Imágenes de páginas

of science to practical uses, than upon received here, would better stand the his own original discoveries in it. ordeal of the reviewers, than a voOne more might be added, whose lume of the Transactions of the right must be allowed whenever it is Philosophical Society at Philadels sufficiently known; we allude to Dr phia did about sixteen years since. Bowditch, the astronomer, to whose This last-named society seems hardly merits the Royal Societies of London so active as some others in the coun. and Edinburgh have lately borne tes- try, which, probably, is owing to the timony by receiving him as a member. establishment of a new society in the For the proofs which this gentleman same city, the Academy of Natural has given of his profound science, we Sciences, which has already published refer to the Transactions of the Ame- several very interesting papers on 200rican Academy of Arts and Sciences, logy, botany, and geology. It must published at Boston, particularly to be highly pleasing, to all the friends the fourth volume, which contains se of natural history, to hear of this atveral articles by him. Natural his- tention to it in a country, which lays tory appears to be the subject, which open such a field for research. We now receives the most attention, and hope that reparation for past unparthat is cultivated with great zeal. In donable neglect may be made by futhis branch of science they have pro- ture activity and zeal. Philadelphia, duced several valuable works, within New York, Boston and Charleston, a few years : Wilson's Ornithology is Carolina, are all making spirited exera splendid book, and we can conceive tions, through the instrumentality of no reason but its high price (30 gui- societies, for its promotion. In this neas) which has prevented it from last city, by the influence of a single finding its way into more of our libra- individual, a taste for botany has been ries ; Cleaveland's Mineralogy is gen- created, and liberal patronage extend erally known, and as generally esteem- ed to the sciences ; a garden has been ed; Maclure's little work on the Geo- established, which should, and, we logy of the United States is a very in- hope, will be made a depository for all teresting view of the great outlines of the plants of the tropics, for which it the formation of the country; Bige- is so admirably fitted by the mildness low's Medical Botany, and Elliott's of the climate. We know of no other Carolina Flora, both now publishing scientific associations which have not. in numbers, are executed with great been mentioned, except the Literary abilities and correctness, and promise and Philosophical Society of New to be important additions to the York. There are several for the proscience; and Nuttall's Genera of the motion of agriculture and the useful North American plants is a useful arts, and two for aiding inquiries into catalogue, particularly as a supplement their own history. The oldest of these to the larger Flora of Pursh. Other two was established at Boston about works of the same kind are now pre thirty years since, and has published paring for publication: Professor sixteen volumes of historical papers, Cleaveland's Geology of Maine, Bige which are for the most part important low and Boot's New England Flora, materials for history. It is called the Hosack's Flora of North America, and Massachusetts Historical Society. The Muhlenberg Flora Lancastriensis, e other, at New York, was formed in dited by Collins, may shortly be ex- 1809, and has published two volumes pected. The scientific expedition up of the same kind as that at Boston. the Missouri, and its tributary streams, Both of these societies have considercannot fail to add a vast deal to our able libraries of books connected with present knowledge of the kingdoms of the objects they are designed to pronature ; and the very undertaking of mote. it is a proof of a good spirit in the As to the fine arts, America is just a

Another indication of the in- bout where she was when first discovercreasing attention to science is seen in ed by Columbus. She is evidently in no the improved character of the learned danger, from what De Pradt considers societies: the papers now published as a mark of decaying liberties, a taste in their transactions are far more res for these luxuries. She might have pectable than formerly. The fourth painters if she would, for she has given volume of the Memoirs of the Ame- birth to several of the most distinrican Academy at Boston, recently guished of the age. West, Copely,


Trumbull, Vanderlyn, Allston, and very soon produce any critical classical Leslie, are all her sons, and would scholars, or great poets, or superior probably now be her honours, if she dramatic writers, or fine works of fichad given proper encouragement to tion; in a word, any extraordinary their talents. Sculpture is not likely productions of learning or taste. But to make much progress in a land, where mind is not inactive there; it is there are no models, and in which the continually wrought upon by the ideal has no existence ; nor architec- most powerful excitements, and it ture, where utility is always preferred must display itself in a manner worto beauty ; nor music, where the com- thy of its field of action. In entermon labours of life would hardly be prise, personal intrepidity, force of instopt to listen even to the lyre of Or- dividual character, adroitness in the pheus. In these respects, however, management of business, quickness in they cannot be charged with having execution, ingenuity of mechanical indegenerated ; they possess quite as vention, and all the qualities which much taste in either of them, as they constitute physical talent, if the exinherited from their ancestors. pression may be used, England never

