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[207] The strife was at its height from 1814 to 1825. “In the four quarters of the globe, who reads an American book? or goes to an American play? or looks at an American picture or statue?” Such were the cordial questions put by Sydney Smith in The Edinburgh review for January, 1820. The sourness of the reviewers, great and small, reacted upon new books of travel, and prospective observers when they crossed the ocean came with the prepossession that democratic institutions in America had corrupted good manners. There was a recrudescence of the old theory, once formulated by Pauw, that everything deteriorated when transplanted from Europe. Fearon (1818) -“no lover of America,” said Sydney Smith,--Harris (1821), Welby (1821), and Faux (1823) gave the English public the reading it enjoyed, and the publishers welcomed fresh manuscript. “Have a passage ready taken for 'Merriker,” whispers Mr. Pickwick's friend Weller to Sam. “Let the gov'ner stop there till Mrs. Bardell's dead . . . and then let him come back and write a book about the 'Merrikins as'll pay all his expenses, and more, if he blows 'em up enough.” Evidently the painful animadversions had not ceased in 1837; they were perhaps generally mitigated after 1825. Captain Basil Hall in 1829, Fidler in 1833, Thomas Hamilton in 1833, Captain Marryat in 1839, and Thomas Brothers in 1840, keep up the unlucky strain, sometimes with more, and sometimes with less good humour. Brothers is of opinion that “there is in the United States more taxation, poverty, and general oppression than ever known in any other country.” And in January, 1844, The foreign Quarterly asserts that “As yet the American is horn-handed and pig-headed, hard, persevering, unscrupulous, carnivorous, . . . with an incredible genius for lying.” Ere this, however, better sense was prevailing. Basil Hall, though preferring the manners of aristocratic England, was not unkindly, nor was Mrs. Trollope (1832) unsympathetic. Dickens himself, having followed the Ohio and the Mississippi to St. Louis, and having visited Looking-Glass Prairie, in 1842 published his American notes, in which he “blows 'em up” with moderation. The courteous Sir Charles Lyell (1845) was unfortunately justified in a dislike of American boasting.

Meanwhile the Americans, sensitive as well as vainglorious

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