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trymen are justly chargeable with suffering their opinions to be biassed by the peculiar feelings and prepossessions of England, on leaving it for the first time, I am less likely than many others to have been influenced by such a circumstance. From early youth the far greater part of my life has been passed out of England, and in the diplomatic service of my country; and before my visit to America I had seen most of the countries of Europe.
Yet still it must be confessed that I did not arrive in the United States without having imbibed some of those preconceptions on the subject of the American political system that are so generally current in Europe. Judging from what had been witnessed in this hemisphere, it appeared to me that whatever might be said of the theory of the political system of America, yet in practice it could not succeed for any length of time, and that in Europe its imitation would be fraught with mischief and anarchy.
Those impressions of the practical inapplicability of the institutions of the United States to European nations have not been removed by a resi
dence in that country; at least, the total unfitness of a republican government for adoption in England still appears to me incontrovertible. But the results produced in America, by her political system, are very different from those which one is led to expect by the representations of many, and some distinguished writers; and it has been my endeavour to point out a few of the reasons and facts which, in my mind, produced a conviction that the probabilities of success to the great experiment" now in progress in the trans-atlantic republic were not to be measured by a scale formed from the circumstances of our own country.
It is not possible in the limits of a small volume like this, to give more than an outline of the various points touched upon in the following pages ; many of the subjects mentioned are but incidentally and remotely connected with the nature of my profession; but the notice of them may serve to direct better qualified observers, in future publications on the affairs of America.
The communication with the United States is now so rapid and easy (the voyage often not occupying more than seventeen or eighteen days),
that travellers may visit the principal cities of the Union and return to Europe within the space usually allotted for a summer excursion. The facility for frequent intercourse between the two countries must conduce to mutual advantages: it must, at all events, tend to dispel such prejudices on either side of the Atlantic as are the result of misconception or misrepresentation. Between countries the most dissimilar, and which for centuries have regarded one another as natural and national enemies, the facilities of communication have contributed to render the very term “natural enmity" an almost obsolete expression, applicable only to the ignorant and impolitic barbarism of past ages.
Whatever information may be afforded by this Essay, or by works of a far higher order, on subjects connected with America, they cannot tend to remove either wilful prejudice, or mistaken impressions, nearly so well as even a short visit to the United States :
(6 Segnius irritant animos demissa per aurem,
Quam quæ sunt oculis subjecta fidelibus ;'')
where, whatever deficiencies may be perceived by
those accustomed to the life of an European capital, it must be allowed that a wide and interesting field is open to the research and observation of the statesman, the politician, the philosopher, or the practical man of business.
Although not immediately connected with the subject of this publication, I cannot forbear saying a few words on a topic deserving of the deepest consideration in this country, and of which the importance has only of late years been duly appreciated. The North American colonies furnish England with similar, and almost equivalent, advantages to those which the Americans possess in the superabundance of fertile territory, and consequent provision for its population generally, but particularly for the poorer and lower classes of society.
From my own observations in Canada and Nova Scotia, I have no hesitation in affirming, that to a moral certainty,—as well ascertained as any circumstance can be by human experience, the moderately industrious and sober, however poor, are sure of obtaining not only a plentiful subsistence, but many comforts to which, in the present state of the commercial, manufacturing, and agricultural interests, they must in all probability long be strangers in the mother country. There is but one circumstance that might prevent the emigrant from realizing these fair prospects,—the loss of health. But in a climate so very salubrious as that of British North America, the probability of this evil is more remote than that to which, under circumstances of privation, he would be exposed in England. He will also find, I think, that the physical and positive advantages are more encouraging to the settler in Upper Canada, &c. than in the United States; independently of the reluctance that every right-minded Englishman must feel to abandon the colours of his country. He may be said to be nearly at home in the North American colonies.