But, to show the jealousy with which on other grounds the system begins to be viewed, I will close by a short quotation from a writer in the New Englander, a respectable Quarterly, to which I have before referred. “It will, doubtless, be thought strange to say that the systems of public common-school education now existing, and sought to be established throughout our country, may yet, while Christians sleep, become one of the greatest, if not the greatest, antagonism in the land to all evangelical instruction and piety. But how long before they will be so,—when they shall have become the mere creatures of the State, and, under the plea of no sectarianism, mere naturalism shall be the substance of all the religious, and the basis of all the secular teaching which they shall give? And let it not be forgotten that strong currents of influence, in all parts of the country, acting in no chance concert, are doing their utmost to bring about just this result.”
4. I admire their temperance.
I confess that I felt humbled and ashamed for my own country, when, so soon as I trod on British ground, or British planks, the old absurd drinking usages again saluted my eye. In all the States I met with nothing more truly ludicrous than some of these. For instance, when A.B.’s mouth happens to be well replenished with, “flesh, fish, or fowl,” potatoes, pudding, or pastry, at one table, C.D., from another table far away across the room, at the top of his voice, calls out, “Mr. A.B., allow me the pleasure to take a glass of wine with you.” A.B. makes a very polite bow, fills his glass in a great hurry, holds it up with his right hand, C.D. doing the same thing with his; and then A.B. and C.D., making another polite bow to each other, simultaneously swallow their glasses of wine! Were we not accustomed to the sight, it would appear as laughable as anything travellers tell us of the manners and customs of the least enlightened nations. Surely, if this childish practice is still a rule in polite society, it is one “more honoured in the breach than the observance.” In no city on the Eastern side of the Alleghany Mountains did I meet a single drunken American in the street. The few whom I did detect in that plight were manifestly recent importations from Great Britain and Ireland!
5. I also greatly admire their secular enterprise. They afford a fine illustration of the idea conveyed in their own indigenous phrase, “Go a-head.”
Slavery—Responsibility of the North—District of Columbia—Preponderance of the Slave Power—Extermination of the Indians—President Taylor and his Blood-hounds—Conclusion.