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Every book that is ushered into the world, is a mental experiment of the writer, to as certain the taste, and to obtain the judgement of the community; and the author can only be certain of one thing, and that is, of his intentions in his publication. Of my intentions, I can only say, as, perhaps, I have a dozen times said in the course of my work, they were to exhibit to the rising generation something of the history of the thoughts and intellectual labours of our forefathers, as well as of their deeds. There is, however, an intimate connexion between thinking and acting, particularly among a free and an energetick people. My plan, when I commenced my researches, was an extensive one, and I gathered copious materials to carry it into effect. For several years past, I have had access to libraries rich in American literature; but when I sat down to work up the mass I had collected, the thought suggested itself to my mind, that no adequate compensation could ever be reasonably ex. pected for my pains; and then the consciousness that I was in some measure trespassing upon my professional pursuits, went far to quench my zeal, and to chase away my visions of literary reputation. Still, I could not be persuaded to relinquish altogether my design, and I therefore set about abridging my outlines, dispensing with many of my remarks, and giving up numerous elaborate finishings I had promised myself to make in the course of my work. And another thought struck me most forcibly, that a heavy publication would not be readily within the reach of all classes of youth in our country, but that a single volume of common size, in a cheap edition, might find its way into some of our schools, and be of ser. vice in giving our children a wish to pursue the subject of our literary history, as they advanced in years and in knowledge. The instructors of our youth, when true to their trust, form a class in the community that I hold in respect and esteem, and they will pardon me for making a few remarks to them. Your calling is high, I had almost said holy. To your intelligence,

patience, good temper, purity of life, and soundness of principles, parents look for the forming of healthy, vigorous minds, in their children. If you cannot create talents, you can do something better ; you can guide the fiery, and wake up the dull; correct the mischievous, and encourage the timid. The temple of knowledge is committed to your care; the priesthood is a sacred one. Every inscription on the walls should be kept bright, that the dimmest eye may sce, and the slowest comprehension may read and be taught to understand. Your task is great, and every member of the community, who is able to give you any assistance, should come to your aid in the great business of instruction. In this way much has been done ;-much, however, remains to be done. The elements of learning have been simplified, and thousands of children have been beguiled along the path. way of knowledge, who never could have been driven onward. Geography has been made easy and fascinating, and the elements of natural philosophy very pleasant; and what was once difficult and harsh to young minds in many studies, has become attractive. History, both sacred and profane, has assumed new charms as it has been prepared for the school-room; I speak of the history of other countries, nct of our own. We have very good histories, narrative, political, military, and constitutional; but I know none, as yet, that can be called literary-meaning by the term, a history of our literature, and of our literary men; and probably it will be a long time before we shall have such an one as we ought to have. Our Sismondis, D'Israelis, are yet to arise. You will struggle in vain to make American history well understood by your pupils, unless biographical sketches, anecdotes, and literary selections, are mingled with the mass of general facts. The heart must be affected, and the imagination seized, to make lasting impressions upon the memory.

One word to your pride :-you are aware that it has been said by foreigners, and often repeated, that there was no such thing as American literature; that it would be in vain for any one to seek for proofs of taste, mind, or information, worth possessing, in our early records; and some of our citizens, who have never examined these matters, have rested so quietly after these declarations, or so faintly denied them, that the bold asserters of these libels have gained confidence in tauntingly repeating them. The great epoch in our history -the revolution of 1775—seemed sufficient, alone, to many of the present generation, to give us, as a people, all the celebrity and rank, among the nations of the earth, we ought to aspire to, without taking the trouble to go back to the previous ages of heroick virtue and gigantick labours. Many of the present generation are willing to think that our ancestors were a pious and persevering race of men, who really did possess some strength of character, but, without further reflection, they are ready to allow that a few pages are "ample room and verge enough” to trace their character and their history together. I have ven. tured to think differently, and also to flatter myself, that, at the present day, it would not be a thankless task to attempt to delineate some of the prominent features of our ancestors in justification of my opinion. This errour can only be eradicated by your assistance, and that by instilling into the minds of our children, in your every-day lessons, correct information upon these subjects;—and while you lead your pupils through the paths of miscellaneous and classical literature-and, at the present day, even the humblest education partakes of much that is of a classical nature-be it your duty, also, to make them acquainted with the minutest portions of their country's history. No people, who do not love themselves better than all others, can ever be prosperous and great. A sort of inferiority always hangs about him who unduly reverences another. If "know thyself,be a sound maxim for individual consideration, " think well of thyself," should be a national one. Patriotism and greatness begin at the maternal bosom, are seen in the nursery and primary school, and quicken into lite in every advancing stage of knowledge. Guardians of a nation's morals, framers of in. tellectual greatness, show to your charge, in proper lights, the varied talent of your country, in every age of her history; and inscribe her

