Germans
or Normans, and the followers of Attila or Genghis Khan, is that the
former had the instinct of organisation, as is manifested by their
conception of the feudal system, and the latter were destitute of it.
England is chiefly indebted to her aristocracy for her brilliant
success.[DW] I do not regret the past, for our share of glory is still
great, although France has been conquered by her rival in the field and
in the cabinet, and in every part of the world, in Europe, America, and
Asia. Yet I may be permitted to say, that if the French aristocracy
had triumphed in its struggle with Richelieu,[DX] the destinies of the
world might have been completely changed; and France, perhaps, would
then have played the part which has fallen to the lot of England.

The right of primogeniture, extended beyond the limits of the
aristocracy, ought not to be looked upon as a senseless imitation
of the customs of the nobility by vain commoners. Although it may
be difficult to defend this custom, on the ground of equity, yet it
has been one of the causes of the greatness of England. It is clear
that it is favourable to the accumulation of capital in few hands;
now capital is like man, powerful when united in masses, feeble when
divided. England is indebted to the law of primogeniture for an ever
swarming army of younger sons, eager to exercise their enterprise in
the colonies, and contented with their lot, whether because they
readily obtain assistance from the head of the family, or because
they are full of energy, and know that by industry they will obtain
wealth, or because they do not think that the world can be arranged on
a different system. Meanwhile, the elder sons have formed an opulent
metropolis, which has given ample aid to its distant possessions in all
emergencies, and has gradually gained the supremacy in Europe.

But it would be madness to think of repairing the broken walls of
feudalism, or to wish to copy, in France or the United States, the
English aristocracy, even with its mode of recruiting its ranks by
those distinguished for merit and services; these orders of things
have had their day. Yet all nations which aim to become or to remain
powerful, must have an aristocracy; that is to say, a body, which,
whether hereditary or not, may preserve and perpetuate traditions, give
system and stability to policy, and devote itself to the most difficult
of all arts, which every one at the present day thinks he knows without
having learned it, that of governing. A people without an aristocracy
may shine in letters and art; but its political glory must be as
transitory as a meteor.

I know not if I allow myself to be deceived by my admiration for the
past, although I do not conceal from myself how much of tyranny has
been exercised over the great mass of mankind. But I cannot bring
myself to believe, that the hereditary principle, or, in more general
terms, the sentiment of family, should be entirely excluded from the
aristocratical part of the new social order, which, although yet
wrapped in uncertainty and mystery, is now struggling into existence
on both sides of the Atlantic. The sentiment of family is not becoming
extinct. Like all other social institutions, the constitution of the
family has undergone various changes, since the beginning of the
historical period. In the earlier times, every thing was swallowed
up in the father, and the individuality--the rights, privileges, and
duties--of the wife and children was the successive growth of ages; but
through all these changes, the family sentiment has gained, rather than
lost. If this progressive movement is not violently checked, the new
institutions with which our civilisation is now big, must give a place
in the political system to the family sentiment, and it is not easy
to conceive how this can be done, without a certain infusion of the
hereditary principle.

It may be objected, that, in the United States, the family sentiment
is much weaker, than it is in Europe. But we must not confound what is
merely accidental and temporary, with the permanent acquisitions of
civilisation. The temporary weakness of the family sentiment was one
of the necessary results of the general dispersion of individuals, by
which the colonisation of America has been accomplished; the effect
must cease with the cessation of the temporary cause which produced it,
that is, with the interruption of emigration to the West. As soon as
they have got their growth, the Yankees, whose spirit now predominates
in the Union, quit the paternal roof never to see it again, as
naturally and with as little emotion, as young birds desert forever
their native nest as soon as they are fledged; but the predominance of
the Yankees, at least, as they now are, does not seem to me destined to
be perpetual; I do not see in them the ultimate and permanent type of
the American.

Even amongst the Yankees themselves the family sentiment has maintained
a strong hold, by means of the bible, the sanctity and strictness of
the marriage tie, the ample powers left to the father in disposing of
his property.

Within the three last centuries, the moveable elements have shot up
with a wonderful vigour in western civilisation. Manufactures and the
press, the organ of philosophy and profane learning, have destroyed
the balance between the opposing forces of innovation and conservation,
whose equilibrium is necessary to constitute order. These two new
powers, whose tendency is to reform every thing, have gained the
advantage over the old powers of society, and trampled down the twofold
aristocracy of birth and talents, the clergy and the nobility. Must we,
then, conclude that these two aristocracies, or even either of them,
are stone dead; or must we not rather admit that order, that is to say,
the equipoise of the innovating and the conservative powers, cannot
subsist, unless authority is reconstructed in its ancient strength,
without, however, retaining the brutal traits of its former character?
Is not this a reason that the hierarchy should be established at
least as firmly as in past times? Although it need not borrow from
the past the unyielding, unelastic, and absolute features of the old
aristocracies. And is there any principle of stability and solidity,
comparable to that of hereditary transmission? One may be permitted, or
rather is obliged, to doubt it.

Systems of great stability have, doubtless, been organised without
hereditary succession. The Catholic hierarchy offers the most complete
example of this fact; it has now stood eighteen hundred years. But
in order to produce this result, it was necessary to root out the
sentiment of family from the bosoms of its members, by binding them to
celibacy; and to substitute for the natural principle of stability,
that of hereditary succession, a merely artificial principle, that
of rigourous discipline, and passive obedience,--or in other words,
stability has here been obtained at the sacrifice of liberty.

The two powers of commerce and the press are eminently fluctuating
and unquiet, only because they are not yet regularly organised.
They are susceptible of being modified, and of being restrained in
their innovating tendencies, so as to render the restoration of the
conservative force in all its vigour less necessary. The industrial
interest would certainly be less averse to the privileges of the lay
aristocracy, if it were permitted to participate in them, or if it
had its own peculiar prerogatives. Learning, of which the press is
the sword, would have showed less antipathy towards the spiritual
hierarchy, had not the latter repulsed and rejected it. It is not
impossible that we may be destined to witness a sort of industrial
nobility; it is even possible that we may come, by degrees, in the
course of time, to entertain the question of a more or less complete
monopoly of learning and the press under some form or another. Instead
of throwing down the aristocracy, we might give it additional strength
and stability, by connecting it with learning and industry, which would
then serve as its buttresses, instead of becoming the instruments of
its ruin. In such a system as this, the aristocracy would be less
compact and less exclusive; it would soar less loftily over the rest
of mankind; but it would cover more ground, it would gain in breadth
and length what it lost in height, and it would leave nothing beyond
the reach of its influence. Equality would probably gain by this
arrangement; but human independence would lose by it.

It would be idle to attempt to guess at the future forms which the
hierarchy may assume, to foresee the different interests of which
society will hereafter be composed, or to name beforehand the
institutions in which they will embody themselves. A multitude of
combinations, which no one can divine, are possible. Many will take
place, either successively in the same country, or simultaneously in
different countries. But two things appear to me to be certain: one of
these is, that new social phenomena of great magnitude are on the eve
of being exhibited, either in America or in Europe; and the other, that
the sentiment of family cannot be ultimately and absolutely erased
from the political catalogue.

For Europeans, the immediate and complete abolition of a hereditary
aristocracy seems to me beset with the greatest difficulties. The
nations of Western Europe have received their laws and usages from
the Germans and Romans, that is, from two stocks strongly impregnated
with the sentiment of family; there is not an inch of their soil,
a stone of their monuments, a line of their national songs, which
does not awaken this sentiment by recalling this twofold origin; it
seems, then, impossible that they should be ready to adopt at once a
political system, in which it was allowed no place nor consideration.
We may, however, be sure that the principle of hereditary succession
must henceforth be limited within certain bounds. The idea of
perpetuity, whether of punishment or of reward, is foreign from our
age, and will not, certainly, be more acceptable to future ages.
We live longer in the space of time than our fathers; the same
number of years, therefore, represents a much greater duration than
formerly. If the aristocratic investiture were to endure only for a
few generations, aristocracy would not cease to be the most coveted
of privileges and the most stable of institutions; while the jealousy
of the non-privileged classes would be less keen in regard to its
prerogatives, if the nobility bore upon its front the inscription;
"Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return."

This, however, would not be enough; the aristocracy of birth requires a
spur. To exercise the most important functions, it is not enough that
one has taken the trouble to be born. There is something monstrous
in the privilege of the English peerage, of being legislators by
hereditary right. In the Middle Ages it was necessary to have gained
the spurs, before one could gird on the sword and raise the banner of
a knight. In Rome, birth made Patricians, but not Senators. Similar
restrictions would be useful in all countries; with a people like the
French and the Southern Europeans, they would be indispensable.

It is not easy to say whence a hereditary aristocracy in France is
to be derived, if we must really have one. A nucleus of old families
or of military men would be wanting, around which the new elements
might group themselves. Now, the old French nobility allowed itself
to be degraded to the state of menials under Louis XIV., and sunk
into the grossest debauchery under Louis XV.; the trials of exile
did nothing for those who escaped the revolutionary axe; when they
re-appeared amongst us, they had forgotten nothing, and learned
nothing. The infusion of the military aristocracy of the empire has
not regenerated it. Is the retirement to which the old nobility has
condemned itself since the revolution of 1830, a retreat, in which by
meditation and repentance it is to renew its youth, or is it not rather
a tomb, in which it has buried itself forever? Will the old soil be
heaved by earthquakes into new inequalities of surface? Have we among
our peasants some unknown scions of the slayers of Cæsar, or of the
children of Brennus, who will be revealed to the world by some mighty
convulsions? Or will some Tartar horde from the North, the great hive
of nations, put an end to our domestic quarrels, fix themselves in our
palaces, seize our most fertile fields, wed our noblest, richest, and
loveliest heiresses, and, sword in hand, proclaim to us; "The reign of
lawyers is over, ours is begun."

If the United States have also to constitute an aristocracy, and give
political existence to the sentiment of family, their future would be
yet more cloudy and uncertain than our own. The hereditary element of
aristocracy has always come from conquest, or, at least, has supported
itself, by alliance or compromise, by the sword of the conqueror.
How can there be a conquest in the United States? It is possible that
they may conquer Mexico, but they cannot be conquered by it. It cannot
be supposed that some red Alexander or Charlemagne from the distant
steppes of the West, heading the fierce tribes of the Pawnee braves,
and dragging in his victorious train swarms of revolted negroes, can
ever become the founder of a military dynasty and aristocracy. If the
Union should ever be dissolved, and the hardy sons of the West, pouring
down from the Alleghanies, should ever conquer the people of the North,
enervated by luxury and enfeebled by anarchy, and those of the South,
weakened by servile wars, still no germ of a hereditary aristocracy
would exist in such a conquest; for the victors and vanquished would
all be of the same family.

The Southern States, however, are already organised on the principle
of hereditary aristocracy. It is true that the privileged class is so
numerous, that, unless a privilege is established within a privilege,
they do not form an aristocracy properly so called; but the fear of a
rising of the blacks keeps the whites closely united and forces them to
submit to a vigourous organisation of authority at every sacrifice. The
relative situation of the whites and blacks admits of no hesitation.

