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6. Aguila Mexicana.
ART. I.--Travels in New England and New York. By Timo
thy Dwight, S.T.D. LL.D. late President of Yale College; Author of Theology Explained and Defended. 4 vols. New
haven. THIS writer was known in England about thirty years ago by
an heroic poem upon the Conquest of Canaan, and a descriptive one, entitled Greenfield Hill, both republished in this country. More recently his System of Theology has been rea printed here, and with considerable success. But the work before us, though the humblest in its pretences, is the most important of his writings, and will derive additional value from time, whatever
become of his poetry and of his sermons. Soon after Dr. Dwight had been appointed President of Yale College, he found it necessary for his health to employ the vacations in travelling-of all restoratives, both for body and mind, the most effectual for men of sedentary habits. A wish to gratify those who, a hundred years hence, might feel curiosity concerning his native country, made him resolve to prepare a faithful description of its existing state. He made notes, therefore, and collected information, on the spot; the materials were arranged and composed at leisure; and when a weakness of sight compelled him to desist from the undertaking, the students of his college offered to write for him in succession 1-a fact creditable to both parties, as showing an attachment on their part which could not have existed unless it had been deserved. The work is in the form of Letters addressed to an English gentleman; the author, however, wished it to be understood that they were written for his own countrymen, supposing that few persons in Great Britain felt any desire to be acquainted with the condition of the United States, or the real character of the Americans.
• By the government,' he says, “indeed we must, from the extent of our territory, our local circumstances, our population and our commerce, be considered as possessing a degree of political importance; and by the merchants of Liverpool, and the manufacturers of Manchester, Birmingham and Sheffield, we may be regarded with some attention as customers. But, except by the religious part of the British nation, we seem to be chiefly unknown or forgotten in the character of rational beings; or known and remembered almost only to be made the object of contempt and calumny. A book which professes nothing more than to give a description of a country and a people regarded in this VOL. XXX, NO, LIX.
manner, can form no claims on the attention of those by whom the subjects of which it treats are thus estimated. It may, indeed, be read, . or at least reviewed, by some or other of the literary journalists of Great Britain. From these gentlemen Americans and their writings have customarily met with one kind of treatment only. I neither claim, nor wish, any exemption from the common lot of my countrymen.'
There would be little courage in taking up a dead man's gauntlet; but, had the author been living, we should have examined his book in the same temper as is now brought to the work; with no hostile feeling toward him or his country, though with a natural and proper predilection for our own; willing to learn, inquire and compare; glad of whatever grounds we may perceive for believing that the Americans may become more and more an enlightened and a virtuous people; but not without a sense of satisfaction and thankfulness
if, in those points wherein the constitution of their society differs most essentially from ours, cause should appear for concluding that, in proportion as they have de parted from the example of the mother-country, where that example might have been followed, they have gone astray.
The present work (like all those collections of travels which begin and end always at the same place) is not one in which a reviewer may follow the author by the thread of his adventures. In default, therefore, of that easy and natural arrangement which a traveller's journal usually affords, we must form an artificial one, and notice the facts which the author records; the theories which he advances ; and lastly, his political views, whether of retrospection or of hope.
The remarks upon natural history are those of an observant and sagacious man who makes no pretensions to science; they are more interesting therefore than those of a merely scientific travelJer; and, indeed, science is not less indebted to such observers, than history to the faithful chroniclers and humbler annalists of former times. In travelling through the forests (which, even in the old states of America, still occupy no small portion of the soil, notwithstanding the improvident destruction of wood) Dr. Dwight was forcibly struck with the wisdom of Divine Providence displayed in the decay of the foliage. Were the leaves, when they fall, to go through the usual processes of fermentation and putrefaction, like other vegetables, the atmosphere would be rendered so unwholesome that it would be impossible for man either to inhabit or to clear a forested country. But the juices are exhaled before the leaves fall; they lie lightly on the ground, so as to permit a free circulation of air; so far from being offensive in their decay, they have even a peculiar fragrance, which poets have sometimes noticed among the melancholy charms of autumn; the mould into which they are converted appears to be the best of