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his preface with a degree of modesty sufficient to apologize for defects much more glaring and important than are to be found in it. So great a plan as the author has adopted might well impress an ingenous mind with some degree of timidity and diffidence. To give concise views of the state of every branch of human knowledge, during so busy and enlightened an age as the last, in all the cultivated nations of mankind is one of the most arduous undertakings imaginable. It has been executed, however, by the present writer, with a degree of judgment and skill that has seldom been exceeded. Mistakes and omissions will, of course, be discovered in each department by adepts in that particular pursuit; but these bear a very small proportion to the whole, and our admiration is much more excited by the degree of accuracy with which it is execated than our taste is of fended by its occasional errors.

The author has arranged the whole mass of human knowledge under four divisions; the first of which is only discussed in the volumes before us, and is comprehended under the general denomination of science, arts and literature. The rest, we are informed the writer does not propose to prosecute at present, being intimidated by the magnitude of his theme.

The following subjects occupy this portion of his work in the order in which they stand: mechanics, che mistry, natural history, medicine, geography, mathematics, navigation, agriculture, the mechanic arts, the fine arts, physiognomy, philosophy of the human mind, classical learning, oriental learning, modern languages, philosophy of language, history,biography,romances,novels, poetry, literary and political journals, literary societies, encyclopædies, education, nations lately become literary. These are introduced and closed by some general observations, and are distributed into those sub-divisions, of which they are naturally susceptible.

One of the most remarkable improvements of the recent century is the practice of reducing the whole body of human knowledge into a comprehensive and systematic order. General views of the origin, progress, and present state of each science have often been given, and these have been frequently digested into a natural or alphabetical method or series. The present work must be considered as a general history of this kind, limited by the boundaries of the eighteenth century. In the execution of this work, the writer has no doubt been chiefly indebted to other compilations, on a narrower or larger scale, and his judgment has been principally exercised in selecting and condensing the matter thus supplied. It cannot be denied that he has manifested great knowledge and industry, in the performance of his task, and evinces, in some instances, an independent judgment and original inquiries.

This work, as might naturally be expected, is executed in an unequal manner. The various departments of physics and mathematics, evince a more careful and intelligent hand than the sections which belong to topics of mere taste and fancy. On many subjects the writer may claim no inconsiderable praise, and on those on which he probably was but little informed, and was, consequently obliged to rely on the judgment of others; the pleas contained in his preface will obtain from every candid reader, a large share of allowance and excuse.

It will not be expected that we should enter into an analysis of a work in its own nature so summary and systematic, or into a laborious detail of its merits or its imperfections. It will suffice to observe, that every reader will obtain from this work, a great body of curious and valuable information, delivered in a very luminous method, and couched in a style remarkable for simplicity and perspicuity. While he reads with no view, perhaps, but to gain an historical acquaintance with the

age that is passed, he will find himself initiated in an agreeable and easy manner, into the general precepts of many sciences, and into the lives and characters of many emi

nent men.

We should be glad to extract as a specimen, the author's "recapitulation," but it is somewhat too long for our limits. The following statement of our own literary situation, as a people, shall content us. After detailing the state of science and literature in their various branches, in North-America, Mr. M. proceeds in the following man


"It must, however, after all, be acknowledged, that what is called a liberal education in the United States, is, in common, less accurate and complete; the erudition of our native citizens, with some exceptions, less extensive and profound; and the works published by American authors, in general, less learned, instructive, and elegant,* than are found in Great-Britain, and some of the more enlightened nations on the eastern continent. These facts, it is apprehended, arise not from any deficiency of talents in our country, nor from any inaptitude in its soil or atmosphere to promote the growth of genius; but from one or another, and, in some cases, from a combination of the following


"1. Defective plans and means of instruction in our Seminaries of Learning.....The great majority of our colleges have very inadequate funds. The consequence is, that in most of them the professors are few in number, and have assigned to them too large a field of instruction.

It is not meant to be denied that a few of the works published in America are as profound and instructive as any on similar subjects published elsewhere. It is simply intended to give a general character of American publications, liable to such exceptions as the mind of the well-informed reader will readily supply.

VOL. I....NO, VI.

