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to their geographical position, because they have been formed or preserved by institutions suited to that position.
"But the legislators of the United States have added to the vices of their institutions, all the other means of influence which were given them by their right, at that time legitimate, to publick confidence, to keep up or originate among the people, inclinations directly opposed to those, which the circumstances of time and place required. What have been the consequences, that the Americans are agglomerated, prest together on the sea coast of their territory; that they occupy under a murderous climate, an ungrateful soil, sandy and arid, while immense territories, of a prodigious fertility, and placed under a purer sky, remain uncultivated and uninhabited. The extent of the United States, embracing so many latitudes, its productions vary as we may say for each degree of the scale, and offer infinite resources to a laborious and cultivating people. What then was the intention of nature, in regard to this vast country, and what should have been that of policy in regard to its inhabitants? I know that it will be answered, that the state of penury in which the Americans found themselves at the epoch of their peace with England, was the reason which seemed to exact from them, that they should give the preference to those means, which would give them an easy and more rapid amelioration of the publick fortune. But the slightest reflection, destroys all the objections that can be adduced. It is when a people is poor, that it is less difficult to impose a constitution, to give to institutions the ascendant over simple prejudices of habit, and to change even if it be necessary, the state of manners. Were the Americans poor in territory that they could not cultivate? their territory offered them real and certain riches: why seek for illusory ones in the dangerous chances of an exteriour commerce, place themselves in concurrence, and thus provoke an unequal contest with the first maritime power of the world?
"But it will be said, that the population has more than doubled in the United States since the epoch of their revolution. The increase of population has been every where, and in all times the strongest proof of the goodness of institutions, and of their agreeing with the manners and prejudices of the people.
"I do not believe that the second part of this proposition is untrue in its general application: but I am going to prove, that no consequence can be drawn from it in favour of the American confederation.*
“In admitting that the white population of the United States, was only two millions of inhabitants twenty-five years ago, and that it is now six, which seems to us exaggerated, it cannot at least be denied, that this rapid augmentation, belongs more to foreign than to local causes, and much less, to the will of individuals; and without examining here, what degree of confidence can be reasonably accorded to men employed in taking the particular census in each state, and above all, to those whose duty it is to aid results in a country where the governed as well as the governing, wish to be great beyond measure, without dwelling on the defect of connected and regular statistical details, the excessive individual liberty, the total absence of regulations of police, that of taxes-the abuse or contempt of laws relating to elections-the frequent transmigrations of the inhabitants from one state to another, a mania common enough in the whole union, and which does not say much in favour of local affections, the constant movement of strangers recently arrived, who run over the space in every direction that separates Boston from New-Orleans, in the hope of finding the land of promise;† the particular pretensions of each
* The crowd of emigrants, who for the last twenty years particularly, have thrown themselves into the United States, and which forms now at least a quarter of the population, has been urged by nearly the same motives. All these new comers have necessarily carried their prejudices of birth, their political and religious opinions. These first impressions were weakened without doubt, by the instant effect of other moral circumstances, and the necessity of submitting to them. But we think that it would be an errour to believe that they are destroyed. It is easy to perceive in observing the United States, that all the ancient prejudices resume their empire among these new inhabitants, as soon as they can free themselves from the yoke of want, and give themselves up to all the illusions of individual independence. Hence, that diversity of views, of projects, of opinions, of sentiments and 'nterests, which appears to us to be the characteristick trait of this singular aggregation.
† It is a curious thing enough, to hear the Americans talk of their country, and to see some strangers receiving currently every thing they relate. The sad remains of the establishments on the Scioto may suffice to guard credulous men against this kind of seduction. However, the United States offer to strangers some real advantages in many respects. We shall speak of them.
Vol. III. No. 7.
state, and the vanity of all, which are so many obstacles to a just numerical valuation of the inhabitants; we shall only say, that in a country where the bills of mortality* offer us a daily list of victims to consumption, cholera morbus, scurvy, spotted fever, croup, yellow fever and other maladies, some very uncommon, the others unknown in Europe; we must assert, that in a country where the physical education of children is abandoned to the care of chance; where that of youth is delivered over to the seductions of every pleasure and of every disorder, in a country where the malignant quality of the waters, the abuse in the use of Madeira, of spirit, and generally a bad diet, decompose the blood in the prime of life, prematurely bring on old age and decay, and afflict families with those chronick and hereditary disorders, which extend their ravages through all the branches of the connexion; in such a country, it is difficult to attribute such a prodigious increase of population simply to natural and local causes.
