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negro slaves, the almost infinite variety of sects, and the little real religion that is met with, the incredible number of novels that are read, and the insatiate eagerness for gain, are indeed circumstances, that would hardly give reason to expect much in point of manners. At first view, however, one is not aware of the depravity of this country, because it is hidden for a time under the veil of an engaging exterior. But it is not difficult to discern it, when a little familiar with the inhabitants, particularly in the cities. The vices of gaming and drunkenness prevail there to a degree altogether incredible in Italy, and frequently prove fatal in their consequences, not only to the individual, but to whole families. Their general intercourse is civil, but notwithstanding this civility, not a few among them commit frequent breaches of good manners. To pare the nails, for instance, or comb the head in company; to sit with the feet resting on the nearest chair, or braced against the wall in the air, are not considered indecorous. When a stranger is introduced into company, he is pointed out by name, and presented in turn to each individual present. Friends who meet, even after an absence of many years, never embrace, but merely shake hands. Mothers have the laudable habit of nursing their own children, a custom which would be still more praiseworthy, if performed with a little more reserve. The richest individuals do not disdain to hold the plough or the spade in their own fields, and to take their meals with the laborers. Luxury in dress is carried to a degree hardly known in Europe; they dress in the country with the same expense as in town, and on holidays rich clothing forms not the smallest indication of the circumstances of the wearer.

'Dancing is the most common recreation in America, where the passion for this diversion seems to be even as strong as in France. An absurd point of honor gives rise to frequent duels, and to evade the rigor of the laws, the parties retire to the frontiers of some neighbouring state for the purpose of deciding their quarrels in this barbarous, shocking, and superstitious manner, in which the aggressor is frequently triumphant, and the injured party has the satisfaction to be left wounded, crippled, or perchance dead.' p. 30.

We take from the author's remarks on education those which relate to the female sex.

"The education of young ladies rarely consists in learning the use of the needle or the spindle, or in working linen or woollen stuffs; but as soon as they are taken from the English school, they never fail to learn to dance, and sometimes a few lessons in music, drawing, and perhaps French complete their education.

It is of no moment that this is forgotten in the course of a few weeks. Their vanity is satisfied in being able to say that they have studied music, drawing, and French.'-p. 25.

From the observations on literature we select those which relate to public speaking, as the inost remarkable.

"Greek and Latin are generally cultivated, but w th very few exceptions, not in a sufficient degree to give a perception or taste for the beauties of the great masters of Greece and Italy, otherwise could it be possible that in the public prints they should boast of the Columbiad of Barlow, as a poem equal, nay superior, to Homer and Virgil, and the speeches of their representatives as models of eloquence infinitely above those of Demosthenes and Cicero?* It is not to be denied, that the Americans express themselves with great facility and elegance, and sometimes display fine traits of real eloquence. In short, after gold, this is their idol; but of the various branches which, according to the greatest masters, make up the art of speaking well, elocution is the one on which they bestow the greatest Provided a speaker or writer deals in choice expressions, elegant phrases, and harmonious periods, nothing more is required to stamp him as a great orator, however deficient he may be in the richness of invention, felicity of thought, weight of sentiment, force of argument, accuracy of arrangement, and command of the passions, which would be required elsewhere.'p. 39.


In the foregoing extracts, the reader has found little to flatter national vanity; but we have translated them, not only with a view to show how much injustice may be done with the most honest intentions, but because we think his discrimination will discern, through a great deal of prejudice and misapprehension, not a little wholesome truth. It cannot be necessary to comment upon this part of father Grassi's treatise. If we feel that any of his strictures are just, we have only to profit by them, and where we know them to be otherwise, it can give little satisfaction to ourselves, and will add nothing to our real merit, to refute them. We now proceed to notice the reverend author's observations on the religious character of the United States; and here we are sorry to be obliged to say,

*It were well if this rodomontade were confined to newspapers, but strangers may well call our taste in question when they see a grave biographer quote, as a most happy illustration of the powers of a late distinguished southern orator, what was said of him by another orator from the same state, namely, that he was Shakspeare and Garrick combined.'

that on this subject, although he loses none of his credulity, he leaves all his candor and moderation behind him. It must not be supposed that, at this period of the world, we look for a great degree of either of the above qualities in theological discussions. But we own we did not expect to see stale jokes from the jest books brought out and gravely applied in illustration of the religious character of a nation. We admit that, if one half the abuse which father Grassi complains of has been bestowed upon the Catholics by the American protestants, the account stands pretty fairly balanced between them. This, however, is not to our present purpose, and we do not intend to enter into the controversy any further than to explain the feelings which dictated the following statements. After bestowing due praise on the perfect toleration, which is not only professed but observed in the United States, he proceeds to remark:

