rudiments of mere English education are almost universal. That only real modern improvement in the matter of education —the only possible one perhaps—the Lancastrian method, has been adopted with avidity and is pursued on a large scale. I have seen, at Cincinnati on the Ohio, which dates only a few lustres back, four hundred children assembled upon the Lancastrian plan in a brick edifice constructed for the purpose by subscription among the inhabitants of the town, and much superior in all respects to any one of those devoted to the same object in our Atlantic cities. Lexington and Louisville have also considerable schools of the kind. The cheapness of provisions and living generally, in the western states, renders this mode of reclaiming the mind from the brutishness of absolute illiteracy, proportionably cheap, and thus sets out, in higher relief, the beneficence of the invention. It may be, barely, and has been, I would say, impiously, made a question in other countries, whether the poorer classes should not, with a view both to their own and the general weal, be excluded even from the threshold of education; but the happier condition of things, in the United States, and especially in the West, admits by no possibility, of such a question in reference to any portion of our population; and here again, therefore, does the Lancastrian system appear to greater advantage than abroad, in realizing what is here only an undisputed good. I may be indulged further in this kind of digression to remark, that the peculiar circumstances of this country—the unparalleled facility which obtains here of acquiring, by means of a small monied-capital, a competent fortune with all its comforts, will give, among us, unrivalled efficacy to the institution of Savings' Banks twinborn in the new bounty of Providence to the labouring poor, with the Lancastrian system of instruction. We shall see, in the West particularly, what cannot happen in Europe, the small gatherings of this scheme, which, like the Lancastrian, unites so much simplicity with such comprehensive utility, we shall see these gatherings not merely shielding old age from the miseries of extreme want, but swelling, under the influence of the facility I have just mentioned, into ample estates, which will seem to restore the balance of justice in favour of humble industry, and in some sort vindicate the ways of God to man. If the greater dangers to which the morals of the poor are exposed abroad, make these two plans—which are the best of auxiliaries to those morals, so far, particularly estimable there, the more considerable results to which they must, in other respects, lead, in this country, recommend them with greater force to our favour. We cannot contemplate, without lively pleasure, the attempts already made in some of our chief cities, to organize Savings’ Banks. They deserve the utmost zeal of philanthropy, and should be found every where by the side of the Lancastrian schools. In the two plans when perfectly executed and managed—and the ease with which this perfection may be realized, is a leading-feature of the excellence of each—there appears to me an optimity as to the great end of correcting the usual effects of that necessary evil, the inequality of fortunes in civilized society.* I have ventured to insert in the present volume an extract relating to an important period in the early annals of Russia. It is made from an outline of the history of that country, which I have completed as far as the commencement of the reign of the emperor Paul. Russia is, in my view, by far the most considerable power of the other hemisphere, and the object of deepest concern to mankind. She rests on the broadest and most solid foundations; she is the most subtle in her policy, and is boundless in her ambition. She gravitates, if I may be permitted to speak thus, upon the rest of Europe. While other powers have been playing the game of fast and loose, she has constantly made great acquisitions, and has never relaxed her hold. Alternately the ally and the enemy of all, she has curtailed and enfeebled all except England. She had an arm for Asia, mutilated Persia, and menaced India at the same time that she co-operated in the dismemberment of Sweden, Prussia, and Austria. From the year 1721 to 1811, she acquired by cession an additional population of nearly eleven millions,—the greater part within less than half a century. About five millions of these were the gain of the three partitions of Poland, and she has just obtained near four millions more by the appropriation to herself of the fragments of that unfortunate kingdom which Bonaparte had connected under the title of the Duchy of Warsaw. Her policy in respect to Poland has never wavered for ages. It exhibits an appalling and almost incredible continuity of usurpation, diversified by the blackest fraud or the most sanguinary violence as the invariable object required the variation of the means. At length the iniquitous pursuit is completely successful, and that, too, under the auspices of a war undertaken to emancipate Europe, and of an emperor styled the new Titus, or Antoninus. Russia, as we now know by official statements, wrested the Duchy of Warsaw from the congress of Vienna; it was, indeed, already her prey in the hands of the Arch-Duke Constantine, before time was given for the formality of a cession on the part of the congress. We may easily divine with what feelings they acquiesced in this consummation, which presents Russia as the

