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promotion of knowledge, and I determined to broach to them a plan which had been with me the subject of many a moment of contemplation, but which I had hitherto regarded as one of those castles in the air, of which my mind was always fertile, and which, after regaling my fancy for a season, had perished like 'the baseless fabric of a vision, and left not a wreck behind.' This was no less than, with the property which we all possessed, that was very large, and after enlisting other adventurers in our enterprise, to pass into the United States, the land of perfect freedom in thought and action, and establish a villa, which should be modelled according to our own conceptions, and after the example of the greatest man among the Romans, denominated Tusculum. While the emigrants whom we brought from Europe, added to the native citizens whom we should collect upon our arrival, should be engaged in the usual occupations of industry, our plan was, that the leading members of this little community should so organize the association, as that the amplest provision should be made for the advancement of science, and the cultivation of literature and the arts. No sooner was my scheme unfolded, than it met with the hearty concurrence of my friends and companions, and joined by other literati and intelligent men, as well as a competent number of artizans and husbandmen, disposed to seek their fortunes in the new world, we were readily transferred across the Atlantic. After taking a survey of every position in the country, the most favorable for our purpose, we at length determined to fix upon the beautiful village of Elizabeth-town, in New-Jersey, as a site which, from its vicinity to New-York, our great emporium of commerce, unites all the advantages of the city and country, of retirement, and of polished intercourse with men. After erecting comfortable dwellings for all the citizens, neat but unostentatious habitations for ourselves, we have reared, also, a large public edifice, in which we have arranged a library, comprising all the greatest works of genius, constructed rooms for our specimens of statuary and painting, and our philosophical apparatus, as well as a hall in which our little senate meets to discuss matters of science, and read the productions of its members. To this building we have annexed a portico, in imitation of the academy at Athens, as a place of resort for our literati, in which they regale themselves from the fatigues of study during the refreshing coolness of morning and evening, engaged in literary converse, canvassing the merits of the authors which they peruse, and indulging their reflections upon men and things.
These are the writers, together with others whose names and pretensions will be revealed in due time, who, with their wives and families, some of whom have no slight claims both in prose and poetry, will issue from the Portico that series of essays, which shall be supremely devoted to the cultivation of science and letters, to improvements in the arts, the promotion of virtue, morals, and religion, the rectification of public errors, and the polish and refinement of our manners. Our purpose, to which we shall be vigilantly attentive, is to investigate and confirm the truth, and banish false and mischievous opinions; to discountenance vice, and give encouragement to piety and virtue; to carry defeat and utter discomfiture into the ranks of skepticism and impiety; to awake an unquenchable attachment to our present constitutions and laws; to humanize the feelings, and refine the taste of the community;
and, in a word, to acquit ourselves as good citizens of this noble republic, anxious for its safety and perpetuity, and striving to advance it in every pursuit which can confer true honor upon a nation, promote its substantial welfare, and insure its real aggrandizement and felicity. We solicit no more respect for our opinions, or submission to our authority, than are due to the intrinsic evidence which is shed around them, and the arguments by which they are sustained. Inasmuch as it has formed the strenuous labors of our lives to arrive at a comprehension of the profound lessons of philosophy, and just conceptions of men and things, we trust, when we attempt to communicate our views to others, they will be received with candor, estimated with impartiality, and obtain that credit and currency among our readers to which they may be fairly entitled by any merits they may claim. The public mind, in this country, stands in great need of a new and more efficient impulse to be given to it, in the direction of science, literature and the arts. While our citizens discover unusual activity and energy, and have attained astonishing success in every other pursuit, the interests of learning and the elegant arts alone have been allowed to languish, and are comparatively underrated and despised. It is time that we should be awakened from a torpor so fatal to the best interests and highest glory of the nation, and begin to lay the foundations of her future scientific reputation, and progressive advancement in polite learning. To accomplish this desirable purpose, the members of the Tusculan Senate, aided by many who have just literary pretensions in their little community, will devote all the debates and decisions of their council, and the best performances of their genius, under the full assurance, that every enterprise of this nature, however humble it may be, and imperfectly executed, must contribute, in some slight degree, to the improvement of the public mind, and the promotion of the real prosperity and highest aggrandizement of the state.
The following was the first paper presented to our Senate, read and approved by them, and its publication ordered in 'The Portico.'