"But if we pay attention to the movements which have agitated Europe for twenty years; if we consider that the effects of the French Revolution were not confined to France, that they have operated a political schism in all the bordering states, where the ascendancy of her arms assured a triumph to the opinion of the day and the party which inspired it. That victory sometimes alternating, and prolonging therefore, the hope of opposite factions, render the insolence of the victors more insupportable, and the danger of the vanquished more imminent; that these latter often owed their safety only to a forced or voluntary exile; if we learn that at this epoch, American Missionaries, animated with a fervour truly apostolick, running over France, Holland, Germany, and even Switzerland, seconded or created among the inhabitants a disposition to emigration, and directed it towards the United States, towards that fortunate country, where might be realized in favour of new comers, all the fables of the Eldorado; if we recollect, that at the same epoch, Ireland having been the theatre of new troubles, new
* Life is speedily used up in the United States, and generally, they die young. It has often happened to me to walk for hours together in the most poplous streets of Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New-York, without meeting a single old man.
proscriptions forced away a great number of the inhabitants; if we further recollect, that a part of the Antilles, and particularly St. Domingo, shaken to their very foundations by the shock of the mother country, threw on the shores of the United States, a crowd of colonists who escaped from the sword of the Africans: if it is considered that the American government, wishing to increase their people, perfas `et nefas, excite desertion among the crews of European vessels frequenting their ports, and secretly protect deserters against the laws of nations, and sometimes in defiance of the most formal treaties: if it is considered that strangers who have drawn upon them in their own country, the watchfulness of the police, and the particular notice of the law, find' in the United States, in the indolence of their institutions and the improvidence of legislators impunity for past crimes, and a kind of guarantee for new ones: if it is considered in fine, that among the naturalized, there are a great number of new English (Anglais nouveaux,) whose political domicile can only be attributed to the interest of affairs or of events, we shall know the principal causes of the increase of population in the states of the American Union.
"It is then, to circumstances purely casual, and not to the simplicity of manners, or to the goodness of their institutions, and still less to the influence of commerce, that we may reasonably attribute the astonishing multiplication of the inhabitants of the United States; and the progress of their population depends so much on the causes we have assigned for it, that the first result of their approaching rupture with England will be a perceptible diminution of that population. We venture to predict still further, wishing at the same time, that we may be deceived, that the return of peace and even of advantageous peace, will not hinder the Americans from decreasing, unless they amend their institutions, or unless they renounce all foreign com
"But before proving that such a commerce cannot procure for the States a real and durable prosperity, let us examine what has ever been the destiny of trading nations.
"The ancient legislators and philosophical writers of all times, have considered commerce as the last resource of corrupted nations, and as the least honourable of national professions. If among those who were called to give laws,
or to govern states, there were any who thought it proper to employ this spring to aid the progress of publick administration, it is because they were constrained to it by the imperious disposition of locality and circumstances.
"Commerce in general deteriorates the moral, as well as the physical character of a people, because it infects with its vices, not only the individuals who exercise it directly, but still more, because it extends and prolongs its ravages over every branch of the community, and through the whole chain of generations.
"Commerce destroys the local affections; weakens family connexions; essentially the enemy of generous ideas and liberal principles, it corrupts every mind, deforms every character, and depraves every sentiment. In fact, the trader, (marchand) and I comprehend in this denomination all the artizans of commerce, from the shopkeeper to the merchant of the highest order, who only speculates in the perfumes of Arabia, the spices of India, and the blood of Africans. The trader, I have said, has but one principle, one interest, one object, to which he refers every thing, submits every thing, sacrifices every thing. Selfishness is the doctrine of the trade, and he becomes selfish; it is necessary that he should be economical, and he becomes avaricious. The concurrence of sellers renders him envious; that of buyers makes him covetous. The merchant turns to his profit all the errours of approximation; he furnishes at a maximum and sells at a minimum of weights and measures. He gives to all objects of his traffick an arbitrary and factitious value, were it the current price (futelle le prix courant) since they can receive nothing real, except their intrinsick value and except the cost of the matter and of its fabrication. (Puisqu'ils n'en peuvent recevoir de réelle, que de leur valeur intrinsèque, que du coût des matiëres et de la fabrication.) The trader imposes a forced contribution upon every thing that surrounds him. The consumer is always the victim of his avidity. Is he privi leged? he monopolizes. Is he subjected to taxes? it is again the consumers who pay them. Is any merchandize scarce? the price rises, and the sum of privations and general want becomes the tariff of the trader. In fine, commerce by engrossing all the resources of individuals, pumps and drys up insensibly the national resources; and such is