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tion of these benefits; and it should seem sufficient to be sensible of this obvious truth, to bring about that reciprocal good understanding which we would so earnestly recommend.
“ We have had frequent opportunities of forming a judgment of the state of feeling of the more enlightened part of society in America, by the communications of literary friends, and by the regular receipt of the journals, and other periodical publications; and from these means of experience we must say, that the alienation we complain of is not less promoted on the other side than on this side the water, as a few extracts from the works which supply the title to the present paper, would sufficiently explain, if we were willing to transplant these noxious weeds, instead of leaving them to decay and perish on their own soil.
“ The Analectic Magazine is principally devoted to literary intelligence, and was on the first of January instant, to be connected with a new work under the title of the Quarterly Journal;* both of which are to afford, if the purpose of the editors be fulfilled, a complete body of miscellaneous reading. “ The monthly Publication,” say they, “ contains a various treasure of the lighter articles of periodical literature, while the Quarterly affords a less multifarious fund of its more substantial productions."
“ In the first of the numbers we have noticed, we have the life of Paul Jones introduced by the following observations.
Whatever may have been the defects in the character of Paul Jones, or whatever his demerits towards the place of his birth, from us he deserves at least such a justification as may be warranted by the truth. He served this country well in her hour of peril, and if in so doing, he broke the ties which bound bim to another, is it for us to become his accusers, or listen in silence to the accusation? No duty requires from an individual or a nation that they should be ungrateful; nor, for our part, do we know of any moral obligation which forbids us to extenuate the faults, or vindicate the fame of one who was our friend, when friends were valuable in proportion as they were rare. His motives were nothing to the United States; and we will now proceed to the detail of his life and actions, so far as they have come to our know. : ledge.'
“ With all due respect to the editors, we take leave to observe to them, that these sentiments do not intimate that liberal spirit with which such works should be conducted.
We do not censure the Americans for having employed such a useful ruffian as Paul Jones; but it is one thing to avail themselves of his courage, and another to extenuate his faults, and vindicate his motives. Morals have no locality: they are universal in space, as they are eternal in obligation: and a traitor to his country is in
* We recommend to the editors the alteration of this title, as the terms involve a contradiction.
no region to be justified, but every where is to be exposed to the detestation of mankind.
“ The Portfolio is deyoted to literature, science, and history; comprehending public documents as connected with the latter: and to the person by whom it is conducted we would especially request attention to the friendly admonition we have just given, as his principal object professedly is, ' to vindicate the character of American literature and manners from the aspersions of ignorant and illiterate foreigners; to expose their injustice, and repel their caluinnies.'
“ It is in vain,” he says, “to disguise the fact: we pay an hu. miliating reverence to the haughty and supercilious opinions of foreign despots over the empire of letters. Our light is always subsidiary, instead of blazing in its own refulgence (effulgence.) Such is the predominating influence of foreign literature in this country, that we dare not form a judgment upon a narrative of scenes that have passed under our own eyes, or express an opinion upon the merits of a picture at our own fire-sides, until it has been tried in the ordeal of Fdinburgh or London criticism. It comports with the national pride, as well as the private interests of the gentlemen who wield these powerful engines of modern literature, to misrepresent and degrade the American name.'
“ We would apprise this gentleman that we have not the smallest objection to the justification he contemplates of American literature, that we shall be as glad as perhaps he himself would be, to see that literature advance to its meridian splendour; but we would convince him that this glory can be alone attained by the assistance of foreign erudition, whether from London, Edinburgh, Paris, or Vienna. Nothing, according to our views, can more obstruct American improvement than the absurd per. suasion, in defiance of all truth and philosophy, that she has acquired an extent of knowledge which renders her as independent in her literature as she is in her government, and if any thing can endanger the security of the latter, it would be the ignorance that would feed her vanity in the former. Under just views of the relations of life, it will appear to be no humiliation to improve by the attainments of others; and the solitary arrogance that would shut itself up in its own self-conceit, but adds vice to folly, and we are forced to contemn what we should be willing to commiserate.
“No, worthy citizens! let your interchange in foreign literature be as free as your interchange in foreign trade, and you will derive equal advantages in both the narrow principle which would lead you to reject either, is one of those mischievous prejudices that partakes more of pride than prudence-more of presumption than patriotism.".
