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ing and correcting the national vices, and become little more, with a few noble exceptions, of which Channing is an illustrious example, than the re-echo of public opinion.” He adopts the sentiments of Miss Martineau, (whose rambling sketches of society in the United States is, we verily believe, about the only book he has ever thoroughly read on our country,) in which she says that, “the American clergy are the most backward and timid class in the society in which they live; the least informed with true knowledge; the least conscious of that Christian and republican freedom, which, as the natu atmosphere of É. and holiness, it is their prime duty to cherish and diffuse.” This is not all; “the difficulties of the American church are yet to come.” Now the defence of the character of our religious institutions, as of our government, is one thing ; the defence of the principles on which they are based, is another. These evils are not mentioned as historical facts, but brought in to prove his charges against a republican form of government, and to illustrate the evils of the voluntary system, and the necessity of an established church. They are condemned as a part of the “republican system,” and he asks in triumph how it has worked in this “land of promise.” Very poorly, to be sure, if Mr. Alison, and a gossiping, garrulous woman, are to be received as authority Evil is inseparable from all institutions, and we do not claim exemption from the general law of nature, nor shall we attempt to disprove these allegations, but the argument he builds from them. We say that evils are attached to all systems; Mr. Alison declares that in this country, at least, they #. out of the system itself, and the orm of government to which it is adapted. Before we try the other—the English system—which he affirms to be necessary, let us see how it works, and what sort of a church and clergy it gives us under a monarchy. The two great evils Mr. Alison charges on the American church are, first, want of independence and faithfulness on the part of the clergy, in rebuking national sins: and, second, that it has no “gratuitous provision for the instruction of the poor.” Both of these grow out of the voluntary system. The minister deriving his support from the voluntary contributions of his parish,
he dare not do otherwise than re-echo
their sentiments, while the poor, havin nothing wherewith to pay, are bereft the gospel. e might show how false are the impressions in this statement; but, in order to see the beauty of Mr. Alison's conclusions, we will grant, for the time being, their truth, and inquire how much we should gain by adopting the English plan, which, we will allow, is not founded on republicanism or subject to its mutations. In the first place, the character of the English clergy, as a mass, is known, the world over, to be anythi but apostolic ; and we cannot see how it could well be otherwise. The aristocracy of England hold half the livings of the church in their own hands, giving them to whom they please, and their spirituality and love of plain unpalatable truth, is known not to be peculiarly strong. No clergyman, who values his place, will offend his patron, by showing the abuses of the aristocracy and the tremendous tax it levies on the working classes. Besides, the fattest of these livings are given to the younger sons of nobility, through family or ministerial influence, who hire a curate, for a few hundred dollars, to perform the labor while they spend the income on the Continent or in London. So generally does this custom prevail, that we find it stated in Hansard’s Debates (authority which Mr. Alison will not presume to question) that out of 10,496 clergymen of the established church, only 4,416 reside and labor among their people, while 6,080 are out of their places. This naked fact more than offsets all he alleges against us, even if true; for if the clergy are nonresidents, it matters not what their character may be:—England and the world are none the wiser or better for it. Their thoughts may be free, but their “speech is never heard.” These livings are sometimes sold at auction, to the highest bidder. We have seen one advertised for sale in the London Times; and, to increase its value, it was added, that it was in the “immediate neighborhood of one or two of the first packs of foxhounds in the kingdom.” The annual income was about one thousand dollars per year. With this and the fox-hounds, the clergyman could, doubtless, be sufficiently independent. We saw not long since, in the North Devonshire Journal, the following card —
“CLERICAL DINNER PARTY.
“The sporting friends of the Rev. John Russel gave him a dinner on Friday last, at the Golden Lion in this town, Barnstable, on which occasion they presented him with a picture, by Mr. Lowden of Bath, representing the reverend gentleman, mounted on his favorite hunter, surrounded with his dogs. The likenesses are said to be faithful, particularly of his horse, and the execution as highly creditable to the rising artist. The picture was presented to Mr. Russel, as a tribute to his unwonted exertions in support of the sports of the field.”
