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< endeavoured to conciliate them. I love whatever contributes
to the perfection of mankind, and care very little for what " contributes to their amusement.
“ Gratitude is so deeply implanted in my heart, that I weep “ involuntarily, whenever I recollect the proofs, which I have “either given or received of this feeling. The numerous in
stances of ingratitude which I have experienced, have never “ diminished the warmth of my acknowledgment for favours.
“ Among the distinguished men who have honoured me " with their friendship, I recollect with pleasure, Montes“quieu, Fontenelle, j. J. Rousseau, Dalembert, Clairaut,
Maupertuis, La Condamine, Voltaire, Réaumur, Euler, “ Barthélemi, Raynal, Macquer, &c.
“ The last wished me to marry his daughter: I refused her “ from a motive of friendship to the family; she deserved a bet" ter match.
“ I can acknowledge without pain the superiority of my col.“ leagues in science. I declared, in my eulogium of Pingré, " that the academy had committed a mistake, in deciding in my
favour at an election. “I am reproached with speaking too often of myself. I ac“knowledge this defect, and have no other excuse to offer “but my natural sincerity, and my love of truth. I maintain " that it is treason against the community, to be silent in rela“tion to the vices of others. It is sacrificing the good, from a “mistaken charity to the bad. I love my family. I have given “up to them the enjoyment of my income, even during my life“ time. I have loved women much; I love them still. I have " always endeavoured to contribute to their improvement: my “passion for them has always been reasonable; they have never “ injured my fortune, nor interfered with my studies. They “ have never made me pay a morning visit. I have sometimes " said to handsome women: it only rests with you to make “me happy, but it is not in your power to make me miserable.' “ They tell me that I have never truly loved-granted; if to “love truly, it be necessary to turn fool.
“I am rich; but I have no caprices or wants. I have but few “servants, and no horses; I am temperate and simple in my “habits: I never ride-I can sleep any where:-great opu“lence or high rank would be useless to me.
“I am well prepared for death: when I write a note or á “memoir I say to myself—this perhaps is the last: but it is a “great gratification for me to render an additional service to
astros my, and to add another stone to the edifice of my re"putation.
“I am satisfied not only with my physical constitution but “ with my moral being; with my philosophy—with my sensi“bility; with my disposition to stigmatize vice, although it has " made me many enemies; I enjoy therefore all the happiness “ of which humanity is capable: I am one of the most con“ tented men on earth, and I can say, as Bayard did, that I “ feel my soul glide away from me satisfied with herself.”
So much for Lalande. I shall say more in my next on the subject with which I commenced this letter.
The Lady of the Lake. No poetical works, not excepting even those of Cowper and Burns, have been more widely circulated or read with more avidity in this country, than those of Walter Scott, who is now as a poet, on the highest pinnacle of fame and popularity. The, “ Lay of the Last Minstrel" belongs to every private library, and is familiar to the memory, of almost every man among us, who has the most inconsiderable pretensions to literature. In the course of a very few months, we shall be enabled to extend the same remark to “ the Lady of the Lake” the chef d'oeuvre of the Scottish bard, and the most admirable and enchanting of all the productions of the Scottish muse. It is stated in the English Review that thirty thousand copies of “ the Lay” had been sold at home, and that the demand for “ the Lady of the Lake” was still more considerable. We cannot speak with absolute precision, as to the currency of these two poems in the United States, but we are certainly within bounds, when we venture to affirm, that at least five thousand copies of the first have been printed and sold among us, and already about four thousand of the last. A principal bookseller of this city disposed of a thousand copies of “the Lady of the Lake" in the course of a few weeks, of an edition printed by himself, and which would have done honour to any English press. This statement should be sufficient, we think, to soften the strong prejudices, which the illustrious poet of whom we are speaking, entertains against republicans, and republican institutions of every description. He may learn from it, that although we could not relish monarchy in any shape at home, we can still relish good poetry, and know how to estimate the genius, and are ready to do full justice to the admirable powers, of a monarchical poet.
