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what are these when brought to the measure of their utility ? How do they bear on the general pursuits of men ? And how can their loftier objects stand in the balance with the sordid desires, low aims, and confined wishes of the mass of men, all whose feelings are interested in forwarding their fortunes, and passions excited in the struggle of selfish success, and who seldom raise their thoughts above the meagre meanness of their hopes, unless in moments of disappointment? When there is an ebb in the current of success, and the feelings flow back upon themselves, the mind recoils from difficulty, and fortune looks haggard. This narrow measure, too, levels too far all intellectual distinctions, and places the lower arts on an equality with the higher; throwing the humble and the aspiring together, and bringing into constant connection things whose real tendencies are entirely opposite. This seems to be a necessary consequence, where the many and not the few are to judge of and decide upon the merits of individuals; the many, who rise no farther than the bare limits of their wants, instead of the few, who feel there is something beyond.
It does, no doubt, however, require both cultivation and elevation of mind to discover the difference and distinguish between the useful and the great. The one comes with a knowledge of one's self; the smallness and humility of one's desires and hopes; with the ignorance and want of understanding of those enlarged conceptions that dignify and exalt human nature. The idea of what is great implies the existence of an intellect that has studied and improved itself so far as to lament its deficiencies—to regret, perhaps exaggerate, its wants—and from this consciousness of the narrow bounds of its powers, and this assurance of its imperfections, gathers the love and admiration of that which is more perfect. But this is a degree of improvement that can be attained only by a few; and, in all countries, must comprise a very small portion of the sources of habitual thought and ordinary action. But here it is the mass who rule, while the more improved and better educated lie beneath the surface of society, like pebbles beneath the ocean, and over whom the vast billows of the majority roll resistlessly, if not contemptuously. They can exert only a distant, though it may be an efficient, moral power; for, though rejected as useless, and as adding nothing to man's material existence, they still exact respect from those who neglect them. They are, in a remote degree, the centres of action as they are the centres of thought, and thence the sources of opinion. But the influence, gathered in this way, may still be very feeble; for, unless men's minds al harassed by the apparent approach of a crisis, and they are made cowards by danger, and are thus thrown back on the resources of the more reflecting and intellectual, who are
less liable to passing excitements, more will depend on the popularity of the opinion than on its excellence. Its circulation will be the consequence of the number it pleases, and not of its truth or intrinsic value.
If this be true, and such are the circumstances of our country; if it be, that, in a republic, where the will of the majority is paramount---all submits to the pleasure, and all tends and is meant for the happiness of the greater number—that the useful forms the sole idea of the great, then what are our chances of forming a national character, founded on the love of glory or virtue, or of establishing institutions that shall not only call forth but appreciate and make use of the highest order of minds? It may be true, and probably is, that the genius of the individual is influenced, though not directed, by his own circumstances, or those of the society in which he lives.
We have declared that there is an inward impulse, expressive, to all appearance, of a resistless power, which stimulates the will of him who possesses it to pursue, to their fullest extent, his inclinations. Still, it is very possible to curb if not crush this disposition; to drive it into other channels; to make it exhaust itself in unavailing efforts, where volition is a painful exertion, and not a pleasurable exercise; and, in this way, many, who might be pre-eminent in the career of intellect, are made to drop to the level of inferiors; to feel their powers ebb in the direction of the ordinary and commonplace; and at length forced to struggle amidst difficulties that are created by their contempt, loss of energy, and want of ambition. The individual mind is generally the type of the national, and where this is of a common cast, and the society which it governs receives coldly, or does not appreciate, the higher exercise of talent in literature, the fine arts, or science, then, greatness not being appreciated, nothing great will be attempted.
There is something in this view that staggers the fondness of one's hopes; but as there are excellent causes for the condition, and they have their remedies, there is still room for confidence and consolation; and more especially when it is remembered, that however discouraging are the immediate influences, still men's talents are developed according to their opportunities, and that the industry with which they exert them, and their direction, are in proportion to the character and quantity of their wants. The improvement and the change in this state of things, will come with the increase of wealth, and the influence of more thorough education.
It may be true that our citizens in general do not receive the same fundamental instruction as in older countries, and that they are in consequence more superficial; and yet they receive all that their circumstances will admit, and all that is necessary to
fit them for the active business of life, for which much the larger portion are intended. It is not easy to point out the degree of culture an individual or a nation may attain or require; but it is sufficiently evident that the education usually acquired here is imperfect and insufficient, as all reposes on the intelligence of the mass,--the fate, the character, and the influence of our institutions. The more this is developed, the greater chance is there for the greatness of our people, and the permanence of our government. Our first and greatest defect, from causes that are obvious, is the want of discipline,--and thence comes the want of selfcontrol and habit of submission and subordination,--and thence self-conceit, and pride of opinion, and rash and immature decision on matters which require thought; and as a necessary result from the low standard of intellect, to which the ignorant and unformed judgments of men have attached their admiration, an undue applause and approbation, not of the truly great, but of the ordinary, who are elevated to that rank. The danger of this in a popular government is obvious, as by it individuals of common capacity are wrought by the popular favour they have the art to gain, into models of excellence and superiority; and where, as here, there is a constant shifting of sentiment, men, who have cunning and plausibility to meet these currents and rise upon their tide, are likely to outwit and put aside those who adhere to principle and look to the interests of the country rather than to their own, and who are honest enough to sacrifice personal ambition to their conscience and their honour.
