« 前へ次へ »
tains, nor the Dryads our woods. The River | ancholy reflection to those who deem the liteGods no longer rise, like old father Thames, rary fame of the present age the best gift to
posterity. How many of our proudest geniuses * And the hush'd waves glido softly to the shore." have written, and continue to write, with a
swiftness which almost rivals the operations of In these respects our poetry is more true to the press. How many are urged on to the ruin nature, and more conformable to just taste. But of their immortal hopes, by that public favor it still insists too much on extravagant events, which receives with acclamations every new characters and passions, far removed from com- offspring of their pen. If Milton had written mon life, and farther removed from general thus, we should have found no scholar of our sympathy. It seeks to be wild, and fiery, and day, no “Christian Examiner," portraying the startling; and sometimes, in its caprices, low glory of his character with the enthusiasm of a and childish. It portrays natural scenery, as if kindred spirit. If Pope had written thus, we it were always in violent commotion. It de- should have had no fierce contests respecting scribes human emotions, as if man were always his genius and poetical attainments by our Byin ecstacies or horrors. Whoever writes for rons, and Bowleses, and Roscoes. If Virgil future ages must found himself upon feelings had written thus, he might have chanted his and sentiments belonging to the mass of man- verses to the courtly Augustus; but Marcellus kind. Whoever paints from nature will rarely and his story would have perished. If Horace depart from the general character of repose im- had written thus, he might have enchanted gay pressed upon her scenery, and will prefer truth friends and social parties; but it would never to the ideal sketches of the imagination. have been said of his composition, “decies re
Our prose too has a tendency to become petita placebit.” somewhat too ambitious and intense. Even in Such are some of the considerations which newspaper dicussions of the merits or misdeeds have appeared to me fit to be addressed to yon of rulers, there is a secret dread of neglect, un-on the present occasion. It may be that I have less the page gives out the sententious pungency overrated their importance, and I am not unor sarcastic scorn of Junius. Familiar, idio- conscious of the imperfections of my own exematic prose seems less attractive than in former cution of the task. times." Yet one would suppose, that we might To us, Americans, nothing indeed can, or follow with safety the unaffected purity of Ad- ought to be, indifferent that respects the cause dison in criticism, and the graceful ease of Gold- of science and literature. We have taken a smith in narrative. The neat and lively style stand among the nations of the earth, and have of Swift loses nothing of its force by the sim- successfully asserted our claim to political equalplicity with which it aims to put “proper words | ity. We possess an enviable elevation, so far in proper places." The correspondence of as concerns the structure of our government, Cowper is not less engaging, because it utters our political policy, and the moral energy of our no cant phrases, no sparkling conceits, and no institutions. If we are not without rivals in pointed repartees.
these respects, we are scarcely behind any, even But these faults may be considered as tempo- | in the general estimate of foreign nations themrary, and are far from universal. There is an- selves. But our claims are far more extensive. other, however, which is more serious and im- We assert an equality of voice and vote in the portant in its character, and is the common republic of letters, and assume for ourselves accompaniment of success. It is the strong the right to decide on the merits of others, as temptation of distinguished authors to prema- well as to vindicate our own. These are lofty ture publication of their labors, to hasty and pretensions, which are never conceded without unfinished sketches, to fervid but unequal ef- proofs, and are severely scrutinized, and slowly forts. He who writes for immortality must admitted by the grave judges in the tribunal of write slowly, and correct freely. It is not the letters. We have not placed ourselves as humapplause of the present day, or the deep interest ble aspirants, seeking our way to higher reof a temporary topic, or the consciousness of wards under the guardianship of experienced great powers, or the striking off of a vigorous guides. We ask admission into the temple of discourse, which will insure a favorable verdict fame, as joint heirs of the inheritance, capable from posterity. It was a beautiful remark of in the manhood of our strength of maintaining Sir Joshua Reynolds “that great works, which our title. We contend for prizes with nations, are to live and stand the criticism of posterity, whose intellectual glory has received the homare not performed at a heat.” “I remember," age of centuries, France, Italy, Germany, Eng. said he, when I was at Rome, looking at the land, can point to the past for monuments of fighting gladiator in company with an eminent their genius and skill, and to the present with sculptor, and I expressed my admiration of the the undismayed confidence of veterans. It