by Frances Trollope
(See also: Frances Trollope, “Two Entrepreneurs on the Ohio Frontier, 1829”)
Introductory Note by Andrew Hamilton: Prominent English novelist Frances Trollope, mother of famous novelist Anthony Trollope, lived in America for four years, from 1828 to 1832. Much of her time was spent in Cincinnati, Ohio, effectively on the western frontier. Upon her return to England she published a memoir about her experiences, Domestic Manners of the Americans (1832), from which the following passages are drawn. The book became a bestseller on both sides of the Atlantic and remains her best-known work. (ILLUSTRATION: Ralph Waldo Emerson, in middle age still the image of Oliver Wendell Holmes’s New England Brahmin)
I’ll offer some thoughts about her observations at the end.
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Nothing can exceed [Americans’] activity and perseverance in all kinds of speculation, handicraft, and enterprise, which promises a profitable pecuniary result. I heard an Englishman, who had been long resident in America, declare that in following, in meeting, or in overtaking, in the street, on the road, or in the field, at the theatre, the coffee-house, or at home, he had never overheard Americans conversing without the word DOLLAR being pronounced between them. Such unity of purpose, such sympathy of feeling, can, I believe, be found nowhere else, except, perhaps, in an ants’ nest. The result is exactly what might be anticipated. This sordid object, for ever before their eyes, must inevitably produce a sordid tone of mind, and, worse still, it produces a seared and blunted conscience on all questions of probity. I know not a more striking evidence of the low tone of morality which is generated by this universal pursuit of money, than the manner in which the New-England states are described by Americans. All agree in saying that they present a spectacle of industry and prosperity delightful to behold, and this is the district and the population most constantly quoted as the finest specimen of their admirable country; yet I never met a single individual in any part of the Union who did not paint these New-Englanders as sly, grinding, selfish, and tricking. The Yankees (as the New-Englanders are called) will avow these qualities themselves with a complacent smile, and boast that no people on the earth can match them at overreaching in a bargain. I have heard them unblushingly relate stories of their cronies and friends, which, if believed among us, would banish the heroes from the fellowship of honest men forever; and all this is uttered with a simplicity which sometimes led me to doubt if the speakers knew what honour and honesty meant. Yet the Americans declare that “they are the most moral people upon earth.” Again and again I have heard this asserted, not only in conversation, and by their writings, but even from the pulpit. Such broad assumption of superior virtue demands examination, and after four years of attentive and earnest observation and inquiry, my honest conviction is, that the standard of moral character in the United States is very greatly lower than in Europe. Of their religion, as it appears outwardly, I have had occasion to speak frequently; I pretend not to judge the heart, but, without any uncharitable presumption, I must take permission to say, that both Protestant England and Catholic France show an infinitely superior [that’s a lot!] religious and moral aspect to mortal observation, both as to reverend decency of external observance, and as to the inward fruit of honest dealing between man and man.
