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thern provinces, have for some time been, and are every day becoming more distinguished.
In short, during the eighteenth century Germany has risen from pedantry and dulness to a high character, for genius and refined accomplishments in the literary world. Instead of presenting few and comparatively uninteresting publications, as was the case an hundred years ago, she has become by far the most prolific nation on earth in every species of literary production. She gives birth annually to double the number of publications that appear in France, and to nearly treble the number that are issued in Great Britain and Ireland. Instead of being despised as she was at the beginning of the century for furnishing scarcely any other than hewers of wood and drawers of water to the republic of letters, she has produced, within the last fifty years, historians, poets and dramatists, whose writings evince that judgment, acuteness, imagination, elegant taste, and every qualification for fine writing, abound among her people. In fact, she has in several respects pushed her literary progress to a degree hitherto attained by no other nation, and affords a striking example of the influence of literature on national character.
But, while the progress of Germany in liberal knowledge, the industry of her authors, the enter
6 The whole population of Germany is not supposed to exceed thirty millions. In the Austrian dominions the class of peasants are mostly serfs, or predial slaves, of which it is probable few are able to read. In the other provinces, especially Suabia, Westphalia, and the Upper Rhine, the number must be very great of those who, if they have been taught to read at all, never devote any part of their attention to books. Not more than ten millions of the thirty are of the reading age; and it is a very liberal calculation to suppose that, of these ten millions, not more than one-tentb are in the habit of purchasing and perusing books. Hence, allowing the
imbo authors by profession to be fifteen thousand, which is said by some to be much below the real number, it appears that, for every sixtysix readers, there is one who lives by the trade of authorship, Sce Newa York Month. Mag. vol. ii. p. 9.
prize of her booksellers, and the growth of taste among her literati, deserve much praise, it may be questioned whether the friend of sound and useful learning can contemplate her literary aspect with unmingled pleasure. Is it not to be feared that the business of book-making, is carried in that country to excess? Is it useful to fill a country with a countless number of hastily composed, and of course superficial books, on the most common subjects; thus perplexing and overwhelming the student, and imposing an unnecessary tax on the friends to literature? Above all, are not the moral and theological principles contained in too many of these works, and the practical tendency of a still larger number, such as must fill the virtuous mind with apprehension? There is such a thing as an injurious multiplication of books, even when they are all individually harmless; but where a considerable portion of them bear a corrupt character, every increase of their number will give the friend of human happiness a mixture of pain. There is no country now on earth (unless, perhaps, we must except France) in which literary enterprize is made the medium for conveying so much moral and theological poison as in Germany.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
The annals of American literature are short and simple. The history of poverty is usually neither very various, nor very interesting. Those who are accustomed to contemplate only the ancient and" extensive literary establishments of Europe, and who measure every object by European standards, inust look upon all that the Western hemisphere has hitherto presented, especially until within a few years past, as trivial and unworthy of regard.
But those who recollect the origin and progress of the settlements which now form the United States, and who make an impartial estimate of what may be justly expected from a people situated as their inhabitants have been and are, will entertain a more respectful opinion of the small portion of literature which our country contains.
The original settlers of the American States may be divided into three classes, viz. 1. Emigrants from England, who fled from persecution, and came to enjoy liberty of conscience: Of this class were the first settlers in NewEngland. 2. Emigrants from the same country, who were prompted chiefly by the hope of temporal emolument: Of this description were the first settlers in Virginia and the Carolinas. 3. Emigrants from Sweden and Holland, who planted themselves in New York, and certain parts of NewJersey and Pennsylvania. The English colony established some years afterwards in Pennsylvania by the illustrious WILLIAM PENN, as well as that in Maryland, by Lord BALTIMORE, may be considered as bearing the mixed" character of settlements prompted both by religious and worldly motives.
