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son, therefore, when made in reference forsake him. They would consider to our own country utterly fails. There themselves insulted, and would decline are no points of similarity. The same a future invitation. standard of measurement cannot apply The same principle of exclusion runs to monarchial and republican manners, through all the various ranks I have and the error lies in attempting to specified. I do not mean with an uncombine principles which have no affin- deviating uniformity never to be deity. I do not make these remarks with parted from, but as a general rule by a view of derogating in the slightest de- which English society is governed. gree from that reciprocal homage due Upon national festivals, as Christfrom one British subject to another, mas, or any other gala day, it is combut to show the inconsistency of that mon for the lords of the soil to invite acrimonious spirit too often manifested their tenants, the wealthy merchupon both sides of the water, the ants, bankers, and manufacturers, their working of a system fundamentally clerks and servants, to their festive different from our own, and the influ- halls ; but they dine in the kitchen or ence which that system must have some other equally appropriate apartupon the mind and character of indi- ment--seldom with their host. viduals, and of consequence upon the There is not a man in England who aspect of society.
is not aristocratical in feelings towards No person in England, below the all below him. It is an impossibility rank of a peer, presumes to hold fa- that it should be otherwise, and any miliar intercourse with a peer; it would pretence to the contrary is sheer debe to carry war into the entrenched ception. Hence, you will perceive. camp of the most privileged order, and that the scattered fragments of the to break down the barriers of aristo- feudal system still float upon the curcratic society. I remember a case in rent of society, and carry with them point which occurred a few years ago the most ample testimony of the origi, in the neighborhood of London. A nal wreck. It is upon this principle friend of mine, a mercantile gentle- that one can easily account for the fire man, and a bank director, invited a co of indignation which blazed in the director, who happened to be a baron, bosom of the author of " American to dine with him. He accepted the in- Notes," whose name it is well enough vitation. When dinner was announced, to forget, and made him ashamed to my friend reserved for the baron the acknowledge his countrymen honor of handing his own lady to the whom he happened to meet in his dining room. To his signal mortifica- journey from Philadelphia to Washingtion, the honor was declined, upon the tou. He speaks of their having settled ground that she was not a titled lady, in America-of their gross and barand the baron had the honor of walk- barous familiarity of daring to address ing into the dining room by himself. him by way of question and answer,
The baron acted agreeably to the and of demeaning themselves as if they etiquette of court. But as he accepted were his equals. Here one sees the an invitation to dine with a commoner, feudal spirit developed in all the brilit may well be doubted whether he liancy of its native hues, emanating, it acted agreeably to the etiquette of a must be admitted, from a very subgentleman. At all events the incident ordinate cast, but, nevertheless, just serves to illustrate my views of the as strong and unbending as if he were distinction of rank, and to show the born to command. All that rampant pertinacity with which that distinction self-estimation, engraved upon the bone is maintained. My friend, himself, and nursed in the flesh, broke from its would not accept an invitation to dine moorings the moment he met with with a tradesman, nor would he, under those from whom he expected reverany circumstances, invite a tradesman ence and submission, and which from to dine with him. In fact, he dare the same family feeling would undoubtnot. The customs of the country will edly have been rendered in their own not admit of it. Were he to make country. But they had resided in such an assault upon the spirit of feu- America a sufficient length of time to dalism and the etiquette of his rank, neutralize their national sympathies.--all his friends, of equal standing, would They were not themselves aware of the
slightest rudeness. They may have made subserviency as much a universal been landed proprietors, cultivating law as if it were sanctioned by legislatheir own farms, independent in their tive acts. I am quite aware that it is a circumstances, judging of mankind by common and a fashionable thing for my their moral worth and personal excel- countrymen to attribute the thoughtfullence, and in no respect inferior to the ness and reserve and distance obseryauthor, nay, perhaps, of two, the better able in the English character to pride
In them the spirit of feudalism and haughtiness. Nothing can be more had evaporated. In the author it still erroneous. It is a part of the system. held sovereign sway. He brought his The manners of the people are the monarchial pack with him, and had not natural and necessary result of the form discernment enough to discover that he of government under which they live. had strayed from the market.
