« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
he contributed $ 5,000 towards the foundation of a professorship of oratory and belles lettres ; and in 1815, he gave $ 500 for the purchase of books. In 1823, he erected at his own expense the second college building, commonly known as “Hope College.” At the same time, he requested the Faculty to order, at the joint expense of himself and his brother-in-law, Mr. T. P. Ives, such a suit of apparatus, in all the departments of experimental science, as the wants of the university seemed to require. In 1831, as we have already mentioned, he contributed $ 10,000 towards the fund for the purchase of books, and built at his own expense a handsome edifice for a library and chapel, which was called “Manning Hall.” In 1839, he tendered to the Corporation, for the purpose of erecting a house for the President, and another edifice for the accommodation of the departments of Natural Philosophy, Chemistry, and Natural History, three valuable lots of land as sites for these buildings, and ten thousand dollars. He died in September, 1841, in the seventy-third year of his age, having made to the college several bequests of land and other property. Seldom has an individual more richly earned the honor of having his name preserved and cherished in all coming time, as a benefactor to the cause of education and letters in this country.
The first appropriation for the library from the general funds of the college was made in 1768, when Mr. Edwards, the agent of the institution, then in England, was authorized to expend twenty pounds for this purpose ; and he probably received many donations in books. was made, about the year 1783, to increase the collection, and a considerable sum was subscribed, of which Mr. John Brown, the uncle of Mr. Nicholas Brown, contributed one half. The Bristol Education Society in England, in 1784, made a valuable donation, containing the works of several of the Fathers of the Church ; and, in the same year, the sum of £ 350 was appropriated by the Corporation for the purchase of books. The next considerable gift was made by the Rev. Isaac Backus, of Massachusetts, the author of a “ Church History of New England,” who died
a in 1806, and bequeathed to the college a part of his library. Among the books thus received was a copy of Roger Williams's “ Bloody Tenent yet more Bloody,” published in London, in 1652. On a blank leaf, it contains these words,
in the hand-writing of Roger Williams : “For his honored and beloved Mr. John Clarke, an eminent Witnes of Christ Jesus ag'st ye bloodie doctrine of persecution, etc.” The Rev. William Richards, of Lynn, England, author of a history of that town, and of a Welsh and English dictionary, died in 1818, and bequeathed to the college his whole library, containing about thirteen hundred volumes. Among them
a considerable number of Welsh books, in regard to which we can only say, that it had been well, if the donor could have bequeathed to the college along with them a knowledge of the language in which they were written. By the exertions of the gentleman who was librarian to the institution in 1825, the friends of the college were induced to subscribe $ 840, which sum was expended in buying books. More recent donations, though considerable in amount, we have not room here to notice.
Of the general character of the library Mr. Jewett remarks, that "it is, as might be supposed from the manner in which it has been collected, very miscellaneous. Obvious deficiencies in nearly every department remain to be supplied. But there will be found upon the shelves some books extremely rare, even in Europe, while the great proportion of them are valuable. Perhaps no library of its size in the country contains so good a collection of books pertaining to the history and literature of the English Dissenters."
ART. IX. - CRITICAL NOTICES.
1.- A Course of Lectures on the Constitutional Jurisprudence
of the United States, delivered annually in Columbia Col. lege, N. Y. By William ALEXANDER Duer, LL.D., late President of that Institution. New York: Harper and Brothers. 1843.
18mo. pp. 407.
The want of a good elementary work on the character and nature of our governmernt has been long felt in our seminaries of learning, and the effects of this deficiency have been too fatally visited upon the ountry by the untaught statesmen, to whose guidance it has committed its most important interests. Indeed, it is singular, that no successful efforts have yet been made to supply so urgent a want. In religion, morals, and the sciences, - in short, in all that is required to enable our youth to perform their duties towards God, their neighbours, and themselves, there is no deficiency of teachers, or of elementary works. The divine, the physician, and the lawyer, the farmer, the mechanic, and the merchant, all have their schools and their books ; but the elector and the representative, in one of which characters all men in this country must appear, and the other may often be forced upon them, are deemed unworthy of attention, and people are left to acquire the knowledge necessary for the right performance of these high public duties, either from the promptings of inspiration, or from heated and often ignorant partisans, intrusted with a public press, and only fitted to illustrate the Scriptural proverb of “the blind leading the blind.” This striking deficiency in our systems of education is to be attributed to a too faithful adherence to the modes of education prevalent in the Old World. There is, however, so manifest a difference in the structure of society, and in the duties which its members are compelled to perform, in Europe, and in the United States, that it seems very remarkable, in the establishment of our schools and colleges, that no provision was made for teaching American children the character of those political institutions which were so soon to be intrusted to their control.
