Imágenes de páginas

ple” know nothing of. They have ...uns fur. nished them by others as regularly as solat 's or sai. lors are served with rations. The lower cits are, from their poverty, wholly without the pale or information, true or false, and appear to know and care as little about the acts of the government, and the state of public affairs, as the earth, or any other substance, on which they expend their time and their physical force. The middle class are so incessantly employed in pursuit of the means of keeping themselves from the horrors of pauperism, that they have no time for discussion or inquiry. Many persons, in this class of life, have asked me, whether the Americans could speak English. Few men in the higher ranks of life know any thing worth speaking of, with regard to the American republic, a nation nearly equal in population to Great Britain, and inhabited, as we now feel, by men full as enterprizing and as brave as our own soldiers and sailors. Even the writers who have fanned the flame of this bloody war, know nothing at all about the real state of America ; for, though they have no desire to promulgate truth; though it is their trade to de. ceive and cheat the people, they show, by their statements, that they are ignorant of facts, which, if they knew them, would make them able to deceive with less exposure to detection. This being the case, it is no wonder that the whole nation is in a state of error, as to this matter of primary importance. On the day when the news reached the country, relative to the capture of the city of Washington, I happened to call, on my way homewards from Sussex, at the house of a gentleman, who was as likely to be as well informed as any other gentleman in the country, as to this or any other political matter. The following was the dialogue, wherein I shall exhibit ' ! (5) the gentleman and his good wife under the name of Friend..

Mrs. Friend. Well, Mr. Cobbett, we shall scon get rid of the income tax, (for so it is called in the country] now.

Mr. Cobbett. Shall we, Madain ? I am very glad to hear it. It will enable me to get a better horse for my gig.-[She had just been laughing at my scurvy equipage.]-But, why now, Madam? What has happened to excite such a cheering hope ?

Mrs. Friend. Why, have you not heard the


Mr. Cobbett. No.

Mr. Friend. We have taken the capital of Ame. rica.

Mrs. Friend. And the cowardly dogs, to the amount of 9,000 men, ran away before 1,500 of our soldiers.

Mr. Friend. President and all ran away!-No. body knows where they went to, and the people were ready to submit to us all over the country. · Mrs. Friend. Cowardly dogs! Not stand to figlit a moment for their capital. They are a pretty nation to go to war with England !

Mr. Friend. They ran away like a great flock of South Down sheep before a pack of hounds.

Mrs. Friend. The cowardly creatures will never dare show their faces again. What can you say for these Americans now?

Mr. Cobbett. Why, I say, that you appear to know no more about them than about the people said to be in the moon. Let me look at the paper. [ It lays before her on the table.]

Mrs. Friend. No; we must tell it yoy. It is too long for you to sit and read to yourself. Mr. Cobbett. Well ; now mind, I tell you, that,


[ocr errors]

instead of putting an end to the war, this event will tend to prolong it; and, mind, I tell you, that unless we give up what we contend for, the war will be of many years duration, and will be as expensive and more bloody than the war in Europe has been.

Mr. Friend. We give up to such cowards as the Americans !

Mr. Çobbett. I do not mean to give up either territory or honour. I mean give up the point in dispute; or, rather, our present apparent object. The Americans, like other people, cannot meet disciplined armies, until they have time to organize and discipline themselves. But, the Americans are not cowards, Madam. Their seamen have proved that ; and, what I fear is, that a continuance of the war will make the proof clearer and clearer every day, by land as well as by sea ; and, I am now more than ever afraid of a long continuation of the war; because, if such people as you seriously think that we are able to conquer America, I can have no reason to hope than any part of the nation remains undeceived.

Mr. Friend. But, do you not think that the states will divide ?

Mr. Cobbett. Certainly not.
Mr. Friend. No!

Mr. Cobbett. No. And I should be glad to know what are your reasons for believing that they will divide. If you will give me any reasons for your belief, I will give you mine for a contrary belief. Do you think, madam, that the people of America are weary of living for thirty years without an income tax ?

Mr. Friend. I have no reasons of my own about the matter. We see, in all our papers, that the Americans are a very divided people. They say that they cannot long hold together.

Mr. Cobbett. And do you really believe what these corrupted vagabonds put into their columns ? You believe, then, of course, that “the American navy would be swept from the face of the ocean in a month;" for so they told you.—Yet, how different has been the events ! No, no : the Americans are not cowards, madam.

Mrs. Friend. Have you had such heaps of lemons this year as you used to have ?

Such was, as nearly as I can recollect, the dia. logue on this occasion ; and, as I am sure, that the war is continued in the hope, on the part of the nation, at least, of deriving success from a breaking up of the union in America, which I am thorough.

ly persuaded we shall not effect, or see take place, I ! will endeavour to shew, that this, my persuasion,

rests on good grounds; and, if I succeed in this endeavour, I shall not yet abandon the hope, to which my heart clings, of seeing peace speedily restored between the two countries, upon terms not injurious to the interest or character of either.

In turning back, now, to the reported speech of yourlordship I perceive, and I perceive it with regret, that you are, by the reporter, made to found your opinion of the Americans' disaffection to their governinent, and of their attachment to our king, in part, upon their having treated our officers, prisoners of war, with great liberality and kindness. I noticed this in my last number. I challenged any one to shew the instance, in which they had ever behaved cruelly to prisoners of war. I cited the memorable case of Mr. (now Sir Charles) Asgyll, and I appeal. ed to their uniform conduct, during the present war, including the instances of commodores Bain. bridge and Perry. But as the conduct of the former, in this respect, has been most basely slandered

in some of our public prints, I will be somewhat more particular as to both instances, adding that of capt. Lawrence.

Commodore Bainbridge captured the Java, off St. Salvadore, on the 29th of December, 1812.His frigate, the Constitution, carried 44 guns, and ours 49 guns, according to the American accounts. Ours, he says, had upwards of 400 men on board. The republicans killed 60 and wounded 170 of our officers and men, and had themselves 9 killed and 25 wounded. After the battle, at their pressing re. quest, commodore Bainbridge paroled them all. The Java had'on board lieutenant general Hislop and his staff, together with several supernumerary offi. cers and men. The following letter of general Hislop to commodore Bainbridge will best speak for the latter:

- Dear Sir-I am justly penetrated with the full. est sense of your very handsome and kind treatment, ever since the fate of war placed me in your pouver, and I beg once more to renew to you my sincerest acknowledgments for the same. Your acquiescence with my request in granting me my pa. role, with the officers of my staff, added to the ob. ligation I had previous experienced, claims from me this additional tribute of my thanks. May I now finally flatter myself, that in the further extension of your generous and humane feelings, in the alleviation of the misfortunes of war, that you will have the goodness to fulfil the only wish and request I am now most anxious to see completed, by enlarging on their parole (on the same conditions you have acceded to with respect to myself) all the officers of the Java, still on board your ship-a favour I never shall cease duly to appreciate by your acquiescence thereto .

f the Java, Swith respect to me conditions

« AnteriorContinuar »