The best evidence that we can offer of the manner in which the attainments of the people of Great Britain, are estimated in
this country, is contained in the catalogues of our booksellers. It will be seen, by reference to these documents, that a large proportion of English literature has been transplanted to our shores. Many of the English authors-such as Shakspeare, Junius and Blackstone-Reid, Stuart and Beattie-Southey, Scott, Moore and Byron-and most of the standard povelists have been natyralized, and multiply like the polypus on our soil. Domestic journals cannot exist, unless they are garnished with the flowers, and seasoned with the salt, which we import from the British isle. A very spirited competition is maintained by our traders to procure“ a first copy" of any new works of merit, and editions of 500 to 1000 are speedily sold. The mere courtesy-right, if it may be so denominated, of republishing the Edinburgh and Quarterly Reviews,* was recently purchased for a consideration of eight or ten thousand dollars:-a sum far exceeding what has ever been paid in this country for a copy-right, excepting in the case of judge Marshall; who is said to have received fifty thousand dollars for his Life of Washington.
Now let it be recollected that, in no instance scarcely, where the American character is concerned, does it receive a liberal construction abroad. Instead of consulting our constitution, the commentaries
upon it in the Federalist, and the decisions under it which have been reported by Dallas and Cranch, British writers decide upon our government and our judiciary from the representations of Ash and Janson. Yet our relish for English books suffered little abatement, notwithstanding such offensive conduct, until the publication of two articles in the Quarterly Review, which betrayed so shameless a disregard of truth, so much bitter malignity, such a remorseless hostility, against every thing that bore the American name, that those who disseminated the work as a proper antidote to a rival journal,--among whom we were very zealous-regard it with a degree of disgust that is scarcely removed by the admirable manner in which the writers in this journal often inculcate the purest doctrines. So that these peo
* It is a custom among the bonourable and liberal of the trade, not to interfere with one who republishes an English book, by putting another edition in market, except under very particular circumstances.
ple seem to strive, by their merciless butchering, how far they can alienate our feelings towards the subjects, since we have renounced our allegiance to the king. John Bull, says the Edinburgh reviewers, cannot be put
so much out of his way, as by agreeing with him. He is never in such good humour as with what gives him the spleen, and is most satisfied when he is sulky. If you find fault with him, he is in a rage; and if you praise him, suspects you have a design upon him. He recommends himself to another by affronting him, and if that will not do, knocks him down, to convince him of his sincerity. He gives himself such airs no mortal ever did, and wonders at the rest of the world for not thinking him the most amiable person breathing. John means well too, but he has an odd way of showing it, by a total disregard of other people's feelings and opinions."
On the subject of American literature they are carefully silent. In the article which has produced these remarks, it might be supposed, from the title prefixed to it, that the two journals in question constituted a mirror in which the whole literature of the country would be seen reflected. The “ succint view of the first mentioned journal is confined to a detection of a false principle in ethics, without informing the public that the Magazine contains a variety of well written articles on the commerce and literature of this country, and has been distinguished by the manner in which it has exposed the misrepresentations of those Eng. lish writers, who have pretended to describe the naval actions which occurred during the late war.
The Port Folio is the oldest literary journal that is now published in this country, having struggled along through good report and evil report, since the commencement of the present century. This is the first time, as far as we know, that the British public have been informed of its existence, in so formal a manner; and we have to regret that the English editor, instead of giving a “succinet view" of our labours, should have been content with a paragraph, from our prospectus, the meaning of which he has misconceived. We never acted under the absurd persuasion, that we could shut our eyes against those lights of experience which are blazing so vividly in the mother country. We are too poor', too young, to carry on business for ourselves. In every number, almost, of this journal, during the few months that it
has been under our direction, it has been shown, that we are willing to draw from the pure wells of English literature. In England, the diversion of baiting an author, Dr. Johnson says, has the sanction of all ages; but it is not so here. With us, a work generally issues from the press under the cover of certain names, of sounding import with the vulgar, who will recommend a book sometimes merely, it must be conjectured, because they are thus enabled to see their names in print. If the reviewer has the hardihood to investigate the merits and demonstrate the shallowness of a book-no matter how great may be the deficiency, the commupity sneers at his vanity and the writer hates him for his honesty. Hence we have generally suffered such trash to bubble along on the stream of oblivion, without visit or search, and have preferred the course of recommending, on better authority than our own, the admirable models which are constantly issuing from the British press. On this subject we deny the influence of any principle:" we feel that those who are engaged in the pursuits of literature are all of one great family, and that it is the general interest to “ cultivate a reciprocal good understanding."
As we have occasion to dilate on this subject in another article, we shall conclude by assuring the respectable editor of the Critical Review, that we receive his admonitions in the spirit in which they were intended, and shall be glad to promote an “ interchange” of literature, with those who resemble this gentleman, in bis good sense and good manners.
Old Scotia boasts her Macs and O's,