It is evident that the establishment of a hierarchy possessing any
stability, would be the most difficult in the States without slaves,
and that the elevation of the sentiment of family to political
dominion, would there encounter the most vigourous resistance. In the
maritime States north of the Potomac, the difficulty would seem to be
insurmountable. These States contain large towns, with an extensive
commerce carried on by great houses, great factories in the English
style, powerful trading, financial, and manufacturing companies,
that is to say, the germs of an extreme inequality; yet their laws
consecrate a system of absolute equality, and the sovereign democracy
shows itself resolved to maintain it at all costs. Between these two
counteracting forces, a struggle is going on, and cases might be
imagined in which the contest may assume a terrible character. If any
cause were to interrupt the prosperity of these States; if, by means of
a separation, which, however, is daily becoming less and less probable,
the markets of the South were to be shut against their merchants and
manufacturers; if the sons of the farmers and their hired workmen could
no longer have access to the lands and growing cities of the West; if,
to crown their misery, a foreign war should blockade their harbours,
they would be exposed to the most frightful convulsions. The Northern
States, then, must remain indissolubly wedded to the Union of the
States, and firmly devoted to the policy of peace with the European
monarchies.

If, then, it were proved that there was an irresistible necessity
for a distinction of ranks in every society, and that the principle
of inheritance or sentiment of family must be one of the constituent
principles of a privileged class, which is requisite to form the apex
of the social pyramid, it must be acknowledged that the prospect of the
North is more dark and alarming than that of the South. By the exercise
of unyielding vigilance over the slaves, the South may continue to
maintain the outward forms of a regular social system. It would,
indeed, be a retrograde system, for it would be morally a copy of the
ancient order of society, which had its day before the advent of the
Christ, patched up with the improved material order of modern times; it
would be despotism, but an orderly, organised despotism, which after
all would be a less terrible scourge than the anarchy which threatens
the North.

Nevertheless, whatever may be the destiny of aristocracy and the
political fate of the family sentiment, I am loath to believe, that
all that energy and intelligence which I have witnessed in the Northern
States of the Anglo-American Union, can be swallowed up and lost. No
deductions of logic can force me to conclude, that a society, superiour
to any that has yet flourished in our ancient continent, will not,
one day, and that soon, exist in the fine regions on the east and the
west of the Alleghanies, around the wide basin of the great lakes, and
along the far-stretching banks of these mighty rivers. It cannot be
that a superiour race has transported its children to these shores to
devour each other. If, on the one side, American civilisation seems to
be exposed to formidable dangers, it presents itself in other points
of view, with strongly marked features of permanency and stability. If
great perils encompass its cradle, is it not the cradle of an infant
Hercules?

FOOTNOTES:

[DU] It has already been mentioned that Massachusetts has lately
adopted the new policy in regard to public works. [And it might be
added in respect to the school-system.--TRANSL.]

[DV] In 1834, the Ohio legislature incorporated a Life and Trust
Company, with very great powers; the company was organised in 1835,
and in 1836, a proposition was made in the legislature the effect of
which would have been indirectly to abolish it. Happily the legislature
saw the necessity of keeping up the credit of the State by a faithful
adherence to its engagements, and the proposition was rejected. Mr
Dallas, of Philadelphia, who has been a Senator of the United States,
has quite recently urged the adoption of _ex post facto_ measures, with
the object of annulling the charter of the United States Bank.

[DW] The English aristocracy is accessible to every man of superior
qualities. The king can and often does make a peer of a commoner,
and the order of knights, which is the lowest degree of nobility, is
essentially an aristocracy of talents and personal services, not being
hereditary. But if the aristocracy of intellect has thus got a footing
in the aristocracy of birth, the latter has also encroached upon the
former; for with the constitution of the Anglican church, and in the
absence of monasteries and the numerous gratuitous institutions of the
olden time, it is more difficult for a swine-herd, like Sixtus V., to
rise in the establishment at the present day, than it would have been
for him to reach the summit of the Catholic hierarchy in the Middle
Ages.

[DX] The French aristocracy which fought the fight with Richelieu was
Protestant, and was more enlightened than the English aristocracy of
the same day. French protestantism was the flower of Europe in every
respect, even in industry. It is well known that the English and German
manufactures made great progress immediately after the revocation of
the edict of Nantes, which drove four hundred thousand of our fellow
countrymen from France.



LETTER XXXIII.

DEMOCRACY.


                                    NEW YORK, OCTOBER 22, 1835.

Our old European societies have a heavy burden to bear; it is that of
the Past. Each age is the guarantee of the acts of those that have gone
before it, and imposes a similar obligation on those which follow it.
We are paying interest on our fathers' errors; we pay it in the first
place under the form of the public debt; we pay it also in the charges
for the support of our fine army, for among the causes which oblige all
Europe to keep the flower of its population under arms, we must reckon
the animosities of our fathers. We pay it, and at a higher rate, in all
those habits of distrust and suspicion, which have been bequeathed
to us from times of anarchy and despotism. The accumulated weight of
a long Past must, indeed, be an insupportable burden, since the Roman
empire, first in Rome, and afterwards in Constantinople, whither it was
removed to escape the load, crumbled and sunk beneath it. All nations,
which have been the glory of the world, have been ground to a lifeless
dust, like the ashes of the tombs, by the pressure of a Past, which
hemmed them in on every side. Will the Europe of our age undergo the
fate of its predecessors? There is reason to hope that it will be more
fortunate; for, having their example before its eyes, it must be wiser
than they, and it is at the same time more pliant in its temper, and
more elastic in its forms.

One of my friends, some time ago visiting the great iron-works of
Crawshay & Co., in Wales, was struck with the fact, that the numerous
railroads connected with the works, were constructed on an old and
very imperfect system. On inquiring the reason, and observing that the
saving in traction, would pay the expense of a re-construction with the
improved rail, "Nothing is more just," he was told; "but we retain our
old flat rails, and we shall do so for a long time, because it would
take two or three years to make a change; and in the mean while, it
being impossible to keep the wagons running on both rails at the same
time, we should have to stop operations, and to leave fifty thousand
workmen without work and without bread. The difficulty is merely in
the transition, but at present it seems to be insurmountable." So it
is in regard to society. It is easy to see that one system has decided
advantages over another, and that if society could be transported
from one to the other by a blow of the wand, much would be gained;
but between the two there is a great gulf. How can it be passed? How
is it possible to assure vested right, to which nothing seems to be
guarantied on the opposite side? How overcome the opposition of the
privileged class, who resist the change? How check the impatience of
the multitude, eager to enter into the enjoyment of the benefits which
it expects to find on the other shore?

In regard to social reforms, the question is wonderfully simplified,
by merely transplanting it, that is, by going into new countries to
resolve it. The old country is then abandoned to old interests and old
ideas, and the emigrant lands disengaged and unembarrassed, ready to
undertake every thing, and disposed to try every thing. He has left
behind him in the mother-country a thousand associations and relations,
which surround existence, and give it, if you please, its ornaments and
its charm, but which also tend to check its activity, and make society
slow to answer the demands for reform. The first of all innovations is
the change of soil, and this necessarily involves others. Vested rights
do not emigrate; they are bound to the old soil; they know no other,
and no other knows them. Privileges, which are respected because they
are consecrated by time, do not venture upon a new soil, or if they
hazard the trial, they cannot become acclimated there. A colony is like
a besieged city; each one must serve with his person; each one passes
only for what he is worth personally. In a society which has no Past,
the Past counts for nothing.

It is to be remarked, therefore, that projects of social reform,
conceived in the bosom of established societies, in which opportunity
is afforded for the calm exercise of thought, have generally been
obliged to be transported to other shores, and to take root in
barbarous lands, in order to be carried into execution, and to be
embodied under the form of a new society. Civilisation has advanced
from the East toward the West, increasing in vigour at every remove,
although the founders of new colonies have generally quitted a more
civilised country for a barbarous one. Thus Italy and Greece, daughters
of Asia and Egypt, have gone beyond their mothers; thus western Europe
has eclipsed the glories of Greece and Rome. Soon after having given
birth to the new nations, the old ones have perished violently, or
have fallen into an obscurity worse than death, merely from a want
of will or energy to apply the principles which gave vigour to their
offspring,--principles of a new social order, founded on the wider
extension of liberty and the greater diffusion of privileges,--to their
own wants.

Providence had done much to prepare the European races, when
transported across the ocean, for becoming the founders of great and
powerful nations. The English-Americans, who were the last comers, and
did not arrive until after the Spaniards had established their dominion
over equinoctial and southern America, left the Old World only after
it had been aroused and agitated by the intellectual revolution of
which Luther was the Mirabeau, and of which in England, Henry VIII.
was the Robespierre and the Napoleon. This great event had already
sown those seeds in the human breast, which were to swell and expand
through succeeding ages. England was already big with those habits of
industry and order, which were destined to make her the first nation
of the Old World in the sphere of industry and in political greatness.
Her children, therefore, carried with them the germ of those principles
and institutions, which were to secure to them the same supremacy
in the New. They embarked, at least this was the case with those of
New England, the pilgrims, the fathers of the Yankees, after having
undergone the ordeal of fire and water, after having been seven times
tried between the sledge and the anvil, between persecution and exile.
They arrived wearied out with political quarrels, and bent on devoting
their energies to pacific and useful purposes.

They seated themselves under a climate which differed little from
that of their native skies. Thus they escaped the danger of becoming
enervated by the influences of a warm and balmy atmosphere, like that
in which the fiery spirits of the Castilian race were tamed; they
landed on an almost uninhabited shore, and had only a few poor tribes
of Red Skins for enemies and neighbours, whilst the Spaniards had to
contend with the numerous armies of the brave Aztecs in Mexico, and
their successors, the Creoles, have had to keep in check on the one
side the Comanches and the _Indios Bravos_ of the north, and on the
other the Araucanians of the southern Cordilleras. If the English had
encountered a numerous population like that which resisted Cortez, they
would have had to conquer it, and doubtless they would have succeeded
in so doing; but after the victory, they would have been obliged to
keep it in subjection, and the yoke of the English race is harder than
that of the Spaniards. Their social organisation would then have been
founded on the servitude of the inferior castes, red and mixed; the
new society would have been tainted with a deep-seated disease, which
would have reduced it to a much lower state than European society, and
have sunk it to the level of ancient communities, which were founded on
personal slavery. It is not, indeed, completely free from this taint at
present; since negroes have been brought into the country, and twelve
States out of twentyfour are defiled with the pollution of slavery. The
portion of the country which has been left for the pure white race, is,
however, ample enough to receive a large community composed of the same
materials with the European nations, and affording great facilities for
combining them in a better order.

If they had found powerful enemies to combat, if war had been
constantly hanging over their heads, they would have been obliged to
submit themselves to a military aristocracy, spite of the instinct of
self-government and independence which runs in British veins, and of
which they had a double share. In that case, the Anglo-American society
would have been only a copy, and an inferior copy of the English; as
the Canadians, for example, were merely an imitation of the French,
under the old order of things. The English colonists sometimes had to
repel the attacks of the French, who had possession of the west and of
the basin of the St Lawrence; but after the capture of Quebec, they
found themselves completely delivered from the most momentous public
charge, that of defending their territory and their independence.
They were, therefore, able to dispense with a military establishment,
to turn all their thoughts and energies to their domestic concerns,
and to devote themselves exclusively to the work of colonisation.
They ceased to stand in need of the English guardianship, and they
freed themselves from it, that they might expand themselves and take
their own course without let or hindrance. Finally, yielding to their
natural impulse, they tried their great democratic experiment, which
is already shedding such a brilliant light upon the prospect of
improvement in the condition of the lower classes in all countries.
From these circumstances and influences, has resulted a new political
and physiological phenomenon, a hitherto unknown variety of the human
race, inferior to the English and French types in many respects,
particularly in taste and philosophy, but superiour to the rest of the
human family by its extraordinary combination of sagacity, energy of
will and hardy enterprise, by its admirable aptitude for business, by
its untiring devotion to work, and above all by its recognition and
protection of the rights of the labouring classes, hitherto treated as
the offscourings of society.