It will never, of course, be possible to give equal education to all; but so much is essential as to enable all to decide on public men and measures, to discriminate between the value of individuals, to distinguish honesty from art, and patriotism from the desire of power,--Cato from Cæsar, Washington from Bonaparte. If there is no hope of effecting this, there is then but small hope of preserving a republic; for where the mass have the power, every thing will depend on the integrity and intelligence of those who represent them; and who are these to be,—the artful, and perhaps worthless, whom they love, or the honest whom they persecute? But the education to which we first directed our remarks, is of a higher degree than that to which we now allude. Yet it differs only in degree, for the results of both are the same in their different extents,—the one being for the larger body, whose means and objects in life do not permit and do not require much mental cultivation, the other for those who are able, and only want the will, to improve themselves to the top of their capacity.
If public life is to be, as we presume it must be, the desire and aim of all or nearly all the talent and ambition of the country, then this is an additional reason why the acquirements
should be as thorough as possible ; not that men of learning, though it will be a long time, under our circumstances, before many such are produced,--are wanted, but that there should be that sufficiency of solid knowledge which creates the habit of rigid enquiry, and puts down and makes contemptible the pert readiness of superficial thinking.
One of the hopes anxiously entertained, and one of the wants, we think, to be most seriously feit, is the appreciation of all talent; since, in the general diffusion of information, and the great facilities offered for improvement, there is no reason why the various powers men display and exercise, should not meet admiration and applause. On this feeling for intellect and its attainments will depend much of the beauty of our institutions, for it will fill the ideal their friends have imagined, and bring out the excellence they have attached to them. On this feeling, too, are built some of the fairest hopes belonging to our political existence; for with it come the sense and the love of virtue, the respect for real worth, and the disposition to use it, the capacity with all to understand the highest order of merit, and of course to yield it praise. If it be hopeless to produce a general feeling of this sort, then our system is almost hopeless, and our destinies are to be the same with those of other free people, and we merely run through the usual career: liberty, anarchy, and ruin,--the licentiousness and desolation of mobs, the disorders of factions, and their consequences-ending like Rome, with an empire and its tyrants.
For what is the first element of a popular government ? universal equality; and what is its first reliance ? a mass, who are capable of understanding the rights it creates, and supporting the necessities their condition imposes. And how can this be effected ? by allowing one portion to be ignorant because they are poor, and another to be well instructed because they are rich; in this way splitting us into classes, and weakening or obliterating all sympathy between different portions of the community? It may seem to those who have no enthusiasm excited in the cause of universal freedom,—who look backward for the future, and are ever, when the view is thrown forwards, sighing over the ruins of the past,--who have no hope of the advancement of man beyond that he has been, no reliance on the progress of his fortunes towards a state his well-wishers have pictured as that of perfectibility,--who cannot conceive, and therefore regard with despair, a condition in which the violence and perversity and lofty errors of the passions, may be subdued to the plain level of his real interests and true welfare,--to such, the very standard of excellence we have thought it necessary a republic should attain, may, in its seeming impractibility, prove the absurdity of such a form of government, and the
wildness of imagining it can be made permanent. We admit, that to those who take this gloomy view of human nature, and who never allow the imagination to illuminate its dark records, this impassioned hope may seem wild and strange; but yet it grows naturally, from seeing what men have done and are doing, from the new relations they have assumed, from the novel experiment we have undertaken, and the vast events that must rise from its good or bad fortune. To all who are republicans in heart, no encouragement is necessary to give them confidence in the institutions of their country; but to foreigners, and to all who cannot adopt a new class of feelings, and throw by the prejudices they have inherited, the very novelty of what they see will create doubts as to its success; and it is to sentiments formed in this way, and opinions so loosely taken up, that our remarks have been directed.
As to the opinion any one may form of a republic, whether it is a good or a bad kind of government, we have nothing to say. We only combat bigotry and illiberality, not the deductions of one's reason; and where our institutions are unreasonably and unjustifiably assaulted, and a whole people outraged, according to the caprice, ignorance, or incapacity, of an entire stranger. We confess, that it must be difficult for one from an old country to subdue, as soon as he · lands here, feelings he has imbibed early, and prejudices arising from those feelings which form a part of his mode of thinking. Yet a man who cannot do this, is unfit for an observer of the institutions of foreign countries. If he cannot at once divest himself of all which relates to another condition of things, he is not prepared to judge, and should not pretend to sit in judgment. He is only come to cavil and compare, not examine. Averted from his design by impressions he cannot conquer, what right has he to decide, or what means has he of deciding, on the relative and real value of systems with all whose practical advantages he is utterly unaequainted ?
It undoubtedly requires much of the temperament of the philosopher—his coolness of judgment—his power of looking on truth in the abstract, and his deep love of it, to throw by the mass of prejudices whose origin is more distant than memory-whose roots are entwined with our affections, and which form, perhaps, much of the strength and worth of character. Yet they must be unloosed and thrown aside, or all nations will be measured by the standard of one;
their capacities, their present state and future history, will be determined by that which is peculiar to some other, and cannot be transferred. We do no mean that the individual is to adopt the nature and sentiments of a citizen of the land he visits, but merely that he should study the causes of what he sees; that