Græcia capta ferum victorem cepit, et artes
THE Roman writer, in the passage which forms our motto, bestows upon the Greeks the highest honor to which a nation can attain, and in comparison with which, all the splendor of conquest, the renown of martial exploits, and the pomp and magnificence of triumphs, upon any just computation of human greatness, fade and disappear. In the history of the world, it has, by frequent repetition, become an object of mere vulgar ambition to overrun by force of arms a neighboring state, to display superiority in military skill and prowess, to discomfit its forces, and reduce it to subjection. But it will ever remain an effort of genuine glory and elevated emulation, to gain preeminence in science, literature, and the arts; to enlighten the nations with the researches and discoveries of philosophy, and to polish, refine, and humanize their habits and manners, by awaken
ing among them a taste for liberal and elegant pursuits. These are triumphs of the understanding, that confer upon a people truly desirable distinction, and erect to their glory imperishable monuments. Upon an impartial review of the history of man, and when all those events have passed away, which once interested and agitated the world, who would place in competition the renown obtained by the Romans in their sanguinary career of conquests, with the peaceful victories of Greece, and with the honors reflected on her by the wisdom of her sages, the celebrity of her schools, and the profound lessons of philosophy which she has transmitted as a rich inheritance to all succeeding ages? It is not so much by her military superiority, and the successful progress of her armies in the subjugation of surrounding states, that Rome herself is presented to our view as an object of enviable distinction, as in the successful competition into which she finally entered with her captive, in the cultivation of science, and the productions of her genius.
By these calm and philosophic reflections upon the past history of our race, mankind should be awakened to a just discernment of the sources of real greatness, and the foundations of permanent reputation. In reference to all these objects of national desire, since the settlement of this western world, and the establishment of the North American Republic, a new volume is unfolded in the history of man, and a new field of moral and political experiment explored, from which the profoundest lessons of wisdom are to be reaped by us and our posterity. Had England succeeded in reducing to subjection her revolting colonies, the effort might have enhanced the lustre of her military fame, but it would have purchased for her less genuine glory, and beneficial predominance, than that which she is at this moment acquiring, from the influence which she exerts to the advantage of both nations, in transmitting to us, under suitable modifications, her political maxims, her laws, her religion, her sciences and arts, the productions of her genius, and the incomputable advantages of her commercial, literary, and social intercourse. The reduction of this country to submission, would indeed have retained in her possession one of the most powerful of her national arms; but what would these advantages have proved, to herself and the world, when compared with those which both are now deriving from the growth and prosperity of a free and noble state in this western hemisphere, with which she sustains amicable relations, and cultivates commercial intercourse? Had we remained in a state of dependence and vassalage to her, our citizens might have been summoned from their peaceful occupations to swell the numbers in her fleets and armies, and our resources exhausted to replenish her coffers with supplies; but the limbs of our nation would have been perpetually cramped by arbitrary decrees of her cabinet, our free action impaired by encroachments from the monarchy, and our trade shackled, and population limited, by unwholesome restrictions upon our commerce and manufacturies. Has it not, then, been preferable, both to England and the world, as well as so greatly to ourselves, that a mighty republic should have been thus early constituted in the new world, which, availing itself of all the lights it can derive from the mother country, shall extend over so large a portion of the globe the discoveries of science, and improvements in the arts, the principles of free and equal government, the finest pro
ductions in prose and poetry, and the habits and manners of civilized society; while, at the same time, it casts into the treasury of knowledge its own inventions, discoveries, and improvements? No event which ever transpired in the course of human affairs, save the promulgation of christianity, and the reformation by Luther, was ever more auspicious to our race, under all its aspects, than the separation of the United States from the British empire, at the period of our revolutionary war. This is the view which will be taken of the subject by the enlightened statesman, as well as the philosopher and philanthropist, through all Never was a finer field of philosophical speculation, and political experiment, presented to the inspection of mankind, or a theatre upon which all that is transacting could be more deeply interesting to the sincere lover of his race, than is at this time exhibited in these United States. Those writers and travelers, who have passed through our country in a humor of censure and bitterness, and viewing every object and event through the jaundiced vision of prejudice and antipathy, have seemed to delight in propagating the tales of scandal and villification, have paid as poor a compliment to their own philosophical discernment and liberality of thinking, as to the character and pretensions of the people whom they were so solicitous to traduce. How different would be the decision which would be pronounced upon our claims by such illustrious men as Locke, Montesquieu, and Cicero, could they arise from the dead, and contemplate a nation modelling its constitutions and laws upon those principles, and displaying that simplicity in its manners, of which they could only dream in speculation, without anticipating the happiness of beholding them really exemplified in practice!
