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neum of genius, which erst had been revealed to the wrapt vision of the ancient sculptors, in all their captivation and splendor.
In painting, Americans have attained such an elevated position, that the productions of Copely, Stuart, Vanderlyn, Leslie and Alston, may be favorably compared with those of their European collaborators.
The complaint is often made, and with truth, that the arts are not sufficiently patronized in this country, either by the people, or the government; but it must be recollected, that they are guests of such dignity and respectful consideration as are only to be found in the holy household of piety and patriotism. When we shall evince as profound a reverence for the Almighty, and his inspired Messenger of the Resurrection and man's immortality, as did the Israelites for their God and our God, and the Egyptians and Greeks for their divinities, then will temples worthy of their sacred object, and the sincerity, gratitude, and munificence of Christians, be constructed throughout the land, and appropriately embellished with sculptures and paintings; and, when American patriotism shall be as expanded, exalted, generous and ardent as that of the Athenians and Romans, then will cenotaphs, statues, columns, triumphal arches, and mausoleums be reared, to commemorate the names and services of the heroes, statesmen, philosophers, and other illustrious citizens of the Republic; and then, and not till then, will painting, sculpture and architecture be appreciated, and artists respected and honored as they were in ancient nations during the most splendid periods of their history.
MEROE. Roxbury, Mass.
THE PLEASURES OF THE EYE AND EAR COMPARED.
The perception of certain analogies between colors and musical sounds, has suggested to speculative ingenuity the possibility of giving to the eye a pleasure from the combination and succession of lively tints, similar to that afforded to the ear by the combination and succession of musical sounds; in other words, that there might be a visual music. It was observed that there were seven primitive colors, as there are seven notes in music; and that the same colors give us more pleasure in some combinations than in others.
This conclusion seems, however, to have been too hastily formed, and to have overlooked the great diversity between the senses of vision and hearing, both as to the sources of their respective pleasures and the degree of pleasure of which they are severally susceptible.
The pleasure which we derive from colors is almost wholly positive, while that from musical sounds is altogether relative to their combination. An object that is red, blue or yellow, is so independent of every other object, and the impression singly made by those colors upon the eye is always the same. But not so with musical sounds. The several notes of the gamut depend upon their relation to other sounds, so that the note or sound which would at one time be A, answers just as well for B at another, and C at a third. In short, any note whatever, in one combination of sounds, or in one scale, may serve for any other note in another scale, or another combination.
Again: the pleasure we derive from seeing single colors is greater than that from hearing single sounds. Clear and bright crimson, or scarlet, green, orange, or purple, cannot be beheld without affording the eye some gratification; but a single sound is heard with utter indifference. It is only by a succession of sounds that the ear can receive lively pleasure.
It is not, however, every succession of notes that can please. Sweetness or melody in music depends upon the particular successions of notes which are fitted by nature to please our organs of hearing; and while some of these series may afford us the liveliest gratification, other series may be heard with indifference, and even with distaste. But one succession of colors, if not the same, is nearly the same as another. Whether we look at red, yellow, and blue, or blue, red and yellow, or yellow, red and blue in succession, the difference is inappreciable.
The influence of every note in music is, on the contrary, affected by the notes which precede or follow it; and, whatever is the effect produced, the same effect would be produced by an infinite number of other notes, provided only they have the same relation to each other. But though any simple sound whatever may stand equally well for A, B, and all the other notes of the gamut, but one modification of light can represent red, blue, or any other color.
Now as there is so great a difference in the mode in which pleasure is produced in the two senses, we should find no difficulty in admitting there may also be a great difference in the degree of pleasure they can respectively confer. Indeed, on the first mention of the subject, it would seem probable that if the eye had been capable of gratification at all comparable to that afforded to the ear by music, man, ever on the search for new enjoyments, would long since have discovered it, in the same way as he has shown himself in every stage of society, sensible to the pleasure of music, and has invented such a variety of instruments for ministering to that pleasure; and the rather, as the acknowledged pleasures of the eye, from reflected light and the prismatic hues, have been at all times sought by him with indefatigable zeal, in all the three kingdoms of nature. It is to procure this visual gratification that he has drawn gold, silver, and precious stones from the bowels of the earth, and pearls from the depths of the ocean—that he has converted one insect into the most brilliant dye, and the tiny web of another into his most beautiful clothing; and lastly, that no small portion of his labor is expended in staining, dyeing, painting and polishing.
But, on further inquiry, we can see causes for the livelier, though more transient pleasure of music. It is by a particular succession of musical notes that nature has taught man to express his stronger emotions. Every passion has its appropriate tone, or particular series of musical notes, which all human beings are instinctively prompted to utter, and instinctively able to understand; so that the simplest words of a language, as go, come, yes, no, may be so pronounced as to indicate to every one who hears them whether they are spoken in joy or grief, in anger or good humor, in fear or confidence. There is thus, then, a connection, created by nature, between sounds and feelings, which does not exist between feelings and colors. Now by means of emotion, our sympathies may be appealed to and excited, and every exercise of them is more or less a source of pleasure, even when we have a fellow feeling with emotions not pleasurable, as when we compassionate the sufferings of others. Possibly, it may be found on a nice analysis, that melody in music consists in those successions of sounds which are best fitted for exciting our sympathies, and that the most melodious is that which calls up those sympathies that are the most pleasing.
