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practice of naval tactics. But it is equally true, that, take from them that enthusiastic love, that confident and determined anticipation of victory, which arises from national pride, and their mere superiority in the knowledge of maritime war, would not alone have enabled them to achieve, and would not now enable them to retain, the sceptre of the ocean. For we venture to assert, that those who direct the thunders, and maintain the supremacy of the British navy, surpass the marine of other countries, in national pride, as far, perhaps much further, than they do in the maneuvring of their ships, or the management of their guns.
Nor are observations such as these less applicable to the invincible legions of ancient Rome, and the all-subduing armies of modern France. To the numerous and brilliant victories of these two nations, a system of rigid discipline, skill in war, and familiarity with battle, contributed much. But essential as these aids are to military success, they could not of themselves, have ensured the achievement of such an extensive and unbroken series of conquests. A high-toned sentiment of national pride, puts in a rightful claim for no inconsiderable share in the glories of the triumph. The ancient Romans were proud of Rome-So are the modern French of France. And this very principle--this very sentiment of patrial pride, lifting them in idea above other nations, has contributed to place them there in reality.
But it is not alone on the man of the sword the man to whom the battles of his country are entrusted, that national pride is thus powerfully operative. Its agency, confined to no class or descriptiun of society, is bounded only by the limits of the state. · From the chief magistrate himself, whether he be styled emperor, king, sultan or president, down to the lowest of his subjects, vassals, or fellow citizens, it shoots its all pervasive influence. It gives dignity and force to the pen of the historian, renders the inspiration of the poet more divine, and touches with brighter fire the orator's resistless tongue. It electrifies the soul, fortifies the mind, and sublimes the patriotism of the husbandman at his plough, or the mechanic in his workshop, no less than of the minister in his cabinet, or the senator in his council chamber. It is a great, diffusive, sympathetic principle, which quickens, allies, and converts into an unit the whole mass of national population. It is thus that the
nation gains confidence in itself, becomes happy and exalted in peace, and formidable if not invincible in war.
But unless we are taught to regard our country, its inhabitants, and all that belongs to it, in a dignified and honourable point of view, the sentiment of national pride can never spring up, or springing up, must prematurely wither in our bosoms. As we cannot love deformity nor esteem those that are habitually depraved, so neither can we be proud of that which is ignoble and degraded, The individual who can believe his country, no matter whether his belief be true or false, to be inferior to the surrounding countries of the globe, must immediately devest himself of national pride, and with it must also resign a certain portion of personal dignity and self
respect. Could we, contrary to the testimony of nature herself, as conveyed to our mind through the medium of our senses, be induced to give credit to the representations of European philosophers, statesmen, and tourists, how could we, as Americans, be proud of our country? How could we even escape the lowest depth of mortification and self abasement? These writers, particularly the latter class of them, declare us to be, in all things, degraded below the level of the human standard_inferior in personal comeliness and strength, wanting in courage and manliness of spirit, deficient in the natural endowments of the mind, in morality, in education, in the virtues of the individual, in social qualities and in all the amiable charities of the heart. Nor is this all-Even of our country itself, they give pictures that are now humiliating and disgusting, now hideous and frightful. Our climate they declare to be constantly torn to pieces by fierce and militant extremesat one time insufferably hot, again in quick succession tormentingly cold-now arid as Arabia itself, then inundated by torrents of rain-now marked by a sultry and suffocating calm, anon by the most wild and destructive conflict of the elements. In the dismal catalogue of our natural evils, pestilence is admitted to a distinguished place. Our forests are represented as infested by ravenous and ferocious beasts of prey, at mortal enmity with the life of man--the earth as haunted by hordes of serpents ready to infuse into him their deadly poison-and the atmosphere as abounding with myriads of loathsome and venomous insects,
whose stings, bites, and annoyance, swell discomfort even to.torture. Add to these, a soil fertile in noxious and unsightly weeds, but niggardly in the production of all that is pleasing and profitable-rivers peopled only by water-serpents and frogs, crocodiles and alligators--here tracts of burning sand where no verdure springs to relieve the eye of the traveller, nor does a fountain break forth to extinguish his thirst—there interminable swamps and marshes, the abode of dangerous and offensive reptiles, and fruitful in nothing but the seeds of disease---Add these, and a few other features equally ignoble and rude, disgusting and terrific, and you have a faint outline of an European picture of nature in America.