glories of mind, and heart, and deed, as with a sun-beam, upon their memories.

New York, Nov. 1829.

CONTENTS.

LECTURE I.

The English language our inheritance; all other possessions from our own

industry. The care we have taken of it. The language of a people a

proof of their advancement in knowledge. The effect of climate on language.

Our language too much neglected. The language of the ancient Britons.

The Saxon language from Alfred the Wise to Alfred the Great. The

change of the Saxon after the conquest. The origin of the English language.

For good poetry there must be a high degree of mental cultivation. The

English language enriched from many sources. The copiousness, and the

strength of the English language ; Specimens; beauty, sweetness, majesty,

with specimens for illustration. The diffusion of the English language.

The attention now paid to the acquisition of it. The necessity of keeping

it pure. The origin of dictionaries. Dr. Johnson's labours. Dr. Web-

ster's dictionary. The invention of the Cherokee alphabet. See-quah-yah

the inventor ; the method of his invention of letters, and of numbers; his

talents and character. The Cherokee newspaper, &c.

9

LECTURE II.

Literature. Plan of the following lectures. Greek literature. General

observations. Roman and Arabick literature. The value of lectures in

communicating knowledge. The state of learning when our ancestors

came to this country. The character of the colonists. Sir Walter Raleigh

sent to this country. The Virginia settlement. John Smith, his character

and writings. The pilgrims. The settlement of the province of Massa-

chusetts Bay. The value of the bible to the first settlers; and to all men.

The object and hopes of the lecturer.

29

LECTURE III.

Sketches of some of the pilgrims ; Brewster, Bradford, Standish, Winslow.

Proofs of the intellectual advancement of the pilgrims. The books they

wrote ; Morton's Memorial, Winslow's Good News, Mourt's Journal.

The precarious situation of the first settlers. The colony of Massachusetts

Bay. Winthrop, as a magistrate and historian, Dudley, Sir Richard

Saltonstall, John Wilson, John Elliot, the apostle to the Indians. The

Sheppards and their writings. Nathaniel Ward, Peter Bulkley, Nathaniel

Rogers, Ezekiel Rogers. The founding of Harvard College. Presidents,

Dunster, Chauncey, Hoar, Oaks, Rogers, Increase Mather. Mathematical

science. John Sherman. Progress of literature in the ancient dominion.

Their clergy. Maryland settled by respectable catholicks. New-York.

History of the Waldenses. Settlement of Connecticut; its distin-

guished men; of New-Hampshire; of Rhode Island. Roger Williams.

The character of the females of that age; the cause of their superiority.

General remarks upon our progenitors.

43
LECTURE IV.

The characters of the Mathers, father and son. William Penn; the rapid

growth of his colony. The literature of Pennsylvania. The origin of

Yale College. Mention of Berkley dean of Derry; his bounty ; his pro-

phetick poem. The administration of Governor Saltonstall. The liberal

views of Calef. Burnett, his eloquence, and writings. Jeremy Dummer.

Lieutenant Governor Dummer. Charter of William and Mary; the advan-

tages derived from it. John Read, a luminary of the law. Lord Cornbury.

