ART. VIII.---A Discourse concerning the Influence of America on the Mind, being the Annual Oration delivered before the American Philosophical Society, at the. University in Philadelphia, October 18, 1823. By C. J. INGERSOLL. Philadelphia. A. Small. 8vo. pp. 67.
Seven or eight years ago the plan of the American Philosophical Society was enlarged, by instituting a committee of history, moral science, and literature. Its objects before that Period were confined chiefly to the natural sciences, to mathematics astronomy physical Philosophy, medicine, natural history, chemistry trade and commerce, mechanics, architecture, and husbandry. This new arrangement has given a much wider scope to the exertions of the Society, and enabled it to enlist a greater amount of active talent in promoting its liberal purposes. Our stock of historical knowledge has already been enriched by the curious and valuable papers, which the committee has published, concerning tile manners, characteristics, and languages of the Indians. We are glad to learn, that, through the zeal and vigilance of this branch of the Society, several manuscripts of early date have been brought to light, some of which are now preparing to meet the public eye.
0n a former occasion we presented to our readers a notice of the eloquent and interesting anniversary discourse, delivered by the corresponding secretary of the historical and literary committee. The one now before us by Mr Ingersoll was the next in succession. The subject, which the author has chosen, is deeply interesting and of broad extent, claiming the attention not more of the lovers of knowledge, than of the friends of American improvement. In tracing the influence of America on the mind, the author is led into a review of the progress and tendency of our political establishments, and the springs of our civil and social, mental, literary, and scientific advancement, from all which be is conducted to results most encouraging, in regard to the forming features of our national character, and the enduring texture and renovating spirit of our free institutions. He pursues his argument by way of a comparison between this country and the countries of Europe, pointing out as he proceeds the advantages we enjoy by having thrown off the shackles of an entailed despotism, which, in some of its forms, still oppresses and afflicts nearly all the inhabitants of the old continents.
Mr Ingersoll approaches this subject with a mind evidently accustomed to enlarged thought and close reflection ; and, by the diligence of his research, the amplitude of his knowledge, and his philosophical views of men, principles, and events, he has proved himself adequate to his difficult undertaking. He speaks of things as they are, and rests his positions on the immovable basis of reason and truth ; nor can we deem it, a trifling achievement, that, in discussing a topic of so general a nature, the fruitful soil of theory and speculation, he has perseveringly avoided the path into which most persons would have been tempted. He neither starts hypotheses, nor amuses himself with conjectures, nor sees prophetic visions ; but, standing on the solid ground of fact, he collects his materials from the storehouses of reality, and combines them into things, which have a shape and a being. This trait of his discourse invests it with a practical value, rarely to be met with in compositions of a similar kind, and inspires a confidence in his facts and general statements, which every one feels to be well placed. But we cannot better convey our impressions of the merits of this performance, than by drawing out sonic of its leading parts.
The author begins with what he justly considers the first spring of human improvement as well as the sustaining pillar of American liberty and happiness, namely, the education of the young, and public provisions for the support of schools, he tells us, that public funds for the education of the whole community are endowments exclusively American, which have been in operation here for several ages, whilst the most improved governments of Europe are but essaying such a groundwork, which indeed some of them dread, and others dare not risk. Well would it be for the world, if this latter clause were not too true, and the time were come, when the kings and great ones of the earth should see no frightful omens in the progress of intelligence, and feel no thrills of alarm at the natural struggles of men to become free. In this country, almost from the first arrival of the pilgrim band at Plymouth, public attention has been drawn to schools. Nearly two hundred years ago funds were appropriated for this purpose, and the paternal solicitude of our ruling powers, in the cause of education, has become a deep woven trait in, our fundamental institutions.
By the constitution Of the United States, says Air Ingersoll, it is the duty of government to promote the progress of science and the useful arts. Not one of the eleven new states has been admitted into the Upon without provision in its constitution for schools, academics, colleges, and universities. In most of the original states large sums in money are appropriated to education, and they claim a share in the great landed investments, which are mortgaged to it in the new states. Reckoning all those contributions federal and 1ocal, it may be asserted. that nearly as much as the whole national expenditure of the United States is set apart by laws to enlighten the people. The public patronage of learning in this country, adverting, to what the value of the donations will be before the close of the present century, equals at least the ostentatious bounties concered oil it. In one state alone, with but 275,000 inhabitants, more than forty thousand pupils are instructed at the Public Schools. I believe we may compute the number of such pupils throughout the United States at more than half a million. In the city of Philadelphia, without counting the private or the charity schools, there are about five thousand pupils in the Commonwealths seminaries, taught reading, writing, and arithmetic, at all expense to the public of little more than three dollars a year each one. Nearly the whole minor population of the United States are receiving school education. Besides the multitudes at school, there are considerably more, than three thousand under graduates always matriculated at the various colleges and universities, authorized to grant academical degrees ; not less than twelve hundred at the medical schools; several hundred at the theological seminaries ; and at least a thousand students of law.