is skill with which the whole is composed, and not for us to retire from the ground which we the minute attention of the artist to the change have chosen to occupy, nor to shut our eyes of every muscle in that momentary exertion of against the difficulties of maintaining it. It is strength. He was of opinion that a work so not by a few vain boasts, or vainer self-complaperfect required nearly the whole life of man to cency, or rash daring, that we are to win our perform." What an admonition! What a mel- | way to the first literary distinction. We must do as others have done before us. We must of Europe. I do not ask if we have historians serve in the hard school of discipline; we must who have told with fidelity and force the story invigorate our powers by the studies of other of our deeds and our sufferings. I do not ask times. We must guide our footsteps by those if we have critics, and poets, and philologists, stars which have shone, and still continue to whose compositions add lustre to the age. I shine with inextinguishable light in the firma- | know full well that there are such. But they ment of learning. Nor have we any reason for stand as lighthouses on the coasts of our literadespondency. There is that in American char- ture, shining with a cheering brightness, it is acter which has never yet been found unequal true, but too often at distressing distances. to its purpose. There is that in American en- In almost every department of knowledge the terprise which shrinks not, and faints not, and land of our ancestors annually pours forth from fails not in its labors. We may say with honest its press many volumes, the results of deep repride,
search, of refined taste, and of rich and various
learning. The continent of Europe too burns “ Man is the nobler growth our realms supply,
with a generous zeal for science, even in counAnd souls are ripen'd in our northern sky."
tries where the free exercise of thought is pro- , We may not then shrink from a rigorous ex- hib: "ed, and a stinted poverty presses heavily amination of our own deficiencies in science and on the soul of enterprise. Our own contribuliterature. If we have but a just sense of our tions to literature are useful and creditable; wants, we have gained half the victory. If we but it can rarely be said that they belong to the but face our difficulties, they will fly before us. highest class of intellectual effort. We have Let us not discredit our just honors by exag- but recently entered upon classical learning for gerating little attainments. There are those in the purpose of cultivating its most profound other countries who can keenly search out and studies, while Europe may boast of thousands boldly expose every false pretension. There of scholars engaged in this pursuit. The uniare those in our own country who would scorn versities of Cambridge and Oxford count more a reputation ill founded in fact, and ill sustained than eight thousand students trimming their by examples. We have solid claims upon the classical lamps, while we have not a single uniaffection and respect of mankind. Let us not versity, whose studies profess to be extensive jeopard them by a false shame or an ostenta- enough to educate a Heyne, a Bentley, a Portious pride. The growth of two hundred years son, or a Parr. There is not, perhaps, a single is healthy, lofty, expansive. The roots have library in America sufficiently copious to have shot deep and far; the branches are strong and enabled Gibbon to verify the authorities for his broad. I trust that many, many centuries to immortal History of the Decline and Fall of the come will witness the increase and vigor of the Roman Empire. Our advances in divinity and stock. Never, never may any of our posterity law are probably as great as in any branch of have just occasion to speak of our country in knowledge. Yet, until a late period, we never the expressiveness of Indian rhetoric, “ It is an aspired to a deep and critical exposition of the aged hemlock; it is dead at the top."
Scriptures. We borrowed from Germany and I repeat it, we have no reason to blush for England nearly all our materials, and are just what we have been or what we are. But we struggling for the higher rewards of biblical shall have much to blush for, if, when the high- learning. And in law, where our eminence is est attainments of the human intellect are within least of all questionable, there are those among our reach, we surrender ourselves to an obsti- us who feel that sufficient of its learning, and nate indifference, or shallow mediocrity; if, in argument, and philosophy, remains unmastered, our literary career, we are content to rank be- to excite the ambition of the foremost advohind the meanest principality of Europe. Letcates. us not waste our time in seeking for apologies Let me not be misunderstood. I advert to these. for our ignorance where it exists, or in framing considerations, not to disparage our country, or excuses to conceal it. Let our short reply to its institutions, or its means of extensive, I had all such suggestions be, like the answer of a almost said, of universal education. But we noble youth on another occasion, that we know should not deceive ourselves with the notion, the fact, and are every day getting the better that, because education is liberally provided of it.
