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Generally speaking, the towns in Canada bear a very poor comparison with those of the United States, and will never arrive at the same point, because the settlers in Canada are mostly poor Scotchmen and Irishmen, who come out at the expense of the government; they receive land, and are oppressed by the feudal system, which opposes all prosperity: emigrants, however, who possess some property and have an ambitious spirit, settle themselves in the United States, where nobody is oppressed; on the contrary, where all laws are in their favour." p. 96.
We extract the following account of "The Shakers," for the benefit of such of our readers as may not be acquainted with the history and principles of that singular sect:
"The Shakers are a religious sect originally from England: it was founded by Anne Lee, the daughter of a Manchester blacksmith, and wife of the blacksmith Stanley, of the same place. Her chief doctrines are community of goods, a perfect continence with regard to the sexes, and adoration of the Deity by dancing. Anne Lee pretended to higher inspiration, performed miracles, announced the speedy re-appearance of Christ on earth, spoke of the Millennium, aud of similar glories. She commenced in England by making proselytes among the lowest classes, who followed her when she preached in public, held noisy prayer, or rather dancing meetings, and thus disturbed the public peace. This worthy prophetess was, therefore, with her friends, at different times imprisoned; the impatient and unbelieving public even began once to stone her. The good soul, whose convulsions were said by the wicked world to be the effect of ardent spirits, wandered, therefore, in 1774, with her family and several of her friends to New-York, where she settled. But her husband was wearied with the sisterly connexion in which he lived with her, and resolved to divorce his sisterly wife and marry another. Whereupon, the repudiated wife wandered towards Albany, settled first at Watervliet, and held meetings. These meetings, however, appeared to the Americans so suspicious, (it was during the time of the Revolution) that the good lady was arrested at Albany, with several of her friends, and transported to the neighbourhood of New-York, in order to give her in charge to the English, who then held the city. But she soon returned again to Watervliet, and her faithful adherents bought land near Niskayuna, between Albany and Shenectady, and settled there. A large part of this people, those particularly who had joined the sect in America, founded the colony of New-Lebanon. Anne Lee died in Niskayuna in 1784. The colony numbers about six hundred members, who are divided into families, some of which contain about one hundred individuals of both sexes. Each lives in a groupe of houses, with an elder at its head. The elders of all the families form a council, which watches for the public good. They have for divine service, a sort of preachers, two of each sect, who hold forth on Sundays. The greatest cleanliness prevails in the houses, equalled perhaps, only by the hospital of Boston; the brethren live on one side, and the sisters on the other.
VOL. III.-No. 5.
They have a common eating-room, in which again, each sect has its own side, but different working places. Both the brethren and the sisters live, generally, two individuals in a room, and two also sleep in the same bed. Many of the sisters, however, notwithstanding their good food, were pale and wan.
"When a family wishes to join the Shakers, the relation of brother and sister must immediately take place between husband and wife. The children are then brought up on Shaker principles. Orphans also find a home with them; still, however, unfavourable reports are circulated about the origin of these orphans. Of course, if the principles of these people should prevail, which, however, may Heaven prevent! the world would soon be depopulated. In countries, however, with too great a population, it might, perhaps, be of service to receive missionaries of this sect and promote proselytism." [We hope Mr. Malthus will profit by this hint.]
"They pay also much attention to the breeding of cattle; make good butter, and particularly good cheese, great quantities of which they sell. Their hogs are remarkably handsome, and cleanliness is also extended to them. It is a rare pleasure to walk about in a Shaker pig-stye." pp. 107-108.
Of the servants in the city of New-York, the Duke remarks that
"They are generally negroes and mulattoes; most of the white servants are Irish: the Americans have a great abhorrence of servitude. Liveries are not to be seen; the male servants wear frock-coats. All the families complain of bad servants and their impudence, because the latter consider themselves on an equality with their employers. Of this insolence of servants, I saw daily examples. Negroes and mulattoes are abundant here, but they generally rank low and are labourers. There are but a few slaves in the State of New-York, and even these are to be freed in the year 1827, according to a law passed by the Senate [?] of the State. There are public schools established for the instruction of coloured children, and I was told that these little ape-like creatures do sometimes learn very well. In the city there are several churches belonging to the coloured population; most of them are Methodists, some Episcopalians. A black minister, who was educated in an Episcopalian seminary, is said to be a good preacher. But there is in this country, a great abhorrence of this class of people, who are obliged to live almost like the Indian Parias." p. 126.
With Philadelphia, and other towns in Pennsylvania, especially Bethlehem, the Duke seems to have been particularly pleased. He was received with the greatest kindness and civility by the literary society of the metropolis, and mentions with high commendation, the "Wistar Party," a small circle of Savans, which owes its existence to the late Dr. Wistar. His translator, however, is exceedingly dissatisfied with the Duke's taste in painting, and sets him down for but an indifferent vir
tuoso, because he does not fall into ecstasies at Mr. West's "Christ healing the Sick." It must be admitted, that if his not admiring our American collections, is to be taken as conclusive against the judgment of his Highness, he is any thing but a connoisseur, for his opinion of them is not at all flattering. (pp. 122-140-146–177, v. i. and 179, v. ii.) But without pretending to much skill in such matters ourselves-although we have surveyed, and attentively too, the master-pieces of some of the greatest artists-we may be allowed to "hesitate" assent to the Duke's estimate of our pretensions to virtû. We are as ready as other people, to boast of the talent of some of our native artists, and South-Carolina has produced more than one painter, who wanted only the opportunitics and encouragement of a great European capital, to have been as celebrated as her Allston. But certainly as a nation, we have made scarcely any progress in such things. More ought not to be expected of us by otherswe ought not to pretend to it ourselves. We have hitherto had neither the time, nor the money, nor the taste necessary to the cultivation of the Fine Arts with success-at least, to any considerable extent.
