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and interest which will inevitably take place between two great commercial nations, whose property and people are spread far and wide on the face of the ocean ; whatever may be the clamorous expressions of hostility vented at such times by our unreflecting populace, or rather uttered in their name by a host of hireling scriblers, who pretend to speak the sentiments of the people; it is certain, that the well educated and well informed class of our citizens entertain a deep rooted good-will, and a rational esteem for Great Britain. It is almost impossible it should be otherwise. Independent of those hereditary affections, which spring up spontaneously for the nation from whence we have descended, the single circumstance of imbibing our ideas from the same authors, has a powerful effect in causing an attachment.
“ The writers of Great Britain are the adopted citizens of our country, and, though they have no legislative voice, exercise a powerful influence over our opinions and affections. In these works we have British valor, British magnanimity, British might, and British wisdom continually before our eyes, portrayed in the most captivating colors, and are thus brought up, in constant contemplation of all that is amiable and illustrious in the British character. To these works likewise we resort, in every varying mood of mind, or vicissitude of fortune. They are our delight in the hour of relaxation; the solemn monitors and instructers of our closet; our com. forters under the gloom of despondency. In the season of early life, in the strength of manhood, and still in the weakness and apathy of age, it is to them we are indebted for our hours of refined and unalloyed enjoyment. When we turn our eyes to England, therefore, from whence this bounteous tide of literature pours in upon us, it is with such feelings as the Egyptian, when he looks towards the sacred source of that stream, which, rising in a far distant country, flows down upon his own barren soil, diffusing riches, beauty, and fertility.
“Surely it cannot be the interest of Great Britain to trifle with such feelings. Surely the good-will, thus cherished among the best hearts of a country, rapidly increasing in power and importance, is of too much consequence to be scornfully neglected or surlily dashed away. It most certainly therefore would be both politic and honorable, for those enlightened British writers, who sway the sceptre of criticism, to expose these constant misrepresentations and discountenance these galling and unworthy insults of the pen, whose effect is to mislead and to irritate, without sery. ing one valuable purpose. They engender gross prejudices in Great Britain, inimical to a proper national understanding, while with us they wither all those feelings of kindness and consanguinity, that were shooting forth, like so many tendrils, to attach us to our parent country.
“While therefore we regard the poem of Mr. Campbell with complacency, as evincing an opposite spirit to this, of which we have just complained, there are other reasons likewise, which interest us in its favour. Among the lesser evils, incident to the infant state of our country, we have to lament its almost total deficiency in those local associations produced by history and moral fiction. These may appear trivial to the common mass of readers; but the mind of taste and sensibility will at once acknowledge it, as constituting a great source of national pride, and love of country. There is an inexpressible charm imparted to every place, that has been celebrated by the historian, or immortalized by the poet; a charm that dignifies it in the eyes of the stranger, ånd endears it to the heart of the native inhabitant. Of this romantic attraction we are almost entirely destitute. While every insig nificant hill and turbid stream in classic Europe has been
hallowed by the visitations of the muse, and contemplated with fond enthusiasm ; our lofty mountains and stupendous cataracts excite no poetical feelings, and our majestic rivers roll their waters unheeded, because unsung
“ Thus circumstanced, the sweet strains of Mr. Campbell's muse break upon us as gladly as would the pastoral pipe of the shepherd, amid the savage solitude of one of our trackless wildernesses. We are delighted to witness the air of captivating romance, and rural beauty our native fields and wild woods can assume under the plastic pencil of a master; and while wandering with the poet among the shady groves of Wyoming, or along the banks of the Susquehanna, alınost fancy ourselves transported to the side of some classic stream, in the “hollow breast of Appenine.” This may assist to convince many, who were before slow to believe, that our own country is capable of inspiring the highest poetic feelings and furnishing abundance of poetic imagery, though destitute of the hackneyed materials of poetry; though its groves are not vocal with the song of the nightingale ; though no naiads have ever sported in its streams, nor satyrs and driads gamboled among its forests. Wherever nature displays herself in simple beauty or wild magnificence, and wherever the human mind appears in new and striking situations, neither the poet nor the philosopher can want subjects worthy of his genius."
As we before remarked, the lapse of thirty years has materially impaired the cogency of the foregoing remarks. The acrimony and traduction of the British press produced the effect apprehended, and contributed to hasten a war between the two nations. That war, however, made us completely a nation, and destroyed our mental dependence on England forever. A literature of our own has subsequently sprung up and is daily increasing with wonderful fecundity; promising to counteract the undue influence of British literature,
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF THOMAS CAMPBELL.
and to furnish us with productions in all departments of taste and knowledge, illustrative of our country, its history and its people, and in harmony with our condition and the nature of our institutions.
We have but a word or two to add concerning Mr. Campbell. In 1810 he published “O'Connor's Child, or Love lies Bleeding,” an uncommonly spirited and affecting little tale. Since then he has given at intervals a variety of minor poems to the public, all possessing the same beauty of thought and delicacy of finish that distinguished his early productions. If some disappointment has been experienced by his admirers, that he has affected any of those grand achievements in poetry which had been anticipated from his juvenile performances, they should congratulate himself that he has never sank from the pure and elevated height to which he so suddenly attained. Many years since we hailed the productions of his muse as “beaming forth like the pure lights of heaven, among the meteor exhalations and paler fires with which our literary atmosphere abounds;" since that time many of those meteors and paler fires that dazzled and bewildered the public eye, have fallen to the earth and passed away, and still we find his poems like the stars shining on, with undiminished lustre.