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ever may be the details of means and methods and topics of study, American education shall prepare the new order of mind which our age and country must necessarily produce for the new and all-important duties which must fall to its lot; and it shall not have been in vain that exiled Liberty sought an abode, and Religion a sanctuary in our land. But, equal to all emergencies which may arise, superior to all accidents, our education and our institutions shall remain the mutual sureties of each other, and the exemplars of mankind.
American Education! how inspiring the mention of its name; how vast the dimensions of its cause! its breadth and length and height and depth. Its breadth of domain! From the forest depths of New England how has it extended the boundaries of its early home! The breadth of its influence! too expansive to be hemmed in by ocean barriers, it has chartered wind and wave to bear it throughout the world !- making its way to Africa, overleaping the wall of China, and causing its presence to be felt wherever our language is read or spoken, wherever our people go. Like the ocean, which makes its inroads upon every land, penetrating continents, surrounding islands, indenting coasts, sending the pulsations of its mighty wave into channel, gulf and bay, and meeting and rolling back the rivers in their flow; such is its breadth! It stretches away into the past, and lingers among its decayed monuments, and gathers up the treasures of its wisdom. It penetrates the future, and sheds a cheerful radiance across its borders. Its height is measured by the elevation to which it has exalted states ; by the heights to which it has borne the individual mind. But the summit of its influence is lost in that purer region which is beyond the view of men. It descends to the lowest conditions of our race. It goes down into the dim regions of vacancy, and sheds a gleam of intelligence upon the brow of hopeless idiocy itself. Multitudes of volcanic fires have gleamed above the surface of the sea; but its mighty depths have swallowed up the fiery masses, or, quenching their flames, has converted them into fertile islands, the abodes of living men. So shall our education, guided thus, swallow up the irruptions of ignorance and superstition and tyranny, or convert the theatre of their ravages into dwellings of loveliness. Such is its depth! Such are the elements, and such the dimensions of the work whose name this Association bears. Let us never weary of surveying its foundations, marking well its bulwarks, telling the towers thereof, and urging it forward to the utmost completion of its design.
DRAWING, A MEANS OF EDUCATION.
BY WILLIAM J. WHITAKER,
OF BOSTON, MASS.
In considering the subject of our present lecture, it is not necessary to premise that every person who wishes to learn to draw, requires all the talent and varied powers requisite for an artist. This narrow view of the matter has led to the mistake of making Drawing a somewhat exclusive study, or, what is generally termed, an accomplishment; and, as it is frequently taught, it scarcely deserves even that name, for it gives no power to the mind, but simply trains the hand to mechanical productions and mechanical skill.
It is too often made a mere dead letter, instead of a living, active principle, and, in place of enlarging the mind, and prompting the heart to investigate nature and her beauties, it is made all-sufficient to copy the thoughts of others, without attaining the power to express a single one of our own, or to delineate faithfully the simplest object placed before our eyes. Such is not Drawing.
Suppose the old masters, whose works we so much admire for their truth and beauty, had been mere copyists of the dead past, or remote antiquity - would it have been possible for the sublime productions their minds and hands have brought forth, to have been given to the world. Never! But instead of these we should have had innurnerable pictures, statues, and temples all resembling each other, rather retrograding than advancing in form ; for it is utterly impossible to copy faithfully unless we catch the spirit of the original designer, and this power is not given to all, any more than the poet's dreams of beauty, or the nice analytic power of the man of science.
In speaking of methods of imparting instruction in this, to me, delightful art, I advocate no individual's exclusive one, nor do I deny that there is merit in all; but I would have drawing taught universally, and in a manner that should be at once natural, truthful, and productive of the highest good to all who may undertake to learn. How this is to be accomplished, remains to be shown. How others who have reached high eminence in art have accomplished it, let them tell for themselves. Of Claude Lorraine it is said, “ He studied nature from sunrise to sunset;" of John Van Huysum, “ He painted everything after nature, and was so exact as to watch the hour of the day when his model appeared to the greatest perfection;” of Murillo, “He was a faithful imitator of nature, always true and natural;” and of the illustrious Gainsborough, that “ He would return to his studio from a country ramble, with pockets laden with stores from nature's treasurehouse." Stores? Yes, “frightful” weeds, “ugly” misshapen stones, and leaves withered and dead; but he saw in them beauties, and laid them up, either for future use or imitation.
We may not all acquire the great powers of these great men; but shall we scorn a part, because we are incapable of grasping the whole ? shall we refuse to write, because we cannot be Shakspeares and Miltons ? refuse to study mathematics, because we can be neihter Newtons nor Franklins ? deny our love of country, if we cannot prove ourselves Alfreds or Washingtons ? never dare to speak, because we have not the eloquence of a Clay or a Webster ? Such reasons are absurd. We must take our talents as they are, God-given; use them with the highest hopes, cultivate them for the noblest purposes, and with lofty aim; and if we never reach it, what then? The winged arrow droops ere it can reach its destination; and shall we, beings gifted with immortality, and created for eternity, be less than this? No; it may not be.
not be. We all aspire to more than we can reach ; and if we could reach that height which now appears perfection, we should look so far beyond it then, that the perfection of our present hour would seem only perfect in its imperfectness.
That Art has been admired and cultivated by all countries and all peoples, none can deny, as we have undeniable proofs of the truth of such an assertion in the works they have left behind them. That this