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And Thou, who by her side hath constant stood,
And who, like her, the soul from grief can sever,
Thou, Industry! who wearieth not in good,
Creating evermore, destroying never:

Thou, who to rear the Sempiternal Pile,

But grain, indeed, on grain of sand doth cast;
Yet from the debt of Ancient Time, the while,
Days, years, a life-time striketh off, at last.

12th MAY, 1839.


FIRST colonized at a period when the spirit of chivalry, and the laws of feudalism, were on their wane among all nations of the earth, and more especially throughout Great Britain, from which we have inherited all the most striking and distinctive features of our national physiognomy, having succeeded in establishing our independence in an age yet more practical than that of our foundation-and having achieved a high degree of wealth and power, in a space wonderfully short, as compared with the growth and eminence of every older empire, by means entirely practical and common-place-it is not to be wondered at that the especial genius of our people, as displayed in their laws, their habits, their pursuits, nay, in their very literature, and in their luxuries, should be unromantic and utilitarian to the last degree. That owing to this tendency we may not have arrived at a point of national and mercantile prosperity, which, under other circumstances, we might as yet have only seen foreshadowed through the perspective of a dim futurity, we are not now about to assert; nor have we in this light any remarks to offer on the operation of the Cui Bono principle, which has unquestionably been carried in America to a far greater length than in the mother country, or indeed any other land that boasts a high degree of civilization. As, however, this same principle regards the growth and culture of the intellect, we have much to observe; nor, after mature and long consideration of the subject, do we hesitate to assert that it has been of most material injury to the cause of letters, to the propagation of the higher branches of science, and to

* AMERICAN SCHOOL CLASSICS.-A series of the principal Greek and Latin Authors, with Grammars, Prosodies, &c., of the respective languages. Edited by Charles Anthon, LL. D., Jay Professor in Columbia College, New York, and in course of publication by Harper & Brothers, New York.

the polite education of our people. With that portion of our remote progenitors, who being mostly sprung from the middle classes of societythe burghers, yeomanry, and mechanics of the mother country-colonized the Eastern States of our Union, it was a first step to establish schools, and even colleges, for the instruction of all classes; and from that day forth New England has been the great nursery of teachers for the whole space contained in the wide limits of our twenty-six republics. With the yet earlier colonizers of the Southern States, this duty was far less attended to, inasmuch as being generally of easy circumstances, and attached to the public schools and universities of England, whence they had drawn their early education, the planters of the South were in the general habit, down to the period of the Revolution, of sending their sons "home" -as the mother country down to the very period of the Revolution was affectionately called,—to be instructed, in a style more perfect than could be then effected on this side the Atlantic; nor is this practice, although long since fallen into disuse, altogether extinct, even at the present day. It is, then, with the habits of our own portion of society, that we have now to do, and it is on them, of consequence, that our remarks have a special bearing. The first point, then, to which it is our aim to call attention, is the very general carelessness pervading every class of our society, as regards the higher grades of education-the very prevalent doctrine that no species of knowledge, not directly applicable to profit, is worth the labour of its acquisition! This, we are well aware, is a right heavy charge; but it is one, we fear, which will be but the more apparent, as more research is made into the facts. That our community are, from one end of the Union to the other, as a whole, possessed of a high degree of education is notorious; and few, indeed of native citizens are to be found who are not conversant with the principles at least of the three rudimental branches of reading, writing, and arithmetic. Nor can it be at all doubted that a very considerable portion have made advances far beyond this point, and have acquired a superficial knowledge of many languages, of many sciences, and of much multifarious information. Nevertheless it must, we are convinced, be granted, that we possess but an incalculably small minority of men, entitled to the name of perfect and accomplished scholars. Of this fact, for such we hold it, beyond doubt, to be, the cause is, we think, self-evident—that hitherto men have been either unwilling or unable to devote sufficient time to the purposes of education-and have, in consequence, turned their attention to the merely practical branches, neglecting the higher grades so long, that there have really been times when the cultivation of the dead languages has been deemed nearly useless by the great majority. That the cause of this neglect is the inapplicability of the Greek or Latin languages to purposes of gain, may be fairly deduced from the fact that—while we are very far behind Europeans in the general cultivation of these tongueswe are as far before them in the diffusion of other languages, which to us, though not to them, are almost necessary items of a commercial edu