In the Old World, no such provision was required. Government is there deemed too high a concern for the subject. The very term by which he is characterized indicates, that his duty is merely to obey. The mass of the community is not entitled to interfere with the government; and, in most countries, not even to criticise its administration. Even in England, at a period not very remote, instances were not unfrequent of persons being capitally punished for commenting too freely upon the course of the government. In 1663, John Twyn was executed for a political libel ; and in 1693, William Anderson met with
; the same fate. On the continent, still less license was allowed, the liberty of speech upon political topics having been entirely taken away. At the present time, it is true, greater freedom is permitted ; but it is also true, that the system of education from which our own is derived was formed during the period when all political discussion was regarded as dangerous to the tranquillity and well-being of society. The professorships, the modes of teaching, and the objects of study were all established under such infuences, and took their character, in a great degree, from the governments that founded the seminaries of learning.
There is not, therefore, much cause for wonder, that no provision was made in Europe for teaching men their political duties, and that, in establishing, or rather in continuing, the ancient system of education in this country, no adequate provision was made for qualifying Americans to perform the new duties imposed upon them by their political institutions. When there was so much to be done in relation to immediate difficulties, it is not surprising, that those which were only to affect future generations were temporarily overlooked. To this cause may fairly be attributed the want of adequate provision for the political educa. tion of the people of this country.
We do not here speak of that superficial knowledge, which most of our citizens have, of the constitution and history of their native land. Superficial as this is, it is so much greater and more accurate than what the mass of the community in other countries possess, that we are apt to deceive ourselves, and to believe that we are well informed on all political topics. Most native American citizens have some knowledge of the respective parties which divide the country, and of the questions at issue between them ; but in well grounded and accurate information respecting the character of their political institutions, and the extent and limits of the various departments among which the powers of the government are divided, they are greatly deficient. They have not the knowledge of details, both of the provisions and principles of the Constitution, and of the interests of the community, which should be found in those who are required to judge of the conduct of persons intrusted with power, and upon whose decision the public policy and the administration of the government entirely depend. To their judgment all disputed questions are referred; to their deliberate decision all other powers in the state must bow. How necessary, then, is it, that the mass of the people here should have an intimate acquaintance with their political institutions and public interests, which would be deemed needless and even burdensome elsewhere! A deficiency in this respect would expose them to errors and misfortunes, which many years might not suffice to correct and repair.
To illustrate this position by a reference to our own short history would be trespassing upon the forbidden field of party politics ; but it would be needlessly debarring ourselves from apposite allusions, not to notice the fact, that, in those States of the Union where political intelligence has been generally diffused, a policy consistent with the true interests of the people and with the character of free institutions has been pursued; while in those States where education is limited to the few, or where there has been a great influx of foreigners, the policy has been more fluctuating, and less regard has been paid to those sound principles
of ethics and law, upon which the stability of all governments must depend.
No greater service, then, can be rendered to the country, no task more honorable, or attended with more lasting results to future generations, can be performed, than to make the rising generation well acquainted with the character of the government and the interests which it was instituted to promote, and in a fitting manner to supply the deficiency, to which we have alluded, in the prevailing system of education. This has been attempted by the worthy descendant, on the paternal side, of one of the active leaders in the civil councils of the Revolution, * and, on the maternal side, of one of the associates of Washington,t who contributed by military skill and valor to carry out in the field the resolutions of the patriotic statesmen who formed the Continental Congress. President Duer was peculiarly well qualified for the performance of this task. Educated to the legal profession, and for several years a circuit judge in the State of New York, he had obtained a practical acquaintance with the Federal and State Constitutions, and their mutual relations. Called from the bench to preside over Columbia College, he at once perceived the defect in the system of education, pursued there as well as in the other seminaries of learning, and in these Lectures he undertook to supply that defect.
The first six lectures are devoted to an examination of the fundamental principles of the Constitution, the distribution of the powers of the government among the executive, legislative, and judicial departments, and the organization of the latter department under the Federal Constitution. In the seventh and eighth lectures, an inquiry is made into the powers of the national government to provide security against danger from abroad, and to regulate intercourse with foreign powers. The ninth lecture sets forth the powers vested in the Federal administration for maintaining tranquillity and a proper intercourse among the States ; and the tenth contains a review of its powers relative to other objects of general utility. The two remaining lectures are devoted to the constitutional restrictions upon the powers of the States, and to the provisions to give efficacy to the powers vested in the national government.
In these Lectures, it is obvious, that most of the topics connected with the political history of the country were necessarily
* William Duer, a member from New York in 1777, and in the subsequent Congresses, who was characterized by John Adams, a good judge, as a man of sense, spirit, and activity, and exceeded by no man in zeal,” + Sir William Alexander, better known as Lord Sterling.