A very independent and spiritually minded man. But the topic is too trite. Every one knows what the fox-hunting non-resident clergy of England are. If he does not, we refer him to the columns of the Court Journal, where, he will find what they are about, while the nation reels under suffering and oppression, and her own clear-sighted statesmen look grave as they contemplate the future. More than one third of the incumbents of the established church in Ireland never reside in their parishes, while the revenues of some of the bishops are upwards of three hundred thousand dollars per annum. The Beresford family receive nearly half a million per annum from the church, army, and navy, but chiefly from the church. The archbishops of Canterbury and York, have incomes of over two hundred and fifty thousand dollars. The bishops of Derry, Cloyne, Cashel, Cork, and Ferns, have an annual income, to which, the salary of the President of the United States is a mere fraction. That of the bishop of London, will soon be three hundred thousand dollars per annum. All these are the indepen lent clergy under an established church and a monarchy. The annual revenues to the church have been shown in a printed table, and they amount to the enormous sum of £9,459,565, or $45,405,912. The manner in which this is collected, proves that it is any thing but a voluntary contribution. The helpless widow, and the poor dissenting clergyman, and his conscientious parishioner, who have suffered distraint on property, and imprisonment, will bear witness it is not a voluntary system. Nay, the cost and danger of collecting tithes in Ireland, became so great, that they have been commuted, that is charged to the landlord, who must collect them
without cost or danger to the government. This immense revenue does certainly afford a rare opportunity for the “gratuitous instruction of the poor;” but the poor of England feel that such religion is a poor return for famine. Untaught, unfed, and unclothed, how can they be instructed by that church which plunders them. We have read the Reports of the British and Foreign School Society, and have been astounded at the developments it makes of the ignorance of the lower classes. Out of 22,000 inhabitants in one parish of the city of Durham, only one in thirty receives instruction. Out of 6,000 children in Wolverhampton, there is provision for the education of only one out of every nine. In Worcestershire, in sixty-six parishes, containing 14,000 inhabitants, there are only twelve schoolmasters, while in a territory of thirteen miles by seven, in Buckinghamshire, there was only one school where the poor could be taught. The same deplorable state of things existed in Bucks County, Berkshire, and Kent. This is “gratuitous provision” for the religious instruction of the poor, with a vengeance. The truth is, the laborer of England is forced to the starving point, to furnish the very money by which he is able to have this “gratuitous provision,” which, after all, never reaches him. Half the money forced out of England by her tithe system would supply every parish with a clergyman and schoolmaster, and leave an ample fund for the poor. If republicanism saddled such a burden on us as the established church places on the neck of the British people, we should certainly cease to be republicans; and, if Mr. Alison wishes to convince the world of the evils of free government, and slander it beyond recovery, let it be charged with the curses which England inflicts on her subjects through her church. Her “gratuitous provision” for the poor, islike the generosity of him, who
but we will abide the conclusions, and then ask as before, how stands the English monarchy. As to the stereotyped charge, that there is no literature in America, it has been so often refuted that we will not reFo the arguments furnished against it y the mere list of the works of American authors. England has been gathering up the treasures of her great minds for centuries—the noblest legacy she will leave to coming ages. To offer these by way of comparison to what we have been able to accumulate in sixty or seventy }. may be very flattering to egotism, ut it is very poor justice. We are to be judged not merely by what we have done, but the time we have had to do it in. This is the only just rule that can be applied to any nation, and yet it is a rule which no English critic has ever yet applied to us. The authority Mr. Alison often quotes is as laughable as his facts. Capt. Marryatt, who never wrote any thing but fiction; Miss Martineau, who with her ear trumpet to her ear went gossiping over the country and, like Pickwick, putting down as truth every monstrous story that a “Mississippi roarer” saw fit to entertain her with ; Basil Hall, another captain, who was set ashore in a Mississippi swamp for his want of manners; and finally the story of the little daughter of a milliner, boasting of her rank and that she never “associated with a haberdasher's daughter;” these are given to substantiate the gravest assertions. We should not be surprised to find him quoting Mr. Gulliver, to prove some singular notion he may have of the inhabitants of Lilliput. The reason Mrs. Trollope does not figure more largely in this mass of nonsense, made up of blunders, falsehoods, ignorance, and simplicity, called history, is doubtless owing to the fact, that Mr. Alison has incorporated her principal statements into the body of the work. But when he approaches the war of 1812, the subject assumes a more serious aspect. Routed armies and conquered frigates cannot be swept away by an extravagant assertion, and he exhibits by his contortions, sudden admissions and as sudden denials, his inward repugnance to so unpoetic a theme. We were prelo. for the grossest misrepresentations ere, but not we confess for the operations of a reversed fancy. His imagination is able to sleep a moment, while by brief and dry statistics he converts a