We apprehend that our sentiments do not fully harmonize with those of the author, concerning the value of the ancient languages, as a branch of study for American youth. Forcible reasons can no doubt be urged, why the study of these languages will for a long time be more limited in this country, than in Europe, but we would fain believe it. a deceptive vision, which bodes the day, when they will I perish under the mass of knowledge destined to occupy entirely the limited powers of the human understanding. The varieties of moral and physical nature are exhaustless ; they can never be explored ; and as the world grows older, and one age after another brings its stock of intellect into action, multiplying discoveries and inventions, disclosing new facts in science, contriving new devices in art, and thus extending indefinitely the fields of knowledge, the period must arrive, when a long and industrious life will be too short to compass all necessary attainments. But even then, we should hope a remnant may be spared to visit the groves and cull the flowers of antiquity, to go to the fountain and drink the pure waters, to draw something from the sources, whose treasures have enriched the empire of thought and sentiment, fancy and taste, for many hundred years.
To say nothing of the excellent discipline, which the young mind receives in studying a language so admirable in its artificial forms, as the Latin or Greek, to say nothing of its effects to sharpen his facilities by leading him to discriminate the nicer shades in the meaning of words, and to detect the bearing and force of one part of speech on another, which, in those highly polished languages, is always an exercise of skill and judgment ; to say nothing, of these benefits, worthy in themselves of the highest consideration, there are other reasons why the study of the ancient languages ought to be fostered in our schools. The men, who wrote in these languages, were ornaments of their species ; the works they have left are the choicest models of human composition ; refined in taste, elegant in diction, rich in imagery distinguished by a deep insight into the nature of man, the springs of passion, the impulses of feeling, and motives of action. These models are the transcripts of nature ; the mind formed on them will gain the refinement bestowed by culture, without losing the native strength too apt to be diminished by a redundance of artificial applications. But they possess a still rarer virtue. Time was when the Greeks were free; they thought, and spoke, and wrote as freemen ; the poets and orators, the philosophers and historians, equally caught the spirit and assumed the tone of liberty and self government. These are the seeds, which we desire to have scattered in the minds of our, youth. However fantastically they may have shot tip on some occasions, however abortively they may have put forth in the German universities and secret societies of Europe, however licentiously they may have run riot in the French revolution, no such difficulties or dangers can be apprehended here. Our institutions are firm and well balanced ; the impulse of Greek and Roman liberty will tend to preserve the equal action of their several parts ; we have nothing to fear from excess, because we have been to o long in possession of the sober reality to be made giddy with the day dreams of romance. Greater is the danger, that we shall forget our
distinguished privileges, than that we shall value them. Too highly, or talk of them too much.
In connexion with a series of judicious remarks on the progress of literature in the United States, the author justly that, notwithstanding the preeminence held over us by European countries in attainments, which time only can mature, yet in the literature of fact, of. education, of politics, and perhaps even of science, they have by no means left us so far behind. Our domestic literature is adequate to our immediate wants, and the demand has never riser) above the supply. The learned professions are hill schools of law, medicine, anti divinity are numerous, and competent to educate as many students as are required in these departments of life. We do not abound in the luxuries of literature, and for a very good reason, we want other things more ; and it is natural that we should look to our wants, before we begin to pamper our taste. Another reason Is, that we have this kind of manufacture already fabricated to our hands ; the market is so well supplied from abroad, that our men of genius find their wits much more profitably employed in other pursuits. In whatever tends to diffuse useful intelligence to elicit thought, invigorate the mind, and build up the structure of society on the basis of just principles, our literature is not deficient. Talent, like other commodities will -rind its way to the best market. The field of political science is so broad under our forms of government, and the reward of political distinction so speedy and liberal, that we cannot be surprised at seeing many in this road to eminence, who, in other countries, would be induced to court the muses, and loiter in the haunts of ornamental literature. Utility is the watchword of American genius ; it loves to contrive and operate for the good of man ; it is better pleased to improve the arts and increase the solid comforts of life, than to embellish its less substantial forms In this respect it accords with the spirit of our government, and with our condition as a young and rising people. When we grow older, and have more leisure, more wants, and more wealth, we can afford to indulge in- luxuries, our appetites will be sharpened, we can spare a portion of the effective talent Of the community to provide delicacies, and the American soil will be found not less fertile in the products of fancy and taste, than it now is in the fruits of a practical invention, and wise maxims of political science.
The publication of books, observes Mr Ingersoll again, I is so much cheaper in this country than in Great Britain, that nearly all we use are American editions. According to reports from the
Custom Houses, made under it resolution of the Senate in 1822, it appears that the importation of books bears, in extremely small proportion to the American editions. The imported books are the mere seed. It is estimated that between two and three millions of dollars worth of books are annually published in the United States. It is to be regretted, that literary property here is field by an imperfect tenure, there being no other protection for it than the provisions of an inefficient act of Congress, the impotent offspring of an obsolete English statute. The inducement to take copy rights is therefore inadequate, and a large proportion of the most valuable American books are published without any legal title. Yet there were one hundred and thirty five copy rights purchased from January 1822 to April 1823. There have been eight editions, comprising 7500 copies of Stewarts Philosophy publish here since its appearance in Europe thirty years ago. Five hundred thousand dollars was the capital invested in one edition of Rees Cyclopaedia. Of a lighter kind of reading nearly 200,000 copies of the Waverly novel, comprising 500,000 volumes, have issued from the American press in the last nine years. Four thousand and copies of a late American novel were disposed of immediately on its publication. Five hundred dollars were paid by an enterprising bookseller for a single copy of one of these novels, without any copy right, merely by prompt republication to gratify the eagerness to read it.