* A very satisfactory exposition of the plan of Savings' Banks is to be found in a late number of the Edinburgh Review. Several ...; tracts on the subject have been published in Great Britain. The best are of the following authors— The Rev. Henry Duncan, of Rutwell in Dumfrieshire, Scotland;—Edward Christian, of Gray's Inn, London—Professor of law, and the commentator on Blackstone; Barber Beaumont, Esq. a director of one of the Institutions. It would be a good deed to reprint among us the Essay of Mr. Christian or of Mr. Beaumont, both of which are full and clear. I have seen also two or three anonymous Essays on the same subject of much merit.

Vol. I. c

mistress of the course of the Vistula, as conterminous with central Germany, upon the flanks of Hungary, Moravia, and Bohemia, reinforced with several millions of the most warlike population in Europe, which she is already organizing into large armies, at the same time that she reigns in the Caspian and Euxine seas, has a strong footing in Persia, and thirteen hundred leagues of contact with the Chinese empire from west to east. I cannot refrain, though I may seem to wander interminably, from carrying my reader back to the celebrated debate in the British parliament, of the year 1792, respecting the British armament of that period against Russia. It is particularly worthy of remark in connexion with what I have just said of the new attitude of this power, and with what I am going to quote from the parties to the debate of 92,-that the object before them, which formed the knot in the jealous negotiation then pending between England and Russia, was the acquisition by the latter of the mere waste territory between the Bog and the Dneister. Lord Grenville—of the ministry—said, “that Russia had been “long actuated by the most ambitious views, and was the only “power truly formidable to the peace of Europe; that one of her “objects was to be a maritime power, and that England had thought it her interest to watch over and prevent the attain“ment of that object; that it had, evidently been the object of “this despotic power to humble, if not to ruin Great Britain; “ that it was impossible for any man who considered the case to “maintain that it was of no consequence to England, whether or “not Russia was permitted to drive, the Turks out of Europe, “ and to make herself formidable in the Mediterranean as a “maritime power.” B. Jenkinson said—“that the only power to be dreaded on the “continent was Russia; that Poland was an object of the first “importance in the balance of Europe, &c.” Mr. Pitt, the chancellor of the exchequer, said, “that the “Turkish Empire was essential to the balance of Europe; that “the progress of the power of Russia was alarmingly great and “her ambition boundless, that she had a regular system of en“croachment, &c.” This debate, in which the doctrines of the three speakers here quoted were admitted on all hands,-unfolds what must be the fundamental policy, and real sentiments of the British cabinet towards Russia, let their momentary relations be what they may. The United States can scarcely be in the way of a hostile rencontre with this colossal power, unless she should move upon us, from her ambitious settlements on the north-west coast. There is, to be sure, more of fancy than grave foresight in this observation, but it will seem less wild, when I refer to a suggestion of a similar purport contained in the celebrated History of the Anarchy of Poland by Rulhiere. This able writer in speaking of the reve.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

