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Sketches and Riportes
ALTHOUGH we have the feelings of a parent fot the publication before us, yet it may be proper to declare to the world, that it is not indebted to us for its birth, nor was it born in our house. We knew neither its father nor mother, nor hardly of its existence, until, naked, hungry, and helpless, it was brought and laid at our door. Pity for its orphan state bade us, for the moment, give it shelter and nourishment. In proportion as it engaged our care it won our affections. We began to provide for its maintenance ; and what we were unable to afford ourselves was supplied by the contributions of charity. It seemed grateful for the care of its patrons, and tried to reward our beneficence by its smiles and prattle. The older it grew the more it was caressed. We carried it into the parlours of our friends, who, praising it as a child of beauty and promise, predicted its eminence in the world.
Whether these predictions will be verified, agreeably to our desires, is a matter of uncertainty. We still guard our infant hope ; and present appearances are very favourable. It is extremely docile ; and we have no doubt, under good management, of his being every thing we could wish. We continue to solicit for him the various bounties, which are usually bestowed on children of his condition and merits. We are daily introducing him to the acquaintance of the wise and good, and laying plans to give him an excellent education. It is our intention to have him instructed in several ancient and modern languages, matriculated in two or three universities, and versed in almost every art and science. He shall be associated with all our learned and humane societies, and made a corresponding member of some very respectable institutions abroad. To the advantages of a home education he shall enjoy privileges from travelling. He shall inspect the colleges, hospitals, and armies of Vol 1.
Europe, take now and then a peep into the cabinets of princes, and get a general acquaintance with the great affairs of the po. litical world.
Though we have principally in view his literary and scientifick attainments, we purpose that he shall not be destitute of the manners of a gentleman, nor a stranger to genteel amusements. He shall attend Theatres...Museums... Assemblies... Balls, &c. and whatever polite diversions the town may furnish ; so that whilst he is familiar with the lore of books and the wisdom of sages, his dress and conversation shall borrow mode and graces of the most polished circles in society.
The grand object of giving to our charge these expensive advantages, is to make him extensively and permanently useful. Having neither patrimony nor wealthy connexions, he will be obliged to gain reputation by continual exertion of talent, and we feel confident, that he will choose rather to lead a beneficent than luxurious life, and that he will be a literary man of Ross, who shall not uselessly hoard up learning with closed lips, but daily expend it in feeding tlie ignorant with the bread of knowledge. Happy that opportunities of doing good are not confined to possessors of silver and gold, he every month will bring to the publick tlie best offering in his power. If unable at present to rear oaks for our navy, and repair breaches in the walls of national defence, he can yet cherish a new plant for the botanist, and occasionally tender a bouquet of indigenous flowers to the bosom of love. If he should be unable to mend the constitution of our country, or save it from ruin, he may yet mend the morals of a private citizen, and can at least engage in the more
Delightful task! to rear the tender thought,
And fix the generous purpose in the glowing breast. Indeed it will be strange if the being, whom we shall have thus assiduously formed, may not mix in good company with as high pretensions, as any person of his pursuits in the United States. As he acquires age and importance there. fore, and as long as we retain our parental influence, we venture to promise, that he shall often reveal his knowledge of natural history and philosophy, of logick and theology, mathematicks and poetry, of law and medicine. As his very liberal education will peculiarly fit him for the task, he shall read and review the most important literary productions of our country, and candidly give his opinion of their worth. He will take an exact note of the works of literature....the progress of the arts.... and the state of publick concerns; and be so far a politician, as to be a judicious biographer of the great, and a persecutor of the ambitious. Versatile, without being unprincipled, he will sometimes visit the hall of Congress....record doings of state legislatures....follow the field preacher with the fanatical....attend ordinations, weddings, and funerals....gaze at the stars....keep a diary of the weather....observe whatever is worth observation....relate clearly what he hears, testify boldly what he knows....now open his mouth in parables...now in proverbs...and speak of beasts, fowls, fishes, reptiles, and “ of trees, from the cedar tree that is in Lebanon, even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall.” He will, in fine, traffick with the merchant....contrive with the artisan....plough lands with the farmer....seas with the sailor.... make songs with the lover....LET NO FLOWER OF THE SPRING PASS BY HIM, AND CROWN HIMSELF WITH ROSE-BUDS BEFORE THEY BE WITHERED.
With these abilities, accomplishments, and expectations, we cannot but wish, among other good wishes of the season, that he may far exceed any of his numerous predecessors in blessings and longevity, though some of them thought they “ died in a good old age”*....that his days may be the days of Methuselah.... that his long life may be occupied in upholding truth, reason, and benevolence....diffusing principles of just taste....exciting the emulation of youthful genius....calling away the student from questions which gender strife to contemplations on the works of nature....stimulating the finished scholar to explore new tracts in the regions of science....and, in publishing all that diversity of intelligence, for obtaining which a character of this sort has long been desired, and in whose absence
Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
• See Preface to the 8th and last Vole of the Massechusetts Magazine.