It seems, then, that the Americans are called to continue the series of
that succession of progressive movements which have characterised our
civilisation ever since it quitted its cradle in the East. This people
will become the founders of a new family, although perhaps the features
which now predominate in it will hereafter cease to be the prominent
traits; whilst the Spanish-Americans seem to be an impotent race, which
will leave no posterity behind it, unless by means of one of those
inundations which are called conquests, a current of richer blood from
the North or the East, shall fill its exhausted veins.

An eminent philosopher, who is an honour to the French name,[DY]
defines the progress of the human race in its slow and majestic
pilgrimage round our globe, by the term initiation. Following out this
thought, we may pronounce North America, at least the non-slave-holding
States, to be already in advance of us; for, in many respects, what
amongst us is accessible only to a small number of the elect, has
become common property in the United States, and is familiar to the
vulgar. The conquests of the human mind, to which the Reformation
gave the signal and the impulse, and the great discoveries of science
and art, which, in Europe are yet concealed from the general eye by
the bandage of ignorance and the mists of theory, are, in America,
exposed to the vulgar gaze and placed within the reach of all. There
the multitude touches and handles them at will. Examine the population
of our rural districts, sound the brains of our peasants, and you will
find that the spring of all their actions is a confused medley of the
Bible parables with the legends of a gross superstition. Try the same
operation on an American farmer, and you will find that the great
scriptural traditions are harmoniously combined, in his mind, with the
principles of modern science as taught by Bacon and Descartes, with the
doctrine of moral and religious independence proclaimed by Luther, and
with the still more recent notions of political freedom. He is one of
the _initiated_.

Amongst us the powerful instruments and machinery of science and art,
the steam-engine, the balloon, the voltaic pile, the lightning-rod,
inspire the multitude with a religious dread. In France, out of a
hundred peasants in the recesses of our provinces, you will not
find one, who, after having witnessed their effects, would dare to
lay his hand upon them; they would fear to be struck dead, like the
sacrilegious wretch who touched the ark of the Lord. But to the
American, on the contrary, these are all familiar objects; he knows
them all by name, at least, and he feels that they are his. To the
French peasant they are mysterious and terrible beings, like his fetish
to the negro, his manitou to the Indian; but to the cultivator of the
western wilds, they are, what they are to a member of the Institute,
tools, instruments of labour or science; again, therefore he is one of
the _initiated_.

There is no _profanum vulgus_ in the United States, at least amongst
the whites; and this is true not only in regard to steam-engines and
electrical phenomena, but the American multitude is also much more
completely _initiated_ than the European mass, in all that concerns the
domestic relations and the household. The marriage tie is held more
sacred amongst the lowest classes of American society, than among the
Middle Class of Europe. Although the marriage ceremony has fewer forms
than amongst us, and the connexion is more easily dissolved,[DZ] cases
of adultery are extremely rare. The unfaithful wife would be a lost
woman; the man, who should seduce a woman, or should be known to have
an illicit connexion, would be excommunicated by the popular clamour.
In the United States, even the man of the labouring class is more
completely _initiated_ in the obligations of the stronger sex toward
the weaker, than most of the men of the Middle Class in France. Not
only does the American mechanic and farmer spare his wife, as much as
possible, all the hard work and employments unsuitable to the sex, but
he exhibits towards her and every other woman, a degree of attention
and respect, which is unknown to many persons amongst us, who pride
themselves on their education and refinement. In public places and in
the public conveyances, in the United States, no man, whatever may be
his talents and his services, is treated with any particular attention;
no precedence or privilege is allowed him; for all men are equal. But
a woman, whatever may be the condition and fortune of her husband, is
sure of commanding universal respect and attention.[EA]

In political affairs, the American multitude has reached a much
higher degree of initiation than the European mass, for it does not
need to be governed; every man here has in himself the principle of
self-government in a much higher degree, and is more fit to take a
part in public affairs. It is also more fully _initiated_ in another
order of things, which are closely connected with politics and morals,
that is, in all that relates to labour. The American mechanic is a
better workman,[EB] he loves his work more, than the European. He is
_initiated_ not merely in the hardships, but also in the rewards, of
industry; he dresses like a member of Congress; his wife and daughters
are dressed like the wife and daughters of a rich New York merchant,
and like them, follow the Paris fashions. His house is warm, neat, and
comfortable; his table is almost as plentifully provided as that of the
wealthiest of his fellow citizens. In this country, the articles of
_the first necessity_ for the whites, embrace several objects, which,
amongst us, are articles of luxury, not merely among the lower, but
among some of the middle classes.

The American multitude is more deeply _initiated_ in what belongs
to the dignity of man, or, at least, to their own dignity, than the
corresponding classes in Europe. The American operative is full of
self-respect, and he shows it not only by an extreme sensibility,
by pretensions which to the European _bourgeoisie_ would appear
extraordinary,[EC] and by his reluctance to make use of the term
_master_, for which he substitutes that of _employer_, but also by
good faith and scrupulous exactness in his engagements; he is above
those vices of slavery, such as theft and lying, which are so prevalent
amongst hirelings with us, particularly amongst those of the towns
and their manufactories.[ED] The French operative is more respectful
and submissive in his manners, but hard-pressed by poverty, and
surrounded by temptations, he rarely neglects a chance of cheating
his _bourgeois_, when he can do it with impunity. The operative of
Lyons practises the _piquage d'onces_; those of Rheims secrete the
gold lace.[EE] There are, doubtless, frauds committed in America;
more than one smart fellow has his conscience oppressed with numerous
peccadilloes. How many strolling Yankee pedlers have sold charcoal for
indigo, and soapstone for soap to the rural housewives! But in the
United States these petty frauds are rare exceptions. The character of
the American workman is in a high degree honourable, and excites the
envy of the European when he compares the prospect here presented to
him with the aspect of things in his own country.[EF]

What has been said above applies still more strongly to the farmer;
not being obliged, like the operative, daily to contest the rate of
his wages with an employer, surrounded by his equals, and a stranger
to the seductions of the city, the American farmer possesses the
good qualities of the operative at least in an equal degree, and has
his faults in a much less degree. He is less unjust and less jealous
towards the richer or more cultivated classes.

If then we examine the condition of the American multitude, we find
it, taken as a whole, to be much superiour to that of the mass in
Europe. It is true that it appears to be almost completely destitute
of certain faculties, which are possessed by the European populace.
There are, for instance, at times, a hundredfold more gleams of taste
and poetical genius in the brain of the most beggarly _lazzarone_ of
Naples, than in that of the republican mechanic or farmer of the New
World. The houseless young vagabonds of Paris have transient flashes of
chivalric feeling and greatness of soul, which the American operative
never equals. This is because the national character of the Italians is
impregnated with a love of art, and that generous sentiments are one of
the distinguished traits of the French character, and the very lowest
classes of each nation have some portion of the national spirit. But
it does not belong to the multitude to be poets and artists, in Italy,
or models of chivalry, in France. Their perfection, above all and in
every country, consists in knowing and fulfilling their duties to
God, to their country, to their families, to themselves, in assiduous
and honest industry, in being good citizens, good husbands, and good
fathers, in providing for the welfare and guarding the virtue of those
dependent upon them. In order to make a fair comparison between the
multitude in Europe and the multitude in America, we should consider
them in reference to these qualities; for these belong to all varieties
of the human race and all forms of civilization, and upon their
development and stability in the greatest number, depends the strength
of empires. To render the parallel between the two hemispheres perfect,
it would be necessary to set against the mechanic and the farmer in the
United States, the members of a corresponding class among a people of
Teutonic origin, language, and religion, that is, the English operative
and farmer. European civilisation, setting aside the Sclavonians, who
have recently appeared with brilliant success upon the stage, divides
itself into two branches, that of the North, and that of the South, one
Teutonic, the other Latin, distinguished by different qualities and
tendencies. American society, being a scion of one of these branches,
can be more readily compared with it, than with any of the offsets of
the other. It is easy, therefore, to determine the superiority of the
American mechanic and farmer to those of England, but it is difficult
to decide how much inferior or superiour any class of American society
is to the corresponding Spanish, Italian, or French class; it is only
necessary, however, to open one's eyes to be convinced, that the
multitude among these three people are far from having reached, in
the direction in which nature points their career, the same degree of
progress that the Americans have done in theirs.

The American democracy certainly has its faults, and I do not think
that I can be accused of having extenuated them. I have not concealed
its rude demands upon the higher classes, nor its haughty airs
of superiority to other nations. I will even admit, that, in many
respects, it is rather as a class, and in the lump that it recommends
itself to favour; for the individuals that compose it, are destitute of
those hearty and affectionate qualities, by which our French peasantry
would be distinguished, if it were once delivered from the wretchedness
which now brutifies it; but it is in the mass and as a whole, that I
now judge the American multitude.

The American democracy is imperious and overbearing towards foreign
people; but is not a keen sensibility, a good quality rather than a
defect in a young nation as in a young man, provided that it is backed
by an energetic devotion to a great work? Pride is ridiculous in an
enervated and inert people, but in an enterprising, active, vigourous
nation, it is consciousness of power, and confidence in its high
destiny. The foreign policy of the American democracy is profoundly
egoistic, for national ambition is the characteristic of a growing
nation. Cosmopolitanism is generally a symptom of decline, as religious
tolerance is a sign that faith is on the decay. The pretensions of the
United States are unbounded: they aspire to the sovereignty over South
America; they covet one by one the provinces of Mexico; but in spite of
the rules of morality, it is might which makes right in the relations
between people and people. If the United States should wrest the
Mexican provinces from the Spanish race, partly by craft and partly by
force, they would be responsible to God and to man for the consequences
of the robbery; but they would not be alone guilty. If the country
which they had seized, flourished in their hands, posterity would
pardon the act; but, on the other hand, it would condemn the Mexicans,
if, with such neighbours at their doors, they should continue as at
present, to stagnate in stupid security and in a miserable lethargy,
and the powers of Europe, if they neglected to warn them and to rouse
them from their torpor.

The Romans were intolerably arrogant towards other people; they spoke
to the all-powerful sovereigns of the monarchical East, and to the
heirs of Alexander the Great, that brutal and imperious language, which
General Jackson has flung into the face of a monarchy of fourteen
centuries. They treated all who stood in the way of the gratification
of their insatiable thirst for conquest, as slaves who had revolted
against the divine will. That Punic faith, with the charge of which
they branded the memory of their rivals, was often the only faith which
they practised. Posterity, however, has proclaimed them the greatest
people of history, because they were successful; that is, because they
formed a durable empire out of conquered nations by the wisdom of their
laws. The Anglo-Americans have much resemblance to the Romans whether
for good or for evil. I do not say that they are destined to become
the masters of the world; I merely mean to affirm that by the side of
faults which shock and offend foreign nations, they have great powers
and precious qualities which should rather attract our attention. It
is by these that posterity will judge them; by these they have become
formidable to other people. Let us aim to get the vantage-ground of
them, not by denouncing their defects to the world, but by endeavouring
to make ourselves masters of their good qualities and their valuable
faculties, and by cultivating and developing our own. These are the
surest means of maintaining our rank in the world in spite of them and
in spite of all.