cation. We would particularize the Spanish, which here, from our relations with the Southern continent, is understood and spoken with more fluency than French, while, in the other hemisphere, it is a rare accomplishment even with the most accomplished. It is not, of course, without an object, that we have fallen into this train of thought; far less is it with a desire of dispraising either the institutions of our country or the habits of our countrymen-for discreditable as the facts, which we have stated, would be to an older and more wealthy community, there are many undeniable reasons to be adduced, whereby to show not only that to us they are not discreditable, but that they are the necessary and unavoidable consequences of our social condition and our political institutions. In the first place the absence of any class hereditarily rich, and therefore hereditarily men of leisure, renders it necessary that a vast majority of our citizens should, at an early age, direct their energies to the fabrication of their fortunes, or at least to the support of their families; secondly, the fact that the most numerous of our men of wealth are fabricators of their own fortunes, who have themselves acquired riches, and proportionate consideration with their fellows, without possessing the advantages of a liberal education, too often and too naturally leads them to consider those elegant and high accomplishments—the lack of which has been no stumbling-block to them-as mere frivolities and pedantry; and, thirdly, the equal division of all property, established by our law, among all the co-heirs, must make it rare indeed, that any man, however rich, should possess sufficient wealth to leave a numerous family all independent, and all at liberty to follow out the bent of their own inclinations, untramelled by the need of labour.

Taking the fact then for granted, we would for a short space call attention to the effects, which this neglect has had on our institutions for the purposes of education!-to the dangers arising, or likely to arise, from these effects, and of the best means of obviating such dangers. In the first place, then, the effect is necessarily this, that pupils in our colleges and schools, not remaining sufficiently long, or if remaining, not devoting their attention to classical studies, except superficially, there has not been a sufficient demand for teachers to render it worth the while to our younger students to qualify themselves for acting as instructors in the dead languages, except on a scale wretchedly narrow and deficient— the number of young men capable of teaching, thoroughly, even the rudiments of Grammar, and Prosody, whether Greek or Latin, being far from great! While of those, who have a perfect and scientific knowledge of the more uncommon metres-of the choral measures more especially— or even of the structure of the ordinary senarian and trochaic systems, it is so very inconsiderable, as to render it almost absurd to speak of it. The primal danger of this effect is this, that if the present tendency continue, we shall soon arrive at such a pass as to render the acquisition of a really high and perfect classical education, impossible to the next, if not to the present generation. The secondary and more important because

more common and sensible peril-is one, which we fear has already begun to operate; namely: a gradual decline in the capacity and qualifications of teachers generally, even of those professing merely to impart the principles of an ordinary English education. When it is once taken for granted, that the niceties and delicate shades-elegances, if we choose to call them so, and luxuries,-of the higher branches are superfluous, and to be neglected with impunity, it soon will follow that correctness, force, and perspicuity, will be overlooked even in the vernacular; and with sorrow, but with truth we say it, we fear even now that many of the mere English teachers-the common-school instructors of the United States are utterly unfit for their professions, as teaching the language superficially, and with corruptions no less barbarous than frequent; so that it appears to us a contingency by no means impossible, that to understand our native tongue-as every educated man ought to understand it—so thoroughly and purely as to render an offence against the rules of Grammar or pronunciation wholly out of question, may in time be deemed a needless and effeminate, if not a pedantic and overstrained refinement.

