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representatives, public opinion is decidely opposed to him in the northern states, and divided in the others. And some of his doctrines on the subject of banks and national debts are repugnant to sentiments that prevail in every part of the Union, and especially in the southern states. But he trusts that the spirit of free inquiry has not betrayed him into a presumptuous disrespect for the opinions of others, or induced him to condemn on a hasty and superficial examination. He has been led to his conclusions by that process of reasoning which he has herein developed, and he will not be slow to renounce them whenever their fallacy shall be shown.'

The literary execution of these essays corresponds with their more internal character. The style is neither negligent nor painfully elaborate; but evinces at once ease and care. There is no parade of ornament, no affectation of plainness. It discovers a familiarity with polite literature, both modern and ancient, but is not burdened with quotations. Should we name a fault in it, it would be its occasional languor. Many of the subjects present, on every side, views of deep interest to the human heart; but the language is apt to want glow.

It would evidently be impossible and unprofitable to enter into a minute analysis of these Essays, or engage ourselves in the discussion of the several subjects. We will, however, particularize a few, and hazard one or two remarks in connexion with the extracts we make.

The Essay on American literature is, upon the whole, conspicuous for the soundness of its views. It should be read indeed with the allowance, that it was written some eight or ten years since, and the intellectual as well as physical condition of our country is advancing too rapidly, not to change its aspect even in this short interval. It adds to the interest with which we read the remarks of our author, on this subject, that he treats it with particular reference-as indeed he does many others--to the condition of things, in his own state. And though he uses language, with regard to all branches of literature among us, which we think he would not have used, writing now and in one of the eastern capitals, yet we like his instances.

'We have also a native example of the improvement effected by exercise in Marshall's Life of Washington. Perhaps there is no book in which there is a greater difference in the different parts. Whilst the first volumes very generally disappointed ex

pectation, the last has never yet received the praise to which it is fairly entitled. Though it is manifestly a defence of that political party to which Mr Marshall belongs, and was probably so intended by him; yet he has called to his aid a great deal of good sense; much ingenious argument, and no ordinary knowledge of human nature. His style too is all the while acquiring elegance, and improving still more in life and spirit. The subject of the first volumes is, without doubt, less fitted to display the higher powers of an author; but where it could not be embellished, it might have been abridged. Livy had no better materials for the first books of his history, and yet how entertaining is every part of his immortal work!

In considering "the Life of Washington" as a specimen of literary talents in America, a caution must be used, which is also applicable to almost all our native productions; we must regard not so much what the writer is, as what, from the intrinsic evidence of the work itself, it appears he might have been. The fact is, that with the advantage of merely a private, and but an ordinary, education, he had passed the best years of his life, industriously engaged in the duties of a profession, which, however it may have improved his powers of discrimination and logical deduction, had left him little leisure to acquire that various knowledge which are indespensable to the accomplished historian; and that refined polish of style, which the delicacy of modern taste requires in every writer. Those great masters of historical sagacity and chaste elegance, the Greek and Roman historians, were turned over day and night, and studied for twenty years, before Hume, or Robertson, or Gibbon, ventured upon their respective histories; but probably those fine models were not known by our American annalist, except through the medium of translations; and many of them not even in this less perfect and less impressive form. To make the comparison fair, as it regards this subject, we should ask, how they would have written under his disadvantages, or how he would have written had he enjoyed the benefits of their study and education. But the writers themselves have furnished us with some data for answering these questions. They have occasionally tried their powers in clearing up some important fact, involved in doubt and obscurity; and have endeavoured, by the mere force of analogical reasoning, to demonstrate the truth of some one of the conflicting opinions. Let any of these attempts be compared with the similar attempts of Mr Marshall, as with his argument in the case of Jonathan Robbins ;* and in precision, discrimination, orderly arrangement-in short, in every part of that rare

* Delivered in the House of Representatives in the year 1800. New Series, No. 13,

faculty of connecting a long series of undisputed propositions, in a chain, by which the mind is unresistingly conducted to the most recondite and seemingly inaccessible truths, he will be found as superior to them, as they are to him in the general character of historians.

'We have also a striking example of what native genius, improved by ardent study, can do, in the instance of the late John Thompson, of Virginia, who, at an age when men are chiefly engaged in acquiring ideas, rather than endeavoring to impart them, attained a pure and copious eloquence of style, and a facility of prose composition, to which no English writer, not even Chatterton, affords a parallel. The "letters of Curtius” have indeed little to recommend them but the beauty of diction; but it is surely no mean praise to do that well, of which all are ambitious, and which no other has ever accomplished, without the advantages of longer study and experience.'

