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love good sense, as we abhor ignorance, let us give them books. Let them have an opportunity of becoming learned. Let there be one place at least, and many more if possible, where the tone of accurate knowledge is firm and elevated; and since the press is the great moral power of our country, let us have a press, eloquent but not superficial, expansive in its sympathies, yet exact and profound. No objection to the establishment of large libraries can be found in the want of a class of men who should use them.
To the professor, books are essential for the attainment of excellence.' It would be as idle to require of bim the most finished scholarship in any department, without offering access to a large library, as to require of a mechanic the construction of some piece of nicest workmanship without the employment of the appropriate instruments. The very idea of erudition implies the existence of vast collections; and high attainments cannot reasonably be expected of the teacher, when the means for making those attainments are not within his reach.
If we try by this standard the present Library at Cambridge, we shall find it doubtless to be a respectable one; yet rather as exciting good hopes, than as realizing them. departments it is not yet even tolerable. Its catalogue of books on civil law, for example, makes but a sorry figure; and in modern history, excepting only what relates to America, the deficiency is appalling. It would be impossible to verify or correct, by means of it, the history of any nation of the European continent.
A fine library will naturally attract men of good abilities and of a fondness for intellectual researches. As surely as the bees in spring will find their way to the largest flower-gardens, so surely will there be busy inquirers where the materials are abundant. And this is one of the chief bindrances at present to the rapid progress of American literature, the want of a point of union, a common arena, where accomplished minds are justled in close proximity.
li is quite as evident, that the vicinity of a large collection of books will tend to develope the talents of those who have access to them. The passion for acquisition may display itself as well in nursing a restless craving after accumulated knowledge, as in any way. The fondness for distinction will naturally rouse to exertion, and public expectations are wont to rise, in proportion to the opportunities, which are offered for the attainment of excellence.
There is one circumstance, which merits consideration, as illustrating the claims of the Library to public favor, that it is equally open to all. The poor and the rich may equally lounge in its alcoves; and the orthodox and the heretic, Christian and Pagan, Jew and Gentile, the defender of Babylon and the advocate of prelacy, may each resort to it for instruction and reproof. There can be no favoritism there; and he that brings the strongest mind and most diligent industry, will be sure to meet with the best welcome.
For the ensuring of success in the establishment of a great library, large appropriations are needed. From what quarter shall they come? The Corporation has appropriated five thousand dollars annually. This is doing well according to their means; but it is not enough. A fire-proof building, somewhat remote from other buildings, is required. Besides, the sum we have mentioned is but just enough to keep up with the age; a great many works of former ages remain to be purchased. The King of Prussia, when determined on making Berlin a central point for science and letters, deemed thirty thousand rix dollars a year not too large an appropriation ; he made, also, occasional grants for specific purposes. Our Republic stands in need of as great foundations for general culture as the Prussian monarchy, and Boston is a place of more wealth and of more business than Berlin. Who shall aid the Corporation in their efforts ?
We answer, those that are able. Every body knows, that the student in his retirement has little to do with finances; the streams of Pactolus have not their sources in the classic regions of contemplative employment. The soil of Parnassus is barren, though its air is pure,' is a true remark of an English physician. It is not, then, from the literary class, as such, that large contributions are to be expected. Go into the streets, and learn who are the men, that control the sources of all the prosperity, with which our country rings from side to side. If they are the dealers in iron, the traders to the Indies, the skilful managers of factories, the prudent masters of monied companies, then it is of them that the country invite's, requests, demands a fostering care for the endowment of those fixtures, which are essential to the best interests of knowledge.
But it may be said by those, whose industry has borne away the richest prizes, cui bono, low does all this tend to our advantage? Are we to contribute to purchase books, which we are never to read ?
To be sure you are, is our reply. It is perfectly reasonable to expect that you will assist in buying a large collection of books, though it would be most unreasonable to ask of you to read them. You buy lands which you do not till; yet the culture of them turns to your profit. You own ships, which you send to the utmost limits of the sea, -you do not navigate them in person,
and yet the returns are for your advantage. Gold and silver are of use in all transfers of property ; but it is not necessary for every one to labor in the mines. The man of letters extracts the gold, puts upon it a stamp, and nakes it current coin ; do not in your pride think meanly of the laborers in the mines or the servants of the mint. Take the benefit of the general inass of information circulating in. society; but remember that old notions, like old coins, Jose part of their currency, and require to be stamped anew, if they are to pass freely in the busy world.