The United States, at this moment, in spite of all that can be alleged by its calumniators and villifiers, presents to the eye of the spectator a spectacle unseen before in the history of our race, and a theatre of moral and political action more interesting to the philosopher and philanthropist, than was ever previously exhibited upon the earth. The states and republics of ancient and modern times, great and signalized as they were, sink into diminution, when brought in competition with that magnificent fabric of well-defined and accurately-balanced constitutional law which is found in our country; that equal distribution of rights and privileges; that lenity but efficiency in government; that perfect defence and protection extended to citizens of all classes and conditions; that entire equality which is maintained among all the members of the body politic, and that harmonious action of the whole complicated system, which so controls and regulates its parts as to constrain the greatest citizen to yield submission to its power, while the meanest is not insensible of its care. In what part of the world before, was ever so mild and paternal a government found competent to the preservation of peace, order, and subordination, over so vast an extent of country? When was a single central power, without any exertion of violence or tyranny, found able to hold, in just balance, twentysix, in some respects, sovereign states, and, like the sun in the planetary system, sustaining them in their orbits, without interfering with their movements, or allowing them to deviate from their appointed tracks? What nation before, extending over various latitudes, and distinguished in different climates by discordant institutions, habits, and manners, was ever so firmly united by the bonds of common
interest, and attachment to their common union, and discovered itself ready to sacrifice every prejudice, passion, and partial consideration to the general welfare? Where shall we find the state, which, although composed of a mixed assemblage from all nations, has enjoyed such unbounded liberty without licentiousness; so much tolerance in religious opinion; so much zeal in their several creeds, without bigotry or persecution; and which, amidst all its contests, dangers, and disasters, has evinced such unshaken fortitude, forbearance, and moderation, and with unexampled intelligence and patriotism, has at last yielded to the suggestions of wisdom, and the dictates of prudence and sound policy? Surely never was a community placed by the providence of Heaven, under circumstances so favorable to the enjoyment of free institutions and wholesome laws; and never did a people more signally avail itself of the beneficence of Providence to the promotion of its interest and glory! May that same benignity of Heaven which has extended these blessings to the present generation, transmit them with abundant increase, and the largest accumulations, to our remotest posterity! Mr. Addison, in one of the numbers of his Spectator, congratulates himself and Englishmen of his day, that they lived in such a country, and at such a period of the world; and well might he indulge a patriotic pride upon that topic, inasmuch as he flourished in the age of Newton, Locke, Clarke, and all those illustrious men, who, together with himself, formed the brightest constellation that ever shed illumination through a community. In like manner we may declare in sincerity, and we hope without presumption or undue exultation, that had we been allowed to select the period in which we would prefer to spend our life upon earth, we could not have fixed upon an era, from the formation of Adam to the present moment, more favorable than our own age and country to a rational enjoyment, and the highest cultivation of our faculties, more auspicious to the future welfare of our race, more redundant with present cir'cumstances of complacency and satisfaction, and more cheered by auspices of desirable results in future. What can be more gratifying to the liberal and patriotic mind, than the opening prospects of our own country, and the whole civilized world at this period! The nations of Europe are undergoing a great moral renovation; the many are awaking to a just comprehension of their rights; and liberal principles are dissolving before them the maxims of tyranny, the institutions of oppression, and the powers of bigotry and persecution. In our own country, our rights and liberties are secured by the impregnable strong-holds of constitutional law and municipal regulations; man walks abroad in his native dignity and majesty, lord of the soil upon which he treads. The germs of genius are allowed to shoot forth in wildest luxuriance, unchecked by artificial distinctions, and unrepressed by odious restraints. The elements of useful knowledge are universally diffused; the sciences, elegant letters, and the arts, are freely cultivated, and the human mind, released from the shackles of prejudice and error in which it has been bound for ages, is allowed to expand all its faculties, and pursue its inquiries into the dominions of truth and nature, unawed by that despotism which hitherto made it afraid, and unrestrained by that fiat of bigotry and intolerance which proclaimed, Thus far shalt thou go, and no farther, and here shall thy proud steps be stayed.' Did the world, then, ever before open a scene of such rational enjoyment to mankind, ex