And strange as it must seem, it is no less strange than true, that so familiar are we grown with these insulting and malicious fictions-these slanders on ourselves and on nature around us, as not only to tolerate them, but even to admit that they are partially true that they are, at least, more applicable to the state and condition of things in America, than they are in any of the countries of Europe-We repeat, and we experience a blush of shame mingled with indignation, in making the repetition, that so familiar are Americans grown with the story of their own disgrace, as almost to sit down contented and fancy themselves disgraceful 'They do not with that respect which is due to themselves--with that spirit and dignity which the occasion demands, resent and spurn from them the taunts and jeers that are thrown on them from abroad—A state of things this, tending to the subversion of national pride, national spirit, and every thing that can give us weight and character as a people-tending to destroy our happiness and security at home, and render us an object for the scorn of foreign nations to point her “slow unmoving finger at."
Under these circumstances it is high time for Americans to awake from their lethargy-It is time for our literary characters, in particular (of whom, as will hereafter appear, we have a phalanx, numerous and refined, brilliant and powerful) to put forth their might, and vindicate their own and their country's reputation -It is time for them to convince foreigners who want information, and such of their fellow citizens as are wavering in their opinions,
that we are not, as represented, a degraded and uncharacterized people-But that, on the other hand, we possess our full share of national spirit and capacity, cultivation and character; and that therefore we have the most ample and solid ground for cherishing sentiments of national pride. For the accomplishment of this, all party distinctions should be abolished, a confederacy should be formed embodying the collective talent of the nation, and every local consideration merged in a noble resolve to become a band of Americans, and do signal justice to their country and themselves.
It is to make trial of his prowess and skill, in this high-minded conflict-to break a lance in this patriotic fete of arms, that Inchiquin has stepped forth clothed in a seven-fold panoply of facts, with the blade of reason glittering in his hand, and courteously challenged his adversaries to the field. And truly such is the valiant “ acquittance” of his arm as proves him a cavalier of metal and distinction. Wherever he turns a combatant meets inevitable discomfiture. Wherever he directs his course, steeds, knights, and armour, sullied plumes and broken spears, bestrew the campus in promiscuous confusion. But to drop the metaphor.
The leading object of Inchiquin, in the four letters that remain to be considered, is, to vindicate the character of the United States, in relation to genius and literature, eloquence and the arts, with various other points connected with our national standing, in which Europeans have charged us with the want of every thing like excellence, and have even pronounced us below mediocrity. In the course of his inquiry, he proves by unquestionable facts, and in a style of argument not to be resisted, that, in some of these particulars, we are at least equal, in others superior, to the nations of Europe; and that in all of them, we hold a rank peculiarly reputable, considering that we are, comparatively, but a people of yesterday. His defence of America, taken en masse, establishes this important truth, that what we are constitutes a broad and immoveable basis of national pride, while what we may confidently expect to be affords a similar foundation for national hope.
His fifth letter, being the first of those we are now about to examine, Inchiquin begins with a classical but just eulogium on the capitol in Washington. That superb edifice, at which European
pretenders to knowledge and taste in architecture, have affected to sneer, though nothing more than the temple of republicanism, he emphetically and correctly pronounces “not unworthy to be,
Templaque Vestæ.” a regal palace or a temple of the gods. After a brief but technical and well expressed representation of the dimensions, style, finish and decorations of the representative hall, the senate chamher, and the hall of justice, he declares that “in no part of the world are nobler edifices, devoted to similar purposes."
" Compared to that of the American Commons, says he, St. Stephen's Chapel is a contemptible chamber.” Yet
“ The main body of the capitol has not been begun, and all these halls are in the wings. The whole pile, when complete, will be enormous. The vestibules, stairways, and galleries of communication, are designed and executed with great magnificence; though at present they are disfigured by scaffolding and patchwork; and the three original orders of Grecian architecture are displayed in the three halls, with perfect chasteness and uniformity."
From this hasty survey of the capitol itself he passes on to a consideration of the purpose to which it is at present appropriated, viz. “public speaking in all its branches, parliamentary, forensic and of the pulpit."
On the state of American eloquence as actually displayed in Washington, his observations are brief and not very interesting. He appears to have attended there, but how often, with what temper of mind, degree of improvement, or portion of delight, he does not inform us, the sermonizing of a “celebrated preacher from New-York.” We are informed that he has also played the part of a loiterer in the hall of justice, where on one occasion, he was constrained to listen with all the torments of restlessness, and a jaded attention” to “ the peroration of a well-powdered, ruby-faced forensic spokesman, who was then in the third day of his speech”-A compliment this, at least, to the strength, or what a votary of the turf would perhaps call, the bottom, of the orator's lungs; though we cannot say that any great homage is paid to the correctness of his head, when it is declared of him,