From the imperfect account, which had a rival but America. These are we have now given of the state of in- the faculties first called forth, because tellectual cultivation in America, wemay first needed. If in these she has draw the following general conclusions: proved herself worthy of the stock First, that classical learning is there from which she sprung, may it not be generally undervalued, and of course expected that she will exhibit a like neglected ; secondly, that knowledge equality in powers of a higher order, of any kind is regarded only as a re- when a more improved and refined quisite preparation for the intended state of society shall bring them into vocation in life, and not cultivated as action. We do not believe that Amea source of enjoyment, or a means of rica is the most enlightened nation on refining the character; and thirdly, earth, although it has been so enacted that the demand for active talent is so by the authority of her legislative asgreat, and the reward it receives so sembly; but we do believe, that she sure and so tempting, as invariably to will disprove the charge of intellectual draw it away from retired study, and inferiority, whenever proper cultivathe cultivation of letters. It is not, tion of the mind shall cause it fully therefore, to be expected, that she will to develop its faculties.



Books are loved by some merely as the solitary brains of insulated poets elegant combinations of thought; by or metaphysicians. They are the shaothers as a means of exercising the dows of what has formerly occupied intellect. By some they are consider- the minds of mankind, and of what ed as the engines by which to propa once determined the tenor of existgate opinions; and by others they are ence. The narrator who details polionly deemed worthy of serious re- tical events, does no more than indigard, when they constitute reposito- cate a few of the external effects, or ries of matters of fact. But perhaps casual concomitants, of what was stirthe most important use of literature ring during the times of which he has been pointed out by those who professes to be the historian. As the consider it as a record of the respec- generations change on the face of the tive modes of moral and intellectual globe, different energies are evolved existence that have prevailed in suc- with new strength, or sink into torpor; cessive ages, and who value literary faculties are brightened into perfecperformances in proportion as they tion, or lose themselves in gradual preserve a memorial of the spirit which blindness and oblivion. No age conwas at work in real life, during the centrates within itself all advantages. times when they were written. Con- The knowledge of what has been is sidered in this point of view, books necessary, in addition to the knowcan no longer be slighted as fanciful ledge of the present, to enable us to tissues of thought, proceeding from conceive the full extent of human

powers and capacities; or, to speak and ineffective. Whether the literary more correctly, this knowledge is ne records of past ages happen for a time cessary to enable us to become ac to be regarded with interest or not, quainted with the varieties of talent few improprieties can be more palpaand energy, with which beings of the ble than that of sneering at the painssame general nature with ourselves taking of antiquarians and philolohave, in past times, been endowed. gists, who make it their study to pre

The three principal bequests which serve or restore these vehicles, in men receive from past ages are, science which the pedigree of human thoughts and the mechanical powers it confers and feelings is retained for future ex-history, which, in exhibiting the se- amination. quence of events, affords materials for

