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LETTERS FROM OHIO.

NO. II.

I OBSERVE that my former letter was published under the title of "Letters from Ohio. No. I." This amounted to a promise, on your part, Messrs. Editors, that "No. II." should follow. Accordingly here it is, proxima sed longo intervallo. If it do no other good, it will, at least, be a redemption of your pledge; tardy, indeed, but still a redemption.

I before gave you a sketch of Cincinnati. Ex uno disce omnes. That single case is sufficient to indicate the growth of Ohio in general. She numbers, at this moment, a MILLION of inhabitants. Yet it is only twenty-nine years since she became one of the states of the Union. Her constitution was formed in 1802, and it contains provisions anticipating the time when her population should amount to twenty thousand! This constitution has never been altered in a single particular, and you may readily conceive how utterly unsuited it must be for the government of the gigantic state which has grown up under it. Yet, strange to tell, the people cannot be prevailed upon to alter or amend it. They cling to it as tenaciously as the first-born to his birthright. To every proposition for a change, the answer is, "It has made us great; surely it can keep us so.' Now, the truth is, they have been striding onward to their present standing, as the fourth state in the Union, not by the aid of their constitution, but in spite of it. Like a vigorous and noble-spirited youth, whom the worst parental discipline cannot spoil, the bold and hardy people of Ohio have prospered and will prosper, beyond all example, under a frame of state government, which, though it has some excellent parts, is, in the main, deplorably defective and ill-contrived.

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But not to deal altogether in general assertions, let me state some particulars. The governor has no negative upon the acts of the legislature. How objectionable soever any bill may be, it becomes a law the moment it has passed both houses, and received the signatures of their speakers. Again, the governor has no power of appointment to office, except during the intervals between the sessions of the General Assembly. Of course, popularity is of more account than merit, and the success of the candidate depends rather upon the number of his friends, than the amount of his qualifications. And then the salaries are miserably small. The governor has only twelve hundred dollars, and the judges of the supreme court the same. No other salary exceeds a thousand, and but few amount to that. This is, no doubt, one strong reason why the people are averse to a change; they are charmed with the frugality of their system. But would it not be well for them to call to mind the old maxim, that poor pay makes poor workmen! This is certainly true in most cases. Yet justice requires me to say, that our present governor and supreme judges happen to be as able, as zealous, and as faithful officers, as the state could procure, if she had five thousand a year to offer them. And I take the more pleasure in paying them this tribute, because, in their acceptance of office, for such paltry compensation, I am persuaded they must have

sacrificed their private interest to their sense of public duty; and in these times of venality, such examples are precious. Consider what a drudgery these judges have to perform. The state contains forty thousand square miles, and is divided into seventy-three counties. Now the constitution requires the Supreme Court to be holden once a year in each county, by two judges. Add to this, that the roads are in many parts next to impassable, and you will readily perceive that, divide the labor as they may, they can take very little rest.

But to return to the constitution. The Court of Common Pleas is as badly constituted as it well could be. The state is divided into nine circuits, and each circuit has a president judge, with a salary of a thousand dollars. But the president judge holds his court in each county of his circuit, with three associate judges chosen from the county, and paid two dollars and a half per day. Of course, these associate judges have either never opened a law book, or are in the lowest rank of that profession. The fact is, that they are, for the most part, men, who, however upright and worthy in other respects, are utterly ignorant of law. Yet, before this court is transacted nine tenths of all the judicial business of Ohio. Think of a profound lawyer, with the study and practice of twenty years, standing up to argue an intricate law question, before such a court, and forced to abide by the decision of a majority of these judges! Yet so it is; and when he finds a haphazard opinion given against him, his only way is to conceal his chagrin as well as he can, and appeal to a higher and surer tribunal. But mark how cheap this arrangement makes the title of judge in Ohio. We have now two hundred and nineteen acting associate judges, nine president judges, and four supreme judges. These are all chosen by the Assembly, and hold their office for seven years. And since the principle of rotation is pretty generally admitted, and all who have once held the office retain the title, there are, probably, six hundred persons in the state, who are addressed by the title of judge. A stranger may safely venture to put this prefix to the name of every tenth man he mects. And here, by the way, we find another reason for the prevalent reluctance to change the constitution. Under the present system, every respectable farmer and tradesman looks forward to the honor and emolument of being an associate judge; and it is well understood, that in case of a convention, one of the first propositions submitted, would be to remodel the courts.

