25 NOVEMBER 1843, Page 16


THIS American importation is remarkable for its generic character. It is not that we have nothing like it in England as regards sub- stance, buts we have nothing presented to us in such a form ; the difference arising from the difference between the two places. Penn- sylvania is nearly as large as England, and the State of Pennsyl- vania is subdivided into counties more numerous than those of the kingdom of England ; but, while England contains fifteen millions of people, Pennsylvania supports only two millions; and its chief city, though a remarkable one, cannot compete with some of our provincial towns. Hence, a general view of England, as extensive as this is, would of necessity be much more voluminous ; whilst an English county could not furnish so much variety of topics, and could scarcely nourish an ambition so high as to hope to pro- duce such a school-book as this. For, however forward if not exactly classical this volume may be, its questions at the end of each section indicate that it is intended for teaching, as well as for general reading or reference. And, supposing the facts to be cor- rect, it may not only be considered as a very creditable school-book for the young Pennsylvanians, but recommended as a clear and elaborate account of Pennsylvania; embracing many matters that are not always understood by the term geography. There is, to begin with, a history of the province, including a biographical ac- count of PENN. The proper geographical accounts that follow are both copious and various ; not only describing the face of the country, and its geology, climate, botany, zoology, population, and productions, but a view of the society, institutions, and wealth of Pennsylvania. The trade and commerce are also noticed; and the internal improvements, on which so much foreign money has been expended, are rapidly sketched. The counties of the State are then exhibited so fully that the description takes a topographical as well as a geographical character ; and a series of itineraries, with measured distances, serve as a traveller's guide through the State. The letterpress is also interspersed with wood-cuts, coarse, but real-looking. In this country, so extensive a work would scarcely have been undertaken by an official and M.P., or indeed by any one save a literary compiler : but had it been undertaken, it would have appeared in a more imposing and expensive form.

Mr. TREGO in his survey does not dwell upon the improvements

of the State or the condition of its finances, but he does not shirk them ; and, according to his account, the debt, and what with honest people would be the difficulties of Pennsylvania originated in cor- ruption of an extensive and peculiar kind. The corruption of an aristocracy is shown in providing posts with large emoluments at the expense of the governed ; in an oligarchy the same system is pursued, but extended to embrace the dependents and allies of the ruling powers; whilst a principle of contracts, public works, and in shortjobbing, is also introduced, or more systematically ramified. When democratical power comes into play in an old state, the people are corrupted, partly by the crumbs from these two sources, partly by money directly paid to it by the richer classes. But in a young and pure democracy, corruption is carried on by the com- munity corrupting itself on a grand scale, and, unluckily, at the expense of too trusting strangers. This is the Assistant State Geologist's account of


If the system of public works undertaken had been less extensive in the be- ginning, and had been confined at first to the main line between Philadelphia and Pittsburg, with the addition of the Delaware division, and these had been constructed with a strict regard to the public interest alone, and managed after- wards with prudence and economy, the favourable anticipations of the people would doubtless have been realized. But, in order to obtain votes in the Legis- lature for the commencement of the main lines, it was deemed expedient to push the improvements into every practicable part of the State, that as many as possible should partake of the expected benefit. The consequence has been, the lavish expenditure of millions on lines as yet unproductive; while a system of management directed by party politics, and the employment of countless swarms of public agents as a reward for political services, without due regard to their character or qualifications, have not only absorbed the whole revenue derived from the finished lines, but have brought the State annually in debt for their maintenance.

From 1828 to 1836, repeated loans were authorized and heavy appropriations made for the prosecution of the public works to completion. Not content, however, with the enormous amount already undertaken, new surveys were directed, and the commencement of further extensions ordered. Among these was "a railroad from the borough of Gettysburg, to cross the route of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, and connect with the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal at some point in the State of Maryland at or West of Williamsport." Two hundred thousand dollars were appropriated for the commencement of this work, which was immediately begun. This career of lavish expenditure and continual extension was at length

checked. The alarming increase of the State debt, the enormous excess in the cost of completing many of the works above the estimates of the engineers, and the failure of the finished lines to support by their tolls the annual charges on them for repairs and expenses, became subjects for serious consideration. Those who had from the first doubted the expediency of undertaking such a gigantic scale of improvement, became decidedly hostile to the further exten- sion of the system, while its warmest advocates were discouraged at the pro- spect before them. The public voice called for a retrenchment of expenditures, and the operations were prosecuted on a reduced scale. The work on some of the lines was suspended, and was only continued on those which were necessary to complete certain connexions, or those which were deemed likely to afford immediate advantage from completion. The present deranged condition of the State finances, and the utter prostra-

tion of the credit of the commonwealth, have now put a stop to the further prosecution of the public works. The time has come for serious consideration upon the means of extricating Pennsylvania from her present embarrassed condition. No remedy can be devised but that of taxing the people ; and even taxation, so long as the public improvements are so managed as not to sustain themselves, will be ineffectual unless increased from year to year.

