resolutely for our own land.
I lived for some time with a returned fellow-countryman of very keen wit, who, after long residence in Europe
, found nothing to please him at home.
One day, meeting one of his European
companions, I was asked, ‘How is ——? Does he stand up for everything American, through thick and thin, as he used to do in Florence
Turning upon my neighbor with this unexpected supply of ammunition, I was met with the utmost frankness.
He owned that while in Europe
he had defended all American ways, through loyalty, and that he criticised them at home for the same reason.
‘I shall abuse my own country,’ he said, ‘so long as I think it is worth saving.
When that hope is gone, I shall praise it.’
In the once famous poem of ‘Festus
,’ recalled lately to memory by its fiftieth anniversary, there is a fine passage about the uselessness of indiscriminate censure:—
The worst way to improve the world
Is to condemn it. Men may overget
Delusion, not despair.
For example, I cannot help admiring the patient