The literature of South Carolina. William and Mary College in Virginia.

A general summary, reviewing the first century to its close.

58

LECTURE V.

A view of the population, difficulties, changes, and state of the colonies at the

commencement of the second century. Thomas Prince. The character

of Benjamin Franklin, David Mason. The mathematicians and astrono-

mers ; Travis, Ames, and Douglass. The metaphysicians, President Ed-

wards and his son. The discussion respecting the introduction of episco-

pal bishops. The writers on the subject, Apthorp, Seabury, Johnson,

Chauncey, Mayhew. Sketch of Mayhew. The origin of Columbia College

in the city of New-York; Brown, in Rhode Island, and Dartmouth, in

New-Hampshire. The mathematicians who distinguished themselves by

their observations on the transit of Venus; Rittenhouse and others. Win-

throp's opinion on the evidences of christianity.

75

LECTURE VI.

The excitement just before the revolution. The writs of assistance. Otis,

Gridley, Samuel Adams. Thomas Hutchinson. Josiah Quincy. Dr.

Samuel Cooper, his taste, eloquence, and fine writings. The massacre.

The proceedings thereon. The orators in succession on this anniversary.

The bold doctrines advanced. Attention to Oriental literature. Stephen

Sewall deeply read in Eastern languages. The republick of letters. The

influence of the student on society. .

89

LECTURE VII.

The coolness exhibited by our patriots of the revolution. The conduct of the

Provincial Congress at Watertown, July 17, 1775. Their first views of the

battle of Bunker Hill. The Continental Congress. Their decision and mo-

desty. Their petitions to the king, and people of Great Britain. The style of

the pamphlets and letters of that period. Charleston, (S. C.) first celebrated

the 4th of July. Dr. Ramsay, and Dr. Ladd, orators. Judge Brecken-

ridge, eulogium on the brave men who had fallen in the contest with Great

Britain. A parallel between the oration of Pericles and the American

orator. Washington a sound, excellent writer. Compared with other

great chieftains. The conventions called in the several states for taking

into consideration the question of the adoption of the Federal constitution.

A succinct view of the speakers in some of the conventions, pro and con.

Fears and jealousies, hopes and anticipations. The deep interest foreigners

took in the question. The Remembrancer. The Federalist. The first

Congress. The style of our early laws. The characters of the first secre-

taries. The debating talents in the first Congress. The relationship be-

tween literature and science. Changes in legal reasoning, and the causes

of it. Theology, its trials, its virtues, and its literature.

102

LECTURE VIII.

Physicians and clergymen, the same for many years. The early physicians and

surgeons. The diseases they had to contend with; periods of the preva-

lence of the small pox. Thomas Thatcher's book. Robert Child. Ger-

shom Bulkley. Dr. Douglass' work. Dr. Boylston. Botanists ; Catesby

and Clayton, Dudley, and others. Hippocrates' description of a quack:

The physicians who figured as officers in the revolutionary war. The

heads of medical schools; Rush, Middleton, Warren, Dexter, Waterhouse,

Smith, and others. Character of Dr. Holyoke, his great age and wonder-

ful serenity of mind." Slight notices of several historians and biographers.

Medical writers, and those who have touched both history and fiction.

Periodicals, newspapers, &c. The disposition of the English softening

towards our writers, and the country generally.

118

LECTURE IX.

A general description of poetry and its uses. A succinct view of English

poetry from its early dawn in the twelfth century, to the time of Shakspeare,

or to the time this country was settled. American poetry and poets.

John Smith. Poetry of Morton's New-England Memorial. Hooker's,

Norton's, Woodbridge's elegiack verses. Bradford's, Elliot's, Wiggles-

worth's labours. Thomas Makin's verse, and Governor Wolcott's, with

anonymous ballads, and love-lorn elegies. Green, Byles, Osborn, God-

frey, and Pratt.

139

LECTURE X.

The state of American poetry at the commencement of the revolution.

