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was great and moved with high thoughts ; his mind was lucid and acute; his genius quick and perspicacious. He knew how to rein in himself with discretion and moderation; which, however, never subjected him to the imputation of craft, or over caution, or distrust. He was curious in the least things, and for the greatest undertakings he was bold. His disposition was affable, and therefore jocose ; and he conciliated the love of all. He accommodated himself to every one. He danced and sang with youth like one of themselves. He maintained his friendships sacred; he opened his mind to his friends with simplicity and truth, and never descended to adulation.
His conversation was frank, facetious, and festive; always seasoned with Venetian ease and gracefulness. He had a strong taste also for music. He was unrestrained among his acquaintance, but in a crowd and with strangers he was diffident and taciturn. In his dress he was neat without luxury; he had a well regulated household, without extravagance or dissipation, and his functions of host were performed with elegance and urbanity. He used to have at his conversaziones the most distinguished literary men and artists, and he sat among them as a listener and guest, and not as the master of the house—thus, he said, he enjoyed himself in the tranquil haven of wisdom.
He rose early, and immediately went to work, either at modeling or sculpture, and was never interrupted till dinner. After dinner, he reposed a while, in order to recommence his labour with renewed alacrity and vigour. His evenings were allotted to visiting, and receiving visits. He enjoyed society much, but ‘retired early. He lived sixty-five years to virtue and glory, and died in the embraces of religion.
In the arts, he knew not a feeling of envy or jealousy; never did these painful passions in the slightest degree disturb the tranquillity of his soul. He worked, it may be said, in public, and his studio was the resort of those who tried to equal or surpass him. He pardoned mediocrity, saying it was difficult to excel; and when he spoke of worthy and promising artists, his face beamed with delight. He was desirous of embellishing and raising the Italian name; this occupied the first place in his thoughts. He ascribed to the fine genius and benign climate of Italy the excellence and superiority of her artists in imitation.
He had in his countenance that hilarity and cheerfulness, which spring from a good conscience. He corrected the faults of others, only by the eloquence of a good example.
His friends were men of the highest character and probity; learned, liberal, and accomplished. Giovanni Falier, Antonio Selva, Gavin Hamilton, Zulian, Antonio Este, Quatremère,
Count Tiberius, Roberti de Bassano, Count Leopold Cicognara, Giuseppe Bassi, Giuseppe Tanıbrani, Pietro Giordani, Giovanni Gherardo, de Rossi, Giovanni Alexandri, and many others who were an honour to their country and their species, for their learning and virtues.
A very small portion of his labours has been mentioned in the foregoing brief notices of his works; nor will our limits admit of a reference to them with a view to an appreciation of their comparative merits. But, perhaps, so much in sculpture was never before accomplished by an individual.
Without taking count of the works commenced and remaining unfinished in his studio, he executed, with his own hands, fifty-three statues, twelve groups, (a thirteenth was modeled ;) fourteen cenotaphs; eight grand monuments, seven colossal; two colossal groups; fifty-four busts, of which six were colossal ; twenty-six bas-reliefs modeled, one finished in marble ; making one hundred and seventy-six complete works.
Such was Canova; and, whether we consider him as an artist or a man, he presents one of the brightest examples for imitation, which we meet with in the history of those brilliant personages whom nature richly endowed, and whose selfculture raised them to an eminence so far above the mass.
In his biographer, the great artist has been truly fortunate, as his readers will easily discover. There is a faithful and strong portrait, physical and moral, in which the whole man stands in full relief before us. Classical without affectation, deeply conversant with the fine arts, with a refined taste, which can scarcely be acquired without a familiarity with the grand works found only in Italy, he has in every thing acquitted himself in a manner worthy of honour and admiration; and although writing of one of the sons of Italy, to whom all hearts there are devoted, he avoids all extravagant and exaggerated eulogium. This, it is true, was to be expected from a highly cultivated mind, and a rectified and chastened judgment.
They who admire the beautiful Italian, can feel and appreciate those eloquent and tender bursts of sentiment, which take the shortest road to the heart, and there make those vivid impressions which constitute the chief charm of Italian existence; but of which vast numbers of people, of other nations, who hold high pretensions, live and die in total ignorance.
ART. V.-A New, Theoretical, and Practical Treatise on Naviga
tion, in which the Auxiliary Branches of Mathematics and Astronomy, (comprised of Algebra, Geometry, Logarithms, Plane and Spherical Trigonometry, &c., &c.) are treated of; also the theory and most simple methods of finding Time, Lalitude, and Longitude, are taught. By M. F. Maury, Passed Midshipman of the U. S. Navy. Philadelphia : Key & Biddle. 1836.
The authority of an apostle is not needed, to assure "the men of this generation,” that "the fashion of the world passeth
The tide of innovation, in his day so inert that it had left almost unimpaired to his countrymen the manners of their father Abraham, has since grown fearfully in compass and in power, until the truths of religion, and the established principles of science, have alone proved equal to its resistance. Like two promontories of rock, they stand out amid the flood, (which has swept the less permanent materials from around them,) the monuments of their own duration. Every effort for their destruction—the concentrated fury of the tempest, and the insidious but ceaseless attrition of ages, have only served to lay bare the foundation of eternal truth, which they could neither shake nor corrode, until even the sceptic has confessed, that the principles of universal science, as they have come to us, through the philosophers of the two last centuries, are indeed those upon which the universe has been built, and must endure with it. If less willing to apply the same reasoning to that nobler science, which soars above his works to contemplate their great Architect, he still finds it difficult to resist the conviction, that the light which religion reflects upon earth, is indeed of “the brightness of his uncreated glory," and destined, in the fulfilment of his promise, to display his perfections in increasing light, until the perfect radiance of the risen day.
