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The child at rest before its mother lay;
E'en so to pass away,
With its bright smile!-Elysium! what wert thou,
For the fair creature from her bosom gone,
Like the spring's wakening! But that light was past-
Fade, with the amaranth plain, the myrtle grove,
Of whom Fame speaks not with her clarion voice
Around their steps! till silently they die,
Not then, nor ever, what pure thoughts are fled !
But not with thee might aught save Glory dwell—
pp. 211–213. And the same feelings of a woman and mother dictated 'The Evening Prayer at a Girls' School,' a poem, which merits,to be considered in connexion with Gray's Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College.'
'Oh! joyous creatures, that will sink to rest,
Of other spirited, and lively, and pathetic short poems of Mrs Hemans, which form some of the brightest ornaments of the lyric poetry of the language, we take no particular notice, for in what part of the United States are they not known? So general has been the attention to those of her pieces adapted to the purposes of a newspaper, we hardly fear to assert, that throughout a great part of this country there is not a family of the middling class, in which some of them have not been read. The praise which was not sparingly bestowed upon her, when her shorter productions first became generally known among us, has been often repeated on a careful examination of her works; and could we hope that our remarks might one day fall under her eye, we should hope she would not be indifferent to the good wishes which are offered her from America, but feel herself cheered and encouraged in her efforts by the prospect of an enlarged and almost unlimited field of useful influence, opened to her among the descendants of her country in an independent land. The ocean divides us from the fashions as well as the commotions of Europe. The voice of America, deciding on the literature of England, resembles the voice of posterity more nearly than anything else, that is contemporaneous, can do. We believe that the general attention which has been given to Mrs Hemans's works among us, may be regarded as a pledge that they will not be received with indifference by posterity.
ART. VII.-CRITICAL NOTICES.
1.—A Letter to an English Gentleman on the Libels and Calumnies on America by British Writers and Reviewers. 8vo. pp. 43, Philadelphia. Carey & Lea.
THE author treats this matter too gravely. He has chosen a subject, indeed, fertile of high words, jealousies, and fears,' as are all 'civil dudgeons;' for such we may call this strife of words between two nations, alike in language, religion, and laws. We say alike, for though the English tongue suffers manifold corruptions in the dialects of England, yet English is nevertheless the prevailing language there. Her religion too, though grievously encumbered by an established church, is almost as good protestantism as ours; and her laws, when they come to be pruned of certain deformities, which 'Custom, grown blind with age,' insists on retaining, will resemble our own, more happily, at least, than those of any other people. Our author in remembrance of this, should therefore have been less earnest, perhaps, in the tone of his rebuke to his English correspondent; as it is very probable that the worthy gentleman, like the rest of his countrymen, has sinned as much in ignorance as spleen. Our own vexation at the faultfinding spirit of these splenetic islanders, is, we own, often moderated by the reflection, that it is as indigenous among them as their hips and haws. It is a perfect idiosyncrasy, which, like the old man of the sea, on the back of the luckless Sinbad, mercilessly pursues them everywhere, as much, it is evident, to their own discomfort, as to the astonishment of their neighbors.
It is indeed, quite melancholy to think that worthy people like the English, when the fogs, the blue devils, and the taxes have driven them from home to take refuge among strangers, should be wholly prevented by this one weakness of temper, from either pleasing their hosts, or even pleasing themselves. Travelling is emphatically to them, what Madame de Staël calls it, 'un triste plaisir.' While a Frenchman in England reconciles himself to everything, except perhaps an English sunday, the Englishman neither reconciles anybody nor is reconciled to anything. Yet this fault of his is so well understood, and is so much a matter of course, that his repinings carry their remedy along with them. In this country everybody, from long experience, knows what he is to expect from an English tourist; and the people on the continent of Europe think they explain everything by shrugging their shoulders and saying, 'He is an Englishman.'
