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ing with much interest the progress of the tale. We object, further, to occasional excess in the use of technical terms. The writer might abate his professional pride, enough, at least, to give the landlubbers a chance of comprehending his nautical evolutions.
Captain Maryatt, and the author of “Tom Cringle's Log,” have been most successful in following the lead of our novelist upon the sea. We claim a superiority for Mr. Cooper over them both. The former of the two, with much of Smollett's broad humor, and still more of his vulgarity, writes amusing tales, but they are hardly fit to be read. His manner, however, is more like that of Swift than of Fielding ; it is coarse, but not licentious. Many of the sea-views are executed with great spirit, and the constant hurry of incidents keeps the interest sustained throughout. But the stories are carelessly written, contain no variety of character, no plot; and the more striking scenes are constantly repeated, till the effect is lost. The writer uses up too much material. We have a hurricane, a shipwreck, and a sea-fight, every ten pages. Cooper is not so prodigal of his means. Give him but a single gale and a lee-shore, or the topsail of a nian-ofwar, appearing above the fog, and he makes the picture complete. There are human beings too, on board the ship, and the feelings are even painfully awakened to the alternations of hope and despair, the rejoicings at an escape, or the last convulsive struggle with the waters. On the other hand, the gallant Captain drowns a whole ship's company, and the reader cares as little about them as he does.
Tom Cringle is a true sailor, a wit, and a bit of a poet in bis line. He has an off-hand, and hearty manner, which inclioes one to pardon occasional coarseness, and to relish with greater zest some very brilliant and vivid sketches. West Indian scenes, picturesque views of tropical scenery, and wild adventures on sea and land, are described in an exaggerated but highly effective manner. A grotesque grouping of characters, a lively caricature of absurdities of every kind, and a strange mixture of ridiculous and horrible events, make a fascinating, but rather dangerous book for youthful readers. From the entire want of quietness and repose in manner, of any connexion between the incidents, or any appearance of truth and soberness in the narrative, the work hardly deserves to be ranked in the same class with Cooper's novels. It originally appeared in numbers, in “ Blackwood's Magazine," and is a fair specimen of the style of writing, which the minor English periodicals of late have universally adopted. Good sense and good taste are sacrificed in straining after effect. Either these works do not fairly manifest the popular spirit, or the taste of the reading public in Great Britain has altered sadly for the worse.
We pass to our immediate subject, — the volumes containing a portion of Mr. Cooper's experience and reflections, while a resident in France. The writer states, that “ they are the gleanings of a harvest already gathered, thrown together in a desultory manner, and without the slightest, or at least a very small, pretension to any of those arithmetical and statistical accounts, that properly belong to works of a graver character. They contain the passing remarks of one, who has certainly seen something of the world, whether it has been to his advantage or not, who had reasonably good opportunities to examine what he saw, and who is not conscious of being, in the slightest degree, influenced by fear, favor, or the hope of reward.” As these preliminary remarks do not lead the reader to expect much, he will not probably be disappointed. The book is written in a plain, easy, but diffuse style, with little attempt at acuteness of remark or liveliness of anecdote and description. We gain from it a pleasant glimpse of a few scenes in Parisian society, and some information respecting the modes of living, fashion, and intercourse. But, as a picture of society, it has no pretensions to completeness; the author generalizes but little, except on a favorite subject. Of the character and movements of individuals distinguished in letters and politics, of public institutions, or the state of opinions in the metropolis, except with reference to the popularity of the reigning family, the writer says absolutely nothing. His work wants the continuity of interest, that belongs to the journal of a traveller, noting incidents and reflections from day to day ; nor has the author attempted the graver method of throwing the general results of inquiry and observation into distinct chapters, treating severally of important topics. We are describing the book by negatives, for its meagreness is such, as to render it difficult to tell what it does contain. There is an interesting account of an interview between the author and Sir Walter Scott, of a dinner which the King and royal family ate in public, and of an entertain
ment given by the American minister to Mr. Canning, and the heads of the diplomatic corps then in Paris. But the conversation on this occasion, and all others, Mr. Cooper carefully abstains from reporting.