On the subject of prison discipline, to which the people of Philadelphia have paid so much attention, the Duke makes some sensible observations. We submit the following to our readers:
"I do not now wish to enter upon the question whether it is advisable to abolish capital punishment altogether or not, but I maintain that this solitary confinement, in which the prisoner is prohibited from all human converse, without work, exercise, and almost without air, is even worse than punishment by death. From want of exercise, they will certainly become sickly; from the want of work, they will become unaccustomed to labour, and, perhaps, lose what skill they may have possessed heretofore in their trade, so that when restored to the world, they will be useless for any kind of business, and merely drag out a miserable existence. No book is allowed them but the bible. It appears therefore to me perfectly possible, that this insulation of the prisoner will be injurious to his mind, and drive him to fanaticism, enthusiasm, and even derangement. When Mr. Vaux asked my opinion of this prison, I could not refrain from answering him that it reminded me of the Spanish Inquisition, as is described by Llorente. Mr. Vaux answered, that it was only an experiment to ascertain whether capital punishment can be abolished, but notwithstanding this philanthropic view, the experiment appears to me to be an expensive one, because the building has already cost three hundred and fifty thousand dollars, and the State of Pennsylvania will have to expend annually for its support, an immense sum. The first great object of a government ought to be to provide for the welfare of its good citizens, and not to oppress them with taxes: on the contrary,
to relieve them as much as possible, as it is hard for the good citizens to have to maintain vagabonds for the sake of deterring others by example, or to render convicts harmless. In this view, it ought to be the object of governments, to arrange the prisons, so that convicts can maintain themselves," &c. p. 145.
In Washington, the Duke attended a ball given by General Brown, on which occasion, he pays the following high tribute to the officers of our little army:
"There is scarcely an army in Europe in which the corps of officers is better composed, than in the small American army; since, in the United States no one can on any account be an officer, if he is not well-educated. The officers are exclusively taken from the Military Academy at West-Point: no subaltern officer is promoted. The greater part of the inferior officers who were advanced during the late war, have been dismissed. Such a measure is in this country unavoidably necessary, where none but people of the lowest class enlist as soldiers in the army; without such an interval between the officers and the rank and file, discipline could not be maintained. Therefore, if a young man is seen in the uniform of an American officer, it may with confidence be inferred, that he is in every respect fit to maintain his place in the best society." p. 180.
In his journey through Virginia, our traveller visited Mr. Jefferson, with whom, however, he does not appear to have been as much struck as he had been with the late Mr. Adams. The Natural Bridge he pronounces "one of the greatest wonders of nature he ever beheld"-albeit he had seen "Vesuvius and the Phlegrean Fields, the Giant's Causeway in Ireland, the Island of Staffa, and the Falls of Niagara." "Finally," (to use a favourite mode of expression of his own) he is amazed at the profusion of militia titles in Virginia, which almost persuaded him that he was at the head-quarters of a grand army, and at the aristocratic notions of some of the gentlemen in the same state, who make no secret of their taste for primogeniture laws and hereditary nobility.
He passed through North-Carolina too rapidly to do any thing like justice to the many remarkable things which that respectable state has to boast of. Accordingly, his observations are principally confined to the inns where he stopped, the roads over which he travelled, and the mere exterior of the towns and villages which the stage-coach traverses in its route. He is of opinion from what he saw in that region, that "it would be a good speculation to establish a glass manufactory in a country, where there is such a want of glass, and a superabundance of pine trees and sand." It had almost escaped us, that he here for the first time made the acquaintance of a "great many large
vultures, called buzzards, the shooting of which is prohibited, as they feed upon carrion, and contribute in this manner to the salubrity of the country." This "parlous wild-fowl" has the honour to attract the attention of his Highness again at Charleston, where he informs us that its life is, in like manner, protected by law, and where it is called, from its resemblance to another bird, the Turkey-buzzard!
He at length arrives at Columbia, via Camden, and takes lodgings at our friend Clarke's, whose style of entertainment he pronounces "merely tolerable." We venture to predict, that if he ever revisit "mine host" in his new establishment, he will make him the amende honorable, and suppress this offensive passage in all his future editions. In Columbia, he became acquainted with most of the distinguished inhabitants, of whose very kind attentions to him, he speaks in high terms. The following good-natured hint too may not be altogether useless : "At Professor Henry's a very agreeable society assembled at dinner. At that party I observed a singular manner which is practised; the ladies sit down by themselves at one of the corners of the table. But I broke the old custom, and glided between them; and no one's appetite was injured thereby." Perhaps, a traveller so remarkable for the precision and circumstantiality of his narratives, may consider it not unimportant in us to notice several minute errors into which he has fallen, in his account of things in South-Carolina. 1. Columbia-It contains instead of four hundred inhabitants, almost as many thousands. 2. Judge De Saussure's father was not a native of Lausanne, nor uncle of the celebrated naturalist. It was his grandfather, we believe, who emigrated to this country from Geneva. 3. Colonel Blanding is not his step-son, but his sonin-law. 4. The name of the President of the Senate is not Johns, but I'On. The two last errors, we suspect, ought to be imputed to the translator. 5. Mr. Herbemont never was Professor of Botany in the South-Carolina College, nor is any such professorship known there. 6. The mill of Mr. Lucas, in one of the suburbs of Charleston, was not by any means, the first ever built in Carolina. His Highness also, does great injustice to the motives of the Professor of Astronomy, who neglected to introduce him into the Observatory, as well as the College Library, which contains (for this country) a very good and choice collection of books, particularly, a very complete series of Greek and Roman classics of the very best editions.
The Duke visited Charleston in December, and staid here but a short time. His observations upon our city are few and general.