Our next and lowest judicial officer is a Justice of the Peace. But he is a far more consequential personage than in most of the states. His jurisdiction extends to all cases within a hundred dollars. And as the venerable forms of pleading are never used in suits before him, so that the assistance of an attorney can safely be dispensed with, it follows that a large amount of collecting business is done by him, to the sore detriment of the lawyers. In fact, this is generally a profitable office, and there is great competition in obtaining it. The incumbent makes it an exclusive business, and in order to encourage the bringing of suits before him, he makes it almost a uniform principle to decide for the plaintiff. This very simple rule of decision, enables the magistrate to despatch business in a most summary manner, and obviates the necessity of wearisome investigation. Produce your claim, swear stiffly to it, and you have judgement in ten minutes; while the poor

defendant has no recourse but to give bonds, if he can, and appeal to the Common Pleas. It is not easy to conceive of a system of petty tyranny more vexatious than that which is exercised by these magistrates. Wo to the luckless wight who incurs their displeasure. His suit will be sure to go against him.

But do not think that our constitution is entirely censurable. There is one point in which it is worthy of all imitation. The house of repreresentatives can never consist of more than seventy-two members, nor the senate of more than thirty-six. Look at this, Massachusetts, groaning under the burden of your unwieldy legislature, and blush at your want of foresight. Again, Ohio has taken a noble stand on the side of humanity, in respect to her criminal laws. The world does not exhibit a milder system. We have but one capital crime, namely, murder. We have only three which are punishable by imprisonment for life. But I have not room to particularize. Suffice it to say, that we acknowledge no such thing as common law in regard to crimes. No man can be punished, but according to the statute. The barbarous and sanguinary doctrines of other times, find no countenance or toleration here. Few states can say as much as this, and for that very reason we suffer. Punishments elsewhere being much severer than here, we actually hold out a lure to rogues and vagabonds. The scoundrel or knave is sure to fare better here, than any where else, and he would be a consummate fool if he did not try his fortune here. Accordingly our jails are thronged with the pickpockets of other states. But crimes of the higher sort are very rare. There have been but two or three executions since the state government was organized. And on the whole, I doubt if there be another state among the twenty-four, which has so little immorality in proportion to its population, confining the remark to its own citizens.

You will perceive, from the tenor of this and my former letter, that the people of Ohio are making a grand political experiment. They are endeavoring to ascertain what is the smallest possible portion of power necessary to be delegated by them to their agents, in order to answer the ends of government. Whatever is not absolutely necessary to be parted with, they are resolved to retain in their own hands. And it is my belief, that, if you examine the constitutions of all the states, you will find that the people of Ohio have kept back more of that power, of which they are the original fountain and source, to be exerted immediately and directly by themselves, as occasion may require, than the people of any other state. Whether this experiment be wise or not, is a question, which, being no politician, I shall not attempt to answer. As I have said before, our prosperity is beyond example. A happier people does not exist. This fact, at first view, would authorise the conclusion, that not to be much governed, is to be well governed. But the experiment is not yet finished. Time will show whether a stronger government is not essential to secure the ends of the social compact. In the mean time, without many historical recollections to foster our state pride, if we were in the humor of boasting, we could point to as many causes of just pride in the actual condition of Ohio, as the citizens of any of our older sister states. It is about seven years since the magnificent project was commenced of cutting two canals entirely across the state, a distance of about two hundred miles. To

effect this, the state has borrowed above five millions of dollars, for which she is now paying interest. Considering the infancy of the state, this was certainly a bold enterprise; and now that railroads and locomotive engines are brought to such perfection, it may be matter of regret that these canals were ever undertaken. Still, as an instance of enlarged public spirit, the vote which gave birth to these vast works, may safely challenge a comparison with any vote passed in any state, since our Union commenced. In the course of eight or ten months, one of these canals will be in full operation. And at that time the entire extent of canal navigation in the state will fall very little short of three hundred miles. I was going to contrast this with the public works of Massachusetts; but, of late, I have perceived indications of a better spirit there, and I forbear to say what truth would sanction of her past indifference. I will only add that these canals are entirely the property of the state; no individual owns a single dollar's worth, except as a citizen and tax-payer of Ohio.

