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AMERICAN LITERATURE. I need not dwell upon the necessity of Literature and Art to a people's glory and happiness. History with all her voices joins in one judgment upon this subject. Our legislators, indeed, choose to consider them of no consequence, and while the States are convulsed by claims from the loom and the furnace for protection, the demands of the parents of freedom, the preservers of arts, the dispensers of civility, are treated with silence. But authors and artists have existed and do exist here in spite of such outlawry; and, notwithstanding the obstacles in our condition, and the discouragements of neglect, the Anglo-Saxon race in the United States have done as much in the fields of Investigation, Reflection, Imagination, and Taste, in the present century, as any other twelve millions of people—about our average number for this period in the world.

Doubtless there are obstacles, great obstacles, to the successful cultivation of letters here; but they are not so many nor so important as is generally supposed. The chief difficulty is a want of patriotism, mainly proceeding from and perpetuated by the absence of a just law of copyright. There is indeed no lack of that spurious love of country which is ever ready to involve us in aimless and disgraceful war; but there is little genuine and lofty national feeling ; little clear perception of that which really deserves affection and applause; little intelligent and earnest effort to foster the good we possess or acquire the good we need.

It has been the fate of colonists in all ages to consider the people from among whom they made their exodus both morally and intellectually superior to themselves, and the parent state has had thus a kind of spiritual, added to her political sovereignty, The American provinces quarrelled with England, conquered, and became a separate nation; and we have since had our own Presidents and Congresses; but England has continued to do the thinking of a large class here,—of men who have arrogated to themselves the title of critics,—of our sham sort of men, in all departments. We have had no confidence in ourselves; and men who lack self-reliance are rarely successful. We have not looked into our own hearts. We have not inquired of our own necessities.' When we have written, instead of giving a free voice to the spirit within us, we have endeavored to write after some foreign model. We have been so fearful of nothing else as of an Americanism in thought or expression. Ile has been deemed greatest who has copied some transatlantic author with most successful servility. The noisiest demagogue who affects to despise England will scarcely open a book which was not written there. And if one of our countrymen wins some reputation among his fellows, it is generally because he has been first praised abroad.

The commonly urged barriers to literary advancement supposed to exist in our form of government, the nature of our institutions, the restless and turbulent movements of our democracy, and the want of a wealthy and privileged class among us, deserve little consideration. Tumult and strife, the clashing of great interests and high excitements, are to be regarded rather as aids than as obstacles to intellectual progress. From Athens came the choicest literature and the finest art. Her philosophers, so calm and profound, her poets, the dulcet sounds of whose lyres still charm the ears of succeeding ages, wrote amid continual upturnings and overthrows. The best authors of Rome also were senators and soldiers. Milton, the greatest of the prose writers as well as the greatest of the poets of England, lived in the Commonwealth, and participated in all its political and religious controversies. And what repose had blind Mæonides, or Camoëns, or Dante, or Tasso? In the literature of Germany and France, too, the noblest works have been produced amid the shocks of contending elements.

Nor is the absence of a wealthy class, with leisure for such tranquil pursuits, to be much lamented. The privileged classes of all nations have been drones. We have, in the Southern States of this Republic, a large class, with ample fortunes, leisure, and quiet; but they have done comparatively nothing in the fields of intellectual exertion, except when startled into spasmodic activity by conflicts of interest with the North.

To say truth, most of the circumstances usually set down as barriers to asthetical cultivation here, are directly or indirectly advantageous. The real obstacles are generally of a transient kind. Many of them are silently disappearing; and the rest would be soon unknown if we had a more enlightened love of country, and the making of our laws were not so commonly confided to a sort of men whose intellects are too mean or whose principles are too wicked to admit of their seeing or doing what is just and needful in the premises. That property which is most actual, the only property to which a man's right is positive, unquestionable, indefeasible, exclusive,-his genius, conferred as by letters-patent from the Almighty,-is held to be not his, but the public's, and therefore is not brought into use. Nevertheless,

1“All'arguments' against copyright, as universal and perpetual as the life of a book, are but insults to the common sense. Some of them are ingenious, and may be admired on the same principle that the ingenuity of a picklock is admired. The possession of lands is, by priviloge, conceded to the individual for the cominon benefit. The right of an author rests on altogether different grounds. The intangible and inalienable power by which he works is a direct and specia]

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