As society advances through its difthe philosophy of experience

and the ferent stages, the external circuminspiration emanated from the literary stances of life, and the objects about monuments of past habits of thought and which men are engaged, become such feeling. The first is a certain legacy. as no longer to task or exercise more The use made of the second depends than a small part of the general agupon the degree of intellectual activi- gregate of human energies and capacity with which the receiving genera- ties. The vivifying heat of external tion is endowed. The efficacy of the inspiration ceases to dart its rays last depends upon the degree of moral through the mind; and if the deeper life continuing to pervade the minds feelings still continue to bestir themof mankind; for å nation, although selves of their own accord, it is in vain alive to the investigation of causes and that they search among outward cireffects, may sink into such a state of cumstances for objects upon which to moral darkness and stupidity, as to be spend their force. Even if a project, unable to perceive any meaning in the romantic in its end, were then to be memorials of former genius. When conceived, the means employed for its this takes place, the noblest composi- accomplishment would still require to tions appear to be only a rhapsody of be prosaic, to adapt them to act in words, because the feelings which concert with the other causes at work ought to correspond to them have no for the time. The degree of sentilonger any existence. Helvetius or ment with which ordinary wars are Holbach would probably see nothing contemplated by the nations engaged but a dreary blank in the pages of in them, is not likely to increase, but Dante or Milton; and for the same diminish, and sink into that species reason, in the society in which they of interest which attends a game of lived, the highest works of art would cards when the stakes are deep. be valued only for the mechanical If the modes of existence are likely merits of their execution. The mind to assume forms so barren and monowhich they express would be a dead tonous, as no longer to draw forth and letter. The knowledge which relates exercise the range of human sentito objects of sense is of a nature which ments, then the great problem to be can hardly be lost sight of. Certain determined is, how far the power of qualities are said to belong to certain thought is capable of carrying life in objects; and as the objects have a per- to the recesses of the mind, and mainmanent existence independent of hu- taining it there with the assistance of man habits, they remain always ex the imagination. Even mere reflectant for examination. But the case tion, if sufficiently profound and earis totally different with regard to nest, has its greatness; and, in the mental qualities, which, when they midst of the most monotonous and disappear, leave behind them only the mechanical circle of events, human remembrance of actions afterwards nature is still noble, if it remembers reckoned strange, perhaps, and the re the extent of its own faculties, and sult of barbarous prejudicesmor en confides in its high destination. Edeavour to stamp traces of themselves vents, indeed, are of no importance, if upon literary compositions, which sub- those movements of the mind, which sequent generations may, if they chuse, they should chiefly be valued for proin order to preserve a low self-com- ducing, can take place without them. placency, interpret by a shallow and It is evident, from the position which imputed import quite different from external circumstances are assuming, the real one, or throw aside as dull that it is only by what happens in the

world of thought, that any farther de what partakes so much of the dryness velopment of the human mind can of mere observation. The object of take place. Not that any important poetry should be to express the chardiscoveries are likely to be made in acteristics and tendencies of the difthe fluctuating world of intellectual ferent mental elements, together with speculation and opinion, whose barren their contrasts and collisions, under deductions leave the mind as torpid as shapes, and in events, presenting a they find it.

Warmth and vitality graphical aspect to the imagination. can only be expected from the sphere No doubt verisimilitude would be de of poetry and the arts, whose object is stroyed, if separate characters were to to attain to an exhibition of the e- be invented, and held up as the repreternal relations of thought and senti- sentatives and vehicles, each of a sina ment. But the perceptions which are gle mental propension. This would arrived at in this sphere will depend be to exchange nature for the insipientirely upon what is taken for grant dity of allegory. The very conception ed, or, to speak more correctly, upon of an individual implies the presence what mankind have the strength of of the whole component qualities of soul to feel and to believe ; for here human nature, in whatever propora the suggestions of their own nature tions they may exist. The way to aare the subject of investigation, and if void both allegorical improbability and their nature is silent, or is made so by psycological dryness, would be to renvoluntary obtuseness or levity, no pro- der individuals symbolical of different cess of logic will be able to discover feelings, not so much by the permaany one of its secrets. Of course, po- nent qualities attributed to them, as etry and the arts are here spoken of, by the circumstances in which they not as merely imitative and graphical, were placed, and the relations in which but as the means of approximating to they stood to each other for the time. beauty, and of expressing the truly The studied exhibition of character fine and perfect relations of thought (that is to say, the exhibition of the and sentiment. When all romantic proportions in which qualities are posachievements, and other subjects of sessed by individuals, and of the conpoetry, have vanished from external sequences resulting from their comIife, there still remains for man the bination) has always a tendency to most sublime, pathetic, and inexhaus- lead the mind out of the region of tible of all subjects, namely, the strug- true poetry into that of intellectual gle of evil propensions with the di- scrutiny. The spectacle presented is vine affections in his own mind. The of a mixed nature, which rather exendless variety of outward forms, in cites curiosity and reflection, than ocwhich this fundamental idea may be casions within us any progressive enclothed, affords room for the exercise chantment, or climax of feeling. If of every species of talent, and for the we wish to be filled with the highest expenditure of the brightest, as well as species of enjoyment which poetry can of the most sombre colours of imagi- afford, we must not sit down to invesnation. The number of elementary tigate philosophically the nature of inconceptions that strongly interest us, dividuals, as we would do that of mais much smaller than is generally sup- chines, whose powers we wish to unposed. Their application to different derstand. On the contrary, we must circumstances suffices to produce a think of nothing but the living feelmultiplicity of aspects, which is equal- ings that are drawn out, for the time, ly useful for exemplification and for by the situations in which characters gratifying the fancy. In treating the are placed. It is not here meant to class of subjects above mentioned, the speak of situations that interest by the object of poetry, however, should not vulgar sensation of suspended curiosi. be to express in a literal, or what is ty, but of those which, being unatcalled psycological manner, the rela- tended with doubt, draw their intetions of the different feelings, or to ex rest from the nature of the feelings hibit mechanically their stirrings as which acquire ascendancy in the perthey actually take place. The nature sons placed in them. A situation that of language is at variance with such can inspire only one feeling may still an exhibition, and the imagination re be impressive; but, in contemplating ceives no impulse from it. Even syme it, we experience but a passive sympathy ceases to regard with interest pathy. The highest poetical charm