In other respects I think no one will be disappointed who visits the country, expecting to find no more than common sense might teach him to look for, namely, a vast continent, by far the greater part of which is still in the state in which nature left it, and a busy, bustling, industrious population, hacking and hewing their way through it. What greatly increases the interest of this spectacle is the wonderful facility for internal commerce, furnished by the rivers, lakes, and canals [this was pre-railroad], which thread the country in every direction, producing a rapidity of progress in all commercial and agricultural speculation altogether unequalled. This remarkable feature is perceptible in every part of the Union1 into which the fast spreading population has hitherto found its way, and forms, I think, the most remarkable and interesting peculiarity of the country. I hardly remember a single town where vessels of some description or other may not constantly be seen in full activity. . . . (pp. 242-243)
Though not in the Yankee or New-England country [she was traveling on a packet boat on the Erie Canal in New York State at this point], we were bordering upon it sufficiently to meet in the stages [stagecoaches] and boats many delightful specimens of this most peculiar race. I like them extremely well, but I would not wish to have any business transactions with them, if I could avoid it, lest, to use their own phrase, “they should be too smart for me.” It is by no means rare to meet elsewhere, in this working-day world of ours, people who push acuteness to the verge of honesty, and sometimes, perhaps, a little bit beyond; but, I believe, the Yankee is the only one who will be found to boast of doing so. It is by no means easy to give a clear and just idea of a Yankee; if you hear his character from a Virginian, you will believe him a devil; if you listen to it from himself, you might fancy him a god — though a tricky one; Mercury turned righteous and notable. Matthews did very well, as far as “I expect,” “I calculate,” and “I guess;”2 but this is only the shell; there is an immense deal within, both of sweet and bitter. In acuteness, cautiousness, industry, and perseverance, he resembles the Scotch; in habits of frugal neatness, he resembles the Dutch; in love of lucre, he doth greatly resemble the sons of Abraham [Jews]; but in frank admission, and superlative admiration of all his own peculiarities, he is like nothing on earth but himself. (pp. 294-95)
[A final passage illustrates the psychological dimension of early Americans’ headlong economic and territorial expansion, which doubtless characterized Europeans’ unplanned, racially instinctive, transgenerational (it spanned some 400 years) world colonization project as well (“. . . a vast continent, by far the greater part of which is still in the state in which nature left it, and a busy, bustling, industrious population, hacking and hewing their way through it”).]
The Erie Canal has cut through much solid rock, and we often passed between magnificent cliffs. The little falls of the Mohawk form a lovely scene; the rocks over which the river runs are more fantastic in form. The fall continues nearly a mile, and a beautiful village, called the Little Falls, overhangs it. As many locks occur at this point, we quitted the boat, that we might the better enjoy the scenery, which is of the wildest description. Several other passengers did so likewise, and I was much amused by one of our Yankees, who very civilly accompanied our party, pointing out to me the wild state of the country, and apologizing for it by saying, that the property all around thereabouts had been owned by an Englishman; “and you’ll excuse me, ma’am, but when the English gets a spot of wild ground like this here, they have no notions about it like us; but the Englishman have sold it, and if you was to see it five years hence, you would not know it again; I’ll engage there will be by that, half a score elegant factories — ’tis a true shame to let such a privilege of water [power] lie idle.” (pp. 296-297)
Comment by Andrew Hamilton
I read books like Mrs. Trollope’s with a specific problem in mind: race and Jews. It is reasonable to assume that Whites have an underlying psychological makeup that should be independently studied and understood. Contemporary books, papers, letters, and documents provide direct insight into this Aryan mental architecture, as opposed to relying solely upon secondary sources written in recent years by racist Jews and Leftist academics and pundits. It is essential to see Whites of the past through new eyes, shorn of post-1917/post-1933 categories and stereotypes that we have all unconsciously internalized.
One topic that interests me in this regard is WASPs. This group is important because Jews apparently saw its displacement as key to destroying White America and putting themselves in charge. Though the “WASP” model is today pervasive — since its introduction in the late 1950s by Jewish political scientist Andrew Hacker even “WASPs” use this mental filter — such a designation is not apt. Its Newspeak quality and limitless variety of connotations and loose denotations, not to mention racist stereotyping, indicate that it should be transcended.
A question I asked myself early on was: In pre-Jewish times, before this term was invented, how did “WASPs” conceive of themselves? Did they possess a conscious idea similar to that connoted by the term WASP? (I think they plainly did not.) How did other Whites perceive them? What was their true role in the American hierarchy, or society at large?
I haven’t been able to investigate this issue in depth, but the closest relevant native approximation I quickly discovered was an essay (actually the introductory chapter of a novel) written by New England author and physician Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.: “The Brahmin Caste of New England” (Atlantic Monthly, 1860). It’s short; you can read it here (Chapter I).