It might have been expected that the colonists of New-England would be most early and zealous in their attention to literature. Their character, both for learning and piety, and the circumstances attending their establishment, were a sufficient pledge of their disposition to promote the interests of knowledge, which they well knew to be one of the most important pillars of the church as well as of the state. Accordingly, during the greater part of the seventeenth century, the literature of the American colonies was in a great measure confined to New-England. There the first College in America was instituted;" there the first printing press was established; and those who are acquainted with the characters of HOOKER, DAVENPORT, STONE, WARHAM, Corron, DunSTER, Eliot, the Mathers, and other distinguished clergymen; and of WINTHROP, HAYNES, Eaton, HOPKINS, Wyllys, and Wolcot, eminent civilians of Massachusetts and Connecticut, need not be informed that the number of learned men, at that period in New-England, was by no means small.v .- The kind of learning most in vogue among such of the clergy and laity of that country as de. voted themselves to study, during the seventeenth century, was precisely that kind which was most fashionable in their native country when they left it. Accordingly they were generally well, and some of them profoundly, read in the Latin, Greek, and Hebrew languages, in theology, ancient history, metaphysics, and some parts of mathematical and astronomical science. There is good reason to believe that the clergy and other scholars of New England, for near an hundred years after their first settlement, that is, till after the commencement of the eighteenth century, were more eminent for classical and theological erudition than men of the same profession at this day. They were, in particular, much better acquainted with the Latin and Greek writers than their descendants can now boast of being; and many
The Author regrets that his accoụnt of the rise and progress of American literature is so much less full and satisfactory than he once hoped to make it. With all his partiality for his native country, he is convinced that its literary history, even if completely drawn outwould not make a very honourable figure. But of the few learned men, and literary events of which we have to boast, it is mortifying that we know so little. "The very names of some who, a century ago, were the most conspicuous benefactors to the interests of liberal knowledge in our country, are now almost forgotten; and with respect to the details of their acquirements and services, nothing can be learned. An attempt is made in the following pages, to collect a few of the names and facts which appeared worthy of
There is no doubt that more will occur to different readers equale ly worthy of being mentioned. The author can only say, that he has endeavoured, az impartially as he was able, to exhibit the small portion of in formation which came within his reach.
d Harvard College was instituted in 1638, a few years after the first seltlement of the colony. In the Additional Notes to this volume, the reader will find as particular an account of all the colleges in the United States, as the author could collect. He therefore forbears to enter into further details in this place.
e The first printing press established in North-America was by Mr. Sa, muel Green, at Cambridge, in Massachusetts, in the year : 638. The first work printed was the Freeman's Oath ; the next an Almanack, made for New-England, by Mr. Pierce, a mariner ; and then the Psalms of David, newly turned into Metre, &c. There was printing work done in SouthAmerica earlier than this. Professor Barton, of Philadelphia, whose zeal and talents in exploring American antiquities do him the highest honour, lately showed the author a Vocabulary of one of the principal Indian languages of South-America, printed in Mexico, not long after the middle of the sixteenth century.
of The Rev. Joun Warham, who died at Windsor, in Connecticut, in 1670, is said to have been the first minister in New-England who used Notes in preaching
of them were masters of the Hebrew language, which at present is almost entirely neglected.
Besides the establishment of a college in Mas, sachusetts, the inhabitants of that colony directed early and particular attention to the erection of sub. ordinate schools in every part of the country. In 1641 the following law was enacted. “ If any do not teach their children and apprentices so much
8. The University of Cambridge, in Massachusetts, was formed, as far as circumstances would admit, on the same plan with the Universities in England, and the same course of study was, in substance, pursued. The study of biblical literature and theological science was encouraged by the peculiar spirit of the times, and of the emigrants. And the direction once given was continued by the force of example and habit long afterwards.
b This appears not only from the Magnalia Americana, of the celebrated Cotton Mather, but also from the few publications made by the clergy and others of that day; from an inspection of the books found in their libraries, and from the quality of early donations in books made to Harvard and Yale Colleges.
i Many of the distinguished divines of Massachusetts and Connecticut, in the seventeenth and beginning of the eighteenth centuries, were cel brated for their knowledge of the Hebrew language. It is said that tis Rev. Jonn DAVENPORT, the second clergyman of that name, and who died minister of the church at Stamford, in Connecticut, about the year 1731, carried into his pulpit a Hebrew Bible only, and made use of no other.