From the remarks already suggested, Lady Montague, writing from Vi- it must be evident that the very exisenna to her friends in England, notices tence of the ruling principle of aristothe fastidious manner in which points cracy depends upon the exclusiveness of rank were maintained at the Aus- of rank and class; and the strict maintrian court. In the narrow streets of tenance of that principle resolves itself that capital, where it was impossible into a moral and civil duty, and is no to pass each other, two coaches driving evidence of pride or haughtiness, notin opposite directions met; each of the withstanding it has all the appearance ladies in the two coaches claimed the of being both, in the view of one who prerogative of rank, and consequently has not been taught to see the reason each refused to back out and give place why it is necessary. to the other. There they sat until two Undoubtedly that kind of demeanor o'clock in the morning, and resolved to in a republican would justly be concontinue sitting rather than give up the sidered as undeniable evidence of the point of precedence, until death should highest arrogance and supercilious step in and settle the controversy. bearing, for just the same reason in its
In order to clear the street, encum- inverse application, that he has no ex. bered with two such loads of dignity, clusive rank to sustain by the requirethe emperor sent his guards to partments of the society in which he moves, them. The ladies, however, refused and no inferior artificial ranks against to move an inch, until the ingenious whose encroachments he is bound to expedient was hit upon of taking them guard. both out of their carriages at the same Whether or no such a system is detime, and in the same manner, and sirable in the abstract is not the quesconveying them away in chairs. Thus tion we are considering, but whether the honor and rank of both were most it be consistent with the civil rights, signally vindicated. The passion for habits, and enjoyments of those who order is so omnipotent, especially among choose to live under its sway, and bethe ladies, that they mourn upon the lieve it to be the only one suited to their denth of their husbands, and are ready social wants and national happiness. to break their hearts out of pure grief, Surely there need be no more pride because that fatal event puts an end to and arrogance in an aristocrat maintaintheir rink.
ing aristocracy than there is in a repubThe moral influence of the various lican maintaining republicanism. The co-existing and yet mutually indepen- thing is the same, working through dent ranks of the social condition of different channels, and combining with England is inconceivably great and pow. different elements. I do not suppose erful. The idea of reverence for rank, there is one whit of difference in referirrespective of personal merit, descends ence to the nature of pride in the whole from the crown to the lowest stratum human family; but the forms of society, of society. Wealth in all countries the course of education, and the moral carries a modified influence, but is no discipline of all kinds of religion, give ground for the distinction of order.— different directions to its current, as it One of the most remarkable features sweeps along within more contracted in this arbitrary system-arbitrary in or more extended embankments. our republican view of the subject, is The moral discipline of aristocracy the fact, that the custom of ages has is an every-day affair, and plies itself
upon every individual in the state; so religious toleration, are fruitful topics that the strangest of all things would for untempered wit and sarcastic debe that of being jostled out of his rank clamation. But whilst we see and feel and brought to a level of equality with all this, it may be well to consider one beneath him. That would be a whether we, ourselves, are entirely degradation—an exilement from every- exempt from the indulgence of the same thing held most dear, a stripping off censorious spirit which we so promptly and wrenching away the golden liga- condemn in others. tures that bind him to the social com We choose a republican form of pact.
