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a rapid and useful progress, though we still dispute about its elements. Our knowledge of anatomy has laid a necessary and sure foundation for surgery and medicine ; surgery indeed is making great proficiency ; but, after three thousand years of recorded experience, how little do we know of medicine ! Mechanics and hydraulics are progressing fast, and wonderful are the facilities and comforts we draw from them ; but while it continues to be necessary to make use of animal force to move heavy bodies in any direction by land or water, we have a right to anticipate new discoveries. Could the genius of a Bacon place itself on the high ground of all the sciences in their present state of advancement, and marshal them before him in so great a country as this, and under a government like ours, he would point out their objects, foretell their successes, and move them on their march, in a manner that should animate their votaries and greatly accelerate their progress.
The mathematics, considered as a science, may probably be susceptible of higher powers than it has yet attained ; considered as the handmaid of all the sciences and all the arts, it doubtless remains to be simplified. Some new processes, and perhaps new modes of expressing quantities and numbers, may yet be discovered, to assist the mind in climbing the difficult steps that lead to an elevation so much above our crude conceptions; an elevation that subjects the material universe, with all its abstractions of space and time, to our inspection; and opens, from their combinations, so many useful and satisfying truths.
Researches in literature, to which may be united those in morals, government, and laws, are so vague in their nature, and have been so little methodised, as scarcely to have obtained the name of sciences. No man has denied the importance of these pursuits; though the English nation, from whom we have borrowed so many useful things, has not thought proper to give them that consistency and standing among the objects of laudable ambition, to which they are entitled. Men the most eminent in these studies have not been members of their learned associations. Locke, Berkeley, Pope, Hume, Robertson, Gibbon, Adam Smith, and Blackstone, were never admitted into the Royal Society. This is doubtless owing to the nature of their government ; though the government itself exerts no influence in these elections. The science of morals connects itself so intimately with the principles of political institutions, that where it is deemed expedient to keep the latter out of sight, it is not strange that the former should meet no encouragement.
This policy is strikingly exemplified in the history of the French Institute. That learned and respectable body was incorporated by the National Convention in the year 1795, and took place of all the old academies, which had been previously abolished. It was composed of three classes, according to the objects to be pursued by its members. The first was the class for the physical sciences, the second was the class for the moral and political sciences, the third was for the fine arts. Thus it went on and made great progress in several branches, till the year 1803, when Bonaparte's government assumed that character which rendered the pursuit of moral and political science inconvenient to him. He then new modelled the Institute, and abolished that class. But lest his real object should be perceived, and he be accused of narrowing the compass of research, he created two new classes in the room of this; one for
ancient literature, and one for the French language. On the same occasion an order was issued to all the colleges and great schools in France, suppressing the professorships of moral and political philosophy.
But in our country, and at this early epoch in the course of republican experiment, no subjects of research can be more important than those embraced by these branches of science. Our representative system is new in practice, though some theories of that sort have been framed by speculative writers; and partial trials have been made in the British Dominions. But our federal system, combined with democratical representation, is a magnificent stranger upon earth ; a new world of experiment, bursting with incalculable omens on the view of mankind. It was the result of circumstances which no man could foresee, and no writer pretended to contemplate. It presented itself to us from the the necessity of the situation we were in ; dreaded at first as an evil by many good men in our own country, as well as by our friends in Europe ; and it is at this day far from being understood, or properly appreciated, by the generality of those who admire it. Our practice upon it, as far as we have gone, and the vast regions of our continent that present themselves to its embrace, must convince the world that it is the greatest improvement on the mechanism of government that has ever been discovered, the most consoling to the friends of liberty, humanity, and peace.
Men who have grown old in the intrigues of cabinets, and those who, in the frensy of youthful ambition, present themselves on the theatre of politics, at the head of armies, which they cannot live without, are telling us that no new principle of government has been discovered for these two thousand years''; and that all proposals to ameliorate the system are vain abstractions, unworthy of a sound philosophy. They may tell us too that no new principle in mechanics had been discovered since we came to the knowledge of the lever ; no new principle in war, since we first found that a man would cease to fight the moment he was killed. Yet we see in the two latter cases that new combinations of principle have been discovered ; they are daily now discovered and carried into practice. In these there are no books written to inform us we can go no further ; no imperial decrees to arrest our progress. Why then should this be the case in those combinations of the moral sense of man, which compose the science of government ?