Hence they can convey but very superficial knowledge of the varicus branches which it is made their duty to teach, and if well qualified themselves, which is far from being always the case, find it impossible to do justice to the pupils. In some instances, also, the trustees or governors of American colleges, either from their own ignorance, or in compliance with popular prejudice, have so contracted the time requisite for completing a course of instruction, as to render it necessary wholly to dispense with, or lightly to hurry over, some of the most important branches of knowledge.... Accordingly, in some of these institutions, mathematical science is unpopular, and the acquisition of as little as possible especially of the higher branches of it, enjoined on the student. In others, classic lite rature, and especially the Greek language,* is in low estimation, and not more studied than is indispensably necessary to obtaining a diploma. If well bred scholars ever issue from such seminaries, they must be formed by a degree of private and individual application rarely to be met. with in youth.

2. Want of Leisure. The comparatively equal distribusion of property in America, while it produces the most benign political and moral effects, is by no means friendly to great acquisitions in literature and science. In such a state of society, there can be few persons of leisure. It is necessary that almost all should be engaged in some active pursuit. Accordingly, in the United States, the greater number of those who pass through a course of what is called liberal education, in the hurried manner which has been mentioned, engage immediately after leaving college, in the study or business to which they propose to devote them

In some American colleges, we are told that no more knowledge of Greek is required in those who graduate Bachelor of Arts, than that which may be derived from the grammar and the Greek testament.

selves. Having run over the preliminary steps of instruction in this business, probably in a manner no less hurried and superficial than their academic studies, they instantly commence its practical pursuit; and are, perhaps, during the remainder of life, consigned to a daily toil for support, which precludes them from reading, and especially from gaining much knowledge out of their particular profession. Such is the career of ninety-nine out of an hundred of those in our country who belong to the learned professions. When the alternative either lies, or is supposed to lie between erudition and poverty, or comfortable affluence and moderate learning, it is not difficult to conjecture which side will be chosen; nor is it surprising that, in such a state of things, there should be less profound erudition, less elegant accomplishment in literature, than where a considerable number enjoy all the advantages of exemption from laborious duties, and all the accommodations of opulent leisure.

To this circumstance may be ascribed the superficial and unpolished character of many of our native publications. All that their authors, in many cases, want, to render them more replete with instruction, more attractive in manner and, of course, more worthy of public approbation, is leisure. But able only to redeem a few hasty hours for literary pursuits, from the employment which gave them bread they must necessarily, if they publish at all, send forth productions, from time to time, hearing all the marks of haste and immature reflection.

3. Want of Encouragement to Learning....Men cannot be expected to labour without the hope of some adequate reward. Genius must be nourished by patronage, as well as strengthened by culture. Where substantial emoluments may be derived from literary exertion, there, and there alone, will it be frequently undertaken to any considerable extent. Hence, in those countries where genius and learning are best

rewarded, there they are ever found
to be most cultivated. In the United
States, the rewards of literature are
The people
small and uncertain.
cannot afford to remunerate eminent
talents or great acquirements.....
Booksellers, the great patrons of
learning in modern times, are in-
America, too poor to foster and re-
wards the efforts of genius. There
are no rich Fellowships in our uni-
versities to excite the ambition of
students; no large ecclesiastical
benefices to animate the exertions
of literary divines.*
chairs are usually connected with
such small salaries, that they pre-
sent little temptation to the scholar;
and, finally, the state offers very in-
considerable motives for the acqui-
sition of knowledge, and the exer-
Its rewards are
tion of talents.
small, and its favour capricious.
Can it be wondered, then, that those
who have some acquaintance with
books, and hold important stations,
are more anxious to secure pecuni
ary advantages, and to place them-
selves in a situation independent of
popular favour, than to make ad-
vances in literature, or to do honour
to their country by the display of
intellectual pre-eminence?

Besides, the spirit of our people is commercial. It has been said, and perhaps with some justice, that the love of gain peculiarly characterizes the inhabitants of the United States. The tendency of this spirit to discourage literature is obvious. In such a state of society, men will not only be apt to bend their whole attention to the acquirement of pro

understood to express an opinion, that * The author would by no means be such immoderately lucrative places,' either in church or in state, are, on the whole, useful, or desirable. He is persuaded that they are much more productive of mischief than of advantage. But that they often excite literary ambition, and afford, in many instances, convenient and useful leisure to literary characters, will scarcely be questioned by those who have paid any attention to the subject.

perty, and neglect the cultivation of their minds as an affair of secondary moment; but letters and science will seldom be found in high estimation; the amount of wealth will be the principal test of influence; the learned will experience but little reward either of honour or emolument; and, of course, superficial education will be the prevailing character.

