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MEMBER OF Victoria 1Nstitute, the PHILOSOPHICAL society OF GREAT BRITAIN
All profitable study is a silent disputation — an intellectual gymnastic; and the most
FIFT H E DITION
DEAR SIR:—Not the least of our national glories are the literary remains of the best of our public men. At a period when the general literature of the country was the contempt of Europe, our statesmen wrote in the English of Addison and Junius. Classic eloquence adorned the Revolutionary council, and the splendid succession of intellect in action mounted to its grandest development in the triumvirate of Calhoun, Clay, and Webster. Nor latterly has that noble lineage failed. Seward and Sumner have illustrated elegant scholarship in the trustees of power. Within a few years, historians and poets have represented us in foreign courts, while others— notably the lamented Garfield — have carried the world of ideas into that of catch-words and party habits. In this there is cause to rejoice. It signifies that we are gravitating in the ideal direction; that art, sentiment, and imagination are dividing favor with trade and government. It means the gradual uplift of the Republic towards the high-water mark of cultiwated mind–catholicity of thought, sensibility, and practice. By culture we become citizens of the universe. The work of the scholar, less liable to be partisan, is more apt to be in the interest of civilization, based not upon class-feeling, but on broad grounds of general justice. Nations are not truly great solely because of their numbers, their freedom, their activity. It is in the conjunction of fine culture with sagacity, of high reason with principle, that the ideal of national greatness is to be placed. Only thus can America stand, as she is privileged to do, for the aspirations and future of mankind.
The paths proper to the statesman and the artist can rarely coincide, but they may often touch; and because I have pleasure in this tangency of pursuits which promises to organize literature into institutions, tending thus to their refinement and expansion,--I also have pleasure in the inscription of these volumes to your Excellency, who, amid the absorbing cares of business and the arduous realities of office, have never become the slave of material circumstances, nor ever been found wanting in an active sympathy with cosmopolitan aims, displaying on the theatre of politics the virtues which impart grace and dignity to private character.
But the pleasure is peculiar in remembering your early and generous friendship, through which I am now permitted to hope that these pages may contribute, albeit in a limited way, to form judicious readers, intelligent writers, or well-furnished speakers; minister to breadth of thought or beneficence of feeling; strengthen faith or enkindle hope; deepen or multiply the sense of truth, beauty, and right, whence all true manliness is fed.
- Sincerely yours,
A. H. W.