These interesting particulars bring to mind a subject, which has for sometime past excited the attention of many of our most enlightened men ; we mean the duty on books. It. is justly deemed a matter of serious regret, that a statute should still be retained in our revenue laws, which operates as so heavy a discouragement to the diffusion of knowledge, and at the same time yields so meagre a pittance to the national treasury. The duty is fifteen per cent on the invoice price of books, which, by other incidental charges at the custom house, is increased to nearly eighteen ; that is, for all books purchased from abroad, we pay the amount of one sixth of their cost to the government. This feature in our laws will appear the more remarkable, when contrasted with the policy of other nations, whose institutions and liberal spirit we have not been taught to consider superior to our own.
Every one knows the rapid advancement, which learning has made in Germany during the last half century, and one of the chief causes is allowed to have been the direct encouragement afforded to it by the Protestant Governments. So far from imposing duties on foreign books, they have granted every possible facility to tempt booksellers to bring them into the country. Even the
transportation of books in the public post waggons is charged at a lower rate than other articles. If France, Spain, and Russia, have acted on less enlightened principles, than the governments of Germany, they have nevertheless been guided by a policy much more liberal than ours. As for England, she has kept on her duties, and perhaps such a course was expedient ; but it has proved unfavorable, to knowledge. Great Britain has been tardy in and opting the improvements in science, and imbibing the spirit of enlarged literature, which have gained ground on the continent. She has made her own books, and read them, and in some branches of knowledge has been contented to loiter far behind her neighbors. The republic of Colombia imposes no duties on books.
The only arguments for a duty on books we suppose to be, its benefits. To the treasury, and its encouragement to the home manufacture. In regard to -the first, the revenue derived from books is so extremely small, as hardly to make a perceptible item in the custom house returns. For several years it has not been more than five thousand dollars annually, and for the two or three last years Ave believe it has fallen short of that amount. The weakness of this argument, therefore, will at once be seen, and especially when it is recollected, that the slender acquisition thus produced to the revenue, is so much taken from the efficient means of intelligence in the country.
A slight examination will prove the other argument not less groundless. Mr Ingersoll states, that books to the value of between two and three millions of dollars are annually published in the United States. According to this statement, the amount of books published at home, is to the amount of those imported, in a ratio of about ninety to one. It can hardly be thought, that a protecting duty is wanted to encourage a m anti facture, which enjoys so complete a monopoly, not from the aid of the laws, but from local circumstances. In truth, it is not wanted. Nearly all books, for which there is demand enough to warrant an edition, can be supplied by our publishers for less than half the sum which they would cost imported. Our most active booksellers, whose interest the duty is intended to protect, do not desire it to be continued. They would be less subject to losses from miscalculation, in regard to the success of a new edition, if a larger number of copies were imported, and the probable demand ascertained by a more general expression of public sentiment. It may, indeed, be doubted, whether a single work is republished in this country, tinder the present system which would not find its way through the press with equal speed, if all duties were removed. None but the most popular works are now reprinted, and while these can be done so much cheaper than in England, imported copies can never interfere with the sale. Books in the ancient and foreign languages we lay out of the account, because these will not for many years be printed at all, except in a cheap and imperfect form to supply schools.
The mischievous tendency of this branch of our revenue laws is seen in a more glaring light, when we reflect on the kind of books it excludes from the country, and the description of persons on whom the burden falls. Books most needed for the benefit of the country, books of science containing accounts of the latest discoveries and inventions, books in the learned professions, which qualify our jurists, physicians, and divines for filling with intelligence. and usefulness the stations they hold, these are the works, on which the restricting law acts with the greatest. severity. The demand for much. the largest, and most valuable portion of these works, is too limited to call out editions in this country. Who does not see that the community is the chief sufferer? Professional men have an influence on the public in proportion to the sphere in which they move, and it is of high importance, that they should be men of knowledge, light, and prudence ; they need the aids to be derived from the wisdom and experience of others, who have gone before them in the same pursuits; new facts are every day coming to light and improvements making, with which they ought to be acquainted. The mysteries of nature are perpetually yielding to discoveries in science, which the ingenuity. Of our countrymen might turn to public advantage, have access to them as they occur. To this list we may add the accurate and elegant editions of the ancient authors, which alone can be valuable to a scholar. Now the kind of books to which we have here adverted are of solid value, and essential to the progress of useful knowledge among us ; but they are always costly, because the sale is small. Their original price rises above the means of most of our purchasers, and when the duty is added it amounts to an absolute prohibition. Far better would it be to grant a bounty on the importation of such books, than to exclude them by an onerous duty, which produces nothing to the government, and lends no aids to publishers.
