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given to the general government be exercised, than it is essential to liberty, that powers not given, should not be permitted to be assumed.
And considering the virtues as deriving their origin from God, and utility as the proper principle and measure of their application, I shall found the theory of natural jurisprudence on considerations relating to the rights and happiness of each individual, taken in reference to the welfare of the whole society.
The advantages of making such a course of study as I have indicated, a branch of academical education, must be admitted by all who reflect either on the nature of our laws and institutions, the various classes of which our people are composed, or the nature of the duties which every citizen of the State may be called on to perform.
The government being popular in its foundation, unless popular means are adopted by some acknowledged authority, for illustrating the maxims on which it should be administered, how can a knowledge of the just principles of freedom be so generally disseminated as to mark the just limits of power, and prevent restraints from either being so loose as to admit licentiousness, or so severe as to extinguish the spirit of liberty.
Our laws, though for the most part according with the customs and habits of the people, and flowing spontaneously from the hearts of our ancestors or ourselves, may yet sometimes be founded upon reasons in a degree artificial, upon a policy not always in its present application, the less sound for being remote in its causes; and often upon a necessity, which it requires long study to perceive of rendering the parts less just and proportionate, in order to fit them to, and increase the symmetry of the whole.
By what means then, can they be rendered generally acceptable to the people, unless by early habits and education, their minds are properly disciplined for an examination of all the rules by which legal architecture is regulated.
The national interests and taste combining to render it the duty of almost every man in society to pursue some useful or profitable vocation, we have not among us, as in some other countries, an order of men, who possessing leisure, can apply themselves at a mature age, to inquiries purely liberal; and of course, except those who are connected with the administration of justice, it may well be supposed, there are few who apply themselves to acquire an accurate knowledge of the law. And divided as we are, into numerous religious and political persuasions, it is hardly possible to imagine, that unless the law, as connected with morals, be publicly taught, there can be, on legal and moral questions, the uniformity of opinion, which constitutes so'much of the strength and beauty of society.
In this country too, 'every citizen 'may be called on to take a part, or perform a duty which not only demandis legal knowledge, but requires for an honest discharge of it, that the person who is
to perform it, should rely on his own knowledge and judgment. The magistrate to whom is entrusted an extensive civil and criminal jurisdiction—which there seems to be an inclination to increase--would with an ill grace allege ignorance of the law as a justification for any violation of the rights of his fellow-citizens.
The juror who, in criminal cases, is authorised to decide both the law and the fact, can hardly deem himself safely discharged of his oath, unless possessed of sufficient legal knowledge to convince him, that he has not been misled by error from the bench, or deceived by the dexterity or artifice of counsel.
The arbitrator, who performs the office both of judge and juror, though he can rarely obtain all the knowledge requisite for an accurate performance of the duty, yet may, by a very little legal study, be convinced of the danger of mixing his notions of particular justice, with those general rules which the welfare of society requires to be adopted.
The legislator will, most uselessly, occupy himself in making new laws, unless instructed in the evils which former laws tole. rated, and the rules by which the remedies he proposes, must be expounded and limited.
And the chief magistrate who is responsible for the execution of the laws, will enforce or protect the rights of the people but feebly, unless instructed both to understand and respect the rules, which have been instituted for their liberty and safety.
While such are the advantages, and indeed the necessity of extending our system of public education to legal studies, the considerations which show the propriety of establishing them in this city and University, are weighty and numerous,
It will be admitted, that in every well regulated society, there are certain influences which are essential to freedom, as they serve to support opposition to usurpation; and necessary to government, as they serve as pillars to authority-and that among these, those of commerce and learning are most beneficial in their just exercise, and most harmless in their undue operation.
In this Ştate, however, where property is yery equal in its distribution, where the people are scattered over a large surface, and where being mainly, agricultural, the independence of their mode of life may be opposed to the higher degrees of polish and refinement, is there not danger that the natural power of these influences may be too much diminished.
To communicate to them the energy, which their beneficial exercise requires, is it not necessary that they should be connected with each other? And can this be effectually accomplished unless seats of learning are not only established, but rendered prosperous and distinguished, in the only commercial town of the commonwealth. If there are those who conceive that the dissipation of a large town may be unfavourable to the morals, or in our climate, its heat prejudicial to the health of boys, it is obvious that these objections are not applicable in the nearer approach to manhood,
and that as their manners may be improved, and their knowledge extended by society, the town, at this season of life, is a proper place for their education. It being presumeable too, that at this period, they have gone through the course of tutor discipline, the lecture system, in all the branches of science, is that which is peculiarly adapted to them. In medical studies this system has accordingly rendered our University signally illustrious. And how great may be the advantages, at some future period, and under abler auspices than mine, of making it equally celebrated for legal inquiries.