We have often been asked in the country of Mr. Scott, whether the people of the United States were generally acquainted with the poetry of Burns and Beattie. The answer which we have given, and which we still give, to this query, is calculated to startle the credulity of those, who see in us a mere tilling and shopkeeping race. We are quite satisfied that-proportionably to the difference in the population of the two countries,—the works of the two poets we have just cited and even of Mr. Scott, are here more widely circulated, more generally read, and perhaps better understood, than in
England taken separately from Scotland. The dialect of the latter is more familiar and more grateful to us than to the inhabitants of her sister kingdom. We look with more reverence upon the literary and scientific character of Scotland, and are always prepared to receive with admiration, the intellectual offspring of her capital, which we consider as the metropolis of genius and learning. The diffusion of English literature throughout the United States can be credible only to those, who have opportunities of personal observation. The sterling poets of England, such as Milton, Shakspeare, Pope and Cowper are read and admired here, by that class of society which, in Europe, scarcely aspires to the rudiments of letters. The great English historians are to be found in our huts and farmhouses, and editions of them are multiplied without number. Almost every work of merit, on subjects of general literature, now produced in England, is received here, within the space of two or three months, and reprinted without delay. Nor do we wait for the opinion of English critics before we read and admire.
The gross ignorance which prevails, even among the studious classes of our parent state, with regard to our progress in letters, and the constitution of our society, can be traced to very obvious and sufficient causes; but we must confess, that we are somewhat at a loss, to account for the ostentatious and sometimes malevolent contempt, with which we are named by the very writers and politicians, whose genius we so much admire, and whose productions we peruse with so much delight. There is not only much of ingratitude and injustice in this proceeding, but it is in the highest degree illiberal and ungenerous. Gibbon remarks that he always reflected with pleasure, “ that whatever might be the changes in the political situation 16 of the North American colonies, they would always preserve " the manners of Europe, and that the English language would
probably be diffused over an immense, and populous conti“nent."-An Englishman should'always hold this language, should never look upon this country without feelings of exultation, and of the most partial indulgence. No disposition would appear to be more natural and just, particularly in the mind of an English writer, to whom it should be a most delightful, as well as conciliatory anticipation, that he is to have, in another hemisphere, a vast body of readers capable, by the circumstance of their possessing the same language, and from their universal acquaintance with letters, of appreciating all his excellencies, both of thought and diction, and disposed to cherish and propagate his fame, with the most eager fondness. Every English poet, historian or philosopher should, when engaged in the business of composition, look to this country for some portion of his reward, whether his aim be to convey instruction, or to merit applause. We already know how to observe with discrimination and to admire " with knowledge," and the time, perhaps, is not far distant when this country may begin to exercise a formidable censorship over the productions of the British press. Under every pointof view, the United States are so circumstanced, as to deserve and to expect the kindest sympathies, and the most liberal toleration from the British nation. We often call to mind a beautiful passage on this head, contained in a speech of the celebrated Dean of St. Asaph written after his elevation to the bench of bishops, in the course of the American war, and intended to have been delivered in the house of lords.
“ My lords," said this eloquent prelate, “ I look upon “ North America to be the only great nursery of freemen “ left upon the face of the earth. We have seen the liberties of “ Poland swept away in one year, by treachery and usurpation. “ The free states of Germany are but so many dying sparks,
going out one after another, and which must all be soon ex“ tinguished under the destructive greatness of their neigh« bours. Holland is little more than a great trading company, " with luxurious manners and an exhausted revenue; with “ little strength and with less spirit. Switzerland alone is free " and happy within the narrow enclosures of her rocks and
valleys. As for the state of this country, my lords, I can only “ refer myself to your own private thoughts: I am inclined to “think and hope the best of public liberty. Were I to describe “ her, according to my own ideas at this moment, I should say " that she has a sickly countenance, but I trust she has a strong “ constitution.
“ But, whatever may be our future fate, the greatest glory “ that attends this country, a greater than any nation under “ heaven ever enjoyed or even contemplated, is to have form"ed and nursed up to such a state of security and happiness, " those communities which we are now so eager to oppress, “and even to extinguish. We ought to cherish them as the “immortal monuments of our public justice and wisdom; as “ the heirs of our better days; of our old arts and manners, and " of our expiring national virtues. For what work of art, or
power, or public utility, ever equalled the glory of having “ peopled a vast continent without guilt or bloodshed? To “ have given them the best arts of life and government, and to “ have suffered them, under the shelter of our authority, to “ acquire in peace the skill to use them? In comparison of “this, the policy of governing by influence, and even the pride