Furthermore the persons from whom the duty is exacted are those least able to pay such a charge. They are commonly young. men, who have exhausted their narrow resources in the expense of an education, or men in the professions, whose income does not allow them to go beyond the limits of necessity, in purchasing books.Can any thing be more impolitic, or more hostile to the best interests of a republican state, than to throw impediments in the way of such men, or to diminish a single advantage by which they may attain to higher usefulness? If we look for safety in our political establishments and happiness in the circles of society, as no doubt every one does, from the power of enlightened intellect and the right use of knowledge, we ought to be instructed by the counsels of wisdom to afford as many aids as possible to those classes, small in numbers and usually far from affluent in circumstances, whose business it is either to teach the Young, or to go out into spheres of life, where they contribute more than any other class to influence the minds and morals, form the character, and direct the destinies of the people at large. It is unjust to impose a restriction, which falls so unequally, and impolitic to set up such a barrier to the progress of improving talent and efficient skill. Universities and public libraries are exempt ; this was a wise Provision , but it contributes little to remove the difficulty, since the books treasured up in these repositories are accessible only to persons in their vicinity, or to students, who are in the elements of learning, and not yet advanced to the studies required in the pursuits of life. To make knowledge available to the extent of its power, let it be of easy access to all, who are disposed to obtain and use it.
From these considerations we are convinced, not only that the progress of learning would receive a salutary impulse, but that the welfare of the country would be indirectly promoted, by removing altogether the duty on books. Some per soils, perhaps, who might feel the force of our reasoning, would think it a question, whether it were better to abolish, than modify the present system. Two years ago several Universities petitioned Congress to abrogate the restrictive law, and admit books of all descriptions free of duty. Jefferson drew tip a memorial on the subject, remarkable for its comprehensiveness, and the, forcible manner in which he represented the justice and wisdom of such a measure. The petitions and memorial were referred to a committee of Congress, engaged in constructing a bill for a general revision of the tariff. In this bill it was proposed, that all books in foreign free, and that English books languages should be should be subject to a duty according to their weight, instead of an ad valorem duty. To this modification there is little to object, for although the evil still exists, yet the weight of the expensive books most wanted bears so small a proportion to their value, that the duty will be comparatively insignificant. But it should be remembered, that the two great arguments for any duty at all, the increase of the revenue, and the protection of publishers, are weakened in the same proportion. The bill did not pass the House of Representatives, and the advocates for improvement must content themselves with hoping for a speedy revival of the subject under better auspices.
Among other productions of the press in this country, Mr Ingersoll estimates the newspapers to be not less than a thousand. We presume he rather falls short, than overruns the actual number, for in many of the states there is one newspaper, and frequently two published in each of the principal counties. Ile makes some judicious observations on the political and moral influence of our papers, compared with those of England, but we think he carries the parallel quite as far as it will bear, and farther, perhaps, than the occasion required.
From literature, he goes on to say the transition is natural to the ;iris, which minister to usefulness comfort and prosperity, individual and national. Under their authority to provide for the encouragement of the arts and sciences, the United States, in thirty years, have issued about four thousand four hundred patent rights for new and useful inventions, discoveries, and improvements. By the prevailing construction, of the acts of Congress, American patentees must be American inventors or improvers, and are excluded from all things before known or used in any other part or period of the world. The English law allows English patentees monopolize the inventions, discoveries, and improvements of all the rest of the world when naturalized in Great Britain. Notwithstanding this remarkable disadvantage, I believe the American list discoveries is quite equal to the English. The specimens and models open to public inspection in the national repository at Washington toil, are equal, I understand, to any similar collections in England or France, and superior to those of any other country. It will hardly be expected that I should undertake to mention even the most remarkable articles of this immense museum, containing element of practical science, of mechanism, of refinement, and of skill. I may be however, to say that the cottongin has been of more profit to the United States, than ten times all they ever received by internal taxation ; that our grain mill machinery, applied to the great staples of subsistence, is very superior to that of Europe; that there are in the patent offices models of more than twenty different power looms, of American invention, operated on, and weaving solely by extraneous power, steam, water, wind, animals and otherwise ; and that the English machines for spinning have been so improved here, that low-priced cottons can be manufactured cheap enough to undersell the English in England, after defraying the charges of transportation.
Having spoken of education, literature, science, and the arts, the author proceeds to sketch the principles of legislation and jurisprudence in this country. He considers representation the grand improvement in the modern science of government, and this, together with a harmonious confederation, forms the chief feature of American politics. The constitution is a safeguard, a rallying point, a line of circumvallation, but its main excellence consists in securing to us a. representative system of legislation. By the rule of frequent elections the interests of legislators are linked to the interests of the people. An unworthy officer can be removed ; to abuse power is to run the hazard of losing it ; for a legislator to propose or abet a bad law, is to open wider the watchful eyes of his constituents, and pave the way for a successor at the next election.
