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rative' of Doctors Reed and Matheson, however inferior to these productions, especially to Mr. Latrobe's, in a literary point of view, contains not a few descriptive episodes which, had we room to extract them, would gratify all our readers; while for a considerable section of the community the peculiar objects of their excursion, and the peculiar tinge of their thought and expression, will no doubt have a prevailing charm. Mr. Washington Irving, as an English classic, and we believe (except Dr. Channing) the only living classic of the United States, is not to be passed over in silence, even when what he puts forth may happen to be of slender bulk and pretension. We look forward, with unabated curiosity and hope, to some portraiture of his general impressions on revisiting, after an absence of seventeen years, the land of his birth, his dearest connexions, and his earliest distinction; and in the mean time accept with cheerfulness his very lively little account of an excursion to the Prairies of the far West, in which he was accompanied by our own accomplished countryman, Mr. Latrobe. Our object on the present occasion is not to enter into any minute analysis of these various volumes_but to record, in the first place, our opinion that they all deserve to find a place in the library; and, secondly, to mark for the special attention of our readers some of those facts and incidents, among the multitudes accumulated by these authors, which have struck ourselves as really valuable additions to the general stock of information.

We shall begin with the book which is likely to detain us the shortest while, though it is far the bulkiest of those on our table -that of the Congregational Delegates, Drs. Reed and Matheson. The professed object of their journey was to collect accurate information touching the internal condition of the Orthodox Independent Churches in the United States ; and we perceive that, on the whole, they have derived satisfaction from their inquiries. It is, however, very difficult not to suspect that there was another object which these worthy dissenters had at least as much at heart as that blazoned in their preface ; namely, to help the avowed advocates of the Voluntary System,' in their present Warfare against the principle of a religious establishment. But if this suspicion be well-founded, we cannot congratulate the allied doctors on the result of their labours. It is obvious that these excellent persons were welcomed, lodged, and fed, wherever they arrived, by individuals of their own religious sect,—with few exceptions, by their brethren of the Independent Ministry ; and that their journal throws no more light on the general state of America, in a religious point of view, than might be expected in the case of our own country, from the travels of a couple of American teachers of the like condition and persuasion, who should have 2 D 2

spent

spent a few weeks or months in a round of long sermons and hot suppers, among the comfortable strongholds of dissent jo the manufacturing districts of Yorkshire and Lancashire. Doctors Reed and Matheson might well be delighted with the cordial affectionateness of their own reception among a class of people who, in America as in England, are bound together by ties of a sectarian freemasonry, potent enough to survive a total revolution in point of religious doctrine itself; and we have dwelt with pleasure quite equal to theirs on the many evidences which they present of the wide extent to which practical Christianity operates among our American brethren of various persuasions ; but we think we may almost appeal to themselves whether it be, on the whole, a wise thing for a great nation to entrust the interests of religion, in any considerable degree at least, to the desultory influence of those Revivals and Camp Meetings, and so forth, but for which, by their own showing, the very name of Christianity might ere now have been almost forgotten over many vast districts of the American Union. We venture to say that the religious condition of America at this hour, favourably influenced as it has been by an age of very remarkable religious excitement, must contirm every candid observer in the decision thus modestly hinted, rather than expressed, by one whose fervent and catholic piety cannot but command the respect of Messrs. Reed and Matheson -Mr. Latrobe it is who thus writes :

