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JAMES FENIMORE COOPER
The Prairie on Fire.
Raising the Wind
Three Nights in a Cavera
Literature and Liberty
A Country Gentleman.
Illegal Interference with the Public Treasure
Influence of the Bible on Literature and Art
Ralph Stack pole and the Quaker
OSBORN, LAUGETON, 52, 39, 46
GALLATIN, ALBERT, 23, 20, 88.
PARKER, THEO., 43, 413.
QUINCY, JOSIAE, 20, 130.
BANCROFT, AARON, 404.
RALPE, JAMES, 59, 61.
HALE, SARAH J., 44.
SANDERSON, JOHN, 36, 29.
IRVING, W., 20, 32, 33, 35, 30, 143, 201.
CALFOUN, JOHN C., 21, 24, 172.
JEFFERSON, THOMAS, 21, 23, 71.
KENNEDY,JOEN P., 31, 341.
TAPPAN, HENRY, 17, 19.
VERPLANCK, GULIAN O., 25,36,38,40,41,
DANA, R E., 33, 39, 41, 45, 131, 150, 218.
LEA, ISAAC, 29.
WALKER, JAMES, 18, 443,
MACKENZIE, ALEXANDER S., 44.
EDWARDS, JONATHAN, 17, 53.
INTELLECTUAL HISTORY, CONDITION AND PROSPECTS
I NEED not dwell upon the necessity of Literature and Art to a people's glory and happiness. History with all her voices joins in one judgment upon this subject. Our legislators indeed choose to consider them of no consequence, and while the states are convulsed by claims from the loom and the furnace for protection, the demands of the parents of freedom, the preservers of arts, the dispensers of civility, are treated with silence. But authors and artists have existed and do exist here in spite of such outlawry; and notwithstanding the obstacles in our condition, and the discouragements of neglect, the Anglo-Saxon race in the United States have done as much in the fields of Investigation, Reflection, Imagination and Taste, in the present century, as any other twelve millions of people—about our average number for this period -in the world,
Doubtless there are obstacles, great obstacles, to the successful cultivation of letters here; but they are not so many nor so important as is generally supposed. The chief difficulty is a want of Patriotism, mainly proceeding from and perpetuated by the absence of a just law of copyright. There is indeed no lack of that spurious love of country which is ever ready to involve us in aimless and disgraceful war; but there is little genuine and lofty national feeling; little clear perception of that which really deserves affection and applause; little intelligent and earnest effort to foster the good we possess or acquire the good we need.
It has been the fate of colonists in all ages to consider the people from among whom they made their exodus both morally and intellectually superior to themselves, and the parent state has had thus a kind of spiritual added to her political sovereignty. The American provinces quarreled with England, conquered, and became a separate nation; and we have since had our own Presidents and Congresses; but England has continued to do the thinking of a large class here-of men who have arrogated to themselves the title of critics of our sham sort of men, in all departments. We have had no confidence in ourselves; and men who lack self-reliance are rarely successful. We have not looked into our own hearts. We have not inquired of our own necessities. When we have written, instead of giving a free voice to the spirit within us, we have endeavoured to write after some foreign model.* We have been so fearful of nothing else as of an Americanism, in thought or expression. He has been deemed greatest who has copied some transatlantic author with most successful servility. The noisiest demagogue who affects to despise England will scarcely open a book which was not written there. And if one of our countrymen wins some reputation among his fellows it is generally because he has been first praised abroad.
The commonly urged barriers to literary advancement supposed to exist in our form of government, the nature of our institutions, the restless and turbulent movements of our democracy, and the want of a wealthy and privileged class among us, deserve little consideration. Tumult and strife, the clashing of great interests and high excitements, are to be regarded rather as aids than as obstacles to intellectual progress. From Athens came the choicest literature and the finest art. Her philosophers, so calm and profound, her poets, the dulcet sounds of whose lyres still charm the ears of succeeding ages, wrote amid continual upturnings and overthrows. The best authors of Rome also were senators and soldiers. Milton, the greatest of the prose writers as
, well as the greatest of the poets of England, lived in the Commonwealth, and participated in all its political and religious controversies. And what repose had blind Mæonides, or Camoëns, or Dante, or Tasso? In the literature of
* The literature of other countries, says M. Sismondi, has been frequently adopted by a young nation with a sort of fanatical admiration. The genius of these countries having been so often placed before it, as the perfect model of all greatness and of all beauty, every spontaneous movement has been repressed in order to make room for the most servile imitation, and every national attempt to develope an original character has been sacrificed to the reproduction of something conformable to the model which has been always before its eyes. Thus the Romans checked themselves in the vigour of their first conceptions to become emulous copyists of the Greeks; and thus the Arabs placed bounds to their intellectual efforts that they might rank themselves among the followers of Aristotle. So the Italians in the sixteenth, and the French in the seventeenth century, desirous only of imitating the ancients, did not sufficiently consult, in their poetical attempts, their own religion, manners, and character.—Literature of the South of Europe.