for, the highest learning is within the scope of What, then, may I be permitted to ask, are that education. Our schools neither aim at, our attainments in science and literature, in nor accomplish such objects. There is not a comparison with those of other nations in our more dangerous error than that which would age? I do not ask if we have fine scholars, ac- soothe us into indolence, by encouraging the becomplished divines, and skilful physicians. I lief that our literature is all it can or ought to do not ask if we have lawyers who might ex- be; that all beyond is shadowy and unsubstancite a generous rivalry in Westminster Hall. I tial, the vain theories of the scientific, or the do not ask if we have statesmen who would reveries of mere scholars. The admonition stand side by side with those of the old world which addresses itself to my countrymen rein foresight, in political wisdom, in effective de- specting their deficiencies, ought to awaken bate. I do not ask if we have mathematicians new energy to overcome them. They are acwho may claim kindred with the distinguished customed to grapple with difficulties. They
should hold nothing, which human genius or reposited more durably in universal remem human enterprise has yet attained, as beyond brance, than on their own tomb." their reach. The motto on their literary ban- Such is the lot of Adams and Jefferson. ner should be “Nec timeo nec sperno." I have | They have lived, not for themselves, but for no fears for the future. It may not be our lot their country; not for their country alone, but to see our celebrity in letters rival that of our for the world. They belong to history, as farpublic polity and free institutions. But the nishing some of the best examples of disintertime cannot be far distant. It is scarcely pro- ested and successful patriotism. They belong phecy to declare, that our children must and to posterity, as the instructors of all future ages will enjoy it. They will see not merely the in the principles of rational liberty and the breathing marble, and the speaking picture rights of the people. They belong to us of the among their arts, but science and learning | present age by their glory, by their virtues, and everywhere paying a voluntary homage to by their achievements. These are memorials American genius.
which can never perish. They will brighten There is, indeed, enough in our past history with the lapse of time, and, as they loom on to flatter our pride, and encourage our exer the ocean of eternity, will seem present to the tions. We are of the lineage of the Saxons, most distant generations of men. That voice the countrymen of Bacon, Locke, and Newton, of more thaz Roman eloquence, which urged as well as of Washington, Franklin, and Fulton. and sustained the Declaration of Independence, We have read the history of our forefathers. that voice, whose first and whose last accents They were men full of piety, and zeal, and an were for his country, is indeed mute. It will unconquerable love of liberty. They also loved never again rise in defence of the weak against human learning, and deemed it second only to popular excitement, and vindicate the majesty divine. Here, on this very spot, in the bosom of law and justice. It will never again awaken of the wilderness, within ten short years after a nation to arms to assert its liberties. It their voluntary exile, in the midst of cares, and will never again instruct the public councils privations, and sufferings, they found time to by its wisdom. It will never again atter its rear a little school, and dedicate it to God and almost oracolar thoughts in philosophical rethe church. It has grown; it has flourished ; tirement. It will never again pour out its it is the venerable university, to whose walls strains of parental affection, and in the domesher grateful children annually come with more tic circle give new force and fervor to the conthan filial affection. The sons of such ances- solations of religion. The hand, too, which tors can never dishonor their memories; the inscribed the Declaration of Independence is pupils of guch schools can never be indiffer- indeed laid low. The weary head reposes on ent to the cause of letters.
its mother earth. The mountain winds sweep There is yet more in our present circum- by the narrow tomb, and all around has the stances to inspire us with a wholesome con- loneliness of desolation. The stranger guest sciousness of our powers and our destiny. We may no longer visit that hospitable home, and have just passed the Jubilee of our Independ- find him there, whose classical taste and various ence, and witnessed the prayers and gratitude conversation lent a charm to every leisure of millions ascending to heaven for our public hour; whose bland manners and social simand private blessings. That independence was plicity made every welcome doubly dear; whose the achievement, not of faction and ignorance, expansive mind commanded the range of albut of hearts as pure, and minds as enlightened, most every art and science; whose political and judgments as sound, as ever graced the sagacity, like that of his illustrious coadjutor, annals of mankind. Among the leaders were read the fate and interests of nations, as with statesmen and scholars, as well as heroes and a second sight, and scented the first breath of patriots. We have followed many of them to tyranny in the passing gale; whose love of the tomb, blest with the honors of their coun- liberty, like his, was inflexible, universal, sutry. We have been privileged yet more; we preme; whose devotion to their common connhave lived to witness an almost miraculous try, like his, never faltered in the worst, and event in the departure of two great authors of never wearied in the best of times; whose our independence on that memorable and public servicos ended but with life, carrying blessed day of jubilee.
