« AnteriorContinuar »
Page 64, lines 24-25, for “one hundred and eighty” read one dollar and eighty
GENERAL STATE OF THE UNION.
TO WILLIAM GREATHEED LEWIS, ESQ.
Southam, Warwickshire, July 8th, 1839. My dear Sir,
I trust the subject, on which I am about to address you, will be of sufficient importance to claim your attention, and induce you to render me your assistance in superintending my work through the press. It is no other than that of laying before you the result of my long and searching inquiries after the Goddess with which, in our young days, you and I were enamoured. I well recollect the first time of our meeting; we were then just grown up—both of us villagers—both from the county of Warwick. The similarity of our political opinions caused us at once to become warmly attached to each other, and we soon made up our minds to go to the land of promise. We, however, were windbound at Liverpool for sereral weeks, until our exchequer became nearly exhausted ; and we, for that time, postponed our trip to America, and separated, never to meet again for a great number of years. You turned to scholastic and literary pursuits; I became a manufacturer, married, and settled in my native county; but I never could extinguish my desire to see the far-famed republic, and at length emigrated to the United States. I saw many things in America that I did not expect to see, and that did not square with the ideas I had formed from the various accounts I had heard and read. However, I attended to my business, paid but little attention to politics, and, for the first five or six years that I was there, had no great reason to complain : after this, however, a system of corruption in the States' governments, as well as in the government of the United States, began to develop itself in such a manner as to arouse my attention, though previously disposed to quietly acquiesce in things that were wrong, upon the ground that there is no such thing as perfection in earthly governments. I therefore pertinaciously held to my favourite system. I could
not be persuaded that, however wrong things might go for a time, that all would right itself in a country where “the great principles of selfgovernment were recognised and acted upon."
But, my dear Sir, I am now, most reluctantly, obliged to acknowledge the fallacy of self-government, believing that it has no existence in the nature of things. I have read all that has been written on this subject by Paine, Jefferson, and all the popular writers of our day; and, as far as my ability extends, I have deeply considered their doctrines. Indeed, it was Paine that first wrought upon my youthful understanding,
you will permit me, I will tell you the manner in which it was done : it will have a tendency to show what trifling accidents turn us about, and lead us into different paths to those we first pursued, in the commencement of our passage through this transitory life.
I had an occasion, when not more than fifteen years of age, to go to Birmingham, and was requested to take a letter to a gardener, at a gentleman's seat near that place. I found him in a house situated within a large garden, enclosed by a high brick wall, forming a world of itself. It was early in the spring, so that I did not see his paradise to the best advantage; but I saw the trees arranged; every branch spread, adjusted, secured, and prepared to receive the mellowing influence of the ruling power which was expected to finish the work, and cover those walls with clusters of grapes, peaches, apricots, plumbs, and fruit of every kind, that care and the climate could bring to perfection. Of these trees he gave me a full description : he was old enough to be my grandfather, but he did not think it a waste of time to talk with and instruct a rustic boy. The green-houses were full of everything that were usually found in those charming places: these, together with the sensible conversation of the gardener, afforded pleasures that were entirely new to me. When the time came for my departure he accompanied me a mile or two, and, as we walked along, he freely gave me his excellent advice on many subjects; he warned me to shun the dangerous práctice that was then getting so common, of drinking spirituous liquors, the consequences of which he showed so clearly, that I resolved to resist any temptation of that kind that should ever come in my way, and till this hour I have observed that resolution; though I do not claim any merit for forbearance, because I never liked spirituous liquor, and therefore I made no sacrifice. I only refrained from forcing myself to do that which would have been disagreeable to me; while I have seen boys, who, considering it manly to drink spirits, have forced it down against their taste, and, with practice, have become habitual drunkards.
My new friend, at parting, took me by the hand, and addressed me, as nearly as I can remember, in these words: “You are," said he, “entering into the world, of the good and evil of which you have but little