• There are certain signs, perhaps it might be said of the times, rather than of their peculiar political arrangements, which should make men pause in their judgment of the social state in America. The people are emancipated from the thraldom of mind and body which they consider consequent upon upholding the divine right of kings. They are all politically equal. All claim to place, patronage, or respect for the bearer of a great name is disowned. Every man must stand or fall by himself alone, and must make or mar his fortune. Each is gratified in believing that he has his share in the government of the Union. You speak against the insane anxiety of the people to govern -of authority being detrimental to the minds of men raised from insignificance of the essential vulgarity of minds which can attend to nothing but matter of fact and pecuniary interest-of the possibility of the existence of civilization without cultivation, -and you are not understood! I have said it may be the spirit of the times, for we see signs of it, alas, in Old England; but there must be something in the political atmosphere of America, which is more than ordinarily congenial to that decline of just and necessary subordination, which God has both permitted by the natural impulses of the human mind, and ordered in His word; and to me the looseness of the tie generally observable in many parts of the United States between the master and servant-the child and the parent-the scholar and the master-the governor and the governed-in brief, the decay of loyal feeling in all the relations of life, was the worst sign of the limes. Who shall say but that if these bonds are distorted and set aside, the first and the greatestwhich binds us in subjection to the law of God-will not also be weakened, if not broken? This, and this alone, short-sighted as I am, would cause me to pause in predicting the future grandeur of America under its present system of government and structure of society; and if my observation was sufficiently general to be just, you will also grant, there is that which should make a man hesitate whether those glowing expectations for the future, in which else we might all indulge, are compatible with growing looseness of religious, political, and social principle. Besides, the religious man might be inclined to go farther, and ask what is the prospect of the people in general with regard to their maintenance of pure doctrine, and fitting forms of religion—whether, emancipated as they are from the wing of A NATIONAL CHURCH, and yet seemingly becoming more and more impatient of rule and direction in religious matters, the mass of the people do not run the danger of falling either into cold infidelity, or burning fanaticism ?' -Latrobe, vol. ii. p. 135.

The influence exerted by the Church of England upon the dissenting bodies in her own country and neighbourhood is one of those many circumstances connected with her establishment, which, if that establishment be overthrown, posterity will learn to appreciate. We

may

be mistaken-but we cannot but trace to the absence of such an influence even the melancholy fact confessed by Dr. Reed, that “ a very considerable portion of the American Quakers bave Japsed into 'fatal heresy—amounting almost to Deism.'--Narrative, vol. i. p. 80.

The Congregational Delegates who, we need not hint, were well prepared to admire most of the external features of the republican system, appear to have been especially gratified with their visit to General Jackson.

• The President is tall; full six feet in height. He stoops now, and is evidently feeble. The thermometer was at 72°, but he was near a strong fire. He is sixty-eight years of age. He is soldierlike and gentlemanly in his carriage; his manners were courteous and simple, and put us immediately at ease with him. .... When we arrived, the entrance doors were open; and on being conducted, by a single servant, to what we thought an ante-room, we found the general himself waiting to receive us. We were soon led into the dining-room, The table was laid only for six persons; and it was meant to show us, respect by receiving us alone. [Qu. ?] Mr. Post, whom the President regards as his minister, was requested to implore a blessing. Four men were in attendance, and attended well. Everything was good and sufficient; nothing overcharged. It was a moderate and elegant repast.

The President regularly attends on public worship at Mr. Post's, when he is well. [!] Ön the following Sabbath morning I was engaged

to

to preach. His manner was very attentive and serious. When the service had ended, I was a little curious to see how he would be noticed. I supposed that the people would give way, and let him pass out first, and that a few respectful inclinations of the head would be offered. But no; he was not noticed at all; he had to move out, and take his turn like any other person, and there was nothing at any time to indicate the presence of the chief magistrate.'— Reed, vol. i. p. 33-35.

Enthusiastic as Dr. Reed's feelings were on first entering the halls of Congress, he found reason to abate something of his rapture before he had watched a few debates to their close. The Doctor, constantly disclaiming all intention of political remark, lets the following sentences drop somehow from his pen: we leave our readers to make their own use of them :

'I must candidly admit, that the Congress of this great empire fell somewhat below my expectations. But as matters stand, it is now only a sacrifice for the thriving man to be a member of congress; while to the needy man it is a strong temptation. The good Americans must look to this, lest, on an emergency, they should be surprised to find their fine country, and all its fine prospects, in the hands of a few ambitious and ill-principled demagogues.'— Reed, vol. i. pp. 30, 31.