In an age thus possessed with a spirit of innovation, it is not surprising that the system of education should undergo an entire change. If, as we have so fondly hoped, we are destined to be the honoured means by which the race is to be brought to a state of comparative perfection, it required no extraordinary wisdom to direct our chief attention to the education of our children. How far every innovation has been improvement time will disclose. We much fear that, in some respects, “ the advance,” to borrow the language of a distinguished militia officer of a neighbouring state, has been fully “three steps backward." The tendency of the present system, to the neglect of the accomplishments of a gentleman's education, is toward the more practical sciences, and its great improvement
has been in the mode of their tuition. Twenty years ago, the mathematics were scarcely taught at all in our country. Individuals, indeed, whose natural taste inclined that way, by persevering and almost unaided efforts, made themselves masters of the subject. But they learned, without being taught. The student was carried through the propositions of Euclid, conic sections, spherical trigonometry, fluxions, &e., without the slightest notion, derived either from the professor, or the book placed in his hands, of the practical object of the several propositions, or of the sciences themselves. So that when he had arrived at the end, he knew, for every useful purpose, as much of the path by which he had traveled, or the point he had attained, as if he had been led blindfold through the streets of New York. If blessed with a good memory, he could demonstrate all the problems, and understand the reasoning by which the conclusions were reached. But if asked to apply any portion of it in practice, or to point out the end for which it was all designed, he would have stared at the idea, and most probably have answered, in true schoolboy phrase, that it was not in his book. If, perchance, his attention had been directed to the study of practical surveying, he would have perceived the application to practical purposes of some of the simplest rules of geometry and plane trigonometry, and would have concluded, as we freely confess we did, that the vast science of mathematics, its fearful array of angles, triangles, and rectangles, its sines, its tangents, and its secants, aye, and for all we knew to the contrary, the more awful mysteries of the parabola, the hyperbola, and the ellipse, were designed to measure the width of a river, the height of a church steeple, or the area of a three acre field.
And since this was the only practical purpose we were permitted to see of that which we had expended years in accomplishing, will 'any one deny the reasonableness of our conclusion? We remember well, after having demonstrated to the satisfaction of the professor, and the admiration of the class, some difficult proposition in spherical trigonometry, the amazement in our private mind, which compelled us to exclaim therein, “what can it all mean !" It was clearly proved to every comprehension, that “the product of radius, and the sign of the middle part” was “equal to the product of the tangents of the extremes conjunct," but why any living creature should care if they were, or how the world was to be benefited by the discovery, was as incomprehensible to us as that most incomprehensible doctrine of the eternity of matter.
Baron Napier was no doubt a benefactor to the world. But when we were told that the establishment of the above fact, and another about as intelligible, had made him so, it was truly marvellous in our
eyes. Every boy of fifteen was not taught at that day, that he had a right to understand all he was asked to believe, or we should have been very sceptical upon this subject. It is even doubtful if the professor would have found it easy, had he been put to the trial, to give a reason for his own faith. When some inquisitive youth did venture to enquire, touching the hidden mystery, which he sometimes suspected lay under all this unintelligible jargon, his question was generally treated as an impertinent exhibition of curiosity, unbecoming his years, or would be evaded by the reply, that though old enough to be puzzled with the abstruse theories of the mathematics, he was not yet competent to the far simpler science of its practical application. If he became restless under his bondage, and remonstrated against the propriety of loading his memory with learning it was admitted he could not understand, while so much remained unattained, and within his comprehension, the answer was always at hand. He was told with wonderful gravity of the effect of the study of the mathematics in enlarging the mind, and reminded, that that in itself was an object worth all his labour. Taught, as we were, to believe every thing we were told by such authority, this reasoning produced in us a very unsatisfactory state of conviction. We could not see how stuffing the brain with a mass of undigested confusion would enable it to reason clearly. We concluded that, at all events, it resembled, in offensiveness, certain prescriptions we had swallowed aforetime, and of whose useful influence on our health we had never been convinced. The result was, that the boy received his life's dose of mathematics in college, and, by a most diligent perusal of novels in after life, made every effort to efface its very name from his memory, just as, when somewhat younger, he had devoured sweetmeats, to remove the taste of a cupful of medicine.
In thus retracing our own experience, we hope to be excused from the charge of egotism; since we offer it only as an example under the general rule. Without further apology, we shall carry it a little farther. Some years after our education had received its last polish, according to the fashion of the day, and we had been officially pronounced master of all the arts the college professed to teach, we had the fortune to be embargoed, by a most pitiless storm, in the parlour of a country tavern, with an old magazine for our only companion. Having exhausted its more inviting contents, and accomplished a long dissertation upon political economy, which nothing but the peculiar circumstances of our case would have induced us to touch, we drew courage from despair, and assailed another, then still more formidable, upon the practical application of the principles of mathematics. We had not read far before light
VOL. XVIII.-NO. 37. 12