the long line of their illumination over sixty I may not in this place presume to pronounce years; whose last thoughts exhibited the ruling the funeral panegyric of these extraordinary passion of his heart, enthusiasm in the cause of men. It has been already done by some of the education; whose last breathing committed his master spirits of our country, by men worthy soul to God, and his offspring to his country. of the task, worthy as Pericles to pronounce Yes, Adams and Jefferson are gone from us the honors of the Athenian dead. It was the forever gone, as a sunbeam to revisit its nativo beautiful saying of the Grecian orator, that skies-gone, as this mortal to put on immor “This whole earth is the sepulchre of illus- tality. Of them, of each of them, every Ametrious men, Nor is it the inscriptions on the rican may exclaim: columns in their native soil alone, that show their merit, but the memorial of them, better "Ne'er to the chambers, where the mighty rest, than all inscriptions, in every foreign nation, Since their foundation, came a nobler guest,
Nor e'er was to the bowers of bliss convey'd of antiquity; their old age was cheered by its A fairer spirit, or more welcome shade.”
delightful reminiscences. To them belongs the We may not mourn over the departure of fine panegyric of Cicero, “Erant in eis plurimæ such men. We should rather hail it as a kind | litteræ, nec ex vulgares, sed interiores quædam, dispensation of Providence, to affect our hearts et reconditæ; divina memoria, summa verborum with new and livelier gratitude. They were
et gravitas et elegantia; atque hæc omnia vitæ not cut off in the blossom of their days, while decorabat dignitas et integritas.” yet the vigor of manhood flushed their cheeks, I will ask your indulgence only for a moment and the harvest of glory was upgathered. They longer. Since our last anniversary, death has fell not as martyrs fall, seeing only in dim per
been annually busy in thinning our numbers. tive the salvation of their conntry. They I may not look on the right, or the left, withlived to enjoy the blessings earned by their out missing some of those who stood by my labors, and to realize all which their fondest side in my academic course, in the happy days hopes had desired. The infirmities of life stole spent within yonder venerable walls. slowly and silently upon them, leaving still be
" These are counsellors, that feelingly perhind a cheerful serenity of mind. In peace, in the bosom of domestic affection, in the hallowed / Shaw and Salisbury are no more. The one, reverence of their countrymen, in the full pos
whose modest worth and ingenuous virtue session of their faculties, they wore out the last adorned a spotless life; the other, whose social remains of life, without a fear to cloud, with
kindness and love of letters made him welcome scarcely a sorrow to disturb its close. The joy
in every circle. But, what shall I say of Haven, ful day of our jubilee came over them with its
with whom died a thousand hopes, not of his refreshing influence. To them, indeed, it was
friends and family alone, but of his country. “a great and good day.” The morning sun
Nature had given him a strong and brilliant shone with softened lustre on their closing eyes. genius; and it was chastened and invigorated by Its evening beams played lightly on their brows, grave, as well as elegant studies. Whatever becalm in all the dignity of death. Their spirits longed to human manners and pursuits, to human escaped from these frail tenements without a
interests and feelings, to government, or science, struggle or a groan. Their death was gentle as
or literature, he endeavored to master with a an infant's sleep. It was a long, lingering twi- scholar's diligence and taste. Few men have light, melting into the softest shade.
read so much or so well. Few have united such Fortunate men, so to have lived, and so to / manly sense with such attractive modesty. His have died. Fortunate, to have gone hand in thoughts and his style, his writings and his achand in the deeds of the Revolution. Fortu- tions, were governed by a judgment, in which Date, in the generous rivalry of middle life. energy was combined with candor, and benevoFortunate, in deserving and receiving the high-lence with deep, unobtrusive, and servid piety. est honors of their country. Fortunate in old His character may be summed up in a single age to have rekindled their ancient friendship | line, for there with a holier flame. Fortunate, to have passed
" was given through the dark valley of the shadow of death
To Haven every virtue under Heaven.” together. Fortunate, to be indissolubly united in the memory and affections of their country. He had just arrived at the point of his profesmen. Fortunate, above all, in an immortality sional career, in which skill and learning begin of virtuous fame, on which history may with to reap their proper reward. He was in possevere simplicity write the dying encomium of session of the principal blessings of life-of forPericles, "No citizen, through their means, ever tune, of domestic love, of universal respect. put on mourning."