I have thus given you a scanty outline of the municipal regulations of Ohio, as growing out of her peculiar constitution. Do you ask whether she is likely to go on increasing? I answer, that, upon the smallest estimate, nine tenths of the whole surface of the state, making twenty million of acres, is capable of cultivation, and will richly repay the husbandman. Whereas, not so much as two tenths, are now cultivated, and yet a million of inhabitants are abundantly fed. It would seem, therefore, to be a low calculation to say that Ohio has within herself the means of supporting a population of five millions. This would be allowing five acres to every inhabitant; a very large allowance, when we hear of places not so fertile as this, where "every rood of ground maintained its man." But I am not given to vaticination, and will here leave the subject.

W.

FROM THE MSS. OF A TRAVELER IN THE EAST.

NO. V.

OUR morning lark was the shrill voice of a soldier on the watch; our reveillee was the ringing of his pistols, at which sound each man sprang to his feet, and busied himself in getting open his eyes, tightening his sash, and examining his priming; and, in five minutes, the beasts having been loaded, we all, with our pipes in our mouths, made for the olive tree, under which our leader was sitting on his mat, smoking, and waiting for the assembling of a council of war. He had been unable to come to any conclusion the evening before with his confidential soldier, about the route, and the whole band was summoned to give their opinions and settle the business. They gathered around to the number of fifty, and, sitting down on the ground in circles, in the centre of which was the captain, his pipe ever in his mouth, and his string of beads in his hand, they began a noisy, chattering and disputatious conference,-for every man had a voice in the business; but the great majority deciding that it was better to neglect the common precautions, and strike across the plain to

Navarino, rather than follow the less dangerous, but more circuitous route of the mountains, the captain decided with them, and we all moved off instanter, except three soldiers, who determined to have their own way; so we left them.

The march was disturbed by no uncommon event, except that we hurried more than usual, and often caught ourselves looking anxiously about us, lest we should be surprised on the open plain by the Turkish cavalry, twenty of whom would have been more than a match for us, and would, probably, have carried off our heads at their saddlebows. But we arrived without accident at a small open village, in the centre of the plain, which had been entirely deserted by its inhabitants, but where we found that several captains, with their bands, had rendezvoused, making our number more than three hundred men.

We had eaten our usual dinner of biscuit soaked in water, and olives, which are both delicious and nutritive, when fully ripe; after which, we were treated to a cup of the true mocha, by a captain of our acquaintance, and in a short time the whole camp was wrapped in stillness, like that of midnight; all were taking their siesta, or afternoon nap, and I lay listlessly with my pipe, watching the fantastic figures assumed by the smoke, as it rose in the still, sultry air of noonday.

Suddenly, methought, I heard a low, rumbling sound like the roaring of a distant beach; it continued-I could not be mistaken, and I gently, with my foot, pushed Francesco, who lay asleep near me; he started up, and as soon as I directed his attention to the noise, he applied his ear to the earth for a minute, then sprang up with a look of alarm, and ran toward the outside of the village, and in a moment more I heard his shrill cry of "The Turks! the Turks! up-up, all hands! the cavalry are upon us ;" and, quick as light, every man was upon his feet, and without thinking of defence, ran to gratify curiosity and see the danger.

At first, we gazed without saying a word, at a wide-spreading cloud of dust, which, advancing, seemed to extend itself in every direction, until it became distinct, and we could see the flash and glimmer of arms; then all was bustle and confusion in our camp; the captain cursed, and gave orders in the same breath, the men ran to and fro, regarding neither one nor the other, and all busied themselves, as by instinct, in preparations for defence. The mules and baggage, with the provisions and extra ammunition, were driven into a stone church, which all seemed to consider as a strong hold, and place of refuge, in case the outworks should be carried; some rolled empty barrels and huge earthen oil-jars, to the ends of the streets, where they were set up for barricades; others brought stones and timbers to block up the streets; while others went furiously to digging a ditch, in which they could lie down, and be sheltered by the few feet of earth which they flung up before them; and others punched holes through the outer walls of the cottages facing the plain, from which they could put out their muskets and fire in security. All were busied in preparing for defence; but defence with the least possible exposure; all but W.; his spirits seemed to rise, and his eyes to flash fire, as he stood impatient on a bank, with his hand on the trigger of his cocked gun, the muzzle resting on his left arm, his body bent forward, and watch

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