At the same time that the American democracy conducts itself more
and more haughtily abroad, it is jealous of all who fall under the
suspicion of seeking to encroach upon its sovereignty at home. In this,
it only imitates the most boasted of aristocracies. The system which it
has pursued towards the higher classes, is dictated by the instinct of
self-preservation, just as that of the European aristocracy and Middle
Class toward the classes respectively below them, has been instinctive
with them. The democracy is determined to lose none of its conquests,
which have been gained, not by plundering its neighbours, not by
pillaging provinces, not by robbing travellers, but by the sweat of its
brow, by its own resolute industry. Who, then, amongst us will cast the
first stone at it? I can readily conceive, that, at first sight, we
of the Middle Class in Europe, should be offended by its pretensions,
and that we should feel our sympathy excited by the spectacle of
our American fellows conquered and bound. But let us, nevertheless,
confess, that this democracy has managed the affairs of the New World
in such a manner as to justify the supremacy it has won, and to excuse
its jealousy towards every thing that might have a tendency to spoil it
of its conquest. This is the first time since the origin of society,
that the people have fairly enjoyed the fruits of their labours, and
have shown themselves worthy of the prerogatives of manhood. Glorious
result! Even though it has been obtained by the temporary humiliation
of the classes with which our education and habits lead us to
sympathise, it is the duty of every good man to rejoice at it, and to
thank God for it!

Wo to tyranny by whomsoever exercised! Far be it from me to apologise
for the brutal and savage, and sometimes bloody excesses, which have
lately been so often repeated in most of the large towns in the United
States! Should they be continued, the American democracy will be
degraded and will lose forever the high position it now occupies. But
criminal as these acts are, it would be unjust to impute them to the
American people, and to condemn to ignominy the whole body of these
incomparable labourers. Popular excesses in all countries are the
work of an imperceptible minority, which the existing system in the
United States is sufficient to restrain. That system needs, then, some
amendment, which shall suit it to preserve the good qualities of the
nation in their purity, and which, indeed, seems already on the point
of being introduced, for theories of absolute liberty are evidently
losing favour in the United States.

It would be a mistake to infer from what has been said, that the
American civilisation is superiour to our own. The multitude in the
United States is superiour to the multitude in Europe; but the higher
classes in the New World are inferior to those of the Old, although
the merits of the latter are rather virtual than real, and belong
rather to the past or the future than to the present; for the higher
classes in Europe, both aristocracy and _bourgeoisie_, turn their good
qualities to little account, whether on behalf of themselves or the
people. The higher classes in the United States, with some exceptions
and taken as a whole, have the air and attitude of the vanquished; they
bear the mark of defeat on their front. As they have been always and
in almost all circumstances much mingled with the crowd, both parties
have naturally borrowed many habits and feelings from each other. This
exchange has been advantageous to the multitude; but less so the higher
classes. The golden buckler of the Trojan has been exchanged for the
leather shield of the gallant Diomed. Each of the two is, therefore,
superiour in one of the two great elements of society, and inferior in
the other. This is the system of compensation.

If, then, from the superiority of the labouring classes in the United
States, it were necessary to draw a conclusion as to the relative rank
of European and American civilisation in the future, the following
would be the only necessary inference: in order that American society
should have the advantage of ours, it would be requisite that it
should comprise a class, which, intrinsically and in its exterior,
should be as much elevated above the people, properly so called, as
our higher classes are above the great mass of our population; or, in
other words, it depends upon ourselves to give to our social order
the advantage over that of the United States, by raising our lower
class both of the towns and the country from the ignorance and brutal
degradation in which they are plunged, and developing their powers and
qualities in conformity with our national disposition and the character
of the race to which we belong.

FOOTNOTES:

[DY] M. Ballanche.

[DZ] As in some of the States there is no law of divorce, the
legislatures grant it in virtue of their legislative omnipotence. Out
of less than 150 acts passed by the New Jersey legislature in 1836,
thirteen were acts authorising divorces.

[EA] In the mail-coaches, the best seats are always yielded to women,
without regard to the order in which the names are booked. The husband
also does the marketing and often brings home the provisions himself.
Nothing is more common than to see men carrying home a goose or a
turkey by the legs, or a basket of fruit. I have before observed that
the conjugal and social submission of the woman is more complete
in the United States than in France. In France, a woman engages in
business, and with the consent of her husband is acknowledged as a
responsible agent; but there is nothing of this sort in England and the
United States. Our children in Canada have even gone beyond us in this
respect, and have admitted females to the electoral franchise.

[EB] The English workman is very skilful. Although in certain branches
we excel the English, it appears to me incontestable, that at present
the English workman is the first in Europe. In some respects, he
is also superiour to the American; he will, for example, finish a
particular piece of work in a better style, but when out of his special
sphere, and separated from the tools of the English workshops, which
are of a superiour kind, he will be at loss. The American workman has
a more general aptitude; his sphere is larger, and he can extend it
indefinitely at will. He accomplishes at least, as much as the English
workman, and when he devotes himself for a long time to the same task,
which is not usual with him, he does it better.

[EC] Thus a shoemaker or tailor will not go to a customer's house to
take a measure, but requires all, women and men, to come in person to
his shop.

[ED] In the relations between the master and the operative, the most
deplorable usages prevail in our large manufacturing towns. Many of
the masters are reduced to practise the most disgraceful artifices on
their workmen, in order to sustain themselves against the violence of
competition; thus, in some workshops and factories, the hands of the
clock are put forward in the morning and backward in the evening. The
operatives commit reprisals in every possible manner.

[EE] The _piquage d'onces_, or secretion of silk by the workmen, is one
of the cankers of Lyons. The value of the silk thus stolen is estimated
at nearly one million of dollars a year; the thefts committed in the
Rheims factories are stated to exceed 600,000 dollars. The operatives
exchange the gold-lace at the dram-shops for about one fourth of its
actual value.

[EF] The domestics in the United States are almost everywhere much
inferior to the operatives, personal service being here looked upon
as degrading. In many of the States the domestics will not bear to
be called servants, and take that of _help_; this is the case in New
England. The domestic is there a hired agent whose task is light,
and who in many houses takes his meals with the family. On these
conditions, native servants may be had in New England who are attentive
and intelligent; they stand upon their rights, and expect to be treated
with respect by their employers, but they perform their duties with
an honourable fidelity. In most of the non-slave-holding States, the
servants are chiefly free blacks, who are generally lazy and depraved,
or newly arrived emigrants from Ireland, who are ignorant and without
skill, prone to be most provokingly familiar, and in the intoxication
of their new condition, so different from the squalid misery they have
left behind them, more disposed to take airs upon themselves, than the
natives of the country.



NOTES.


NOTE 1--page 26.

_Use of Iron._

One must go to England to appreciate the value of iron, the scarcity
of wood having obliged the English to apply it to a great number of
purposes to which no one on the continent would dream of its being
applicable. At every step and under all forms, you meet with cast-iron,
bar-iron, sheet-iron, and steel; machines, piles, columns of all
dimensions from two inches to four feet in diameter, water-pipes and
gas-pipes, posts, grates, bridges, roofs, floors, whole quays and
roads, of iron. But for it, those light and airy structures, so slender
in appearance, yet supporting such enormous weights, the huge six
story warehouses of St Catharine's docks for instance, would be heavy
and gloomy dungeons. The gas which comes from a distance of seven or
eight miles, is made and brought in by the aid of iron. Those bridges,
springing as it were across the water, those graceful and elegant
footways across the canals, as well as the fluted columns of Regent's
Street, are of iron, cast or wrought. The quantity of pig-iron annually
produced in Great Britain and Ireland, is about 800,000 tons; in France
it amounted in 1834 to 269,000 tons, beside 177,000 tons of bar iron.
The ordinary price of both kinds with us is about double the price in
England.

Until the present day, stone has been almost the only material
employed in durable works of architecture; but stone having much less
cohesive force than iron, is only suited to the Egyptian, Greek, and
Roman styles of architecture. The light and airy architecture of the
Middle Ages, requires a material possessing great strength in a small
compass, such as the metals; and some attempts have already been made
in France and Germany to apply cast-iron to the construction of
Gothic structures. Stone has already done all that it is capable of
doing, and we can have nothing new in architecture, except by means
of new materials. In my opinion, iron is to be the instrument of this
regeneration of the architectural art. The price of pig-iron is now so
low, that the cost of a building of this material, would not exceed
that of one constructed of hewn stone.


NOTE 2--page 26.

_Quantity of Coal mined in France, England, and Belgium._

Mr McCulloch, in his Dictionary of Commerce estimates the quantity of
coal annually mined in England to amount to 16,000,000 tons.[EG] The
extensive inquiries of M. Le Play, who has carefully examined all the
English coal-fields, have led him to estimate it much higher; it does
not, probably, fall short of 30,000,000 tons, of which 5,000,000 are
consumed in the iron manufacture. Mr McCulloch estimates the amount of
capital employed in the coal-trade at 10,000,000 pounds, and the number
of persons engaged in it at from 160,000 to 180,000. Other estimates
carry this last number to 206,000, of whom 121,000 work in the mines.

In France 2,500,000 tons of coal were raised in 1834, and about 18,000
persons were employed in the mines. France also imports coal from
Belgium and England. Next to England, Belgium furnishes the largest
quantity of coal; the three great coal-fields of Mons, Charleroi, and
Liege with some smaller basins, yielding about 3,200,000 tons annually.



NOTE 3--page 33.

_Value of Exports of Domestic Produce and Manufactures from England,
France, and United States, from 1820 to 1835._

  -------+---------------------+-----------------+-------------------
  Years. |       France.       |     England.    |   United States.
  -------+---------------------+-----------------+-------------------
   1820  | francs. 543,100,000 | fr. 910,600,000 | fr. 275,400,000
   1821  |         450,700,000 |     917,500,000 |     232,700,000
   1822  |         427,600,000 |     925,000,000 |     265,800,000
   1823  |         427,100,000 |     890,000,000 |     251,300,000
   1824  |         505,800,000 |     960,000,000 |     269,900,000
   1825  |         543,800,000 |     972,500,000 |     356,800,000
   1826  |         461,000,000 |     787,500,000 |     282,700,000
   1827  |         506,800,000 |     930,000,000 |     314,000,000
   1828  |         511,200,000 |     920,000,000 |     270,000,000
   1829  |         504,200,000 |     895,000,000 |     296,800,000
   1830  |         452,900,000 |     955,000,000 |     316,900,000
   1831  |         455,500,000 |     930,000,000 |     326,600,000
   1832  |         507,400,000 |     921,000,000 |     336,500,000
   1833  |         559,400,000 |     992,500,000 |     374,700,000
   1834  |         509,300,000 |   1,041,000,000 |     432,100,000
   1835  |         577,400,000 |   1,184,200,000 |     539,700,000

England exports hardly any but manufactured articles. The United
States export chiefly raw produce. Raw Cotton forms half of the value
of their exports, as manufactured cotton forms about half of those
of Great Britain. Agriculture furnishes three fourths or four fifths
of the exports of domestic articles from the United States, and
manufactures, only one tenth. Above two thirds of the exports of France
are manufactures, and nearly one third, agricultural produce.


NOTE 4--page 36.

_Shipping._

Statement of the tonnage belonging to the principal ports of France,
England and the United States in 1835.