proceeds from that exultation and en- mixed state, has yet left room for thusiasm which is felt in seeing one others to succeed, in employing that sentiment for its moral beauty prefer- new class of materials which is genered to another, and in the awakening rated by contrasting the divine eleof hope which follows such a choice ments of our nature with the human a hope not connected with events, but ones, and exhibiting their relations with the bias which has been acquir- and respective tendencies a class of od by the feelings. If true dramatic materials upon which imagination will genius ever revives in this country, it find it easier to spread forth pure and will probably accomplish its triumphs brilliant colours, than upon subjects in a different direction from that put- partaking less of the aerial nature of sued by Shakspeare, who, in carrying romance, and more of the hardness to such perfection the drama founded and opaqueness of the produce of obe on character, and on the blind natural servation. impulses of human affections in their



by the natives of Congo, when they The society of Encouragement for Na- learned that Major Peddie came not to tional Industry in France, has granted make war nor to trade.

" What then prizes for various discoveries in the arts come for ? only to take walk and make and sciences, but I wish government, book" or some society of our own country, I do not mean now to lay down a would offer a liberal prize for the best plan for the colonization of Africa, nor mode of colonizing Africa, and for a for opening an extensive commerce meliorating the condition of the inha- with that vast continent, but I would bitants of that vast but little known suggest the propriety of the method continent.

by which the East India Company go A well digested plan for the dis vern their immense territory. I would covery of this continent might be fol- wish to see an African company formlowed by the most desirable events. ed, on an extensive scale, with a large The efforts of the African Association, capital. I am convinced that such a to say the least, have been lamentably company would be of more service to disastrous; little good can be antici- the commerce of this country than the pated from the efforts of solitary or present East India trade, where the scientific travellers, in a country where natives, without being in want of many science is not cultivated, and when the of our manufactures, surpass us in intravellers know little or nothing of the* genuity ; but the Africans, on the general language of Africa, nor of the contrary, are in want of our manufacmanners and dispositions of the na tured goods, and give immense sums tives. A knowledge, therefore, of the for them. African Arabic appears indispensible According to a late author, who has to this great undertaking, and it should given us the + fullest description of seem, that a commercial adventurer is Timbuctoo and its vicinity, a plattimuch more likely to obtain his object lia is there worth 50 Mexico dollars, than a scientific traveller; for this plain or 20 mizans of gold, each mizan be reason, because it is much easier to ing worth two and a half Mexico dolpersuade the Africans, that we travel lars. A piece of Irish linen of ordithrough their country for the purposes nary quality, and measuring 25 yards, of commerce, and its ordinary result, is worth 75 Mexico dollars; and & profit, than to persuade them that we quintal of loaf sugar is worth 100 Mexe are so anxious to ascertain the course ico dollars. of their rivers.

Now, if we investigate the parsimoAccordingly, it was aptly observed nious mode of traversing the desert by

The general language of Africa, is the + See New Supplement to the Encyclo western Arabic; with a knowledge of pædia Britannica, article, Africa, page 98. which language, a traveller may make him * See the account of Timbuctoo, append. self intelligible wherever he may go,

eithered to Jackson's account of Morocco, publishin the negro countries of Sudan, in Egypt, ed by Cadell and Davies, London, chapter Abyssinia, Sahara, or Barbary.


« AnteriorContinuar »