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nizes in the Americans “un peuple qui n'avait d'autre force publique que celle des idées ;” and deprecates the hasty judgment and perverse ignorance so prevalent in Europe in regard
une grande lutte où se debattant les intérêts les plus élevés de la morale et de la religion ;” and justly affirms that it is, in fact, “le choc de deux civilizations et de deux religions.” M. Fisch, however, disclaims all intention of a complete analysis of national character. His book is mainly devoted to an account of the religious organization, condition, and prospects of America, especially as seen from his own point of view. Many of the details on this subject are not only correct, but suggestive. He writes in a liberal and conscientious spirit. His sympathies are Christian, and he descants on education and faith in the United States with intelligent and candid zeal. Indeed, he was long at a loss to understand what provision existed in society to check and calm the irresponsible and exuberant energy, the heterogeneous elements, and the self-reliance around him, until convinced that the latent force of these great conservative principles of human society were the guarantee of order and pledge of self-control. There is no people, he observes, who have been judged in so superficial a manner. America he regards as having all the petulance of youth, all the naïveté of inexperience: all there is incomplete in the process of achievement. This was his earliest impression on landing at New York, the scene whereof was un bizarre melange de sauvagerie et de civilization.” But, after his patience had been nearly exhausted, he entered the city, emerging with agreeable surprise from muddy and noisome streets into Broadway, to find palaces of six or seven stories devoted to commerce, and to admire “les figures fines et gracieuses, la démarche légère et libre des femmes, les allures vives de toute la populatim. The frank hospitality with which he was received, and the interesting study of his specialité as a traveller, soon enlarged and deepened his impressions. He has a chapter on “La lutte présidentielle " which resulted in Lincoln's election, the phenomena whereof he briefly describes. Then we have a sketch entitled “ Statistique religieuse des Etats Unis;" followed by judicious comments on the “Unité de l'Église Américaine, son esprit et son influence." He considers Henry Ward Beecher an improvisatore—“mais c'est l'improvisation du génie ;” and says, “L'on va entendre M. Beecher comme on irait a théâtre.” He describes succinctly the system of public instruction ; alludes to the progress of art and letters; expatiates on l'energie and l'audace of the Americans ; is anecdotical and descriptive; praises the landscapes of Church and the sculpture of Crawford, Powers, and Palmer; gives a chapter to the “ Caractère national," and another to “L'esclavage aux États Unis;" closing with hopeful auguries for the future of the country under “le réveil de la conscience,” wherein he sees the cause and scope of "la crise actuelle ;" declaring that “la vie puissante de l'Amérique reprendra son paisible cours.
Elle pourra se réprendre avec une puissance incomparable sur une terre renouvelée, et le monde apprendra une fois de plus que l'Evangile est la salut des nations, comme il est celui des individus."
Brochures innumerable, devoted to special phases of American life, facts of individual experience, and themes of social speculation, swell the catalogue raisonnéf of French writings in this department, and, if not of great value, often furnish salient anecdotes or remarks; as, for instance, M. August Carlier's amusing little treatise on "La Mariage aux États Unis,” the statement of one voyageur who happened to behold for the first time a dish of currie, that the Americans eat their rice with mustard, and the disgust natural to one accustomed to the rigorous municipal régime of Paris, expressed by Maurice Sand, at the exposure, for three days, of a dead horse in the streets of New York. Xavier Eyma’s “ Vie dans le Nouveau Monde” (Paris, 1861) is one of the most recent elaborate works, of which a judicious critical authority observes :
“He has given two goodly octavos to a solid criticism and description of American 'men and institutions ; ' two more octavos to a history of the States and Territories; one volume to the 'Black-Skins,'
in which he sketches with admirable fidelity the peculiarities and the iniquities of slave life in the South ; and one volume to the · RedSkins,' in which he shows the Indian tribes as they are. Besides these, he has told of the islands of the West Indies, of their corsairs and buccaneers, and of the social life of the various classes in America, native and immigrant, and has devoted one amusing volume to 'American Eccentricities.' In such a mass of material there must of course be repetition; nor are 'any of the views especially profound. M. Eyma is in no sense a philosopher. He loves story-telling better than disquisition, and arranges his materials rather for romantic effect than for scientific accuracy.