  _Ports._         _Tonnage._
  London            566,152
  New York          376,697
  Boston            226,041
  Newcastle         208,100
  Liverpool         207,833
  Sunderland        132,070
  Philadelphia       86,445
  New Orleans        79,467
  New Bedford        76,533
  Whitehaven         65,878
  Hull               63,524
  Bordeaux           69,690
  Marseilles         68,314
  Havre              68,070
  Portland (U. S.)   57,666
  Baltimore          54,416
  Nantes             51,528
  Bristol            42,913

To render the comparison exact, it would be necessary to deduct one
fourth from the French tonnage, in order to allow for the different
modes of measurement. The French method is mathematically more correct,
but it lays our vessels under the disadvantage of being obliged to pay
heavier tonnage dues; but a law of 1836 has authorised the government
to make a change in this respect.

Out of 1,824,000 tons of shipping entered and cleared at the French
ports in 1835, only 31 per cent. was French shipping; out of 5,025,000
tons entered and cleared at the British ports, 75 per cent. was of
English vessels. In the United States, from 1817 to 1830, foreign
shipping formed less than 15 per cent. of the vessels in the foreign
trade; in 1831, it was 26 per cent., and in 1832, 30 per cent., leaving
70 per cent. for the American shipping.

French navigation is in a deplorable state of feebleness, and the evil
increases daily. In 1832, the total amount of French shipping was
670,000 tons, of British 2,225,000, of American 1,440,000. In France
and England the amount varies little from year to year, but in the
United States it increases rapidly, and in 1837 it was 1,896,685.


NOTE 5--page 38--_omitted._


NOTE 6--page 38.

All the banks in the United States, like the Bank of France in Paris,
are at once banks of discount and loan, and banks of deposit and
circulation. Almost the whole currency of this country consists of
paper-money, the metals being chiefly in the the vaults of the banks,
which cannot dispense with them, because their bills are payable on
demand in gold and silver.

The old Bank of the United States, founded in 1791, had a capital of
ten million dollars, the Federal government holding one fifth of the
stock. The present Bank was incorporated in 1816, with the right of
establishing any number of branches. The Bank of England also has
branches in Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool, Leeds, Gloucester,
Bristol, Hull, Newcastle, Norwich, Swansea, and Exeter. The Bank of
France has but two branches, one at St. Etienne and the other at
Rheims, both established since 1836.

The capital of the Bank of the United States is 35,000,000, in 350,000
shares of 100 dollars each. That of the Bank of England is 11,000,000
pounds, divided into shares of one hundred pounds; and that of the Bank
of France is 90,000,000 francs, in shares of 1000 francs, of which
22,100 are held by the Bank itself. The United States' Bank stock was
at a premium of 25 to 30 per cent. before General Jackson began his war
upon it, that of the Bank of France is at an advance of 129 percent.,
and that of the Bank of England at 116 per cent. advance.

The operations of the Bank of the United States consist in discounting
commercial paper with two names, in making advances upon public stock
and other securities, and in trading in the precious metals. The
Bank of France discounts commercial paper with three names, or with
two names and a deposit of Bank stock as collateral security. It is
at present authorised to advance four-fifths on public stock on the
sole guarantee of the depositor. It also makes advances on deposits
of bullion and foreign coins, charging a commission of one eighth for
forty-five days, or one per cent. a year. The commercial attributes of
the Bank of England are still more limited than those of the Bank of
France. It makes no advances on public securities, except while the
transfer books are closed, which occurs for a certain period in London.

The Bank of the United States discounts at the rate of six per cent.;
the Bank of France at four per cent.; and the Bank of England at
different rates, but rarely at less than four per cent., which is high
in London. In 1836, the rate was advanced to four and a half and five
per cent. The Bank of the United States effects foreign and domestic
exchanges; the Bank of England only domestic exchange, which it does
without charge for those who have an account open with it; and the Bank
of France operates neither.

The circulation of the Bank of the United States has varied within late
years from ten to twenty millions; in October 1835, it was twentyfive
millions, consisting chiefly of five and ten dollar notes. Of late
years the circulation of the Bank of England has amounted to about
100 million dollars. Since 1830, the Bank of France has usually had a
circulation of forty millions, so that the two last institutions play
a more important part as banks of circulation, than the first. In the
United States, the five or six hundred local banks, whose aggregate
circulation is five or six times greater than that of the United
States' Bank, perform this service. This coëxistence of more than five
hundred distinct currencies is the great defect in the financial system
of this country. The joint-stock banks, which have been of late much
multiplied in England, tend to introduce the same confusion into that
country.

The Bank of the United States has generally in its vaults about ten
millions in specie, but during the struggle with General Jackson, it
had, at times, a sum equal to its bills in circulation, or from sixteen
to eighteen millions. The Bank of England endeavours to keep on hand
from forty to fifty millions, but it sometime sinks as low as thirty.
The Bank of France always has at least twenty and sometimes more than
forty millions; in 1832, it had fifty-three millions, or more than its
whole paper circulation.

The Bank of the United States does not discount notes of above four
months' date, although this restriction is voluntary; the great mass of
its discounts is on paper of two months date. The Banks of France and
England cannot discount bills of more than 90 days date.

The bills of the United States Bank circulate throughout the Union;
the revenue officers are obliged to receive them on the same footing
as specie. The Bank, in return, is obliged to redeem them in specie
on demand, under penalty of paying interest on the sum demanded at
the rate of 12 per cent. per annum, and of forfeiting its charter. It
is not, however, bound to redeem the bills of the branches, except
at their respective counters, although it does so in fact. The bills
of the Bank of England are a legal tender in England, and with the
exception of those of the branches, are redeemable in gold and silver
only in London. The bills of the Bank of France are current only in
Paris, and are not there a legal tender.

The Bank of the United States and the Bank of France only issue bills
payable to bearer; the Bank of England has a certain amount of Bank
post-bills, or bills payable to order at seven days sight, being
equivalent to about one tenth or one twelfth of its whole circulation.

The Bank of the United States receives deposits, on which it pays no
interest. The Scotch banks pay interest on deposits at the rate of 2 to
2-1/2 per cent. The Banks of England and France do not pay interest on
deposits, but the latter gets bills on Paris cashed for its depositors
without charge.

The number of accounts current opened by the Bank of the United States
is indefinite; in that country and Scotland almost all persons have
an account with the banks, and are thus freed from the necessity of
keeping any considerable sums on hand. They hardly keep enough in
the house to defray the expenses of the household for a few days,
and payments are made by checks on a bank. The banks are, therefore,
the cashiers of the whole community. This concentration of the whole
disposable fund of the country in the banks, gives them the means of
extending their operations greatly, and renders the capital, which
would otherwise be scattered about and lie idle, active and productive.

The dividends of the Bank of the United States have been regularly at
the rate of seven per cent.; those of the Bank of France vary from
eight to ten on the original capital; those of the Bank of England
are at present eight per cent. on the nominal capital, which is
the original capital successively modified by acts of parliament.
Independently of the ordinary dividends, which were originally seven
per cent., afterwards rose to ten, and are now eight, the Bank of
England has made several extraordinary dividends, and it increased
the nominal capital on which the dividends are paid, twentyfive per
cent. in 1816. Mr McCulloch makes the total sum of the extraordinary
dividends and of the reserved profits carried to the extension of
the capital, from 1799 to 1832, eighty-two millions, which with the
reimbursements required by the new charter, amounts to one hundred
and five millions. The Bank of France has divided beyond its ordinary
dividends, the sum of four and a half millions.

The Bank of the United States, previous to 1834, was charged with
the keeping of the public moneys, which were remitted to it by the
collectors and receivers and of which it was the legal depository,
with the transfer of funds for the service of the Treasury, and with
the payments on the public debt and of pensions. It is forbidden to
lend more than 500,000 dollars to the Federal government, and more
than 50,000 to any State. In this respect it differs from the Banks
of France and England, which make, and especially once made, enormous
advances to the state. This is the principal object of the Bank of
England, the whole capital of which is lent to the government at the
rate of three per cent. Besides this the Bank of England receives the
Exchequer Bills, and the Bank of France the Treasury Certificates
(_bons du Tresor_), which bear a low rate of interest. These banks have
made inconceivable loans to the state in time of war; in 1814, the
advances of the Bank of England amounted to 165 millions, inclusive
of the public deposits, which sometimes amounted to 60 millions.
The Bank of France, however, has at present little connexion with
the government, and has, therefore, greatly extended its commercial
operations. In 1836, it had on hand notes to the value of 27 million
dollars, without reckoning four millions advanced on deposits of public
funds; from 1830 to 1835 the amount had not exceeded seventeen millions.

The local or State banks in the United States are organized on
principles analogous to those of the National Bank. They are
incorporated companies, receiving their corporate privileges from the
States, and, therefore, confined to the limits of the State. Sometimes
their bills are not current out of the town or county in which they
are situated. They are institutions of credit and circulation almost
exclusively for the use of merchants. Not having the resource of
exchanges, and rarely having any deposits, they aim to enlarge their
profits, by extending their circulation through excessive discounts
and loans, which often floods the country with an excess of paper
money. Their capitals seldom exceed one million dollars, and are often
much less; but several have lately been established in the South with
capitals of from three to ten millions.

In England the private bankers have the right of emitting bills payable
to bearer, except, if there are less than six partners in the house,
within the distance of sixty miles of London; in point of fact there
are none issued within that space. The bills issued by private bankers
amount to about 8,500,000 pounds. In Paris, the Bank of France has the
exclusive privilege of issuing bills payable to bearer.

The joint stock banks in England are not chartered companies, nor are
they under any control. All the partners are personally responsible.
These country banks are very numerous, and they offer, perhaps, less
security than the American State banks. In all times of crisis, in
1792-93, 1814-15-16, 1825-26, many of them have become bankrupts or
suspended payment; in 1816, 240 were obliged to take one of these
alternatives. In 1809 their issues amounted to 24 million pounds; in
1821-23, they had fallen eight millions, and in 1825, had again risen
to fourteen millions. Since the suppression of notes of less than
five pounds, they have been much reduced. At present (1836), these
institutions are becoming multiplied to such a degree as to inspire
serious alarm in prudent men.


NOTE 7--page 49.

_Failures in the United States._

It would be excessively unjust to the Americans not to acknowledge that
they are improving daily in respect to failures. In a new country it is
natural that a failure should be little thought of, because every thing
is necessarily an experiment, and all speculation is a game of hazard.
The public is very indulgent on this point, because it considers a
failure what it really is, nineteen times out of twenty, a misfortune
and not a fraud. The bankrupt is looked upon as a wounded soldier, who
is to be treated with sympathy, and not with contempt. Congress has
the power of passing a bankrupt law, but it has not yet exercised
this power, and the different States have made temporary provisions
for the case, which treat the insolvent debtor with great indulgence,
discharging him from any further obligation towards his creditors on
his giving up all his property for their benefit. It is felt that too
much severity in regard to failures would have the tendency to check
the spirit of enterprise, which is the life of the country. None of
those rigourous provisions which disgrace French legislation and
endanger the interests of creditors, exist here; and if the lenity of
the laws is sometimes abused, the inconvenience is much less than that
caused by the harshness of ours.