brilliant action of ours, into a common place affair; but reaching a certain point, it, like gravitation,
“— turns the other way,”
creating, grouping, and coloring with its wonted vigor. He starts by boldly asserting, what no intelligent man in Europe believes, viz. that “America, the reatest republic in existence, had the ă. of going to war with Great Britain, then the last refuge of liberty in the civilized world, when their only ground of complaint against it had been removed ” There must have been some strange infatuation on the part of our people, with a fleet of a few ships and an army of a few thousand men, to provoke hostilities with the strongest nation on the globe. But Mr. Alison has discovered a profound and philosophic reason for this madness, which we will allow him to j. in his own words: “ on war she was etermined, and to war she went.” After running over our naval and military force, making our whole army about as large as one of Napoleon's divisions, and giving to our militia only one good quality, that of being fast runners, he expresses the most unfeigned astonishment at our temerity at measuring swords with Great Britain, but finally consoles himself with the reflection that it only “proves the insouciance of democracy.” He is not hard to please, and democracy is the “open sesame” to all his difficulties. But, perhaps, the most remarkable allegation in the whole work—remarkable not so much for its falseness as the utter incredulity with which it must be received by the civilized world, is the declaration that “the system of government in the United States has been proved to be wholly unequal to the external security of the nation.” His assertion that we are so weak that we should be “conquered in three months if located amon the powers of Europe,” was natural; an if he had stated that in any future war we should be frightened into submission at the first cannon shot, it would have been in perfect harmony with the rest of his facts; but to say that it has been proved that we are “unequal” to protect ourselves, affects us with profounder astonishment even, than our temerity in declaring war seems to have filled him. We are not surprised at the statement because it is untrue, but that he should H. his reputation, as a historian, at such azard among Europeans as to declare, what the history of sixty years and the glorious termination of two bloody wars so openly and palpably contradict. What the future may be, we leave to Mr. Alison's fruitful imagination to point out; but “the past is secure.” If the long and wasting war of the revolution and its termination, with the brave struggle by sea and land of the war of 1812, do not prove that we “ have been” able to “protect” ourselves, will the historian say what can prove it? If the flag of the States left floating over a conquered enemy after almost every sea fight, the steadiest armies of Europe routed and hurled from our shores, are not satisfactory arguments, we confess ourselves unable to furnish them. There are Bunker Hill and Yorktown, Champlain and Erie, and Plattsburgh and New Orleans, and yonder goes the Macedonian firing her salutes in honor of the Republic:-if these do not flash back the ridiculous falsehood in Mr. Alison's face they are unmeaning things. But these rash statements spring from the same cause which prompts him to depreciate our present military strength, classing our navy and army under the denomination of “Lilliputian forces”— from a slight soreness in view of the result of our struggle with the parent country. He tells us our men are fit only for a bush fight and cannot stand fire in the open field. Whether this be true or false, it is paying the British soldiers a o: compliment. It reminds us of an anec
ote of an American sailor, who happened to be in the pit of a London theatre when King William was present. During the play, a company of men dressed as tailors, cobblers, blacksmiths, farmers, without uniform, and swinging around their heads pitchforks, hammers, fowling pieces, and muskets, were introduced on the stage
to represent the American army. Jack
looked awhile on the tatterdemalion company until the boisterous laugh had died away, then shouted out “Hurrah! Old England beat by blacksmiths and cobblers.” The laugh raised at our undisciplined forces has a double meaning. We can afford the laugh. It reminds us of his stricture on our manners. “The Americans,” says he, “are vain on all national subjects and excessively sensitive to censure, however slight, and, most of all to ridicule. The English not only no way resent, but positively enjoy, the ludicrous exhibitions made of their manners on the French stage: such burlesques would flay the Americans
alive. The Fnglish recollect that the French learned these peculiarities when the British troops occupied Paris.” However true this may be, as a general remark, ridicule of our “Lilliputian forces” we are able to bear with becoming composure, for “we” also “recollect” where the “English” learned these peculiarities “ of our army.” The first view they obtained of them, in the revolutionary war, was at Bunker Hill, and the last at Yorktown, and the last review that a Briton ever made of our troops was at New Orleans. The English have had a good opportunity to witness the discipline of our forces and the character of our uniform. They have been near enough to see their faces, and the manner they wheel, and especially how they fire. The laugh raised at these specimens, sounds to us altogether like mockery. When Mr. Alison comes to our naval battles, his descriptive powers suddenly fail him. The fancy that could brin before us every action between an Englis and French vessel, describe the beautiful manoeuvring of the ships, the fluttering of the canvass, the blazing broadsides, the uproar of battle, the carnage and the victory, becomes suddenly wingless. Those fierce single-handed fights of ship with ship, and frigate with frigate, are