government, and demand what right We may therefore conclude that the have other nations to interfere with service and voluntary discipline of aris- that choice ?—to launch, with an untocracy are regarded by Englishmen scrupulous hand, their envenomed aras such extraordinary privileges, that rows from the quiver of wit and ridino charms of popular allurement, no cule against institutions of which they promise of equalized greatness, and no have at best but a theoretic knowledge? hopes of public plunder, will ever in England chooses a monarchy, and duce them to relinquish. The govern- what occasion have we to object to that ment is exactly suited to the people, choice, and to storm the fortress of her and the people to the government. — aristocracy with congressional artillery, The wheels move with singular har- because incompatible with our notions mony, without forcing the will of the of a wise and popular government ?subject, impairing his liberty, or en So long as we are satisfied with our dangering the public security. No choice of system, ought we not to almarvel then that a nation, thus charm- low other nations to be satisfied with ed with royalty, and attached to all its theirs ? The mutual asperity which details, always rises instinctively as one pervades the public mind, and disturbs man at the thrilling melody of “God the tranquillity of society, on the ground save the King.”
of a difference in the form of governEvery sensible man condemns a ma ment and its consequences, discovers a lignant and acrimonious spririt, because diseased intellect, and must result in it betrays a want of benevolence and reciprocal alienation and the blotting of that delicate sensibility of Christian out of every particle of Christian beneprinciples which ought to lead the mind volence and amiable sentiment. The to make another's woes or another's only good point of humanity which wrongs, whether real or imaginary, its survives “the loss of Paradise," and own. We justly complain of the taunt-, the richest fragment of that blissful ing, vituperative and contemptuous spirit state, is sacrificed. which breathes in European publica In my next communication I
purpose tions, and which comes to our shores to take a short view of the aspect of foating upon every breeze. “The Model society in the United States, and to Republic" is the target of ridicule;—the show why the manners of the people manners of the people, the peculiarities are and ought to be essentially different of our institutions, and even universal from those of a monarchy.
BY EDGAR A. POE.
* Gênes dans ce temps achetait tout le blé de l'Eu -still it is a fancy of mine that much rope."
of what people call profundity has been For an hour I have been endeavor- fairly thrown away on that ever-recuring, without success, to make out the ring topic, the decline of the drama. meaning of this passage —which I find Were the question demanded of me in a French translation of Lady Mor Why has the drama declined ?'' my gan's “ Letters on Italy.” I could not answer should be " It has not ; it has conceive how or why all the corn of only been left out of sight by every Europe should have been bought, or thing else.” The dramatic art, more what corn, in any shape, had to do than any other, is essentially imitative, with the matter at issue. Procuring and thus engenders and keeps alive in the original work, after some trouble, I its votaries the imitative propensity, as read that “the Genoese, at this period, well as the imitative power. Hence bought the scorn of all Europe by," etc., one drama is apt to be fashioned too
Now, here the translator is by no nearly after another—the dramatist of means so much in fault as Lady Mor- to-day is prone to step too closely in gan, who is too prone to commit sin the foot-prints of the dramatist of yeswith the verbum insolens. I can see no terday. In a word there is less origiforce, here, in the unusuality of nality-less independence-less thought
bought,” as applied to scorn—(al- -less reference to principles-less efthough there are cases in which the fort to keep up with the general moveexpression would be very appropriate) ment of the time--more supineness-and cannot condemn the Frenchman more bullet-headedness—more rank and for supposing the s a superfluity and a arrant conventionality in the drama than misprint.
in any other single thing in existence
which aspires to the dignity of Art. There is a double entendre in the old This spirit of imitation, developed in adage about Truth in a Well; but, adherence to old, and therefore to untaking the profundity of Truth as at couth models, has not, indeed, caused least one of the meanings-understand- the drama to “decline,” but has overing it to be implied that correct ideas on thrown it by not permitting it to soar. any topic are to be fished up only from While every other art* has kept pace great depths, and that to have common with the thinking and improving spirit sense it is necessary to be abysmal— of the age, it alone has remained stathis being taken as the moral of the ad- tionary, prating about Æschylus and age, I have my objections on the spot. the Chorus, or mouthing Euphuism beThe profundity of which so much is cause “ the Old English masters" have said, lies more frequently in the places thought proper to mouth it before. Let where we seek Truth than in those us imagine Bulwer to-day presenting where we find her. Just as the mode us a novel after the model of the old rately.sized shop-signs are better adapt- novelists, or as nearly on their plan as ed to their object than those which are “ The Hunchback” is on the plan of Brobdignagian, so, in at least three cases " Ferrex and Porrex :"-let him write out of seven, is a fact (but especially a us a “ Grand Cyrus," and what should reason) overlooked solely on account of we do with it, and what should we being excessively obvious. It is almost think of its inditer? And yet this impossible, too, to see a thing that lies “Grand Cyrus” was a very admirable immediately beneath one's nose. work in its day.
