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have carried the poet's ardour into all his objects, and the end he achieves, or assists in achieving, will be patriotic if not poetical. Thus, though he be deprived of making his own verse the record of his fame, there will be time, and history, and nations, to honour it, and give place to the deeds he wrought, and ends he effected, among the events which endure, and which form the impulse and give the material for the exertions of future genius.
As to architecture, Greece had but one Ictinus, and has but one Parthenon; for, however perfect or magnificent her other structures, this individual and this work are the most remarkable monuments of her taste and her grandeur. But how often is it in the career of nations, and more especially in republics, that a Pericles is found, or would be permitted to wield their resources for the execution of such glorious purposes. The age of single domination has gone by; the people and their leaders are to stand on the same level, and with the extension of the principle of democracy, no one man will be able to gain such supremacy as to direct the energies of a people, though the end and the motive may run together, and national reputation rise with, and depend on, the glory of the individual.
England has had but one Wren, and has but one St. Pauls. The vast Gothic piles that remain untouched, and as if in defiance of time, owe their existence to an era of darkness and comparative barbarism. No national sympathy or pride accompanied the erection of structures that have been the admiration of men and ages. And now, no more than then, does there centre in them the enthusiasm and affection that come, when a nation looks on such works as monuments of its glory, and turns to them as proofs of the wealth, taste, and intelligence of their ancestors. No interest of this kind attaches to York or Canterbury. They belong to a period which nations, as they improve in civilization, do not like to contemplate ; for both thought and feeling recoil from the track of the dark ages, and imagination invests them with a gloomy repulsiveness, that grows and deepens as it dwells upon them. Men can only view these noble results of genius as evidence of the subjection of the human spirit—as testimony of the inordinate sway, power, and wealth, of a cold and pompous religion. Even the origin of the order is unknown, and the names of the architects forgotten; all of which shows the inferior condition of the mind of the times, and that the most splendid and perfect performances of art may be executed in the midst of rudeness.
As to painting, what or how many are the truly great names in that art ? and what Raphael, Titian, or Guido, has England produced, or what interest has her government taken in that or any other matter of taste ? France has had her Louvre for
years; while it is only within the last twelve that her great rival has attempted the erection of a national gallery. In natural science and philosophy, the same remarks will apply, though not to the same extent. They both imply leisure and aptitude for their details; for the world is not oftener visited by original genius, in those sciences, than in any other department of intellect. A Locke, a Bacon, or a Davy, are mere accidents in the intellectual world; and are not brought forth by circumstances, or fostered or created by political institutions.
We grant, that where there are great talents, which can be fixed with equal ease on any science, and are without a particular bent, the direction they may take will depend on the state of society, and disposition of the individual ; much, too, on education and early bias, and on the hopes and objects which have been prefigured, and made to excite the ambition.
But great inventive and creative faculties, that are at all times extremely rare, appear to be sent to fill up vacancies and continue the direction and put in motion the course of thought. They may come at any time, and under a despotism or a republic; though of course the extent of their labours will depend much on the facilities and encouragement accorded to them; not that they will give up the thing they love, or surrender their powers to unpropitious circumstances, but that they have no means of execution, and cannot combat at once against the character of the age and poverty of materials. It is in this way that their conceptions run far beyond what they can effect, and go beyond the spirit and the condition of the era in which they live, so that their exertions and their thoughts fall to posterity, and require the toil of centuries to be fully wrought out. There seems no reason, then, why this country should not produce some great genius in those departments as well as other countries, unless it be, that American mind is to differ from all other, or that American institutions have thrown back the progress of intellect, or caused it to deteriorate. It is perhaps true, that where talents are of a high order, but without any particular inclination, they will not take to the fine arts or to science. We
agree, that so far as this is the case, circumstances impede our intellectual improvement; for it is a fact, that for the present, our social habits and political condition do not encourage energetic and persevering exertion in pursuits whose cultivation requires leisure and fortune, or great patronage. But is it not the same, even to its extreme, in the land of those who charge us with these defects? Are there not at this moment, artists, authors, and men of science, neglected and poor-not those only, who have had no opportunities of distinction, but men whom all the world knows and respects? Who is the president of the Royal Society? A man distinguished for his
scientific literary attainments, or in the remotest degree a fit successor to Davy,--and why was a prince of the blood preferred to the first astronomer of the times ? England has very little to say for herself, as to the patronage of her government or aristocracy, of men who would have done honour to her, though the meagre award of a pension has at times dishonoured those who offered it, and mortified those who accepted it, in the open acknowledgment of their necessities. On the continent, men of science and literature are in the service of the state ; their governments aid and employ them, and reflect dignity on themselves by attaching to their service such names as Cuvier, Humboldt, and Niebuhr. It is not that there are no such men. in England, but that reputation alone is not, in that country, sufficient to bear up against aristocratic influence and political corruption. All governments must have their tools, and with none are these more necessary than with one which has to resist a strong opposition, and at the same time to shelter and preserve itself against the suspicions of the people. In all free nations, moreover, there must be individual popularity to acquire notice and importance, as power is with the mass and not with the government, and the man must represent popular sentiment or some division of it, and popular opinion strongly back the man, to bring his claims before those who fear him, or wish to make use of him. And men of science and literature are at no time very likely to be what is called popular. Their influence will be with the minds of men and not with their interests or passions; they can therefore be employed by governments that feel themselves safe and established, and when their usefulness in their pursuits is not diminished by the toils and cares of office; but are far less likely to be brought forward, or even if they should be, to be useful to those which require the ready and unprincipled partisan, the man who is willing to hazard his integrity to serve his ambition, and become the instrument of others, to secure his narrow, base, and selfish designs.