The English themselves, in moments of compunction, sometimes excuse their slanders of America, by alleging that their bet
Our author seems in
ter sort of travellers seldom get among us. clined to give into this explanation; but our charity, in this instance, does not run so far. This failing of theirs is more general among them than they like to own, and by the accounts of their own writers, has long beset them. Lord Chesterfield more than once, for this same reason, admonishes his son against associating with his countrymen abroad; and Doctor Moore, (a Scotchman, by the way,) ridicules it in his own peculiar manner. Townsend, a very judicious observer, tells us that the English who visited Spain in his days picqued themselves on living there as they did in their own cool climate, till an ague, or bilious fever came to reinforce the suggestions of common sense. A later traveller in that country, (the author of the Recollections of the Peninsula,') who had a turn of civility about him, exclaims, with a kind of despair, that his countrymen seemed to find a pleasure in setting every body against them, and that they seldom failed of success, even where they were at first received with open arms. So far are i signori Inglesi from 'doing at Rome as Romans do,' that all the money their idlers lavish there, scarcely serves to keep the astonished Romans in good humor. St Peter's they have converted into a fashionable promenade, and, some years ago, their behavior was such, during the performance of the usual anthem in the church, in laughing and talking aloud, in otherwise interrupting the service, and crowding out the natives from their places, that the good Pope found it necessary to interfere. In England a police officer would have brought things to order very shortly and roughly; but the Pontiff actually ordered the anthem to be discontinued for the future, and begged the interposition of the Dutchess of Devonshire with her countrymen! On this occasion the English clergyman deemed it necessary to give his polite audience a lecture on good manners.
What can our author think to do by his serious reasoning with a people, who thus beard the Pope himself; who, when driven from their climate, by aches and the vapors, insist nevertheless that it is the most comfortable in the world, and complain of the everlasting sunshine of Italy and America; who conscientiously believe that grapes and pine apples are better flavored in England than on their native soil; retain their stiff garments in the hottest climes, in despite of comfort, and, as it were, in the very face of the sun; and fondly talk of the roast beef of England, while the rioters of Birmingham are asking rather angrily for bread? By what sort of argument does he hope to approach those, who think the national debt a national blessing; the right of primogeniture wise and just; imperfect representation a safeguard of their liberties; a Constitution grown up by accident, more perfect than any devised scheme possibly can be; who modestly VOL. XXIV.No. 55. 59
rail against negro slavery, while Ireland lies under their very eyes; who believe the state machine, called the established church, a bulwark of religion; and whose people think they sufficiently revile a man by calling him a Frenchman or a foreigner? To set about refuting, with much seriousness, people who are honestly persuaded of all this, seems so much good argument thrown away; and to predict that misfortune may hereafter bring them to a more reasonable way of thinking, is really a very small consolation to us, who have so many reasons for wishing them well.
2.--Report of the Board of Public Works of the State of Georgia, to the General Assembly. Milledgeville, 1826.
We have heretofore spoken of the recent legislative proceedings of Georgia, in regard to the internal improvements of that state. We have now before us the first Report of the Board of Public Works to the Legislature, from which it appears, that several surveys have been executed during the last year, with a view to ascertain the routes of rail roads and canals in different parts of the state. Two great objects were had in mind; first, the practicability and expediency of connecting the waters of Georgia with the Tennessee River, so as to bring the produce of the West to the Atlantic through that state; secondly, the internal navigation of the state itself.
On the first point, the Board make a decidedly unfavorable report, and their reasoning is conclusive. Cotton can now be transported from Florence on the Tennessee river, to New Orleans, for 80 cents a bag. To convey the same by a canal to Milledgeville, a distance of 240 miles, would cost, at the lowest estimate, $1,90; and thence to Darien on the seacoast $1,50 more, making in the whole $3,40. Adding to the expense of conveyance (80 cents) down the Mississippi $1,50, the increased charge for insurance and freight from the port of New Orleans, the relative expense of the two channels of conveyance will be as $3,40 to $2,30; that is, it will cost $ 1,10 more, to transport a bag of cotton from Tennessee to the Atlantic through the state of Georgia, than down the Mississippi.' It is very obvious, therefore, that a project of a canal through that state to connect the western waters with the Atlantic, is not one that deserves any further consideration.
The Board, however, speak in sanguine terms of the advantages to be derived from new paths of communication, either