But be this as it may, it is clear that nature has made a direct avenue to the human heart through the organs of hearing which she has denied to the organs of sight; and though she had not, it is very conceivable that one sense may be so constituted as to experience a liveliness of pleasure of which another may be incapable ; and if water to a thirsty man, or food to a hungry one, can give an intensity of gratification which no pleasure from music could approach, as it unquestionably may, in like manner the ear may find a pleasure from certain series of sounds which no combination of colors can give. And if so much more labor and cost is expended in gratifying the eye than the ear, it is because the pleasure afforded to the first, being embodied in permanent forms, can be repeated and renewed at pleasure, while those of music are lost the moment they are enjoyed, and require a repetition of the same human agency for every renewal of the pleasure.
There is yet another reason why the direct pleasures of vision should be inferior to those of hearing. The eye being the vehicle of sensations greater in number and variety than those of any other sense, it gives rise to a greater number of thoughts and associations. It probably furnishes nine-tenths of the materials of our mental operations. The consequence is that its powers being thus unremittingly tasked, its original pleasures are proportionately interrupted and diminished. This fact is shown by those who have gained their sight by being couched, and who have shown a sensibility to the beauty of color, form, and soft light that is never witnessed in ordinary eyes.
It would seem, then, that the notion of giving to the eye a pleasure from colors at all correspondent to that afforded to the ear by musical sounds, is visionary, and inconsistent with the unchangeable ordinances of nature.
G. T. Phila.
THE TRIALS OF DISCOVERY AND ENTERPRISE.
A volume might be filled with interesting records of the discouragements and difficulties of those who are in advance of public opinion. They have invariably met with ridicule and persecution from the ignorant and prejudiced, and are often subject to a still severer trial from the skepticism and tardy convictions of those who are esteemed intelligent and enlightened. This remark is abundantly sustained by facts which belong to the history of the three great movements of the present day-steam-navigation, canals, and railroads. In reference to the obstacles encountered, and the sneers and rebukes endured by their gifted originators, it has truly been said, “let us be tolerant to those who imprisoned Galileo, and rewarded Columbus with chains.”
We give at some length, as evidence in point, the very interesting account by Judge Story, of the first successful experiment of Robert Fulton.
“ I, myself,” says the judge," have heard the illustrious inventor relate in an animated and affecting manner, the history of his labors and discouragements : —When,' said he, 'I was building my first steamboat at New York, the project was viewed by the public, either with indifference, or with contempt, as a visionary scheme. My friends, indeed, were civil, but they were shy. They listened with patience to my explanations, but with a settled cast of incredulity on their countenances. I felt the full force the lamentation of the poet,
“Truths would you teach, to save a sinking land,
All shun, none aid you, and few understand.” "! As I had occasion to pass to and from the building.yard while my boat was in progress, I have ofien loitered unknown near idle groups of strangers, gathering in little circles, and heard various inquiries as to the object of this new vehicle. The language was uniformly that of scorn, sneer, or ridicule. The loud laugh rose at iny expense, the dry jest, the wise calculation of losses and expenditures; the dull but endless repetition of Fulton folly. Never did a single encouraging remark, a bright hope, or a warm wish, cross my path. Silence itself
was but politeness veiling its doubts, or hiding its reproaches. At length the day arrived when the experiment was to be got into operation. To me i was a most trying and interesting occasion. I invited many friends to go on board, to witness the first successful trip. Many of them did me the favor to attend as a matter of personal respect; but it was manifest that they did it with much rę. luctance, fearing to be partners of my mortification, and not of my triumph. I was well aware that in my case there were many reasons to doubt of my own success. The machinery, (like Fitch's before him,) was new and ill-made, and many parts of it were constructed by mechanics unacquainted with such work, and unexpected difficulties might reasonably be presumed to present themselves from other causes. The moment arrived in which the word was to be given for the vessel to move. My friends were in groups on the deck. There was anxiety mixed with fear among them. They were silent, sad, and weary. I read in their looks nothing but disaster, and almost repented of my
efforts. The signal was given, and the boat moved on a short distance, and ihen stopped, and became immovable. To the silence of the preceding moment, now succeeded murmurs of discontent, and agitations, and whispers, and shrugs. I could hear distinctly repeated, "I told you it was so; it is a foolish scheme; 1 wish we were well out of it.” 1 elevated myself upon a platform and addressed the assembly. I stated that I knew not what was the matter, but if they would be quiet, and indulge me for half an hour, I would either go on or abandon the voyage for that time. This short respite was conceded without objection. went below and examined the machinery, and discovered that the cause was a slight mal-adjustment of some of the work. In a short period it was obviated. The boat was again put in motion. She continued to move on. All were still incredulous. None seemed willing to trust the evidence of their senses. We left the fair city of New York; we passed through the romantic and ever-varying scenes of ihe Highlands; we descried the clustering houses of Albany; we reached its shores; and then, even then, when all seemed achieved, I was the victim of disappointment. Imagination superseded the influence of fact. It was then doubled, if it could be done again; or, if done, it was doubted if it could be made of any great value.''
To this account of the disheartening difficulties attending the beginning of the great discovery and enterprise of Fulton, may be aptly added some incidents connected with the first project for opening a canal communication between the Hudson and Lake Erie. In the Assembly of New York, on the 4th of February, 1808, Joshua Forman, a member from Onondaga County, proposed that “ a joint committee be appointed to take into consideration the propriety of exploring and causing an accurate survey to be made of the most eligible and direct route for a canal to open a communication between the tide waters of the Hudson and Lake Erie, to the end that Congress may be enabled to appropriate such sums as may be necessary to the accomplishment of that great object.” The proposition was ridiculed as visionary and absurd—the execution of it was regarded by many as impracticable-but it was firmly sustained by the mover and his friends, and the Legislature finally consented to appropriate six hundred dollars for the exploration of a route, upon the principle “ that it could do no harm, and might do some good.” When, in January 1809, Mr. Forman waited on Mr. Jefferson, and informed him that the State of New York had ex