Nor is it of less importance here to recollect, that the nature of our connection with Great-Britain has operated, and continues to operate unfavorably to the progress of American literature. Long accumstomed to a state of colonial dependence on that enlightened and cultivated nation, we have also been accustomed to derive from her the supplies for our literary wants. And still connected with her by the ties of language, manners, taste, and commercial intercourse, her literature, science and arts may be considered as ours. Being able, therefore, with so much ease, to reap the fruits of her fields, we have not sufficient inducement to cultivate our own. And even when an excellent production of the American soil is offered to the public, it is generally undervalued and neglected. A large portion of our citizens seem to entertain the idea, that nothing worthy of patronage can be produced on this side of the Atlantic. Instead of being prompted to a more liberal encouragement of genius because it is American, their prejudices, on this account, are rather excited against it.

• The writer in the Monthly Magazine, whose strictures on American literature were before mentioned, represents the inhabitants of the United States as having strong prejudices in favour of their own productions, and ridicules them for preferring American publications to all others. In this, as well as in most of his assertions, he discovers profound ignorance of the subject. The fact is directly the reverse. Americans are too apt to join with ignorant or fastidious foreigners, in undervaluing and decrying our domastic literature; and this circum

"4. Want of Books....In the capital cities of Europe, the votary of literature is surrounded with inmense libraries, to which he may easily obtain access; and even in many of the smaller towns, books number, may be easily obtained. It on any subject, and to almost any is otherwise in America. Here the student, in addition to all the other obstacles which lie in his way, has often to spend as much time and thought to obtain a particular book, cost. as the reading it ten times would and, compared with those of Europe, Our public libraries are few, small. Nor is this defect supplied by large private collections; these are also rare. And to render the evil still more grievous, the number of literary and enterprising booksellers is yet smaller. It is only within two or three years that we have begun to receive, with any kind of regularity or promptitude, the best British works as they issue from the press.

"Such are some of the causes which have hitherto impeded the progress of American literature. Their influence, however, is gradually declining, and the literary prospects of our country are brightening every day.

ence are becoming more important Letters and sciin the public estimation. The number of learned men is becoming rapidly greater. means of instruction in our seminaThe plans and ries of learning, though by no means improving in all respects, are, in some, receiving constant melioration. The emulation of founding and sustaining a national character in science and learning begins to be more generally felt, and, from time A larger proportion of the growing to time, will doubtless be augmented. wealth of our country will hereafter be devoted to the improvements of knowledge, and especially to the

stance is one of the numerous obstacles which have operated to discourage literary exertions on this side of the Atlantic, and to impede our literary pro gress.

furtherance of all the means by which scientific discoveries are brought within popular reach, and rendered subservient to practical utility. American publications are every day growing more numerous, and rising in respectability of character. Public and private libraries are becoming more numerous and extensive. The taste in composition among our writers is making very sensible progress in correctness and refinement. American authors of merit meet with

more liberal encouragement; and when the time shall arrive that we can give to our votaries of literature the same leisure, and the same stimulants to exertion with which they are favoured in Europe, it may be confidently predicted, that letters will flourish as much in America as in any part of the world; and that we shall be able to make some return to our transatlantic brethren, for the rich stores of useful knowledge which they have been pouring upon us for nearly two centuries.


YOUTH... No. I.

SCENES of my youth! O how shall I describe,

Your varying charms! In what gay hues,

In what transporting attitudes of life Shall I pourtray your transitory forms! The images of time forever gone, Rush on my mind, and to the memory's eye

Flutter, and move in countless mazy rounds.

The child of sunshine happy with a toy,

The sportful cunning, and mischievous boy,

The school-boy whistling o'er the summer-fields,

Rise to delight my retrospective view; But soon is clos'd their thoughtless

wild career;

The roll of years, the rushing course of time

Stay not for man: But dissolution's


Move onward with a wing'd impetuous speed,

Bearing the world and all the race of


The child that breathes its prattle in the air,

Youth full of vigour, manhood and

old age,

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Tread on this earth with an uncertain Darts like an arrow from the hunter's

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