In the large maritime towns, however, it is felt, that if bankruptcy
is not a disgrace, it is at least a private and public calamity, which
is to be averted by every exertion. The history of the great fire in
New York in 1835 affords ample proof of this. The amount of the loss
exceeded fifteen millions, and the insurance companies found themselves
unable to meet their engagements. On the receipt of the news in Europe,
there was not a merchant who did not tremble for his American debts;
for in Europe, in general, and in France, in particular, such an
event would have deprived the sufferers of all credit, of all means
of repairing their losses. In France the singular custom prevails
of offering you credit, if you do not need it; but if you stand in
want of it, you will get none. In the United States, on the contrary,
immediately after this disaster, the President of the United States
Bank hastens to place two millions at the disposal of the New York
merchants, and the banks in general give out that they shall discount
the paper of the sufferers in preference.

Although the sphere of the public authorities in the United States is
very narrow, the corporation of New York and the State government,
rivalled each other in offers of assistance; the former offered an
advance of six millions, not to individuals, as was done in France in
1830, but to the insurance companies, whose ruin would have led to a
general bankruptcy; it thus strengthened the hands of commerce, by
relieving its citadel. Even Congress, which is not allowed to take a
step out of its little district, and is scarcely permitted to notice
what is going on beyond the Capitol, was moved, and extended the term
of payment of custom dues. The result of this admirable co-operation
of individuals, companies, and public authorities was to prevent any
considerable failures.

The Americans have a courage in presence of commercial disasters, like
that of the soldier on the field of battle. In a critical juncture,
they face bankruptcy, as old grenadiers march upon a battery under a
fire of grape-shot. If it is true that commerce is to supplant war in
the future, it must be confessed that the Americans are more advanced
on the march than we are; for they have applied all their energies and
qualities to commerce, whilst we still devote ours to war. They have
discovered a new sort of courage which produces and enriches; we shine
only by that courage which perishes or destroys.

The merit of this new spirit does not belong exclusively to the
Americans; they had the germ in their blood, and have received the
gift from the mother country. At the period of the late calamity,
the English were no more subject to a panic terrour than their
New York descendants.--It is within my knowledge, that American
merchants established in Paris and having houses in the United States,
having applied to London bankers for a continuation of credit, were
immediately assured, that not only the former amount of credit should
be continued, but that they should be allowed an unlimited credit in
order to enable them to repair their losses. Some French bankers, on
the contrary, similarly situated, hastened to cut off the credit they
had previously given.

In a country organized for commerce, and having the proper institutions
of credit, the money and merchandise of the merchant, are not his
only capital; the most valuable part of his capital consists of his
experience, his correspondents and connexions, the weight of his name.
This constitutes a moral capital, which conflagrations cannot destroy,
nor accidents of any kind injure. In New York, by the aid of this
moral capital, on which a high value is set in commercial countries,
a merchant who has not property to the amount of more than 50,000
dollars, operates as if he had five or six times as much. In Paris,
the same man, with the same fortune, would operate with only about
twice as much. Thus the wealth of the United States increases in a much
faster ratio than in France.


NOTE 8--page 54.

The American newspapers are very numerous, but in consequence of their
great number their circulation is comparatively small. There are few
daily papers, whose circulation exceeds 2,000, and not one, which
exceeds 4,000; that of most of the newspapers is not more than 400 or
500. The American newspapers have little resemblance to the French and
English. They are chiefly mere advertising sheets; they do not direct
public opinion, they follow it. This local character does not allow
of their having much influence out of their particular district. In
New York, only the city newspapers are read; in New Orleans, those
of New Orleans are the only ones generally seen; whilst in France
those of Paris, and in England those of London are read every where.
The Globe and the National Intelligencer of Washington are, however,
pretty generally circulated. Newspapers in the United States are not
powers, they are mere instruments of publicity within the reach of all.
They are consulted for the news, not for opinions. The profession of
a writer does not stand so high in England as in France, and is less
honourable in the United States, than in England. With the exception of
a very few newspapers, at the head of which are the New York American
edited by Charles King, and the Philadelphia National Gazette, edited
by Robert Walsh, the American press occupies a low rank in the social
scale.

Notwithstanding their large size, the American newspapers are
low-priced; the cause is plain enough; the profits are derived chiefly
from advertisements, and the expenses of editing are inconsiderable,
as there is generally but one editor. There is no stamp duty; but the
postage on them is higher than in France.[EH] The circulation of some
of the French newspapers exceeds 10,000; and some cheap publications
have lately had a circulation of 90,000 or 100,000.


NOTE 9--page 53.

In 1832, the transfer of funds between different points of the Union,
or between the Union and foreign countries, effected by the Bank of the
United States, amounted to 255 millions, of which 241,718,710 was for
domestic, and 13,456,737 for foreign transactions. The Bank received
only 217,249 dollars for commissions on this vast sum.


NOTE 10--page 64.

_Specie and Paper Money._

The quantity of gold and silver coined in France with the new die,
amounted, up to 1836, to about 750 million dollars, of which three
fourths were in silver. It is not probable that more than one fourth of
that sum has been melted and exported; there would then remain about
550 millions. A part of this immense sum is out of circulation, and is
buried in the coffers of individuals or in the pockets of the poor, who
do not dare trust their savings to any person or institution.

In the United States, in 1834, the 405 local banks from which official
or semi-official statements had been received, had 65 million dollars
paper in circulation, and 14,250,000 dollars in specie in their
vaults. There were beside, 101 banks, estimated to have in circulation
12,650,000 dollars of paper, and 2,825,000 dollars in specie on hand.
The Bank of the United States had at that time a circulation of
10,300,000 dollars, and specie to the amount of 13,865,000 dollars. The
whole currency of the United States, exclusive of the small amount of
specie in the hands of individuals, amounted, therefore, to 88 millions
in paper and specie. At this time, the banks had withdrawn a large
amount of their bills from circulation, their issues before the war
on the Bank having exceeded 100 millions. Since 1834, the amount of
specie in the United States has been considerably increased, several of
the States having prohibited the emission of bills of less than five
dollars, a measure, which would tend to promote the use of the metals.

The following statement, showing the quantity of paper money in
circulation in the United Kingdom at the end of 1833, is chiefly from
McCulloch's Dictionary of Commerce.

  Of Bank of England          £19,500,000
  Of Branches of do.            3,300,000
  Of Private Bankers            8,500,000
  Of English Country Banks      1,500,000[EI]
  Of Scotch Banks               2,000,000
  Of Irish Banks                7,500,000
                              -----------
                Total          42,300,000

At the same time the amount of the precious metals in circulation
and in the banks, was estimated at 45,800,000 pounds, of which seven
millions were in silver.


NOTE 11[EJ]--page 96. _Cherokees and other Indians._ Omitted.


NOTE 12[EJ]--page 98. _Public Lands._ Omitted.


NOTE 13[EJ]--page 119. _Temperance Societies._ Omitted.


NOTE 14--page 132.

_Cotton Manufacture._

At the end of 1836, the Lowell cotton factories comprised

129,828 spindles and 4,197 looms, and employed 6,793 operatives of
whom 5,416 were women. The quantity of cloth made was 849,300 yards a
week, or at the rate of 44 million yards a year; raw cotton consumed
38,000 bales, or 15 million pounds yearly.

In 1831, the American manufacture employed 62,157 operatives, of
whom 38,927 were women and 4,691 children. There were beside 4,760
hand-weavers, 40,709 persons employed in accessory labours, making the
whole number of persons engaged directly and indirectly 117,626. The
factories contained 1,246,503 spindles, and 33,506 looms, and produced
230,461,990 yards of stuffs, besides 1,200,000 pounds of yarn, which
were woven in families during the winter. The consumption of raw
cotton was 77 million pounds. The value of the products was 26 million
dollars, eleven millions of which were paid in wages. (_Pitkin's
Statistics_, 526.)

There were in England, in 1834, according to Baines, (_History of
Cotton Manufacture_,) 100,000 power-looms, and 250,000 hand-looms. The
difference between the number of the hand-looms in England and the
United States deserves to be noticed. The hand-weavers in Great Britain
form one of the most wretched classes of the population. The English
factories employed 729,000 persons, or with the dyers, bleachers,
measurers, folders, packers, &c., and all hands employed in building
and repairing the mills, 1,500,000, In 1833 the English factories
consumed 332 million pounds of cotton. The value of their annual
products is estimated at from 30 to 34 million pounds sterling; the
wages of the 724,000 operatives amount to 13 millions.

In 1834, the French manufacture employed 600,000 persons, and the
annual value of its products was about 110 million dollars; quantity of
cotton consumed 100 million pounds. If these statements are correct,
it follows, that our operatives produce less than the English or
Americans.


NOTE 15--page 186.

_Production and Consumption of Cotton._

In 1834, one of our most able manufacturers, M. Koekhlin, made the
following estimate of the production and consumption of cotton
throughout the world.

            _Production._

  In the United States             437,500,000 lbs.
  In India                          75,000,000
  In Brasil                         30,000,000
  In Bourbon, Cayenne, &c.           7,500,000
  In Egypt and the Levant           25,000,000
                                   -----------
                   Total,          575,000,000

            _Consumption._

  In England                       375,000,000 lbs.
  In France                        100,000,000
  In the United States              45,000,000
  In China                          37,500,000
  In Switzerland, Belgium, &c.      42,500,000
                                   -----------
                   Total,           600,000,000

Several other countries not enumerated above yield cotton. China
produces some which she consumes, or exports under the form of
nankeens; Mexico produces nearly enough for her own consumption;
Mr Koekhlin has meant to speak only of what belongs to the general
commerce. He has somewhat overstated the consumption of England, and
underrates that of the United States.


NOTE 16--page 154--_omitted._


NOTE 17--page 161.

_Trial of the Incendiaries for burning the Ursuline Convent._

The intolerant spirit of a part of the Protestant population was
offended by the sight of the Ursuline Convent on Mount St. Bendict,
within the limits of Charlestown, a town adjoining Boston. The sisters
devoted themselves to the instruction of young girls, and many
Protestant families had confided daughters to their care. Every thing
proves that they were by no means devoured by a spirit of proselytism.
In the beginning of August, 1835, a report got about in Charlestown,
that one of the sisters, a young woman, was detained in the convent
by force. The Selectmen of the town had a meeting, five of them went
to the convent, which they examined from cellar to garret, had an
interview with the sister who was represented as a victim of the
Catholic discipline, and became satisfied that she was there of her
own free will. This conviction was made known to the public. But on
the night of August 12th, the convent was surrounded and attacked by
a handful of ruffians, at the head of whom was one John Buzzell, a
brickmaker, noted for his brutal character. The sisters were driven
from the convent with violence; every thing was plundered; the tombs of
the dead were forced open. The building was then fired; it was burnt in
sight of the Selectmen; the Boston firemen hastened to the spot, but
were repulsed by the populace by main force.

Several men, taken in the act, were arrested, and among others Buzzell;
they were tried in Boston in 1835.[EK] The witnesses were afraid to
bear testimony, a mysterious influence had changed their language; the
public prosecutor, who had previously demanded in vain a postponement
of the trial, until the causes which instigated the violence had been
traced, pleaded the cause of order with a generous indignation. All the
prisoners were acquitted, except one poor youth of the name of Marcy
who was sentenced to fifteen or twenty years imprisonment; but public
opinion soon after obliged the Executive to grant him a pardon. Buzzell
and Kelly, one of his accomplices, became heroes; they were carried
about in triumph, and a subscription was made for their benefit. The
sisters petitioned the Massachusetts legislature for indemnity; the
most intelligent citizens of Boston interested themselves in their
favour, but the House of Representatives rejected the petition by a
large majority. On the anniversary of the outrage, the populace of
Charlestown celebrated it as a day of rejoicing, and got up a shooting
match, the target being a representation of the lady superior of the
convent. The Selectmen succeeded in suppressing the figure, but not
the procession. Finally, to crown these deeds of impudence and savage
violence, two of the incendiaries, in 1836, presented a petition to
the legislature to be indemnified for the damages they had suffered by
the trial. The committee to whom the petition was referred, reported
a grant of 500 dollars to each of these wretches; but to the honor of
Massachusetts, their report was rejected on the second reading.