Finally, we have the prolific emanations of the Paris press on the war for the Union; pamphlets evoked by venality, abounding in sophistical arguments, gross misstatements, and prejudice; editorials written in the interest of partisans, and a mass of crude and unauthentic writing destined to speedy oblivion. A valuable contribution to the national cause was made, of late, by our able and loyally assiduous consul at Paris,* in a volume of facts, economical, political, and scientific, drawn from the latest and best authorities, published in the French language, and affording candid inquirers in Europe precisely the kind of information about America they need, to counteract the falsehood and malignity of the advocates of the slaveholders' rebellion. Army critics and correspondents from France, some of them illustrious and others of ephemeral claims, have visited our shores, and reported the momentous crisis through which the nation is now passing. The Prince de Joinville has given his experience and observation of the battles of the Chickahominy; and several pleasant but superficial writers have described some of the curious phases of life which here caught their attention, during a hasty visit at this transition epoch. Apart from virulent and mercenary writers, it is remarkable that the tone of French comment and criticism on the present rebellion in America has been far more intelligent, candid, and sympathetic than across the Channel. Eminent publicists and professors of France have recognized and vindicated the truth,
* John Bigelow, Esq.
and sent words of faith and cheer across the sea. In his lectures, and extravagant but piquant and suggestive “Paris dans l'Amérique," Laboulaye has signally promoted that better understanding and more just appreciation of the struggle, and the motives and end thereof, which now begin to prevail abroad. De Gasparin's “Uprising of a Great People" fell on American hearts, at the darkest hour of the strife, like the clarion note of a reënforcement of the heroes of humanity. Cochin, Henri Martin, and others less eminent but equally honest and humane, have echoed the earnest protest and appeal; which contrasts singularly with the indifference, disingenuousness, and perversity of so many distinguished writers and journals in England. Herein we perceive the same diversity of feeling which marks the earliest commentators of the respective nations on America, and the subsequent feelings manifested toward our prosperous republic. Mrs. Kemble, in a recent article on the “Stage," observes that the theatrical instinct of the Americans creates with them an affinity for the French, in which the English, hating exhibitions of emotion and self-display, do not share. With all due deference to her opinion, it seems to us her reasoning is quite too limited. The affinity of which she speaks, partial as it is, is based on the more sympathetic temperament of these two races compared with the English. The social character, the more versatile experience of American life, assimilate it in a degree, and externally, with that of France, and the climate of America develops nervous sensibility; while the exigencies of life foster an adaptive facility, which brings the Anglo-American into more intelligent relations with the Gallic nature than is possible for a people so egotistic and stolid as the English to realize. But this partial sympathy does not altogether account for the French understanding America bette: that is owing to a more liberal, a less prejudiced, a more chivalric spirit; to quicker sympathies, to more scientific proclivities, to greater candor and humanity among her thinkers. They are far enough removed in life and character to catch the true moral perspective; and they have few, if any, wounds of self-love to impede their sense of justice in regard to a country wherewith their own history is often congenially and honorably associated.
Yet anomalous and sad will it seem, in the retrospect, that to a nation alien in blood and language, we are indebted for the earliest and most kindly greeting in our hour of stern and sacrificial duty and of national sorrow, instead of receiv- . ing it (with rare exceptions) from a people from whom we inherit laws, language, and literature, and to whom we are united by so many ties of lineage, culture, and material interests.
Humane, just, and authoritative, indeed, is the language of those eminent Frenchmen, Agenor de Gasparin, Augustin Cochin, Edouard Laboulaye, and Henri Martin, addressed to à committee of loyal Americans, in response to their grateful recognition of such distinguished advocacy of our national cause; and we cannot better close this notice of French writers on America, than with their noble words :
Courage! You have before you one of the most noble works, the most sublime which can be accomplished here below-a work in the success of which we are as interested as yourselves--a work the success of which will be the honor and the consolation of our time.
“This generation will have seen nothing more grand than the abolition of slavery (in destroying it with you, you destroy it everywhere), and the energetic uprising of a people which in the midst of its growing prosperity was visibly sinking under the weight of the tyranny of the South, the complicity of the North, odious laws and compromises.
“Now, at the cost of immense sacrifices, you have stood up against the evil; you have chosen rather to pour out your blood and your dollars than to descend further the slope of degradation, where rich, united, powerful, you were sure to lose that which is far nobler than wealth, or union, or power.
"Well, Europe begins to understand, willingly or unwillingly, what you have done. In France, in England, everywhere your cause gains ground, and be it said for the honor of the nineteenth century, the obstacle which our ill will and our evil passions could not overcome, the obstacle which the intrigues of the South could not surmount, is an idea, a principle. Hatred of slavery has been your champion in the Old World. A poor champion seemingly. Laughed at,