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A Passage of Life: by GRENVILLE Editors' Table, 91, 198, 313, 426,521, 617 MELLEN, Esq., 11 East and West,
87 Astoria : by Washington IRVING, 88 Editors' Drawer,
92 A Voice from the Past, 118 Essay on Fine Writing,
101 Advice to a Lover, 132 Electro-Magnetism,
533 American Society,
161 A Bell's Biography,
209 Autobiography of a Broomstick, 251 Fossil Flowers,
371 A Week in Cincinnati, 259 Faith,
376 Apples of Sodom: by Rev. J. H.
Fate of Percy,
447 CLINCH, 275 Fine Arts,
530 A Month of Freedom, 310 Francis Mitford,
555 Aborigines of New-England, 321 A Word to a Stuffed Shark, 328
G. A Touch at the Times,
404 A Day at the White Mountains, 473 Giafar al Barmeki,
86 A Thought in Solitude, 477 Greek Tables of THIERSCH,
297 A Glance at New-York, 530 Gleanings in Europe,
421 April Snow, 553 Game of Life,
529 Autobiography of a Broomstick, God in Nature,
547 (Number Two,) 578 Grove Hall,
573 A Mother's Joy,
Happiness, by Rev. J. H. CLINCH,
205 Hymn to the Deity. J. G. WHITTIER, 346 Black Plume: A Legend,
265 Buckland's Geology,
I. Boston Works,
528 Boston Mercantile Association, 530 International Copy Right,
Nlustrations of American Society, 386
430 Consolations of Religion : by J. G. Incidents of Travel,
515 PERCIVAL, 172 | IRVING's Works,
630 Captain Percy: from the 'Fidget Isle Santa Cruz,
427 Junius' Reply to Dr. Beasley, 93 Crowned Heads and Kingly John Jenkins, a Story,
428 CHANNING on Temperance,
512 COMSTOCK's Geography,
530 Classical Library,
530 Knout, Punishment by the, 372 Conscience, by J. Barber, Esq., 593
Davis's Memoirs of Burr,
Liberty vs. Literature and the Arts, 1 100 Lines, by Mrs. Eller,
34 224 Lines, by Miss CUSHMAN,
46 528 Literary Notices, 83, 188, 297, 416, 587
Letter from Dr. BRIGHAM to Dr.
92 Religious Opinions of WASHINGTON, 87
146 Random Leaves from a Journal of
318 Romeo and Juliet, in the Original, 521
458 Stanzas, by W. P. PALMER, Esq.,. 82
529 Stanzas for Music, by Rev. T.
194 Spring, by W. G. SIMMs, Esq., 487
145 Trust in Heaven, by Miss M. A.
200 The Sun, by PERCIVAL,
311 Time: by Rev. J. H. CLINCH, 586
LIBERTY vs. LITERATURE AND THE FINE ARTS. The enemies of free institutions, founded on an equality of rights and of rank, and a general diffusion of property and intelligence, being accustomed to urge as an objection to such a system, that it in a great measure precludes the progress and perfection of literature and the fine arts, it is our design to subject this assertion to the test of reason and experience. Each of these go to establish the fact, that the enjoyment of freedom is highly favorable to the dignity as well as the intelligence of human character; and if such is the result of liberty in all other departments of intellectual occupation, it seems little less than an absurdity to presume that literature and the fine arts should be the solitary exceptions to this great general rule.
We believe this theory to be entirely unfounded, and as devoid of truth as it is derogatory to the character of freedom. We never wish to see the higher virtues and manlier pursuits, nor the primitive energies, of a free and vigorous people, sacrificed to the exclusive cultivation of literature and the fine arts. We never wish to see the time when the United States shall, in the midst of corruption and effeminacy, seek refuge from the sense of degradation, in the vanity of producing the best poets, painters, sculptors and musicians, or warming themselves, amid the darkness which envelopes the present, in the sunshine of their past glories. In our eyes, the composer of an opera, the prima donna and the prima don, should never come in competition with those who perform great services to the state; nor does it appear to be estimating merit by a just standard, to place Paganini before Washington, or the sculptor who chisels a hero, above the hero himself. Those virtues and talents which are indispensable to the government and safety of nations, the conduct and preservation of their useful institutions, and the general welfare of mankind, are, in our opinion, a far more rational and salutary source of national pride, than the mere accomplishments which, though they adorn society, constitute neither the foundation nor superstructure of true glory, or substantial happiness. The elegant and ornamental should never take precedence of the useful arts, as they have done in Italy, where at this moment they are far behind the United States in all those domestic comforts and conveniences which form so large a portion of the stock of human happiness.
Still, a competent skill in literature and the fine arts is a just source of national pride, and every government, as well as every people, should foster them with a judicious liberality. We do not mean that they should give more for a tune on the fiddle, or an air at the opera, than they are willing to pay for objects of real utility; nor lavish on a successful actor or buffoon, rewards and honors which they
deny to the meritorious statesman, the successful defender of his country, or the powerful asserter of her fame and freedom. Whenever this false estimate becomes the ruling principle of nations and their sovereigns, it has always been found that the ruin, or at least degradation, of those nations was close at hand. Effeminate pursuits succeeded the more manly exercises of the intellect, or the body; genius became the handmaid of luxury, instead of the parent of patriotism and virtue, and prostituted itself to gain the notice of kings, princes, and nobility, instead of laboring to deserve the love and gratitude of the people.
Literature ought ever to have precedence over the fine arts, since while it amuses it enlightens. It is the medium of a great portion of our knowledge — the casket in which is deposited our moral and religious codes
our mentor and instructor. It makes knowledge not only immortal, but increases its vigor and richness from age to age. Like our mother earth, it produces, fosters, and preserves, at the same time. The fine arts, on the contrary, are rather sources of refined amusement than of salutary instruction. None of that knowledge necessary to the improvement of mankind, the conduct of life, or the attainment of happiness, can be obtained by a contemplation of the Venus de Medicis or the Apollo Belvidere ; nor can it be said with truth, that a man or woman either, is better or wiser for having studied them to intensity. The same may be said of the productions of the fine arts in general. They afford a rich and innocent source of gratification; they come in aid of human enjoyments ; and are so far the auxiliaries of virtue, that they frequently afford resources for passing that leisure which might otherwise be spent in a manner less innocent. On the whole, however, experience seems to have demonstrated that consummate culture in the fine arts has always hitherto been one of the last stages in the progress of nations, and has ever rapidly followed, if it has not preceded, degeneracy and decay.
Be this as it may, we cannot withhold the expression of our pleasure at seeing the steady progress daily making in this country in literature and the fine arts, because we believe that there is no intrinsic incompatibility between the virtues necessary to preserve liberty, and the pure and rational refinements of a wholesome, natural, manly taste. We have, moreover, long cherished a conviction that the enjoyment of a rational freedom, such as we of the United States are blessed with, associated with a general liberal diffusion of property and intelligence, which always carry with them an improvement in taste, was far more favorable to the cultivation and independence of literature and the fine arts, than all the patronage kings, princes, and nobles, ever bestowed upon them, from their birth to their maturity and decay. This is the position we shall attempt to establish in the ensuing discussion - first, on the ground of general principles and general results ; secondly, on the authority of history and experience.
It seems to us, in the first place, degrading literature and the fine arts below the most ordinary handicraft trades, by presuming that they cannot subsist but in a state of abject dependence on a particular individual, who must not only be rich but noble. It is making menials and paupers of their professors, and placing them on a level