I may be wrong—and no doubt I am The fact is, the drama is not now
* Sculpture, perhaps, excepted.
supported, for the simple reason that it passionate songs—such as we have does not deserve support. We must here.f burn or bury the old models. We Passages such as this are worthy of need Art, as Art is now beginning to be the author of " Martin Faber:'understood :--that is to say, in place of absurd conventionalities we demand Soft, O how softly sleeping, principles founded in Nature and in Shadowed by beauty, she lies, The common
Dreams as of rapture creeping,
Smile by smile, over her eyes. even of the mob, can no longer be affronted, night after night, with impuni And this, in reference to a ship bety. If, for example, a play-wright calmed, is natural and forcible : will persist in making a hero deiver on the stage a soliloquy such as was solilo A world, from all the world apart, quized by no human being in ordinary Chained idly on the sea! life-ranting transcendentalism at the How droops the eye-how sinks the heart,
Vain wishing to be free! audience as nothing conceivable ever How dread the fear that fills the thought, before ranted, short of a Piankitank can That winds may never rise didate for Congress-splitting the ears To wajt us from this ucary spot of the house and endangering the lives
Beneath these burning skies! of the orchestra, the while that a confidential friend who holds him by the
This again is exceedingly spirited :shoulder is supposed not to hear a syl
Now are the winds about us in their glee, lable of all that is said :—if the play
Tossing the slender tree; wright, I say, will persist in perpetra Whirling the sands about his furious car ting these atrocities, and a hundred March cometh from afar, worse, for no better reason than that Breaks the sealed magic of old Winter's
dreams there were people simple enough to And rends his glassy streams. perpetrate them five hundred years ago—if he will do this, and will not do
By the way, how happens it, in the anything else to the end of time—what melodious stanza which follows, (taken right has he, I demand, to look any hon- from an " Indian Serenade that the est man in the face, and talk to him
sonorous Samanu has been set aside for about what he calls “ the decline of the the far less musical and less effective drama ?"
'Tis the wail for life they waken “ The Alphadelphia Tocsin !"**
By Bonita's silver shore(Phæbus, what a name to fill the sound With the tempest it is skaken: ing trump of future fame!) and de The wide ocean is in motion, voted to the interest of the laboring
And the song is heard no more. classes !"-by which, I presume, are intended the classes who have to pro
When in the mouth of Vasco Nunez, nounce, every mornin the great appel- in “ The Damsel of Darien” (its aulation of the paper itself. Such a work thor's least meritorious novel, by the should not want editors, and according- bye) the like originally ran, ly we are informed that it has eight. What on earth is the meaning of Alph
By Samana's yielding shore. adelphia ? Is the " Alphadelphia Tocsin" the tocsin of the city of the double
Sounding shore would have been A's?—if so, the idea is too easily slip- still better. Altogether I prefer this ped into that of the A double S.
• Indian Serenade” to any of Mr. Simms' poems,
These and other imitations, however, I fully agree with Simms (W. Gil- are but the inevitable sins of the youth more) that the Provençal troubadour of genius—which invariably begins its had, 'in his melodious vocabulary, no career by imitation-animitation, nevertitle more appropriate than the Cuban theless, interspersed with vivid origin“Areytos” for a collection of tender or ality. I think I have before observed
* Title of a new journal published at Alphadelphia, Michigan.