Three thousand chosen members represents these United States, in five and twenty Legislatures. There are, moreover, innumerable voluntary associations under legislative regulations in their proceedings. I am within bounds in asserting, that several hundred thousand persons assemble in this country every year, in various spontaneous convocations, to discuss and determine measures according to parliamentary routine. From bible societies to the lowest handicraft there is no impediment, but every facility, by law, to their organization ; and we find not only harmless but beneficial, those various self-created associations, which in other countries give so much trouble and alarm. It is not my purpose to consider the political influences of these assemblies, nor even. their political character. But their philosophical effect oil the individuals composing them, is to sharpen their wits, temper their Passions, and cultivate their elocution. While this almost universal practice of political or voluntary legislation could hardly fail to familiarize a great number of persons with its proprieties. The mode of transacting business is nearly the same in them all, from the humblest debating club to Congress in the capitol. Legislation in the United States is better ordered, more deliberative, decorous, and dignified, Much less tumultuous or arbitrary and more eloquent than in Europe. Continual changes of the political representatives, afford not less than ten thousand individuals spread throughout the United States, practically familiar with the forms and principles of legislation. Who, through the vivid medium of a free press, constitute, as it were, an auditory greatly superior to that of any other nation. A large proportion of this great number of practical legislators, are qualified by the habits of discussion incident to such employment, and perfect freedom, to deliver their sentiments in public speaking; which, being in greater request, of greater efficacy, and at greater liberty in America than in Europe, is naturally more prevalent and powerful here than there. It is a striking view of the ideas of legislation in Europe, that within the last thirty
years, France and Spain have waged destructive wars for legislatures, consisting of single assemblies; a constitution, Which, if America, would not be thought worth so much bloodshed.
The much abused French revolution has given to that country a Legislature of two houses, and a press of considerable freedom. But the peers are lost in the secresy of their sessions ; and the deputies can hardly be called a deliberative assembly. Few speak, inasmuch as most of the orations are read from a pulpit ; and still fewer listen, amidst the tumults that agitate the whole body. To crown these frustrations of eloquent debate, when it becomes intense and critical, as it must be, to do its offices, the proceedings are sometimes closed by an armed force, marched in to seize and expel an obnoxious orator. This is certainly not the philosophy of legislation.
In Great Britain, an excessive number is crowded into an inconvenient apartment, where but few attempt to speak, and few can be brought to listen ; and where both speakers and hearers are disturbed by tumultuous shouts and unseemly noises, not, according to our ideas, consonant with either eloquent or deliberative legislation. In theory, the House of Commons contains nearly 700 members ; in practice the most important laws are debated and enacted by sixty or fifty. Owing to (lie want of personal accommodation, when the house is crowded, its divisions to be counted are attended With great confusion. Most of the bills are drafted, not by members, but by clerks hired for that purpose ; to which is owing much of the inordinate tautology and technicality of modern acts of Parliament. In theory and principle there is no audience, and in fact, bystanders are not permitted but occasionally, under inconvenient restrictions. Reports and publications of the debates are unauthorized, and of course imperfect, notwithstanding the exploits of stenography. Although Parliament is omnipotent, yet a member may not publish abroad what he says in his place, without incurrim, ignominious punishment as libeller ; which punishment actually inflicted not long ago on a peer, proceeded against by information, for that offence. In France, the press is, in this respect, freer than in England. The publication of -speeches in the Legislature is considered an inviolable right, which, among all the revocations of the present government, has never been molested or called in question. By a perversion of the hours, unknown, I believe, in any other country or age, most of the business of Parliament is done in the dead of night, to which, probably, many of the irregularities now mentioned are ascribable. The great popular principles which have preserved the British Parliament, while every other similar attempt in Europe has failed, or nearly so, and its brilliant political performances, have recommended it to admiration, notwithstanding these disadvantages ; and indeed sanctioned them as part of the system. But unprejudiced judgment must allow, that all these are imperfections which have no place in Congress. Hence it is, that there are not now, and probably never were at any one time, more than two or three members of Parliament actuated by the great impulses of oratory ; and that the talent of extemporaneous and useful eloquence always has been much more common in Congress.
Some of these views are accurate and philosophical, but whether the authors admiration of the excellent political system of his own country, does not tinge the colors of his pencil a little too deeply in portraying the defects of European legislation, our readers can judge. The number of lawyers in the United States is supposed to be more than six thousand ; the author thinks that these, as well as the judges, have a greater reverence for decisions under the laws of the mother country,
than is consistent with the different principles on which the two governments are founded, or with our character as an independent and self controlling people. In reference to the English law books of the day, be deplores the colonial acquiescence with which they are adopted too often without probation or fitness, and predicts, that our system of Jurisprudence will not I acquire the level to which it is entitled by the education, learning, and purity of those, by whose administration it is formed, till we shall cease to prefer British adjudications to our own. In some of the states, possibly all the new states, which have been carved out of the old, a great question is in agitation whether the English common law is their inheritance. Being a scheme of traditional precepts and judicial precedents, that law requires continual ad judications, with their reasons at large to explain, replenish, and enforce it. Of these reports, as they are termed, no less than sixty four, consisting of more than two hundred volumes, and a million of pages, have already been uttered in the United States ; most of them in the present century, and in a ratio of great increase. The camels load of cases, which is said to have been necessary to gain a point of law in the decline of the Roman Empire, is therefore already insufficient for that purpose in the American. Speaking of the improvements in the jurisprudence of the United States, the author says,
Jury trial, the great safeguard of personal security, is nearly universal and ought to be quite so, for its invaluable political influences. It not only does justice between the litigant parties, but elevates the understanding and enlightens the rectitude of all the community. Sanguinary and corporal punishments are yielding to the interesting experiment of penitential confinement. Judicial official tenure is mostly independent of legislative interposition, and completely of executive influence. The jurisdiction of the courts is far more extensive and elevated than that of the mother country. They exercise, among other high political functions, the original and remarkable power of invalidating statutes, by declaring them unconstitutional ; an ascendancy over politics never before or else asserted by Jurisprudence, which authorizes tile weakest branch of a popular government to annul the measures of tile strongest. If popular indignation sometimes assails this authority, it has seldom if ever been able to crush those who have honestly exercised it ; and even it it should, though an individual victim might be immolated, his very martyrdom would corroborate the system for which he suffered. Justice is openly, fairly, and purely administered freed from the absurd costumes and ceremonies which disfigure it in England. Judicial appointment is less influenced by politics ; and judicial proceedings more independent of political considerations.