There is, however, in New England, an aristocracy, if you choose to call it so, which has a far greater character of permanence [than is conferred by inherited wealth alone, which quickly dissipates]. It has grown to be a caste, — not in any odious sense; — but, by the repetition of the same influences, generation after generation, it has acquired a distinct organization and physiognomy, which not to recognize is mere stupidity.
Though there is the notion of a distinctive elite here, the few paragraphs constituting the chapter do not conjure up the image of today’s “WASP.” Holmes’s group conception is by comparison implicit and indistinct — and different. Like Mrs. Trollope’s, and unlike today’s, it is not hateful, either. It is necessary to understand it, but also to objectively expand upon it with today’s greater knowledge, and our specific problem foremost in mind. Exactly who were these people? What role did they play in White America? Why did Jews fixate on them? Were they as easy to gull and flatter as in retrospect they appear to have been? What defenses did they lack? How, specifically, did Jews undermine them?
I have little doubt that, like other Whites, they exhibited almost no social, ethnic, or racial cohesion — or collective consciousness — in the face of the Jewish onslaught. Yankees were no match for Jews when it came to racial dominance. No one has been . . . yet.
Mrs. Trollope’s similarly brief discussion casts further light on the problem. It demonstrates that something specific was going on quite early; there was something ethnically, socially, behaviorally, and psychologically unique about this group she calls “Yankees” and “New-Englanders.” “All [i.e., Americans everywhere] agree in saying that [Yankees] present a spectacle of industry and prosperity delightful to behold, and this is the district and the population most constantly quoted as the finest specimen of their admirable country.”
Even the terms Whites used in the (free) past to describe themselves are significant. “Yankees,” “New-Englanders,” “the Brahmin Caste of New England.” Note the precise geographical limitation.
It is crucial to recognize the occurrence of radical ethnic changes over time. Mrs. Trollope described people who were still largely of British, even English, descent — even though to her mind they were exotic and frequently disagreeable foreigners.
By Holmes’s time Irish Catholics, especially, but also Germans and Jews, were probably already displacing the natives. And by the late 19th and early 20th centuries great masses of Jews, Irishmen, and Southern and Eastern Europeans had permanently altered the population base of the region, both ethnically and socioculturally.
New Englanders by that time were a conglomerate population3 quite distinct from those Mrs. Trollope or even Holmes wrote about. By then, Old Stock Americans were merely a thin crust on top. See Daniel Chauncey Brewer’s The Conquest of New England by the Immigrant (1926) for a detailed discussion of this. Brewer hoped the majority immigrant population would somehow be culturally, and presumably biologically, assimilated into the former elite, now reduced to a small remnant. Unfortunately for him, numbers are what count in that battle. There is no way around it. Under such circumstances you should concentrate on your own preservation and not worry about others.
Mrs. Trollope focused on money-getting as the key Yankee characteristic, though a mere thirty years later Holmes, an actual member of the group, virtually dismissed that factor. So we do not have a clear picture.
Finally, however it looked at the time, in retrospect, and with our specific problem in mind, Mrs. Trollope was clearly wrong about the supposed moral superiority of Europeans. By 1837 England, itself no slouch in the mercantile-industrial realm, had Disraeli; by the 1880s Oscar Wilde; and, in quick succession, socialism, Communism, and feminism. Britain, nation and empire, disintegrated even more quickly than the United States.
Jews and other aliens have wiped their feet on Britons ever since. Today they’re raping their children and exterminating their population.
1 Note commonplace use of the word “Union” as early as 1830. This is a group mental construct.
2 This is undoubtedly a reference to London comedian Charles Mathews (spelled with one t) (1776-1835), who was famous for his impersonations and ability to convincingly portray multiple characters. He toured the U.S. with popular stage shows in 1822-1823 and again in 1834-35.
3 When I checked my dictionary it provided three usage examples for this word. Believe it or not, one of them was “the conglomerate peoples of New England”! And it was written pre-replacement, pre-racial cleansing.