dismissed almost as rapidly as their broadsides were. One would think he was writing dispatches on the field of battle. The only occasion that calls forth his descriptive powers is the capture of the Chesapeake by the Shannon, an action that lasted about fifteen minutes and was fought by a half drunken and undisciplined crew. He devotes more space to this single battle—which Captain Lawrence never should have fought, and whose reputation has esca i injury only by his glorious death—than he does to the actions between the Guerriere and Constitution, Frolic and Wasp, Macedonian and United States, Java and Constitution, Peacock and Hornet, altogether. These five naval engagements, in which the American vessels were victorious, each deserved as lengthened a notice as the action between the Chesapeake and Shannon, and yet they are all crammed together, as if belonging to one dispatch, and dismissed with the everlasting “in this as in the previous instances where the Americans had proved successful, the superiority on their side was very decided.” If the American vessel, as in the case of the Peacock and Hornet, had but one more gun than the English and fiftytwo more men, Mr. Alison calls it a “decided superiority.” The difference of two or three guns and fifty or a hundred men, in a battle between two of the first class frigates, we never supposed to constitute such a decided superiority as to account for almost universal defeat. But it is not true that the Americans always had the superiority, either in numbers or weight of metal. ... It would be tedious to go into the details of each engagement; but one will stand for the rest. In Mr. Alison's very minute account of the capture of the President, he says, “an action more prosperous, but not more glorious for the British arms, than that between the Reindeer and Wasp, took place next spring, which terminated in the capture of the noble American frigate President, one of the largest vessels of that class in the world, by the Endymion, Captain Hope, slightly aided by the Pomona.” And in the conclusion, he adds, “the Endymion havin fallen astern the Pomona came up ...i ve the President two broadsides, with ittle or no effect owing to the darkness of the night, but this circumstance saved the American's honor, as two vessels had now opened their fire upon her, and he accordingly hauled down his colors.” This account, though entirely erroneous, is not more so than many of the others. We have selected it merely because we wish to let English officers themselves bear testimony against Mr. Alison. The President was compelled to fight the Endymion at disadvantage, because she had to run for it or find herself enveloped in the fire of four ships. We are indebted to a friend for a document, which, we believe, has never before been published in this country. It is an account of this oy the officers of the two vessels, Pomona and Tenedos, to which the President surrendered, written immediately after they arrived with their prize at Bermuda. Accompanying it is a deposition of Commodore Decatur, taken at St. George's at the same time.
“His MAJESTY's FRIGATE PomoNA, } Bermuda, 29th January, 1815. “About an hour before daylight of the 15th inst., two strange sail (a ship and brig) were discovered on our lee bow,
standing to the eastward, under a press of sail, wind N. W. by N. Majestic and Endymion in company—all sail was made in chase, by the three ships, and it was soon evident we gained on them. As day dawned, another ship was seen, hull down, to leeward, and the commodore, imagining her also to be an enemy, detached the Pomona in chase ; we immediately bore right up before the wind, and in three quarters of an hour, ascertaining her to be the Tenedos, again hauled up to the east, being by this circumstance, thrown seven or eight miles more astern of the original chase; however, we soon again began to approach the enemy, as did also the Endymion; which, from the above event, was now far ahead of the Pomona. At one P. M., we passed the Majestic; President and Endymion, at two, occasionally exchanging stern and bow guns; the wind began to fall light, and the Pomona was yet too far off to render any assistance, but still coming up. At 5,30, the President bore up, closing with the Endymion, and fired her starboard broadside, which was promptly returned by the Endymion’s larboard. A running fight then continued for some time, which gradually slackened; and at half past eight ceased, the Endymion falling astern–Pomona passing her at half past eight. At this time she was observed to fire two guns, which the President returned with one. At eleven, being within gun-shot of the President, who was still steering to the eastward, under a press of sail, with royal top-gallant top-mast and lower studding sails set, and finding how much we outsailed her, our studding sails were taken in, aud immediately afterwards we luffed to port and fired our starboard broadside. The enemy then also luffed to port, bringing his larboard broadside to bear, which was momentarily expected, as a few minutes previous to our closing her, she hoisted a light abaft, which in night actions substituted the ensign. Our second broadside was fired ; and the President still luffing up, as if intent to lay us on board, we hauled close to port, bracing the yards up and setting the mainsail. The broadside was again ready to be fired into his bows raking, when she hauled down the light, and we hailed, demanding if she had surrendered. The reply was in the affirmative, and the firing instantly ceased. The Tenedos, which was not more than three miles off, soon afterwards" came up, and assistcd in securing the prize and removing the prisoners. At three quarters past twelve, the Endymion came up, and the Majestic at three in the morning.”
* This alludes to the time the Pomona commenced firing; the President was boarded precisely at the same time, by the boats of the Tenedos and Pomona.