We would gladly follow Mr Ingersoll through his review of medical science in this country and the comparative state of the different religious denominations, but our limits forbid. A few of the facts, which his industry has brought together, must suffice.
There are about ten thousand physicians in the United States, and medical colleges for their education in Massachusetts, RhodeIsland Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Ohio. There are also two medical universities in the state of New York, one in Pennsylvania, one in Maryland, one in Massachusetts, and one in Kentucky ; containing altogether about twelve hundred students.
The doctrine of non-contagious in pestilential distempers, should it be established must also enjoy great credit as a triumph for humanity. The most distressing prejudices concerning contagion, are not yet extirpated in Europe. I am not authorized to consider a disbelief in this shocking aggravation of any malady as a point in which the medical profession of America is quite unanimous with respect to yellow fever; but a foreign physician, who lately collected their opinions, ascertained the ratio, of non-contagionist to be 567 to 28 contagionists. A late French ambassador in this country, who was bred a physician, has publicly claimed the merit of the discovery of non-contagion for another French physician, ,who was in practice in this city in 1793, and is now in the service of the king of France. But in a treatise on the yellow fever by Dr Hillary, published sixty years ago, its contagion is explicitly denied by the unqualified declaration, that "it has nothing of a pestilential or contagious nature in it." That this is not the sentiment prevalent in France, would seem to be inferrible from recent events. A French army was stationed at the foot of the Pyrennees, as a sanitory cordon, to prevent the passage of contagion over those lofty, and frost crowned mountains. Whatever may be the theories or reveries of a few, therefore, it is a remarkable proof of the actual state of the public intelligence on this subject, not only in France, but throughout Europe, that all inquiries concerning the cause of this apparently warlike dernonstration were silenced, by assurance, that its design was to repel contagious disease ; under which assertion the wisdom of Europe rested, till the plans thus masked were ripe for execution.
Mr Ingersoll enlarges on the condition and prospects of what he calls the American church, in a manner which manifests equally his tolerant spirit, and practical estimate of the influence of laws on religion.
Segregation from political connexion, and toleration, are the cardinal principles of the American church. On the continent of Europe, toleration means, where it is said to exist, Catholic supremacy suffering subordinate protestantism. In the united kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, it means a protestant hierarchy, abetted by dissenters, excluding catholics from political privileges, and subjecting them to double ecclesiastical impositions. France, Italy, Ireland, and Spain, have been desolated by contests between church and state. Toleration has won at least part of these bloody fields. But it segregated church does not appear to have made any advance in Europe. In the United States, both of these principles are not only fundamental political laws, but ancient, deep seated whose bases were laid long before political sovereignty was thought of, when Williams, Penn, and Baltimore, by a remarkable coincidence, implanted them in ever quarter and in every creed. American toleration means the absolute independence and equality of a religious denominations. American segregation means that no human authority can in any case whatever control or interfere with the rights of conscience. Adequate trial of these great problems, not less momentous than that of political selfgovernment, has proved their benign solution. Bigotry, intolerance, blood thirsty polemics waste themselves in harmless, if not useful controversy, when government takes no part. We enjoy a religious calm and harmony, not only unknown, but inconceivable in Europe. We are continually receiving accessions of their into nee, which is as constantly disarmed by being let alone. Our schools, families, legislatures, society find no embarrassment from varieties of creed, Which in Europe, would kindle the deadliest discord.
There are upwards of seven hundred congregational churches in the New England states alone, and nearly that number of clergywen of that denomination, including pastors, unsettled ministers, and licensed preachers.
The Presbyterian church in the United States, in addition to the congregational, contains about nine hundred ministers, one hundred and thirty five licentiates, one hundred and forty seven candidates more than fourteen hundred churches, and last year administered the sacrament of the Lords Supper to a hundred thousand communicants. It has theological seminaries in the states of New Jersey, New York, and Tennessee.
The Methodist church of America contains three diocesses, eleven hundred itinerant clergy, exclusively clerical, and about three thousand stationary ministers, who attend also to other than ecclesiastical occupations. They reckon twelve conferences, and more than twenty five hundred places of worship. By the report to the Baptist convention, which in June last, at Washington, the places of worship of that persuasion are stated at more than two a very thousand three hundred ; and they reckon large number of ministers. There are three theological seminaries of the Baptist church, one in New England, one in the interior of the state of New York and one at the city of Washington.