Upon the sad subject to which M. de Beaumont's Marie lately called our attention, the condition and treatment of the coloured races in America,—these delegates enter at great length; and many of their details are extremely touching. We extract this account of Dr. Reed's first visit to a Negro meeting-house at Lexington :

* The building, called a church, is without the town, and placed in a hollow, so as to be out of sight; it is in the fullest sense - without the gate.” It is a poor log-house, built by the hands of the negroes, and so placed as to show that they must worship by stealth. The place was quite full; the women and men were arranged on opposite sides; and, although on a cold or rainy day there might have been much discomfort, the impression now was very pleasing. In the presence of a powerful sun, the whole body were in strong shadow; and the light streaming through the warped and broken shingle, on the glistening black faces of the people, filled the spectacle with animation, One of the blacks, addressing me as their strange master,” begged that I would take charge of the service. I declined doing so. He gave out Dr. Watts's beautiful psalm, “ Show pity, Lord; O Lord, forgive,” &c. They all rose immediately. They had no books, for they could not read; but it was printed on their memory, and they sang it off with freedom and feeling. There is much melody in their voice; and when they enjoy a hymn, there is a raised expression of the face, and an undulating motion of the body, keeping time with the music, which is very touching. The senior black, a preacher amongst them, then offered prayer, and preached. His prayer was humble

and

and devotional. In one portion of it, he made an affecting allusion to their wrongs.

Thou knowest,said the good man, with a broken voice,“ our state that it is the meanestthat we are as mean and low as men can be. But we have sinnedwe have forfeited all our rights to Theeand we would submit before Thee to these marks of thy displeasure." He took for the text of his sermon those words, « The Spirit saith, come,” &c. They then rose, and sang, and separated. This was the first time I had worshipped with an assembly of slaves; and I shall never forget it. I was certainly by sympathy bound with those who were bound; while I rejoiced, on their account, afresh in that divine truth, which makes us free indeed, which lifts the soul on high, unconscious of a chain.'— Reed, vol. i. p.

222. We must not part with these reverend colleagues without observing that one of them, Dr. Reed, though he usually indulges in rather a heavy and soporific style of narrative, has been on some happy occasions warmed into a flow of descriptive eloquence worthy of being quoted alongside of even the best passages in Irving or Latrobe. We were particularly struck with the following natural burst of admiration on the forest scenery of the Grand Prairie :

• It now appeared in all its pristine state and grandeur, tall, magnificent, boundless. I had been somewhat disappointed in not finding vegetation develop itself in larger forms in New England than with us; but there was no place for disappointment here. I shall fail, however, to give you the impression it makes on one. Did it arise from height, or figure, or grouping, it might readily be conveyed to you ; but it arises chiefly from combination. You must see it in all its stages of growth, decay, dissolution, and regeneration ; you must see it pressing on you and overshadowing you by its silent forms, and at other times spreading itself before you, like a natural park; you must see that all the clearances made by the human hand bear no higher relation to it than does a mountain to the globe; you must travel in it in solitariness, hour after hour, and day after day, frequently gazing on it with solemn delight, and occasionally casting the eye round in search of some pause, some end, without finding anybefore you can fully understand the impression. Men say there is nothing in America to give you the sense of antiquity; and they mean that as there are no works of art to produce this effect there can be nothing else. You cannot think that I would depreciate what they mean to extol ; but I hope you will sympathise with me when I say that I have met with nothing among the most venerable forms of art which impresses you so thoroughly with the idea of indefinite distance and endless continuity; of antiquity shrouded in all its mystery of solitude, illimitable and eternal.'-Reed, vol. i. pp. 145, 146.

We shall be reminded presently that America is not destitute of most venerable monuments of human industry; but, in the mean time, we must turn to Mr. Abdy-another traveller whose attainments we

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