ries of Russian ambition during the more brilliant periods of the last Catherine's career, has the following passage. “Never did a “nation form more inordinate plans of ambition and conquest “ than did the Russian. Some of her politicians setting out in “imagination from Kamtschatka, traversed without difficulty the “unknown seas beyond, saw themselves already established in “America, and expected to dispute one day the empire of Canada ** with the British.”% The presence of the Russians in Canada would not be more unexpected at least, than was their appearance at Paris in 1814; but I do not positively apprehend that we shall soon meet them on the St. Lawrence; nor do I suppose that the present misunderstanding between us will have any serious consequences. Unless there be a hostile mind, which is hardly to be presumed—since it would be contrary to Russian interests—the cabinet of St. Petersburgh cannot fail to see the subject of this misunderstanding in the true light, and to consign it to the oblivion which the reputation of Russia as regards the grace, “the decent drapery” of national representation would seem to require. The incautious not to say too humble amours of her consulgeneral had produced what is the tale of every day in England, a mercenary conspiracy to charge him with a heinous crime. The magistrate on whose warrant he was arrested and by whom he was committed to prison, acted as official duty, which left no option, clearly prescribed. He knew of no personal right vested in a consul-general by the law of nations or our domestic code, of exemption from responsibility to the tribunals of the country. The accused was admitted to bail by the higher and only proper authority with all possible dispatch; but the evidence adduced on the subject, in the regular way, was such as to lead the grand jury of the city and county of Philadelphia to prefer a bill of indictment against him. The indictment, however, was quashed by the court—the supreme court of Pennsylvania, in which it was brought, on the ground of a want of jurisdiction in the statecourts in cases affecting consuls, jurisdiction in such cases being exclusively assigned by our federal constitution to the courts of the United States. The chief justice of the supreme court of Pennsylvania included, in his able opinion on the matter, an examination of the point whether the law of nations confers on consuls an immunity from criminal prosecutions, and decided peremptorily in the negative, according to reason and authority. It so happened, moreover, that the courts of the United State have no jurisdiction in the case, inasmuch as these courts have none but over crimes specifically placed under their cognizance by the federal constitution or laws; and that of which the Russian agent was accused is not of the number. Of course, he was de

* Mnarchie de la Pologne. B., ix.

[ocr errors]

prived of the opportunity of establishing his innocence—as he has always professed himself eager and able to do—before any judicial tribunal. There was still, however, another tribunal, within his reach—better suited, in my humble apprehension to the purpose —either the public, or a private committee of investigation, in whose decision, if it were composed of men of strong and unbiassed judgments, the public would have fully acquiesced. The federal goverment had no power to give a different course to this unlucky affair. It did all, in regard to these proceedings, which, to the extent of its constitutional faculties, it could do, for the feelings of the individual and the dignity of his sovereign. We may presume that it has made the proper explanations,— with the just commentary on the unavoidable hardship of the case—and in the healing forms of honest regret, and respectful courtesy. If the official guardians of the interests and honour of his imperial majesty, on this side of the Atlantic, have persisted in considering them aggrieved, and in deepening at home the shadows of a supposed affront, it has not been for want of direct clear explication, and sound advice. I have before me a copy of an opinion altogether in the sense of the preceding observations, concerning the principal points of, the case, which was addressed to them, at their own instigation, by a gentleman of the highest eminence in the law, who, as a leading member of the minority in Congress could not be suspected of a bias in favour of our present administration, and whose friendship for the Russian legation and people would yield only to his inflexible attachment to the cause of truth and his country. As the case is matter of history, and likely to be of permanent interest—the considera

tions which have induced me to dwell thus long upon it—I shall

avail myself of the permission he has given me, to transcribe the
concluding paragraphs of his opinion, and merely add from myself
that I know not how they could have been resisted.
“The disability of the state courts to try Mr. Kosloff relates
“to his PERson and privileges, and of the United States court to
“the nature of the offence. It will be seen that this is a very
“singular concidence of circumstances, which might not occur in
“many years: and it is not therefore very surprising, if it has
“not been anticipated and provided for.—Experience only can
“ point out, from time to time, and supply defects arising out of
“the peculiar nature of our government or rather governments,
‘consisting of certain powers vested in a general government
“ and certain other independent powers held by the several
‘states, to which both must conform to preserve the harmony of
the whole. -
“However much it is to be regretted that an obscure and vi-
cious individual should be enabled to produce so much trouble
and mischief, it seems to have been inevitable, and I know of
“nothing that could have been done either by the government of

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
« ForrigeFortsett »