The views taken by our author on the subject of classical education are liberal and sound. Here too we think we may say, however, that either from his remoteness from those points of our country where classical literature is most cultivated or some other cause, he hardly does justice to the point, to which it has already advanced among us. The author says, he would have a question concerning the Greek accents discussed with all the laborious research and critical acumen, which could be displayed at Oxford or Cambridge ;** having previously observed, that the scholars of this country are inattentive to the minutiæ of classical literature. We do not suppose that our author meant particularly the Greek accents, beyond any other part of the Greek grammar: as in that case, his example would be remarkably unfortunate, the accents in the Greek being less attended to in England, than in any other country. In the Greek extracts, made into the most respectable works, the accents are generally omitted, and we have before us a learned history of Athens, with a long Greek motto on the title page, where the accents are intended to be written, but in nearly every instance, the grave for the acute; not only at the end of words, but even at the beginning and in the middle, where the former could never be right. But even as to the details of classical criticism in general, we doubt whether Oxford or Cambridge would have produced two essays more learned than Mr Pickering's p. 304.

Memoir upon the pronunciation of Greek, and professor Moore's Remarks upon it; neither of which certainly was offered as any thing more than an occasional performance.

Our author, however, has done good justice to the argument in favor of classical literature, and vindicated its study against some popular objections. Of all these, that, which denounces it as the study not of things but words, is the most superficial objection. There ought to be no bigotry on this subject, and we may grant, that a man may be a proficient in any department of natural science, may even be a model of good writing, like Dr Franklin, may distinguish himself as a statesman, nay, may charm the world with wisdom, poetry, and nature, like Shakspeare; and like him too, in the language of Jonson, have small Latin and less Greek :'-but the question is not what can be done in the secret primitive organization of the mind, nor what miracles Providence may work on distinguished intellects. No body thinks to make Shakspeares, Franklins, or Washingtons by a more or less judicious course of education. If any one were so simple, we doubt still whether he would fix on deer-stealing and holding noblemen's carriages at a play house, like Shakspeare; or setting types as a journeyman printer, like Franklin; or surveying with a chain and theodolite, like Washington, as, upon the whole, the best methods, respectively, for training up rivals to those great men. Sir Richard Arkwright was originally a journeyman barber, and followed his trade in a cellar under the name of subterraneous shaving.' The greatest proficient in oriental literature, which this country has produced, the late Mr Harris, was an indifferent copper-plate engraver. Such instances are quoted to prove that a classical education is not necessary to great eminence in useful science, or even to profound literature. But we have strong doubts whether there be another barber of the day likely to invent a spinning jenny; or another engraver's apprentice, who will make himself master of the Semitic dialects. The question is, what kind of school education is the best for the mass of young, volatile, bright or stupid, docile or froward spirits, who, on the present plan, are put down at the age of eight to the Latin grammar.


But it is said, still, that the study of the languages is the study not of things but words. This, however, is a most

narrow discrimination. What becomes of ideas, of thoughts, of feelings, of the art of expression? It may perhaps be assumed, without rashness, that in all free countries, communication of mind with mind is the most important object of education of every kind. This communication is effected by written and spoken words, so that this object, so much sneered at, so invidiously contrasted with things, turns out, after all, to be itself the one thing-humanly speaking-needful. It is indeed almost beyond the limits of pardonable paradox to have the name of things conferred on hexaedral crystals and asymptotic lines, that always approach and never touch; while the great vehicle of thought and feeling, the band which unites, and the engine which moves all the social combinations of men, is derided as 'words.'

If any one then will grant that, after all, words are among the most important of things, but will still qualify, and say that classical study deals not with words, as the signs of thought, but in a merely grammatical view, we deny altogether the assertion. The study of classical literature, like poetry, like architecture, like statuary, does indeed require a combination of seemingly opposite things, some very high and some very humble. An accomplished statuary must, on the one hand, be a good stone-cutter, and on the other, must have a soul filled with all grand and sweet images, and be able to embody ideal beauty. The architect must know what pressure can be put on different sorts of timber, and what kind of mortar will bind strongest and shrink least, and must have also courage to plant his moles against the heaving ocean, and to hang his ponderous domes and gigantic arches in the air; while his taste must be able to combine the rough and scattered blocks of the quarry into beautiful and elegant structures. The poet must know, with a schoolmaster's precision, the weight of every syllable and what vowel follows most smoothly on what consonant; at the same time, that he must be inspired with images, with visions, with thoughts, beyond the power of language to do more than shadow forth. This mixture of great and little seems to be the essential condition of our natures, that lay hold, on the one side, of eternal life, and tend, on the other, to dust and ashes. The surgeon must at once have a mind that penetrates the dark recesses of organic life, and be able to hold a lancet in his left hand to cut into the

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