Hopkins, Dwight, Barlow, Humphreys, Hopkinson, Trumbull, Freneau.

Sewell, Linn. Lathrop, Paine, Prentiss, Boyd, Clifton, Isaac Story, Allen,

Osborn, Spence, Brainard. A prepared supplement to Gray's Elegy.

Reason for not mentioning living poets. Change of opinion on the possi-

bility of uniting ornament with strength in our prose writing. Our own

country as good for poetry as any other, and our own citizens as poeti-

cal.

163

LECTURE XI.

The fine arts of a later growth than poetry; the causes. The artists who

were born or flourished in America. Smybert, Copley, West, Johnson,

Hancock. Stuart, a portrait. Malbone. Trumbull, a short memoir. De-

scription of his four pictures, the property of the United States. Stan-

dard painting. Engraving. Sculpture.

189

LECTURE XII.

The faculty of speech the prerogative of man; and eloquence at all times his

boast. The eloquence of Aaron. Its uses in all times and nations. In-
dian history is full of the passion for eloquence. The Winnebagoes ; their
speeches. The eloquence of Tecumseh. The varieties of eloquence.
First, second, and third orders of public speaking. The great opportunities
in our free country for becoming good speakers ; the pulpit, thc bar, and

the numerous publick assemblies, so many schools for learning the art of

speaking. The eloquence in Congress. Our language not patrimonial,

but maternal, by a just discrimination in forming the word to describe it.

The vernacular. The eloquence of our early ages. A sketch of a few of

our orators of a later period. Patrick Henry, Mr. Madison, John Adams,

Alexander Hamilton, Gouverneur Morris, Fisher Ames, Samuel Phillips,

Samuel Dexter, Pinckney ; with attempts to mark the style of each as far

as a slight sketch would convey their different manners.

209

LECTURE XIII.

Our military character. The wars the colonies were engaged in. Character

of King Philip. Exploit of Mrs. Duston. The attack on Norridgewock.

Lovewell's fight. The sufferings of Virginia. The numerous attacks or

preparations for attack on Canada. The affair of Louisbourg. The suc-

ceeding events. Braddock's defeat. Johnson's fight. Montcalm, on Lake

George. The Indian Chief Hendrick. Shirley. Abercrombie, Lord

Howe. Amherst, Wolfe. The close of that war. The revolutionary war.

The people loyal ; the pangs of separation, the awful opening of the great

drama of the revolution. The battle of Bunker Hill. Death of Warren.

The uses of the blood spilt. The necessity of being provided for war to

prevent it.

227

LECTURE XIV.

Washington's first appearance at the head of the army. The veneration he was

held in. The expedition to Quebeck, daring and hazardous. Washington's

character developed at the battle of Trenton and Princeton. The taking

of Burgoyne. A sketch of him. The battles which followed as showing

their bearing upon events, and as showing the character of the American

people. The debt the present generation owe the past. How the hero should

be rewarded when living, and honoured when dead. What was prepared to

be done, to perpetuate the memory of Washington. Hale, the martyr.

Pulaski. Kosciusko. L'Enfant. Daniel Boone. West Point. 243

LECTURE XV.

The naval character of our country. Its earliest beginnings. The naval

force at the capture of Louisbourg, as taken from ancient documents. The

exertion for a naval force in Massachusetts. In Congress. Washington's

prompt conduct in regard to captures. The great success of the American

navy. The probable number of vessels captured. A few of our naval

heroes of that age mentioned. The close of this war. The resuscitation

of the navy arising from commercial enterprise. The proceedings in Con-

gress, 1794. The quasi war of 1798. The doings of our navy at that

time. Truxton, Shaw, and others. The reduction of the navy in 1801.

Its immediate increase for the war of Tripoli. Remarks upon that; some

of those distinguished mentioned. The certainty of our continuing to be a

maritime people, and keeping up a navy, drawn from the deep rooted par-

tiality seen for this kind of defence in every expression of publick senti-

ment.

266

Postscript.

286

Appendix.

289

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