It is not only in public works, however, that Pennsylvania has exhibited a mastery in the art of expenditure which might vie with any "old corrupt country" in Europe. Mr. TREGO gives instances in a few items of


The judiciary system of Pennsylvania is the most expensive in the Union, costing the State for the maintenance of the several courts upwards of 106,000 dollars per annum ; while that of New York, larger and more populous than Pennsylvania, costs the State but 35,128 dollars. The legislative expenses in Pennsylvania are very great, and require extensive reform : the State printing alone amounts to about 60,000 dollars a year; that of New York, which is done in a style much superior to ours, costs 28,241 dollars. Our militia system is supported at an annual expense to the State of more than 33,000 dollars; in New York this item of State expenditure is 18,171 dollars. These comparisons

are made for the purpose of showing that a more strict economy in the ex- penses of government is required in Pennsylvania. In these times of financial embarrassment, a searching and thorough reform is required ; and such items of State expenditures as are excessive or extravagant should be at once materially reduced, or abolished, as uselessly burdensome to the people.

Be less wasteful in your typography, men of drab ; cut down your soldiering, men of peace.


The value of the real estate in Pennsylvania has been estimated at 1,300,000,000 dollars, and the personal property at 700,000,000 dollars ; making the total value of property in the commonwealth amount to 2,000,000,000 dollars. A tax of one mill to the dollar, or ten cents to the hundred allars, if fairly assessed upon the whole of this amount, would yield 2,000,000 per annum ; or a tax of two per cent would pay the 40,000,000 of State debts at once.

The annual productions of the Stale, agricultural, manufacturing, and mineral, are worth about 200,000,000 dollars, one per cent on which would pay the interest on the State debt. It will thus be seen that 1-1,000th of the pro- perty in the State, or one per cent of the annual productive industry of the people, will pay the interest on our debt ; while the payment of two per cent of the value ot property within the commonwealth would at once free us from the State debt. Viewing the subject in its true light, it will be therefore ap- parent that Pennsylvania, instead of being bankrupt, is abundantly able to meet all her liabilities ; and that her creditors have in her inexhaustible re- sources and the industry and integrity of her people a sure guarantee of the public faith.

Let us hope so.


Though Pennsylvania is involved in debt by the construction of her railroads and canals, it should be remembered in the consideration of this subject, that these public works have added far more to the intrinsic value of the State than their actual cost. The increased facilities and the reduced prices of transporta- tion and travel ; the great rise in the value of land in many parts of the State, from the creation of a market for produce, or the easy and cheap means of con- veyance to a market ; the reduced cost and more abundant supply of merchan- dise in the interior of the State ; the development of our mineral wealth and the ready transportation to places of consumption of our inexhaustible supplies of coal and iron ; all these, and many other advantages to the citizens of Penn- sylvania, have accrued from the construction of her public improvements. Thus, while the people have been reaping the advantage, the State has income em- barrassed with debt; and the only means which now remains to extricate the treasury from its difficulties, is for the people to contribute a portion of that which they have gained from the use of the public works, towards paying their cost and sustaining the credit of the State.

Well said, Mr. TREGO ; and we trust this chapter will be thoroughly inculcated in the schools of Pennsylvania, and the pupils well exercised upon two of the questions at the end of it- " What advantages have resulted to the people from the con- struction of the public works ? By what means can the treasury be relieved from difficulty ?" A good deal of the book is compiled from rare if not original sources—as public documents sometimes unpublished. The author's friends have also furnished him with sections : thus, Pro- fessor HALDEMAN contributes the article on Zoology ; and Mr. TREGO'S own professional experience pervades the descriptive parts. Though the extent of the subject and the character of the book render the execution that of a compilation rather than an original and graphic delineation, glimpses of manners and social charac- teristics will be found here and there. Thus, Berks in Penn- sylvania, originally settled by Germans, seems a very different Berk- shire from the one we know.


The common language of the county is the impure German usually spoken in Pennsylvania, and which has become so much corrupted and mixed with common English words, that it would scarcely be understood by a well-educated German from the fatherland. In many parts of the county, where the inha- bitants seldom leave their own neighbourhood, English is neither spoken nor understood; but this language is rapidly gaining ground among those of the people who have business communications with others than their immediate neighbours. It will probably not be long before English and German will be equally used, except in some secluded portions of the county.


The general state of education among the people of this county is not flourish- ing. The early settlers were chiefly of the labouring classes from Germany, who in their own country had enjoyed very limited means for the acquisition of knowledge, their youth having been passed in the hardship and privation of in- ceasant labour. Being a people generally averse to innovation, and strongly prejudiced in favour of old usages and habits, they have since, with some very creditable exceptions, practically maintained the principle, that as the father has lived and made money without education, so may the son. Honest, industrious, and rigidly economical in his habits, the Pennsylvanian German regards a liberal education as being rather the accomplishment of a rogue than the neces- sary qualification of a useful citizen; and would therefore save his money for what he considers a more useful purpose than the education of his children.

Repudiators, no doubt.