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JANUARY, 1819. .
Art. I.—The Resources of the United States of America ; or, a
View of the Agricultural, Commercial, Financial, Political, Literary, Moral
, and Religious Character of the American People. By John Bristed, Counsellor at Law, Author of The Resources of the British Empire.' New York, March, 1818.
8vo. pp. 505. MORE than half a century has elapsed since the commence
ment of those disputes between England and her North American colonies which finally terminated in their disunion. The events which followed the separation have contradicted the expectations of the enlightened statesmen of England and the shrewd and calculating politicians of America; who alike supposed that the prosperity of Great Britain was dependent upon the increase and the continued submission of her transatlantic dominions.
It now appears to those who are not so intimately acquainted with the views and feelings commonly entertained in England from the passing of the Stamp Act in 1765 to the beginping of the revolutionary war in 1775 as to make allowance for them, that a kind of infatuation must have possessed their countrymen and their governors; they would not otherwise have expected, that a country like North America, at such a distance from the seat of powerwith habits and prejudices averse from any but corporation governments without an ecclesiastical establishment, or an order of nobility—could, when its population and wealth should be considerably increased, continue in subjection to the country that peopled it. Thinking men had, indeed, looked forward to a time when a separation would of necessity take place, but that
period was considered so distant, and the means by which it might be brought about so doubtful, that scarcely any one had viewed it as an event likely to happen within his own time, and had therefore never turned his attention to its practical effects. It is useless now to speculate on what might have been the consequence, if the English government had voluntarily renounced its controul over North Anerica, and left the people to construct the edifice of a civil constitution for themselves. Fortunately, perhaps, for the United States, the bustle of military employment, which allowed no leisure for political speculation, induced them to continue their civil institutions as they found them; hence few deviations were made from VOL. XXI. NO. XLI.