But whether we consider the principles themselves as new, or the combination only as new, the fact with respect to our government is this: although the principle has long since been known that the powers necessarily exercised in regulating a great community, originate in the people at large, and that these powers cannot conveniently be exercised by the people at large ; yet it was not discovered how these powers could be conveniently exercised by a few delegates, in such a manner as to be constantly kept within the reach of the people at large, so as to be controlled by them without a convulsion. But a mode of doing this has been discovered in later years, and is now for the first time carried into practice in our country ; I do not say in the utmost perfection of which the principle is capable ;
1 This is asserted in a book written to support the present government of France. I forget the title.
yet in a nuanner which greatly contributes, with our other advantages, to render us the happiest people on earth. Again although the principle has long since been known, that good laws faithfully executed within a state, would protect the industry of men, and preserve interior tranquillity ; yet no method was discovered which would effectually preserve exterior tranquility between state and state. Treaties were made, oaths were exacted, the name of God was invoked, forts, garrisons, and armies were established on their respective frontiers ; all with the sincere desire, no doubt, of preserving peace. The whole of these precautions have been constantly found ineffectual. But we at last, and almost by accident, have discovered a mode of preserving peace among states, without any of the old precautions; which were always found extremely expensive, destructive to liberty, and incapable of securing the object. We have found that states have some interests that are common and mutual among themselves ; that so far as these interests go, the states should not be independent ; that without losing any thing of their dignity, but rather increasing it, they can bind themselves together by federal government, composed of their own delegates, frequently and freely elected, to whom they can confide these common interests; and that by giving up to these delegates the exercise of certain acts of sovereignty, and retaining the rest to themselves, each state puts it out of its own power to withdraw from the confederation, and out of the power of the general government to deprive them of the rights they have retained.
If these are not new principles of government, they are at least new combinations of principles, which require to be developed, studied and understood better than they have been, even by ourselves; but especially by the rising generation, and by all foreign observers who shall study our institutions. Foreigners will thus give us credit for what we have done, point out to our attention what we have omitted to do, and perhaps aid us with their lights, in bringing towards perfection a system, which may be destined to ameliorate the condition of the human race.
It is in this view that moral and political research ought to be regarded as one of the most important objects of the National Institution, the highest theme of literary emulation, whether in prose or verse, the constant stimulus to excite the ambition of youth in the course of education.
What are called the fine arts, in distinction from what are called the useful, have been but little cultivated in America. Indeed, few of them have yet arrived, in modern times, to that degree of splendor which they had acquired among the ancients. Here we must examine an opinion, entertained by some persons, that the encouragement of the fine arts savors too much of luxury, and is unfavorable to republican principles. It is true, as is alleged, they have usually flourished most under despotic governments; but so have corn and cattle. Republican principles have never been organised or understood, so as to form a government, in any country but our own. It is therefore from theory, rather than example, that we must reason on this subject. There is no doubt but that fine arts, both in those who cultivate and those who only admire them, open and expand the mind to great ideas. They inspire liberal feel. ings, create a harmony of temper, favorable to a sense of justice and a habit of moderation in our social intercourse. By increasing the circle of our pleasures, they moderate the intensity with which pleasures, not dependent on them, would be pursued. In proportion as they multiply our wants, they stimulate our industry, they diversify the objects of our ambition, they furnish new motives for a constant activity of mind and body, highly favorable to the health of both. The encouragement of a taste for elegant luxuries discourages the relish for luxuries that are gross and sensual, debilitating to the body, and demoralising to the mind. These last, it must be acknowledged, are prevailing in our country; they are perhaps the natural growth of domestic affluence and civil liberty. The government, however mild and paternal, cannot check them by any direct application of its powers, without improper encroachments on the liberty and affluence, that give them birth. But a taste for the elegant enjoyments which spring from the culture of the fine arts, excites passions not so irresistible, but that they are easily kept within the limits, which the means of each individual will prescribe. It is the friend of morals and of health ; it supposes a certain degree of information ; it necessitates liberal instruction ; it cannot but be favorable to republican manners, principles, and discipline.