The Universalists have one hundred and twenty preachers, two hundred separate societies, and eight periodical publications. The Lutheran, the Dutch Reformed and Associate Reformed, the Moravians, the Friends, in short, almost an innumerable roll of creeds, have their several seminaries of education, their many places of worship, numerous clergy or preachers, and every other attribute of secular, as well as spiritual, religion in prosperity.
The Church of England in the. United States has expanded to bishoprics, with three hundred and fifty clergymen, about seven hundred churches, a theological seminary, and every other assurance Of substantial prosperity.
Upon the whole, I do not think we can reckon less than eight thousand places of worship, and five thousand ecclesiastics in the United States, besides twelve theological seminaries, and many religious houses, containing, the former about five hundred, and the latter three hundred votaries.
We would remark in passing, that the estimate of the congregational churches in New England is too small. The number in Massachusetts alone is nearly four hundred, and in all the New England states it is probably not less than eleven hundred, with about as many preachers. Mr Ingersoll has succeeded in collecting much information concerning the Catholic church in the United States, which we think will be novel to most of our readers ; and it proves, what the author aimed to prove, the beneficent principles of our government in fostering the interests of substantial religion in whatever forms christians may think it their duty to clothe their ceremonies, or render their devotions.
From a mere mission in 17910, the Roman Catholic establishment in the United States has spread into an extended and imposing hierarchy consisting of a metropolitan see, and ten bishopries, containing between eighty and a hundred churches, some of them the most costly and splendid ecclesiastical edifices in the country, superintended by about one hundred and sixty clergymen. The remotest quarters of the United States are occupied by these flourishing establishments; from the chapels at Damascotti, in Maine, and at Boston, to those of St. Augustine in Florida, and St Louis in Missouri. There are Catholic seminaries at Bardstown and Frankfort in Kentucky, a Catholic clerical seminary in Missouri, Catholic colleges at St. Louis and New Orleans, where there is likewise a Catholic Lancastrian school, two Catholic charity schools at Baltimore, two in the District of Columbia, a Catholic seminary and college at Baltimore, a Catholic college in the District of Columbia, a Catholic seminary at Emmitsburg in Maryland, a Catholic free school and Orphans asylum in Philadelphia. These large contributions to education are not, however highly respectable and cultivated as many of then are, the most remarkable characteristics of the American Roman Catholic church.
It is a circumstance pregnant with reflections and results, that the Jesuits, since their suppression ill Europe, have been established in this country. In 1801, by a brief of Pope Pius the Seventh, this Society, with the concurrence of the emperor Paul, was established in Russia under a general authorized to resume and follow the rule of St Ignatius of Loyola; which power was extended in 1806 to the United States of America, with permission to preach, educate youth, administer the sacraments, &c. with the consent and approbation of the ordinary. In 1801 a noviciate was opened at Georgetown college in the District of Columbia, which continued to improve till 1814, when, being deemed sufficiently established, the congregation was formally organized by a papal bull. This Society now consists of twenty six fathers, ten scholastics in theology, seventeen scholarships in philosophy, rhetoric, and belles lettres, fourteen scholastics in the noviciate, twenty two lay brothers out of, and four lay brothers in, the noviciate ; some of whom are dispersed throughout the United States, occupied in missionary duties, and the cure of souls. This statement is enough to prove the marvellous radication of the strongest fibres of the Roman Catholic church in our soil. But the argument does not stop here. The oldest Catholic literary establishment in this country, is the Catholic college just mentioned, which was founded immediately after the revolution, by the incorporated Catholic clergy of Maryland, now capable of containing two hundred resident students, furnished with an extensive and choice library, a philosophical and chemical apparatus of the latest improvement, and professorships in the Greek, Latin, French, and English languages, mathematics, moral and natural philosophy, rhetoric, and belles lettres. This institution, I have mentioned, was put in 1805 under the direction of the Society of Jesuits ; and that nothing in light be wanted to the strong relief in which the subject appears, the college thus governed was, by act of Congress of the United States of America, raised to the. rank of a university, and empowered to confer degrees in any of the faculties. Thus, since the suppression of the order of Jesuits, about the time of the origin of the American revolution, has that celebrated brother of propagandists been restored in the United States, and its, principal and most operative institution organized and elevated by an act of our national Legislature.