NOTE 18--page 172. _Omitted._


NOTE 19--page 180. _Omitted._


NOTE 20--page 193.

_Taxation._

It has repeatedly been made a question of late, whether the United
States were more or less heavily taxed than France. The subject may
be considered under several points of view. The systems of Taxation
in the two countries are very different. The taxes in the United
States are less numerous than they are in France, and are differently
distributed. The country population, that is the great majority, pay
much less in the United States than in France; but in the large towns
the inhabitants pay nearly as much as with us, except in Paris. The
disproportion between the two countries becomes much greater, if
instead of estimating the amount in money, we give it in day's labour,
which is the most rational manner. The day-wages of a labourer being
about threefold as much in the United States as they are with us, and
other things being in the same proportion, it follows, that, in the
former, a tax of three dollars to three dollars and a half, which
is about the general average, is not more burdensome to the mass of
the people, than a tax of one third that sum would be in France.
The average tax in France, or six dollars a head, is equivalent to
twentysix days' work in our country; while the average in the United
States is only equivalent to four days' work in that country.

It is true, that, amongst us, all the public expenditures are comprised
in the budget; all our taxes amount to 190 million dollars. But in the
United States, there are various expenses supported by individuals and
companies, which do not appear in the sum of the public taxes. Toll is
paid on a very large number of roads: public worship is maintained at
the expense of the worshippers; hence heavy charges on the rich.

It is important to remark, that the public revenue in the United
States is almost wholly employed in a productive manner, in useful
undertakings, in public works, schools, and various kinds of
improvements. There is no Federal debt, that of most of the States
and towns is inconsiderable, there are no retiring pensions, and the
army is small; whilst more than half of our budget, or 118 million
dollars, is devoted to the charges on the public debt, pensions, and
the sea and land forces, we cannot expect to restore the balance in our
favour, because we cannot dismiss our soldiers, nor declare a national
bankruptcy; but we might diminish our present inferiority (paradoxical
as it may seem), by adding some millions to our budget for useful and
productive works.

The military service itself is a public burden and a very heavy one;
but it is difficult to rate the amount of this in money. In France it
takes one man out of eighty inhabitants from labour, but in the United
States only one out of 2,300. This tax might be lightened, by employing
the army in public works.

We may also notice the two following differences, which appear to me
essential ones, between American and French taxes:--

1. The American taxes, whether it be from the mode of their assessment,
or from the difference of conditions of the two countries, never press
heavily upon the taxables nor give them any uneasiness; they never
embarrass transactions nor interrupt business. On the contrary, amongst
us the tax is often an oppressive burden; our registry dues, and excise
on property changing hands, often occasion serious embarrassments and
even insurmountable obstacles in the way of enterprise.

2. In the United States the treasury fears to incur the public odium;
amongst us the most respectable citizens are subjected to the most
vexatious treatment; our officers of the customs have adopted practices
unworthy of a civilised people; our wives and daughters must submit to
be searched in the most shameless manner by vile hags, and these brutal
proceedings have not the poor excuse of being useful to the customs.
Their avowed object is to prevent the smuggling of articles, with
which, in spite of three lines of custom-house officers, the country
is inundated, and which it is well known are brought in by dogs[EL] on
a large scale, and not in the pockets of private persons. The branches
of industry, which they are designed to protect, are altogether of
secondary importance, and cannot be weighed in the balance against
public decency.


NOTE 21--page 11.

_Construction and Cost of Steamboats in the West._

The western steamboats are on the high pressure principle, with a force
of six or eight atmospheres. The boilers are on deck, in the bow of
the boat; the cylinder is horizontal; there are two wheels, one on
each side. Formerly, a single stern wheel was generally used. Only one
engine is used to a boat. The pistons are not of metal, an arrangement
which necessarily involves a great loss of power, but which renders
repairs more easy, an important consideration with inexperienced
engineers. The engines are of very simple construction and cost little;
those for the largest boats cost from 10,000 to 14,000 dollars; the
engines of the French government packets in the Mediterranean cost
nearly 60,000 dollars. The cylinders of the most powerful engines in
the western boats are of 30 inches diameter, and seven feet stroke.
These boats consume enormous quantities of wood; the larger ones
burning from one and a half to one and three quarters cords an hour;
the rate of speed rarely exceeds ten miles an hour even down stream.

In the east a good steamer from 175 to 200 feet in length with copper
boilers, which are necessary to resist the action of salt water, costs
from 70,000 to 80,000 dollars, including the furniture. The carpenter's
work of the hull costs about thirty dollars a ton, exclusive of the
iron. The engine, when there is but one, costs from 12,000 to 15,000
dollars, exclusive of the boilers. The North America cost 100,000
dollars; a good boat, well taken care of, lasts about twelve or fifteen
years in the east. The eastern boats are very fast and safe, and of
late years, great improvements have been made in their construction,
principally by Mr Stevens of New York. They move at the rate of
fifteen miles an hour in still water, and generally carry nothing but
passengers. Their usual length is from 180 to 200 feet, with a breadth
of twentyfour or twentysix, without including the paddle-boxes; their
usual draught of water about four or five feet in the rivers, and from
six and a half to nine feet in the bays and seas. Their engines are
on the low or mean pressure principle; the cylinder is vertical, and
they often have two engines; the stroke of the piston has been carried
to ten or eleven feet; the diameter of the cylinders, in some of the
boats, is five feet four inches. They consume from twentyfive to thirty
cords of wood an hour.

The number of steamboats in the United States, at the end of 1834, was
386 of an aggregate of 95,648 tons, of which 237, with a tonnage of
64,347 tons, were on the western waters. [In 1839 the number of boats
was about 800, with an aggregate tonnage of 157,473 tons; of these
about 300 were on the western rivers and 70 on the lakes.--TRANSL.]
There were in France, in 1834, 82 steamboats, with a total tonnage of
not more than 15,000 tons, beside 37 belonging to the government. The
whole number of steamers in England is about 480.


NOTE 22--page 268.

_Summary Statements of the Public Works in the United States._

The six tables which follow present a recapitulation of the statements
given in Letter XXI., with the cost per league in francs. [Many of
the statements in the Letter are slightly varied from the original,
in conformity with official reports, and the cost and distances have
there been reduced to English measures and Federal money. In these
tables the author's statements are given without change because
sufficient materials for a total recasting of them are not accessible
to the translator. In reducing federal money to francs, M. Chevalier
assumes the dollar to be equal to 5.33 francs; the league is of 4,000
metres, and consequently equivalent to two and a half English statute
miles.--TRANSL.]


I. LINES BETWEEN THE EAST AND WEST.

                           _Length._ _Leagues._ _Total Cost._ _Francs._

  Names.                   |       |Rail-  |    Canals.|Railroads.|Cost per
                           |Canals.|roads. |           |          |League.
                           |       |       |           |          |
  1st Line, _Erie Canal_,  |146-1/2|       |}          |          |
  Branches,                |101    |       |}65,000,000|          |262,600
  _Lateral Railroads_,     |       |       |           |          |
    Albany and Schenectady,|       |  6-1/2|           | 4,000,000|615,400
    Schenectady and Utica, |       | 31-1/2|           | 8,000,000|254,000
    Rochester and Buffalo, |       | 29    |           | 3,000,000|103,000
  2d Line, _Pennsylvania   |111    |       |}          |          |
    Canal_,                |       |       |}          |          |
    Branches,              |131-1/4|       |}95,000,000|          |392,300
    Columbia Railroad,     |       | 33    |           |19,200,000|581,800
    Portage "              |       | 14-1/4|           | 8,550,000|600,000
  _Bald Eagle Canal_,      | 10    |       |  1,000,000|          |100,000
  _Union_ "                | 33    |       | 13,870,000|          |420,300
  3d Line _Baltimore and   |       | 34    |           |16,000,000|470,600
    Ohio Railroad_,        |       |       |           |          |
  4th Line, _Chesapeake    | 74-3/4|       | 33,000,000|          |442,800
    and Ohio Canal_,       |       |       |           |          |
    _Georgetown and        |  3    |       |  2,600,000|          |866,700
    Alexandria Canal_,     |       |       |           |          |
  5th Line, _Virginia      |100    |       | 25,000,000|          |250,000
    Canal_,                |       |       |           |          |
    _Railroad section_,    |       | 60    |           |15,000,000|250,000
  _Old James River         | 12    |       |  5,300,000|          |441,600
    Canal_,                |       |       |           |          |
  6th Line, _Richelieu     |  4-3/4|       |  1,870,000|          |393,700
    Canal_,                |       |       |           |          |
  _Laprairie Railroad_.    |       |  6-1/2|           |   800,000|123,100
                           |-------|-------|-----------|----------|-------
  Totals                   |727-1/4|214-3/4|242,640,000|74,550,000|


II. LINES CONNECTING THE VALLEYS OF THE MISSISSIPPI AND ST. LAWRENCE.

                            _Length._ _Leagues_ _Total Cost._ _Francs._

  Names.                |       |Rail- |    Canals.|Railroads.| Cost per
                        |Canals.|roads.|           |          |  League.
                        |       |      |           |          |
  Ohio Canal,           |122    |      | 22,720,000|          |  186,200
  Miami (1st section,)  | 26-1/2|      |  5,227,000|          |  197,200
  " (2d section,)       | 50-1/4|      | 11,000,000|          |  219,000
  Wabash and Erie Canal,| 84    |      | 16,800,000|          |  200,000
  Michigan "            | 37-1/2|      | 37,500,000|          |1,000,000
  Pittsburg and Erie "  | 41-1/2|      |  5,000,000|          |  120,500
  Beaver and Sandy "    | 36-1/4|      |  7,250,000|          |  200,000
  Mahoning "            | 36    |      |  7,200,000|          |  200,000
  Mad River Railroad,   |       |61-1/2|           |10,500,000|  170,700
  Welland Canal.        | 11-1/4|      | 11,040,000|          |  982,300
  Canals on the St.     | 13    |      | 20,000,000|          |1,538,000
    Lawrence,           |       |      |           |          |
  Louisville and        |    3/4|      |  4,053,000|          |5,400,000
    Portland Canal,     |       |      |           |          |
                        |       |      |           |          |
  Totals                |-------|------|-----------|----------|---------
                        |       |      |           |          |
                        |459    |61-1/2|147,790,000|10,500,000|
                        |       |      |           |          |