We repeat, then, you must buy the books, but there your duty ends; you are not obliged to read them. There are in society men, whose duty it becomes, in conformity with the rightsul subdivision of labor, to read them for your benefit, so soon as the ineans are offered. It is necessary, for example, that there should be a large medical library; and it is important to the community, that there should be among us a class of active, professional men, acquainted with all that has been observed respecting every disease and form of physical evil, to which inberent weakness, or civilization, or virtue, or vice, bas exposed poor human nature. But God forbid, that every individual, not of the profession, should siore his mind with all the details of men's infirmities, should crowd bis imagination with the disgusting images of loathsome illness, should load bis memory with all the vile circumstances of a lazar-house, should be aware of all the intensity of excruciating tortures, which the
, surgeon relieves, or should know all the frantic creations and saddening tricks of insanity, as exhibited within the gloomy walls of a mad-house. It is essential to the common happiness ibat all these things should be known, and the memory of them carefully treasured up; but it is fortunately not every man's duty to board such melancholy facts.
Apply the same mode of reasoning to the study of Latin and Greek. How often have we seen men contumeliously sneer at the humble pursuits of the pbilologist, scoff at bis diligent investigation of difficult points in grammar, and treat
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his labors as insignificant and valueless. Be it so. We will not argue that point. Undoubtedly much of the minute toil, requisite to the formation of a good scholar, is mere drudgery ; yet, as times and manners are, the habits of cultivated nations and the approved modes of education, it is on any view requisite and desirable, that all the results of philological research should be possessed by living men. And hence the necessity of an immense critical apparatus, which the opulent will seldom consult, though they must contribute to its purchase.
We might multiply illustrations. What Lranch of knowledge is more interesting than that wiich records the fortunes of the human race? Yet to make history valuable, there must be for the inquirer ready access to the sources, and abundant opportunity offered for verifying the details. Most of us read not more than one history of Rome. What confusion of ideas would Niebuhr's history have occasioned in the minds of men, in a community where there was no erudition? The opportunity for research is the best safeguard against incredulity; and we shall take things quite enough on trust, even if we have the materials of re-production within our reach.
But is there to be no end to this purchase of books? Oh yes,—and let us see what it is. When the public library has redeemed from time all the valuable intellectual bequests of former ages, when it has garnered up all that preceding generations had amassed as a sacred and imperishable inheritance, there will then remain no duty, but to collect what the age produces. And when literary ambition shall cease to be excited; when genius is no longer bestowed by the munificence of Heaven; when industry no longer collects new facts respecting man or nature; when the forming hand ceases to re-produce; when the streams of human intellect no longer flow; when the springs of intelligence and thought are all dried up; when the regions of science and of mind sleep in a universal lethargy, then it will be time to give over buying books ; and then, too, there will be no need of a university at Cambridge, and no functions for a college corporation.
In fine, we think that the present movement in favor of the Library, on the part of the governors of Harvard, is not to be attributed to the transient impulse of a magnificent, ephemeral enthusiasm ; but is rather the result of a right understanding
n of their duty, is approved by the deliberate judgment of the community, and is in strict accordance with the public requisitions and wants.
S. Chase, Art. X.—Life and Character of Henry Brougham. 1. Speech of Henry Brougham, Esq. M. P. on the Present
State of the Law. 1828. 2. Practical Observations on Popular Education. By H. BROUGHAM, Esq. M. P. F. R. S. From the Twentieth London Edition. Boston. 1826. 3. Publications of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful
Knowledge. 1837—1831. Our present object is, not to speak particularly of the merits of the several publications just enumerated, but to sketch for the entertainment and instruction of our readers, the more prominent incidents in the life of the remarkable individual, who is the author of some of them, and the chief promoter of all. We do not know that we can render a worthier or more acceptable service to the readers of our Journal, than by devoting, from time to time, a portion of its pages to a narrative of the doings of such men. It was well said, that History is Philosophy teaching by example.' But history seldom condescends to the teaching of individuals ; and when she does, she instructs us rather in the arts of war than in the works of peace; noticing briefly and withal somewhat superciliously the noblest designs and labors of philanthropy, and even the most glorious civil triumphs, while she records, with all the blazoning of the most gorgeous description, the achievements of military prowess, or details, with scrupulous minuteness, the intrigues of courts. Thus the examples furnished by history are not adapted to the instruction of common life. They show us man in his robes of state and under the influence of artificial constraint, not in his every day dress, and acting from the genuine promptings of the heart. They exhibit to our view a man not of nature's making but of art's making.
Now biography teaches by better examples than these. Her instructions are adapted to peace as well as to war; to man as an individual as well as to man in society. She holds up for our admiration and imitation men who have never seen the tented field. She sits by the philosopher in his closet, and notes the laborious processes of thought by which his mind struggles to reach, and at last does reach, some mighty and all-comprehending principle. And to waken in the hearts of other men a noble emulation, she tells of the inexpressible triumph with which he exclaims Evonua. She accompanies