A taste for these arts is peculiarly desirable in those parts of our country, at the southward and westward, where the earth yields her rich productions with little labor, and leaves to the cultivator considerable vacancies of time and superfluities of wealth, which otherwise will, in all probability, be worse employed. The arts of drawing, painting, statuary, engraving, music, poetry, ornamental architecture, and ornamental gardening would employ a portion of the surplus time and money of our citizens; and at the same time be more likely to dispose their minds to devote another portion to charitable and patriotic purposes, than if the first portion had not been thus employed.
In England there is a Royal Academy for the fine arts, as well as a Royal Society for the sciences; though men of merit in other learned labors are not associated. In France the two classes of eminent men who pursue the sciences and the arts, are united in the National Institute. Besides these, and besides the colleges and universities, there exists in each of these countries a variety of institutions useful in their different objects, and highly conducive to the general mass of public improvement, as well as to private instruction.
The French government supports :
1. The School of Mines, an extensive establishment; where is preserved a collection of specimens from all the mines, wrought and unwrought, that are known to exist in that country; where, with the free use of a laboratory, lectures are given gratis one day in the week for nine months in the year, and where young men receive what is called a mineralogical education. At this place the proprietor of a mine, whether of metals, coals, or other valuable fossils, may have them examined without expense ; and here he can apply for an able and scientific artist, recommended by the professors, to be the conductor of his works, as well in the engineering as the metallurgical branch.
2. The School of Roads and Bridges, whose title ought to extend likewise to canals, river navigation and hydraulic architecture; since it embraces all these objects. Here are preserved models and drawings of all the great works, and many of the abortive attempts, in these branches of business. It is a curious and useful collection. This establishment too maintains its professors, who give lectures gratis, and produce among their pupils the ablest draftsmen and civil engineers, ready to be employed where the public service or private enterprise may require.
3. The Conservatory of Arts ; meaning the useful arts and trades. This, in appearance, is a vast Babel of materials; consisting of tools, models, and entire machines, ancient and modern, good and bad. For it is often useful to preserve for inspection a bad machine. The professor explains the reason why it did not answer the purpose ; and this either prevents another person from spending his time and money in pursuit of the same impracticable scheme, or it may lead his mind to some ingenious invention to remedy the defect and make it a useful object. Here is a professor for explaining the use of the machines, and for aiding the minister in discharging the duties of the patent office. Here likewise several trades are carried on, and persons are taught gratis the use of the tools by practice as well as by lectures.
4. The Museum of Natural History. This consists of a botanical garden, an extensive menagery, or collection of wild animals, and large cabinets of minerals. To this institution are attached several professorships ; and lectures are given in every branch of natural history.
5. The Museum of Arts ; meaning the fine arts. This is the school for painting, statuary, music, &c. The great splendor of this establishment consists chiefly in its vast gallery of pictures, and its awful synod of statues. These are as far beyond description as they are above comparison. Since, to the collections of the kings of France, the government has added so many of the best productions of Italy, Flanders and Holland, there is no other assemblage of the works of art where students can be so well accommodated with variety and excellence, to excite their emulation and form their taste.
6. The National Library. This collection is likewise unparalleled both for the number and variety of works it contains; having about five hundred thousand volumes, in print and manuscript ; besides all of value that is extant in maps, charts, engravings; and a museum of coins, medals and inscriptions, ancient and modern.
8. The Mint; which is a scientific as well as a laboratorial establishment; where lectures are given in mineralogy, metallurgy, and chemistry.
9. The Military School; where field engineering, fortification, gunnery, attack and defence of places, and the branches of mathematics, necessary to these sciences, are taught by experienced masters.
10. The Prytaneum ; which is an excellent school of general science, more especially military and nautical; but it is exclusively devoted to what are called enfans de la patrie, children of the country, or boys adopted by the government, and educated at the public expense. They are generally those whose fathers have died in the public service. But this distinction is often conferred on · others, through particular favor. The school is supplied with able instructors ; and the pupils are very numerous. They are taught to consider themselves entirely devoted to the service of their country, as is indicated both by their own appellation and that of their seminary.
II. The College of France retains all its ancient advantages, and has been improved by the revolution.