In all free nations there is a strong political direction with the minds of all, that leads them to overlook the things that have no immediate interest. There must be leisure as well as taste, to feel and assist the nobler and higher arts, and among a people who are busy in examining the movements of their political machine, and looking to the conduct of those to whom they have entrusted their interests and liberties, there can be no general admiration for that which is purely intellectual. Besides, public opinion exacts from all their share of labour in the common cause ; and there is an appearance of idleness and indifference in not acting up to this expectation, and of arrogance in attempting to resist it. This is the case in England, as well as here, except that there a large capital concentrates wealth and
intelligence, and keep up a strong social stimulus, by which genius is brought out and cherished.
With this exception, notwithstanding her age, her universities, and the refinement these should introduce, England is behind other countries in her patronage of science and learning. Her aristocracy have been engaged in their pleasures, the turf, the ring, and the gaming table, and in gaining power to put forward family connections; and now, to all apppearance, they are deeply occupied in the struggle for their existence. Her country gentry are removed from the influence of such matters,—all other classes are too poor or too ignorant to be useful. The causes that act on a country so far advanced in civilization should and do affect us in a greater degree. Without a class with great wealth and cultivated minds, without a capital to bring together the adventurer and his patron—to excite emulation by incessant collision, and give to all the chance of supplying their wants; it is true that we have no means of inspiring a constant and persevering zeal in pursuits which require long and strong mental exertion, and we cannot foster genius by administering to its necessities, or keep up its energies by cheering and aiding its endeavours, or by the intercourse and conversation of congenial minds. We confess there is but little to keep alive the fire of intellect, and prevent it from flickering and sinking;-but little of encouragement that upholds it in exhaustion and disappointment, and saves the spirit from growing tare with its own despair,--little by which the intellectual character of the country may be raised,--save through that intense desire of reputation that belongs to the higher order of minds, but which wears itself out or grows cold without some genial influence or some warmth of sympathy. It is indeed true, to a great extent, that those who have the ambition and the ability to gain distinction in literature or science, find their aspirations checked by the apathy with which their endeavours are received. They are even sensible of more than this negative sort of reproof, for they feel there is something approaching contempt cast on pursuits which show no taste or talent for, and are removed from, the active habits of business. It is not that there is no appreciation of the labours of such men, but that general neglect and indifference bring the same result as if there were none. Of what importance or utility can he be, what influence can he gain, who has the hardihood to divide himself from all the stirring interests of the community in which he lives, and devote himself to the retired though exhausting exertions of his closet ? He is a drone mid the vigour and life around him; he stands alone in the hum and bustle of thriving multitudes; he attracts no attention, because he asks no favour, because he is not mingled with the sordid and selfish mass about him, because VOL. XX-NO. 40.
he is independent of their interests, their reverses, or their prosperity. In this way, from this social chill, that benumbs his feelings from want of sympathy, of congenial intercourse, of active collision with superior or equal minds, the deeper powers of the soul are unfelt; and to shelter himself from the solitude of his condition, he is compelled to a course of life that opposes the current of his desires, in which success gives no pleasure, opposition rouses no energy, and ill-fortune destroys no hope.
This, though an unhappy, is a natural state of things; and the causes are as direct as any that ever control the movements and affairs of nations. Our politics and our poverty are the chief-with the powerful influence they hold, and the direction they give to the talents and ambition of individuals. Constant political excitement encourages with all the hopes of political elevation; and no one will lead the wearing life of a profession, with its distant rewards, when he can at once secure some consideration and repute by being the leader, or among the leaders, of a party.
With the presumption, the excusable presumption, of a young man, the hazards and struggles, with the precarious honours, and their short-lived bloom, that attach to a public career, are no impediment; and if, in after life, he should find that the fame he has gained is not worth the toil it has cost, he will find, too, that it is too late to change the direction of his tastes; that the tone of his mind has been affected, and the character of his thoughts lowered, by the attempt to seek and accommodate himself to the illusions and low arts of popularity.
In this as in all comniercial countries, until there is a large body who do not make the pursuit of wealth their main object, most things will be measured by the standard of their usefulness, and intellect among the rest: for it will be valued not according to its degree, but by what it can produce; and genius must submit to being gauged as if it were a mercantile commodity. But mere utility, the submitting every thing to the test of the “cui bono," is a very cold, narrow, and withering limit to the faculties of man, and is far too base an object to excite the more generous feelings, or the more powerful energies of the mind. Besides, are we to confine it to the gaining and adding to those things which belong solely to the comforts and enjoyments of life? Is there nothing beyond? Is there not a spiritual as well as a material utility ? For what is religion, and the glorious anticipations it places before us ? or what is philosophy and its various departments ? and who, that can appreciate and fully enjoy them, would surrender the happiness they create? Or who would forego those deep sources of contemplation that exhaust thought and overpower mind in their extent, yet add to its compass, and elevate its capacity? Yet,