III. LINES ALONG THE ATLANTIC.

                                 _Length. Leagues. Total Cost. Francs._

        Names.            |       |Rail-  |          |          | Cost per
                          |Canals.|roads. | Canals.  |Railroads.|  League.
                          |       |       |          |          |
  Raritan and Delaware    |17     |       |12,000,000|          |  705,900
    Canal,                |       |       |          |          |
  Delaware and Chesapeake | 5-1/2 |       |14,000,000|          |2,545,500
    Canal,                |       |       |          |          |
  Dismal Swamp Canal,     | 9     |       |}         |          |
  Branch,                 | 2-1/2 |       |}3,733,000|          |  324,600
                          |       |       |          |          |
  2d Line, _By the        |       |       |          |          |
    Cities._              |       |       |          |          |
  Boston and Providence   |       | 17    |          | 8,000,000|  470,600
    Railroad,             |       |       |          |          |
  Providence and          |       | 21    |          | 8,000,000|  381,000
    Stonington Railroad,  |       |       |          |          |
  Amboy and Camden        |       | 24-1/4|          |12,250,000|  505,200
    Railroad,             |       |       |          |          |
  Newcastle and           |       |  6-1/2|          | 2,130,000|  327,700
    Frenchtown Railroad,  |       |       |          |          |
  Baltimore and           |       | 12    |          | 8,000,000|  750,000
    Washington Railroad,  |       |       |          |          |
  Winchester Railroad,    |       | 13    |          | 2,600,000|  200,000
  Fredericksburg and      |       | 23-3/4|          | 3,900,000|  164,200
    Richmond Railroad,    |       |       |          |          |
  Petersburg and Roanoke  |       | 24    |          | 3,470,000|  144,600
    Railroad,             |       |       |          |          |
  Belfield Branch         |       |  6    |          |   840,000|  140,000
    Railroad,             |       |       |          |          |
  Portsmouth and Roanoke  |       | 31    |          | 4,000,000|  129,000
    Railroad,             |       |       |          |          |
  Charleston and Hamburg  |       | 54-3/4|          | 6,400,000|  116,900
    Railroad,             |       |       |          |          |
  Georgia Railroad,       |       | 46    |          | 8,250,000|  179,300
                          |--     |-------|----------|----------|  -------
  Totals                  |34     |279-1/4|29,733,000|67,840,000|


IV. LINES RADIATING FROM THE LARGE TOWNS.

                                 _Length. Leagues. Total Cost. Francs._

  Names.                   |Can-|Rail-  |   Canals.|Railroads.| Cost per
                           |als.|roads. |          |          | League.
                           |    |       |          |          |
  Boston and Lowell        |    |10-1/4 |          | 8,000,000|  780,000
    Railroad,              |    |       |          |          |
  Boston and Worcester     |    |17-3/4 |          | 6,670,000|  375,800
    Railroad,              |    |       |          |          |
  Middlesex Canal          |  12|       | 2,800,000|          |  233,000
  New York and Paterson    |    | 6-1/4 |          | 1,100,000|  176,000
    Railroad,              |    |       |          |          |
  Harlæm Railroad,         |    | 2     |          | 2,000,000|1,000,000
  Jersey City and New      |    |11-1/4 |          | 1,800,000|  160,000
    Brunswick Railroad,    |    |       |          |          |
  Brooklyn and Jamaica     |    | 5     |          | 1,600,000|  320,000
  Railroad,                |    |       |          |          |
  Philadelphia and         |    | 6-1/4 |          | 2,500,000|  400,000
    Norristown Railroad,   |    |       |          |          |
  Westchester Railroad,    |    | 3-1/2 |          |   540,000|  154,300
  Philadelphia and Trenton |    |10-1/2 |          | 2,133,000|  203,100
    Railroad,              |    |       |          |          |
  Baltimore and            |    |24     |          | 7,100,000|  295,800
    Susquehanna Railroad,  |    |       |          |          |
  Santee Canal,            |   9|       | 3,470,000|          |  385,600
  New Orleans Canals,      |   4|       |12,000,000|          |3,000,000
  New Orleans and          |    | 3-1/2 |          | 2,000,000|  571,400
    Carrolton Railroad,    |    |       |          |          |
  New Orleans and Lake     |    | 2     |          | 2,300,000|1,150,000
    Pontchartrain Railroad |    |       |          |          |
  Schenectady and Saratoga |    | 8-1/2 |          | 1,600,000|  188,200
    Railroad,              |    |       |          |          |
  Troy and Saratoga        |    | 9-3/4 |          | 1,800,000|  184,600
    Railroad,              |    |       |          |          |
                           |  --|-------|----------|----------|---------
  Totals                   |  25|120-1/2|18,270,000|41,143,000|



V. LINES CONNECTED WITH THE COAL MINES.

                                 _Length. Leagues. Total Cost. Francs._

  Names.                 |       |Rail-  |   Canals.| Railroads.|Cost per
                         |Canals.|roads. |          |           |League.
                         |       |       |          |           |
  Chesterfield Railroad, |       |  5-1/4|          |  1,050,000|200,000
  Schuylkill Canal,      | 43    |       |16,000,000|           |372,100
  Lehigh "               | 17-1/2|       | 8,300,000|           |474,300
  Delaware " (see        |       |       |          |           |
    Letters)             |       |       |          |           |
  Morris "               | 48-1/2|       |11,000,000|           |226,800
  Carbondale and         |       |  6-1/2|          |  1,600,000|246,200
    Honesdale Railroad,  |       |       |          |           |
  Hudson and Delaware    | 43    |       |12,600,000|           |293,300
    Canal,               |       |       |          |           |
  Pottsville and Sunbury |       | 17-3/4|          |  6,000,000|338,000
    Railroad,            |       |       |          |           |
  Philadelphia and       |       | 22-3/4|          |  8,000,000|351,600
    Reading Railroad,    |       |       |          |           |
  Various works,         |       | 66    |          |  6,000,000| 90,900
                         |---    |-------|----------| ----------|-------
  Totals                 |152    |118-1/4|47,900,000| 22,650,000|


VI. DIFFERENT LINES.

                                 _Length. Leagues. Total Cost. Francs._

  Names.                   |       |Rail- |   Canals.|Railroads.|Cost per
                           |Canals.|roads |          |          |League.
                           |       |      |          |          |
  Cumberland Canal (Me.)   |       |      |          |          |
  Farmington and           |       |      |          |          |
    Blackstone Canals,     | 67    |      |10,400,000|          |155,000
    Mass. &c.              |       |      |          |          |
  Conestoga Navigation,    |  7-1/4|      |}1,000,000|          | 95,700
  Codorus                  |  4-1/4|      |}         |          |
  Muscle-Shoals Canal,     | 14    |      | 7,000,000|          |500,000
  Savannah and Ogeechee    |  6-1/2|      |   850,000|          |130,800
    Canal,                 |       |      |          |          |
  Improvement of the       | 11-3/4|      | 5,000,000|          |425,500
    Hudson,                |       |      |          |          |
  Quincy Railroad,         |       | 1-1/4|          |   180,000|144,000
  Ithaca and Owego         |       |11-3/4|          | 2,700,000|230,800
    Railroad,              |       |      |          |          |
  Lexington and Louisville |       |36    |          | 6,000,000|166,700
    Railroad,              |       |      |          |          |
  Tuscumbia and Decatur    |       |18    |          | 3,000,000|200,000
    Railroad,              |       |      |          |          |
  Rochester Canal,         |       | 1-1/4|          |   160,000|128,000
  Buffalo and Blackrock    |       | 1-1/4|          |    50,000| 40,000
    Canal,                 |       |      |          |          |
                           |-------|------|----------|----------|-------
  Totals                   |110-3/4|69-1/2|24,250,000|12,690,000|


VII. SUMMARY OF THE ABOVE TABLES.

              _Length. Leagues._           _Cost. Francs._

  Table.      Canals.   Railroads.      Canals.      Railroads.
    I.        727-1/4    214-3/4      242,640,000    74,550,000
   II.        459         61-1/2      147,790,000    10,500,000
  III.         34        279-1/4       29,733,000    67,840,000
   IV.         25        120-1/2       18,270,000    41,143,000
    V.        152        118-1/4       47,900,000    22,650,000
            ---------    -------      -----------   -----------
  Total.    1,397-1/4    794-1/4      486,333,000   216,683,000
  Deduct      144        105           72,500,000    21,750,000
            ---------    -------      -----------   -----------
            1,253-1/4    689-1/4      413,833,000   194,933,000
   VI.        110-3/4     69-1/2       24,250,000    12,690,000
            ---------    -------      -----------   -----------
  Totals.    1364        758-3/4      438,083,000   207,623,000
             \________  _______/      \___________  __________/
                      \/                          \/
                   2,122-3/4                 645,706,000.

If to these are added some unimportant works, about which I have not
been able to obtain exact statements, the total length of the railroads
and canals may be estimated at about 2,150 leagues, and the cost at 660
million francs. If we take into account a number of important works,
which have been undertaken in the last part of 1835 and the beginning
of 1836, it will be necessary to add 900 leagues and 300 million francs
to the above totals, making an aggregate of 3,050 leagues (7,625 miles)
and 960 million francs (180 million dollars). I do not include the
Nashville and New Orleans and the Charleston and Cincinnati railroads,
which, however, will probably be executed before long, and with their
branches will make an addition of more than 500 leagues. The Americans
have already surpassed in the extent of their works, and the rapidity
of execution, the most active and wealthy European nations. Almost all
the works above enumerated have been executed in fifteen years.

The following table gives a summary view of similar works in Europe:

  _Countries._            _Canals._            _Railroads._

  England                 1,100 leagues.       313 leagues.
  France                    998                 50
  Belgium                   115                 74
  Other States              400                 50
                          -----                ---
      Totals              2,613                487
                          \_________  ___________/
                                    \/
  General Total of Europe         3,100
         "         United States  3,050


NOTE 23--page 281.

_Geological Surveys._

The legislatures of several States have lately shown a laudable zeal
for geological examinations of the soil. Maryland has a State geologist
(Mr Duchatel) who is engaged in preparing a geological map of the
State, particularly with reference to economical purposes. Dr Duchatel
has already made some important discoveries in agricultural geology,
especially in respect to the use of marl. Tennessee has also its
geologist, Dr Troost. Massachusetts has a geological map prepared by
Professor Hitchcock. Congress has caused some examinations to be made
on the upper Mississippi. Dr Jackson has been several years employed
in making geological surveys in Maine, and is at present occupied in
Rhode Island; he has also been appointed by New Hampshire to explore
the geology of her mountains and valleys. New York, Pennsylvania,
New Jersey, Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Connecticut, Kentucky, Michigan
and Georgia, have also engaged in the same enterprise, and partial
examinations have been made in North Carolina. New York has in addition
to a corps of four geologists, Messrs Vanuxem, Mather, Emmons and
Conrad, a chemist (Dr Beck,) a botanist (Mr Torrey,) and a zoologist,
(Dr DeKay.) It is principally to the efforts of the late Secretary
of the State, General Dix, that New York is indebted for this great
undertaking. Massachusetts has also organised a board of naturalists,
to report upon the different branches of botany and zoology. In many
of the States, a topographical survey more or less minute, has been
connected with the geological explorations. Massachusetts has been
trigonometrically surveyed.

FOOTNOTES:

[EG] In a later work (_Statistics of the British Empire_, 1839), Mr
McCulloch estimates it at 26,188,000 tons.--TRANSL.

[EH] The postage of newspapers in France is two fifths of a cent within
the department where it is published, and four fifths on any distance
beyond it.

[EI] In August 1836, this had been increased to 3,600,000 pounds.

[EJ] These notes, with several others, have been omitted, as they
contain merely statements familiar to most readers in this country.

[EK] The author is mistaken; they were tried in the county in which the
offence was committed. Boston is in a different county.--TRANSL.

[EL] On the northern frontier there are from 500,000 to 600,000 dogs
which enter annually; not more than 6,000 or 7,000 are seized.



    Transcriber's Notes:


    Simple spelling, grammar, and typographical errors were corrected.

    Italics markup is enclosed in _underscores_.





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