ART. II.- The Backwoodsman.- A Poem, by J. K. Paulding,
Philadelphia, 1818. ‘W HEREVER the freedom of the press exists, (says a cele
brated writer*) I must assert that literature, well or ill conducted, is the great engine by which I am persuaded all civilized states must ultimately be supported or overthrown.' If this assertion be correct, with regard to the monarchies of Europe, it is entitled to the most serious consideration in a republic like the United States. Public opinion, which exerts an influence even over the most despotic forms of government, is all powerful in this country, and this great agent is operated on in modern times chiefly by means of the press. The sober and rational influence of books has succeeded to the popular orations of the ancient republics, and exercises a sovereignty vastly more powerful, because more extended and more permanent in its effects. It must be evident, therefore, that it is an object of primary concern to keep the springs by which the great stream of public opinion is fed, as pure as possible, and to discourage the circulation of books whose objects are unfavourable to the political or moral interests of society; not on account of their influence upon the men of a republic merely, but from their impressions upon those who are destined to take their places on the political stage. The effects produced upon the mind in early life by a course of reading are not easily effaced, and are often visible in the conduct of an individual in after years. Let the case be supposed of a civilized people, without a national literature of their own, without any great works in history, poetry, or the fine arts, but who are in the daily practice of perusing books in which the constitution, the laws and the history of a foreign nation are the theme of praise and admiration, and it will be conceded, that under such circumstances, they will probably be deficient in national character and national feelings, if not animated by sentiments of attachment to other countries. The love of country may exist, as we know by experience that it has existed, among the most rude and unenlightened nations, but with them it is merely an instinctive preference for their habitual residence and the home of their ancestors. The affection of a civilized people for their coun
* The Author of the Pursuits of Literature.
try is founded on higher considerations, and differs from the mere animal love of our birth place exactly as the attachment of a sensible man to an educated and accomplished woman, differs from the passion of the Turk for her who occupies his seraglio, or produces his children. It is created by a knowledge of and sensibility to the excellence of its form of government, to the virtues of its citizens, and the exploits of its great men, and is aided by that feeling of good will which all men possess for their native land. But if no pains are taken to foster this love of country, by setting before the eyes of its inhabitants the lovely and respectable features of its institutions, or if their contemplation is habitually directed to the institutions of other nations, their patriotism will be at best a cold and sluggish one, and such as will never excite them to extraordinary exertion in support of the rights or liberties of their own country. In many respects this is, or rather was, the situation of the United States. Possessing scarcely any literature peculiar to themselves or relating to their own concerns, their reading has been confined almost exclusively to books of British production. The nationality of the English has led them to exalt the virtues and glory of their own country, and the excellence of their form of government, at the expense of every other, and their patriotism has been supported by the aid of some of the finest eloquence and most beautiful poetry that any country has produced. The consequence of participating with them in their literature, has been, to lead us insensibly to a kind of fellow feeling with them in their love of England, while our attachments to our own country have lain comparatively dull and torpid. For, we may ask, who is there among us who has not felt warmer feelings towards Great Britain, after reading the beautiful nationalities of Cowper and Scott, or been sensible of a bias towards the English constitution, from the eloquent praises of it with which English books are filled ? The superiority of British institutions has been taught us in our schools, is inculcated in our books of jurisprudence and ethics, and is frequently the theme of our most admired sermons, as well as our most popular poetry. From this potent influence of literature, it has so happened that many of the people of this country were actually better acquainted with the history, constitution and geography of Great Britain, than with those of America, and partly from this cause it has happened that we have been for a long time miserably deficient in national feelings. Our heroes have been chiefly English, and it may be questioned whether some part of our attachment to Him who alone has been able to gain the undivided affections of his countrymen, may not have arisen from the eulogies of English orators and poets.
Whatever therefore has a tendency to direct the public attention to the beautiful forms of our own institutions and polity, and thereby to awaken the flame of patriotism which has always burned brightest in the atmosphere of a republic, ought we think seduously
to be encouraged. Take it for all in all, our country need fear na critical comparison with any other. We have reason to be proud of our constitution, our laws and our history, and to rejoice in the virtues and comforts of our people. To these, as well as to the sublime and delightful features of our landscape, we have long wished to call the attention of our poets. We have characters of moral excellence in our annals, which would bear a scrutiny with and sound as well in immortal rhyme' as the
• Regulum et Scauros, animæ que magnæ . doi
Prodigum Paulum,' of Horace, or the Alfreds, Hampdens, or Sidneys of Thomson. Poetry, however trifling its pursuits may appear to the votary of the physical sciences, possesses a great and durable influence over mankind. It is read and remembered by all classes of society, it may refine the taste and exalt the imagination, and when properly employed in celebrating distinguished
excellence, it cannot fail to excite in the mind the ambition to imitate great models, without which no great character can be formed.
« Ut cunque ferent ea facta minores • Vincet amor patriæ, laudumque immensa cupido." It is therefore with more than ordinary feelings of pleasure that we have read the work before us, It is a poem
on American subjects, written by an American who loves his country, justly appreciates the superiority of her moral and political institutions, and has a heart to feel and a pen to describe the matchless beauty of her scenery. It is written, too, generally, with good taste, as well as good sense, avoiding on the one hand the servile imitation of foreign and fashionable poets, which is the characteristic of too many of our versifiers, and on the other hand, the equally absurd attempts at originality of language, by which the epic of Mr. Barlow was distinguished. Mr. Paulding is already well known to the public as the author of several prose writings, the principal object of which was to exalt the national character, and to vindicate its reputation from the foul slander of European libellers. The success his works have met with, and the popular estimation in which he is held throughout the United States, are a proof as well of his talents and ability, as of the disposition of the community to encourage the productions of their own writers.
The story, which the author informs us in his preface, was merely assumed, as affording an easy and natural way of introducing a greater variety of scenery, as well as more diversity of character, is very brief and simple. Basil, an inhabitant of the banks of the Hudson, finding that with all his exertion he is barely able to maintain his growing family, and actuated by that love of independence which animates the people of this country in an uncommon degree, resolves to emigrate to the western country.' Accordingly, having made all things ready, and embarked their slender store of moveables in a covered cart, drawn by a sturdy