Under these not unfrequent circumstances, and with these apprehensions before our eyes, it was with particular gratification that we noticed some considerable time ago, the announcement of a series of school classics, of a higher grade than any thing of the kind previously published in America, to issue from the press of the Harpers in New York, under the supervision of Jay Professor of the Greek and Latin languages of Columbia College, a gentleman whose name afforded, in itself, an ample and abundant guarantee of excellence in any works which should be ushered to the public, under his auspices and sanction. Up to this time. the elementary books, used in our schools and colleges, have been almost exclusively reprints of English works, often abridgements of more voluminous editions curtailed, or garbled, injudiciously by the American reviser, for the purpose of enabling him to procure a copy-right in the United States. It is not difficult to comprehend, that these school-books never, under such circumstances, could be really suitable to learners in this country; the very general and very extraordinary ignorance prevailing throughout Europe; but especially in England, whence from the similarity of tongue, the most part of these works were borrowed; with regard to the character of our institutions and our people, the natural tendency of authors, living under monarchical or aristocratic forms, to lean toward the same side of the question, as presented by the histories of the old republics; and yet more, the constant overpassing in the advanced classics of all those minor points which it is taken for granted are generally known in Europe, as they certainly are not here, render it peculiarly desirable that a class of American publications should be prepared for the use of the American schools and colleges. It was, therefore, with much gratification that we observed the first announcement of the intention of Dr. Anthon to devote his attention, for some time to come,

of the reliques left us by the Poets, Historians, and Philosophers of olden times. Another cause of our satisfaction is the strong presumptive evidence, afforded by the fact of so experienced and prudent a house as that of the Harpers, undertaking a series of so elevated and extensive a range, going to prove that the time had at length arrived when the market was calling for books, which had been so long a desideratum, and that the population of America were becoming aware of the deficiencies in their method of education, and desirous of supplying their wants; that the pursuit of knowledge, of literary eminence, of elegant acquirements in the liberal arts, was at length about to take the place of that auri sacra fames, which, while it has crowded our quays with argosies from every clime, and decked our towns with sumptuous and stately buildings, has left to its deluded votaries neither the inclination nor the time to deck the nobler human edifice with those adornments, which not only beautify it during its allotted time below, but fit it for that other sphere, toward which, in mystery and doubt, all men are travelling alike.

Of the classical series to which we have alluded, seven works have been already given to the public as an earnest of what is to follow, and the remainder are, we understand, in a state of such forwardness as promises with certainty that their publication will continue at brief and rapidly recurring intervals. The high favor which they have already acquired has been quite sufficient to prove their claims to it, and to render their success indubitable. The works already published are as follows: First Latin lessons, comprising the most important parts of the Grammar of the Latin language. First Greek lessons, containing the most important parts of the Grammar of the Greek language; Sallust's Jugurthine War, and conspiracy of Catiline, with an English commentary, and Geographical and Historical Indexes; select orations of Cicero, with an English Commentary and Historical, Geographical, and Legal Indexes; Cæsar's Commentaries on the Gallic War, with the first book of the Greek Paraphrase, with English Notes, critical and explanatory plans of battles, sieges, &c., and Historical, Geographical and Archaelogical Indexes. The works of Horace, with English Notes, critical and explanatory; a Grammar of the Greek language, for the use of schools and colleges. A system of Greek Prosody and metre, for the use of schools and colleges; together with the choral scanning of the Prometheus Vinctus of Escylus, and the Ajax, and Oedipus Tyrannus, of Sophocles; to which are appended remarks on Indo-Germanic Analogues, by Charles Anthon, LL. D. The number of these works, and the narrow limits, within which an article of this nature must of necessity be circumscribed, will, of course, prevent the possibility of our examining thoroughly, and in complete detail, each one of the works before us; which, in fact, are of sufficient importance and weight to merit, each for itself, such a number of pages as we are able to give to the examination of the whole. It is, therefore, our intention to give but a cursory notice to the five works, which stand at the head of the above list, not as D

FOL. VI. NO. XIX.―JULY, 1839.

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