In like manner, the Sulpitian monks have been Incorporated by an art of the legislature of the state of Maryland, in the administration of the flourishing Catholic seminary at Baltimore. In the oldest religious house in America, that of the female Carmelites near Port Tobacco, in Maryland, the established number of inmates is always complete. The convent of St Marys, at Georgetown, in the District of Columbia, contains fifty nuns, having under their care a day school, at which upwards of a hundred poor girls are educated. The convent of the Sisters of Charity of St Joseph, incorporated by the Legislature of Maryland, at Emmitsburg in that state, consists of fifty nine sisters, including novices, with fifty two young ladies under their tuition, and upwards of forty poor children. A convent of Ursulines, at Boston, is yet in its infancy, consisting of a prioress, six sisters, and two novices, who undertake to instruct those committed to their charge in every polite accomplishment, in addition to the useful branches of female education. The Emmitsburg Sisters of Charity have a branch of their convent for the benefit of female orphan children, established in the city of New York, where the Roman Catholics are said to have increased in the last twenty years, from 300 to 20 000. The church of St Augustine, in Philadelphia, belongs to the, Augustine monks, by whom it was built. There is also a branch of the Emmitsburg Sisters of Charity in this city, consisting of several pious and well informed ladies, who superintend the education of orphan children. The Daughters of Charity have another branch in Kentucky, where there are, likewise, a house of the order of the Apostolines, lately established by the Pope at Rome, a cloister of Loretto, and another convent. In the state of Missouri there is a convent of religious ladies at the village of St Ferdinand, where a noviciate is seated, of five novices and several postulants, with a thriving seminary, largely resorted to by the young ladies of that remote region, and also a day school for the poor. In New Orleans there is a convent of Ursuline nuns, of ancient and affluent endowment, containing fifteen or sixteen professed nuns and a number of novices and postulants. The ladies of the Heart of Jesus, are about founding a second establishment for education at Opelousas. I will terminate these curious I hope not irksome, particulars, by merely adding, that in Maine and Kentucky there are tribes of Indians attached to the Roman Catholic worship, whose indefatigable ministers have always been successful in reclaiming those aborigines of this continent. Vincennes, the chief town of Indiana, where there is now a Roman Catholic chapel, was once a station of the Jesuits for this purpose.
These are curious facts, and are to be accounted for in part, especially the increased number of Catholics in New York, from the circumstance of a large portion of the emigrants to this country professing the Catholic faith. It is indeed remarkable, that the persevering disciples of Loyola, half a century after the), had endured the satire of Paschal and the ridicule of Voltaire, had been enslaved in France, cruelly proscribed and persecuted in Spain, expelled from almost every civilized government, and suppressed by the frowning terrors of a papal edict, should find an asylum in the United States, and receive corporate powers from the American Congress Itself. But the wonder consists not so much in the nature of the fact, as in the singularity of the events, Which brought it about. It is not surprising, that any religious body should be sanctioned under a constitution, which medlies not with religious opinion. The experiment of the United States affords a decisive argument in favor of the self-sustaining principles of the Christian religion, and its adaptation to any system of external government, which will support the frame of society, or preserve human intercourse. A
thousand instances might be mentioned in which religion has been cramped, and smothered, and destroyed by officious legislation, to one where it has been spiritualized and cherished by political aids.
We have been so much instructed by Mr. Ingersolls discourse, we have found so much to approve and so much to praise, that we should hardly venture to refer to its faults, had they been contained in a work from a less elevated source, or of a less dignified character. We believe our pages will bear testimony, that we are as much in love with the genuine American spirit, and have as good an opinion of our prowess as a nation, of our privileges and prosperity, and cling as closely to our rights and liberty, and repel as eagerly the presumption of foreign ignorance or insolence, as most of our fellow citizens, who are allowed to have their countrys good at heart ; but We confess we cannot everywhere go along with Ali, Ingersoll. On some occasions he runs his parallels farther than we can follow hint. It adds nothing to the excellence of our own institutions, to show that they are superior to others ; it may make us better satisfied with ourselves, but such an achievement will "bring with it neither wisdom nor profit ; and, besides, if other nations are to be credited, we already possess a thrifty stock of this same virtue of self satisfaction. Mr Ingersolls plan is a good one, since comparisons to a certain extent are necessary to exhibit the improvements which our system has effected, and of which it is susceptible ; we only mean to say, that we do not always agree with him, and that it we fear the lengths to which he has pushed his comparisons, whether right or wrong, will
have in the eyes of some readers an invidious bearing.
We hope to embrace some future opportunity to sketch outline of the history and doings of the American Philosophical Society, under whose patronage we, have been favored with the discourses of Mr Duponceau and Mr Ingersoll, and to whose labors the public has heretofore been indebted for valuable articles in science and philosophy. A Society, of which Franklin was the founder, and an ardent patron, deserves for this cause, if for no other, the respect and good wishes of his countrymen. When we see on the list of its early members the names of persons, who acted a distinguished part in achieving our independence, as well as of eminent foreigners friendly to American advancement, and when we reflect on the scientific incitements and spirit of philosophical inquiry, which Rittenhouse received from this association, we are presented with other reasons for its peculiar claim to public regard.
We cannot but think, that much good might result to the republic of letters, and to the cause of knowledge generally, if other societies were to adopt the plait of annual discourses. It has been practised with encouraging success by the New York Historical Society. In this manner individuals may be induced thoroughly to examine subjects, carried along with the certainty that their labor will not be expended in vain and thus the public will, from year to year, be put in possession of a series of valuable facts, selected with industry, arranged with judgment, and combined within a manageable compass. Societies themselves will be stimulated by these annual testimonies of their existence, and be protected from the anguishment and lethargy, with which they are now so apt to be seized, by the consoling reflection, that they are, doing something.