The greatest peculiarity of the book, is the sensitiveness manifested by the author, on subjects connected with American politics. His nationality is excessive. The differences between American and European institutions are ever uppermost in his mind, and he loses no opportunity to discuss these points of contrast, and strike the balance favorably to his own countrymen. Captain Hall's loyalty rose to fever beat, when he was travelling in the backwoods of the United States ; and in a similar manner, Mr. Cooper's republican feelings are stimulated to excess, when surrounded by the forms and subjects of a monarchy. On trifling occasions his ire is roused, and manifested with a bitterness of expression, which, when contrasted with the insignificance of the matter in question, appears wholly unreasonable and absurd. Thus, at a dinnerparty, his composure is essentially disturbed by the fact, that, in passing from one room to another, sundry peeresses took precedence of the American ladies, who were their elders, and very probably their betters. " What became of the precedency of the married lady all this time, you will be ready to ask? Alas ! she was an American, and had no precedency. The twelve millions may not settle this matter as it should be, but, take my word for it, the fifty millions will.” Now, in our opinion, the fifty millions will never trouble their heads about the matter. We like best the plain, republican manner of giving place to the elder, and the greatest stranger ; but the Parisians are welcome to adopt whatever other fashion they see fit, though it be ten times as absurd as the one just noticed. The inhabitants of the mother country come in for the largest share of our author's jealousy and dislike. “I have learned early to understand, that wherever there is an Englishman in question, it behooves an American to be reserved, punctilious, and sometimes stubborn.” He advises his own countrymen to cultivate “a more reasoning and original tone of thought, as respects our own distinctive principles, and distinctive situation, with a total indifference to the theories, that have been broached to sustain an alien and antagonist system in England.”
We sympathize heartily with Mr. Cooper's pride of country,
and preserence of republican institutions, while we judge, from his book, that his exhibition of these feelings abroad was unseasonable, excessive, and in very bad taste. An American would be unworthy of his country, who, in any European capital, should hear its character assailed and the measures of its statesmen wantonly attacked, and yet utter no word in its defence. Still, we do not conceive, that he goes abroad as the avowed champion of republican forms, bound to assert the equality of human rights in every drawing-room and court which he visits, and to resent every fancied slight put by peers upon commoners, as an injury to himself. He would show proper dignity of spirit far better, by keeping aloof from the scenes that are likely to offend his republican notions. He
may be one of nature's noblemen himself, but if he enters foreign society, where such a title is not acknowledged, he is to receive and pay that deference, which the laws of hospitality and the social regulations require, and not conceive that his country is wilfully insulted, because his own position at table does not accord with his wishes. The customis and opinions of every community have rightful preëminence within its own limits; and a foreigner, who, from motives of business or pleasure, enters the state, is bound to respect the national habits and prejudices, or suffer the inconveniences, that will naturally result from harsh and ill-timed opposition. If a republican does not choose to stoop and kiss the floor, when introduced to the emperor of China, the best way for him is to avoid the emperor's presence altogether.
In determining the relative excellence of different forms of government, Mr. Cooper hardly manifests a liberal and philosophical spirit. European institutions are to be considered in reference to the spirit and character of the people, among whom they exist. We believe, that our own forms are best suited to the genius of our own citizens, and thus far this theory has been attested by experiment. Still further, we are in the advance, for society here has reached a state, a tendency towards which, is widely manifested in Europe. In the theory of government, they are advancing to a point, which we have long since attained. Therefore, the question whether our institutions might be immediately and safely copied on the other side of the ocean, demands a careful view of the progress, which our Transatlantic brethren have already made. Determine this question as we may, it is manifest, that modes
of thought, rules of intercourse, observances, and customs exist abroad, which are adapted to the present condition of their governments, and as well adapted, perhaps, as our different fashions are to our own peculiar establishments. It is folly, then, to quarrel with the etiquette, the distinction of ranks, the laws of entail, the spendthriftness of rulers, that exist in a monarchy. These things, considered in themselves, are abuses ; but they are necessary parts of a system, which still prevails. Respect for antiquated forms, which have no color of present utility, appears absurd to us, but it is not necessarily absurd in France and England. Reverence for antiquity is one of the greatest props of time-worn institutions, and to lessen it, even in insignificant matters, is to shake the whole edifice. Mr. Cooper is vexed, that a magistrate should choose "to appear on the bench with a cumbrous, hot, and inconvenient cloud of powdered fax, or whatever may be the material, on his poll, because our ancestors, a century or two since, were so silly as to violate nature in the same extraordinary manner. On the other hand, the ultra English Conservatives seem to regard the big wigs of the justices as necessary parts of the British constitution ; and we believe that they are in the right.
Our author is no habitual egotist, yet he is prone to magnify the importance of little incidents, in which he was himself engaged, and to suffer personal feelings to bias his views of the policy of states. There was nothing very peculiar in his situation, --- an American man of letters, resident for a time in the capital of a monarchy. The ministers of Charles the Tenth could not have thought, either that he was so unmindful of his country's institutions and political creed, that he might be persuaded to join the advocates of legitimacy in church and state, or, on the other hand, that he was mad enough to engage personally in the agitations of the disaffected, and to form plots against the honor and safety of the Bourbons. Yet, with all the ingenuity of self-delusion, Mr. Cooper seems to have imagined, that he was an object of constant suspicion in the French metropolis, and was surrounded by all the artifices of police agents and spies. cannot believe that Fouché himself, when his system of espionage was most extensive, would have troubled himself to lay snares in the path of an individual visiting Paris under such circumstances. It is but fair, however, to lay before our VOL. XLVI. — NO. 98.