There are those who had fondly hoped, when I may not dwell on this theme. It has come they should have passed away, he might be over my thoughts, and I could not wholly sup- found here to pay a humble tribute to their press the utterance of them. It was my prin-memory. To Providenco it has seemed fit to cipal intention to hold them up to my country- order otherwise, that it might teach us “what men, not as statesmen and patriots, but as shadows we are, and what shadows we pursue." scholars, as lovers of literature, as eminent ex- We may not mourn over such a loss, as those amples of the excellence of the union of ancient who are without hope. That life is not too learning with modern philosophy. Their youth short which has accomplished its highest deswas disciplined in classical studies; their active tiny; that spirit may not linger here, which is life was instructed by the prescriptive wisdom purified for immortality.
THE AMERICAN INDIANS.
There is, indeed, in the fate of these unfortu- 1 But where are they? Where are the vilDate beings, much to awaken our sympathy, lages, and warriors, and youth; the sachers and much to disturb the sobriety of our judge and the tribes; the hunters and their families ? ment; much, which may be urged to excuse They have perished. They are consumed. The their own atrocities; much in their characters, wasting pestilence has not alone done the mighty which betrays us into an involuntary admira- work. No-nor famine, nor war. There has tion. What can be more melancholy than their been a mightier power, a moral canker, which history?. By a law of their nature, they seem hath eaten into their heart-cores-a plague, destined to a slow, but sure extinction. Every which the touch of the white man communiwhere, at the approach of the white man, they cated-a poison which betrayed them into a fade away. We hear the rustling of their foot- lingering ruin. The winds of the Atlantic fan steps, like that of the withered leaves of au- not a single region which they may now call tumn, and they are gone for ever. They pass their own. Already the last feeble remnants mournfully by us, and they return no more. of the race are preparing for their journey beTwo centuries ago, the smoke of their wigwams yond the Mississippi. I see them leave their and the fires of their councils rose in every val- miserable homes, the aged, the helpless, the ley, from Hudson's Bay to the farthest Florida, women and the warriors, “few and faint, yet from the ocean to the Mississippi and the lakes. fearless still.” The ashes are cold on their naThe shouts of victory and the war-dance rang tive hearths. The smoke no longer curls round through the mountains and the glades. The their lowly cabins. They move on with a slow, thick arrows and the deadly tomahawk whistled unsteady step. The white man is upon their throngh the forests; and the hunter's trace and heels, for terror or despatch; but they heed the dark encampment startled the wild beasts him not. They turn to take a last look of their in their lairs. The warriors stood forth in their deserted villages. They cast a last glance upon glory. The young listened to the songs of other the graves of their fathers. They shed no tears; days. The mothers played with their infants, they utter no cries; they heave po groans. and gazed on the scene with warm hopes of the There is something in their hearts which passes future. The aged sat down; but they wept speech. There is something in their looks, not not. They should soon be at rest in fairer of vengeance or submission, but of hard necesregions, where the Great Spirit dwelt, in a sity, which stifles both; which chokes all utterhome prepared for the brave, beyond the west- ance; which has no aim or method. It is ern skies. Braver men never lived; truer men courage absorbed in despair. They linger but never drew the bow. They had courage, and for a moment. Their look is onward. They fortitude, and sagacity, and perseverance, be- have passed the fatal stream. It shall never be yond most of the human race. They shrank repassed by them-no, never. Yet there lies from no dangers, and they feared no hardships. not between us and then an impassable gulf. If they had the vices of savage life, they had | They know and feel that there is for them still the virtues also. They were true to their coun-one remove farther, not distant nor unseen. It try, their friends, and their homes. If they for- is to the general burial-ground of their race.* gave not injury, neither did they forget kind- | ness. If their vengeance was terrible, their • From the Discourse pronounced at the request of the fidelity and generosity were unconquerable Essex Historical Society, in commemoration of the first set also. Their love, like their hate, stopped not tlement of Salem, Mass. on this side of the grave.