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to supplant it. Ticknor was fortunate in being able to treat of a body of literature which is great and also substantially complete; for the literary glory of Spain belongs, like that of Italy, to the past. In perspective, in justice of critical praise and blame, and in accuracy of statement, Ticknor's “History of Spanish Literature" is, in some respects, the best literary record devoted by a foreigner to the books of any country. Inferior to Taine's “ English Literature” in brilliancy and beauty of style, it easily surpasses that most famous of recent criticisms in its candor and impartiality of thought and judgment and in its evenness of execution.
BORDERLANDS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE.
LITERATURE, if strictly defined, cannot be said to include those books which have a purpose chiefly technical.
We must admit that literature has been enriched by some books not wholly ideal in aim, and not written for unpractical purposes.
Thus, history and biography instruct; orations are delivered for the sake of clients or of governmental measures; philosophy and pedagogy are enshrined, perhaps, in an external adornment of literary style ; theology is taught in books that belong to the choicest division of literature ; prayers and creeds of noble verbal form seek the benefit, as well as the ideal pleasure, of the individual ; and even poetry is didactic, moral, or devout. Literature, pure and simple, may both teach and preach ; an English or American critic, at least, will not consent to divorce beauty from duty, though not denying that each may exist without the other. But the critic and the reader must always re
member that there are “ books that are no of Science." books,” in the literary sense. They may be useful, potent, indispensable ; but they are not
things of beauty that are joys forever; their beauty is not its own excuse for being. Such, pre-eminently, are the majority of scientific books printed in this century of scientific progress. American thought has worked through its stages of religious propagandism, political liberation, and intellectual subserviency, to its own rights and achievements; and among these achievements are many triumphs in scientific fields. Science, however, instinctively puts the matter before the manner, and is content to work in the borderlands of literature, neither making unwarrantable claims nor yielding to literature within the scientific province. It will not be expected that, in a survey of American literary growth, I shall discuss those scientific treatises which, farther removed than are theology and philosophy from the development of national literature, would demand review in a separate work, on a widely different plan.
The student of American intellectual history is not surprised to find that scientific investigation, in a country whose geography, geology, fauna, and flora were new to Europeans, antedated the rise of pure literature, and has not grown less important, up to the present time. The early scientific services of Benjamin Franklin have already been mentioned. They were shared by other Pennsylvanians, among whom American science was at first most encouraged and developed. John Bartram's botanical garden on the Schuylkill John was known in Europe, and the warm- 1701–1777. hearted Linnæus declared the plain Chester Coun
ty Friend, “the greatest natural botanist in the David world.” David Rittenhouse, the modest Rittenhouse, 1732-1796.' maker of clocks and scientific instruments, was also a surveyor and mathematician, a physicist and astronomer, a doctor of laws, a fellow of the Royal Society, and Franklin's successor as president of the American Philosophical Society. This self-educated scientist also rose to a seat in the first constitutional convention of the State of Pennsylvania, and was afterward State Treasurer, and director of the national mint. Franklin was not the only scientific man in Pennsylvania who could win success in practical politics. Rittenhouse's eulogist, Benjamin Rush, who had been trained in Benjamin the best medical schools of Europe, proRush, 1745-1813. moted the Revolution, signed the Declaration of Independence, labored as surgeon in the Revolutionary war, greatly furthered medical education in Philadelphia, which became the medical capital of the country, and concerned himself with the general scientific, social, and philanthropic welfare of his city and nation. Benjamin ThompBenjamin son, a Massachusetts lad, having no more Thompson,
than an elementary training in local acadeRumford, 1753-1814. mies, went to England as a liberal Tory during the Revolution, fought on the British side in that war, in 1783 became a soldier in the Bavarian army, rose to high military, civil, and academic honors, performed for Bavaria many social services like those done for Pennsylvania by Franklin, and afterward, in Paris, London, and elsewhere, made important discoveries or experiments in the direc
tion of modern physical investigation. Romance and beneficence united in his career, which, though cosmopolitan, was distinguished by an energy peculiarly American, and by an American conviction that science should be made practically and widely beneficial. Samuel Latham Mitchill, of the State of New York, studied medicine abroad, and law at home, favored and shared in
Mitchill, the work of medical instruction in New 1764-1831. York City, founded influential societies, and studied science to such advantage that his writings thereupon were esteemed in their day. It was no accident, but a result of the temper of American scientific thought, that Mitchill sat in the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States. In Yale College, at the same time, the elder Benjamin
Silliman, Sr., Silliman was working on lines similar to 1779-1864 those of Mitchill in the neighboring State, and was developing geological, mineralogical, chemical, and physical pursuits, the results of which he made widely accessible by his popular lectures, and by his American Journal of Science and Arts.
These men were the pioneers of American science; and their task was a harder one, in some ways, than that of our literary pioneers. After them other workers pushed farther, and achieved results more important, but not more creditable. Alexander Wilson began the study of native birds, and Alexander
Wilson, described them, in vivid language, in his 1766-1813. “ American Ornithology.” The Louisianian Audubon took up the task where the Scotchman John James Wilson had left it, and offered, in his 1780-1851.