"Among the peculiarities of America which have attracted the notice of travellers, few are more striking than, that people frequently live for years together without ever knowing the religion of each other, and when interrogated upon that point they do not answer, I believe, but I was brought up in such a sect or religion. But in order to give a better idea of the consideration in which religion is held, I shall state a few facts. There was a regiment stationed at Georgetown, a suburb of the flourishing city of Washington, and among other regulations the soldiers were required to attend church every sabbath. But as they were of various persuasions, it was difficult to determine what church or congregation they should attend. So the affair was compromised in the following way. They went the first Sunday to the Catholic Chapel, the next to the Methodists, on the third to the English, then to the Calvinists, and so on through them all in succession. It is not uncommon to find persons who have professed all the sects, and the reasons for these changes are diverting enough. A young lady related of herself, that she took it into her head that that must needs be the best religion whose professors were the most genteel folks in the city. She was brought up in I know not what sect, but observing every Sunday a greater number of carriages before the congregational meeting-house than any where else, she forthwith became a Congregationalist. Her parents changed their place of residence, and she her religion, because she observed more carriages near the English Church. The family again removed, and by the standard of carriages she was again converted. At length she was

married, and took the creed of her husband. It is not uncommon to see parents who do not think it best to instruct their children in the principles of Christianity, but are satisfied with giving them notions of natural honesty, observing, that the children at the proper time can choose the sect that shall be most to their taste; accordingly, you may frequently see in a family as many sects as individuals. In New England the sects are more rigid than elsewhere, consequently various superstitions and vain observances are there most in vogue, and the Sticks Doctors, or 'doctors of the rods,' find here the greatest encouragement for their impositions."-p. 63.

What particular class of dignitaries is intended by father Grassi under the English name of Sticks Doctors, or dottori dalle bacchette,' we are entirely unable to conjecture, although we have run over all the titles of honor in law, physic, and divinity, in which, thanks to the liberality of our literary institutions, we may hold up our heads with any nation, ancient or modern. Perhaps some of our readers may be able to furnish an explanation for themselves.

'Notwithstanding,' continues our author, the indifference which prevails among these various sects, there appears, particularly at the north, a great display of piety. Every body reads the bible, and in New-England no traveller, not excepting a courier, is allowed to proceed on his journey on Sunday, and they are every year presenting memorials to Congress to prohibit travelling on the Lord's day. The captain of the vessel in which I sailed from America to Europe, would not allow the passengers to play at Domino, nor sing on the Sabbath, at the same time that he permitted all sorts of indecency and profanity among the sailors, and happening to arrive in port on a Sunday morning, he kept them hard at work all day without the smallest necessity. Anciently the observance of fasts at the north was carried to a most extravagant height. There still remain in several states laws relating to religious worship, which insist strongly on the observance of the third commandment. These laws, though still in existence, are not now strictly enforced, and are called Blue Laws, of which the following may serve as a specimen. To the end that the Sabbath may be more exactly observed, it is enjoined on those who intend to go to church, to saddle their horses the day before. On fast days the ladies will not be permitted to scour the floor, make the beds, or comb the children's heads-No beer to be made on the Saturday, lest it should work on the Sunday."—p. 68.

We regret that the wag who furnished the doctor with these extracts should have given him so poor a sample of this vene ́rable code, for we think there is scarce a lad of any cleverness among us who would not have been able to invent a better. Having displayed a general view of the state of religion among us, father Grassi attempts to enumerate the different sects in the United States, which he names in Italian as follows: Congregazionalisti, Metodisti, Anglicani, Presbiteriani, Anabaptisti, Universalisti, Unitari, Luterani, Puritani, Quacqueri, Dunkers e Chrystiani. All these are passed upon in turn, with appropriate denunciations, and the author then proceeds to consider the style of preaching in our country.

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"The passion for elegant preaching is universal in this nation, and some traveller has remarked, that religion here reduces itself into the mere fondness for fluent preachers. Hence the great end of their ministers is preaching, that is to say, a polished diction, which flatters and sooths the ear; their sermons are more commonly the essays of philosophers, than the discourses of Christian pastors, and not unfrequently political rhapsodies, suited to the taste of the majority of the audience. They affect an air of great indifference, to which they give the plausible name of liberality towards other sects, but commonly conclude with " my hearers, stick to your own. That the Catholic religion is the only one which rarely participates in their liberality, will not appear strange to those who are acquainted with them. It is indeed matter of surprise, that men of honest principles, and some of them not without sense and information, should persist in the grossest prejudices and the most absurd errors in regard to the Catholic religion. Our astonishment will subside, however, when we reflect, that in addition to the force of education, and early impressions, the circumstances of the American protestants are very different from those of the German and English. In these countries the walls of their temples, the inscriptions on the tombs of their ancestors, the sacred relics that are preserved, the many monuments which still exist, the books that are in his hands remind the protestant that he has renounced the religion of his fathers, and reproach him as it were with his heresy and apostacy. But in America, there is nothing of all this-all is new, and in many parts they have heard nothing for two hundred years but a repetition of the prejudices and calumnies against the Catholics, which their fathers have handed down to them; there, a catechism is never seen; there, so much as a Catholic preacher is never heard.'

New Series, No. 14. 31

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