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meritorious actions, and services rendered to the state, were commemorated by a portrait, an historical picture, a bust, a statue, a monument, or a mausoleum, the emulation to excel in the fine arts, would grow out of the emulation to deserve well of the country. The establishment of academies and of schools of instruction in the fine arts, calling for expensive buildings, large endowments and a continual expenditure in maintaining the establishment, would be of little effect without employment of the artists educated in them. Academies should be founded in the encouragement of the works of art. Without the slightest favour from the nation or the state, this society has arisen on the basis of private and individual enterprize, giving to the rising artists of the country the means of support, and paving to them the road to eminence. Affection and pride have asked for portraits, literature for embellishment, and science for elucidation, and we already rival Europe in portraits and in engravings. Commerce has called for beauty in the forms and decorations of her ships, and where in Europe is there a Rush.* Let the national
* Mr. William Rush, of Philadelphia, is at the head of a branch of the arts which he has himself created. His figures, forming the head or prow of a vessel, place him, in the excellence of his attitudes and action, among the best sculptors that have existed; and in the proportion and drawing of his figures he is often far above mediocrity and seldom below it. The rules of design by which the figures of Mr. Rush are to be judged require a considerable latitude. The great object is general effect.In this he succeeds beyond competition. High finish would be misplaced. The constrained attitude of a figure on the prow of a ship would appear an insuperable difficulty. With him it is
legislature honour the hero or statesman of the revolu tion with busts; and sculptors will not be wanting.-The genius which under exotic influence has given so high a rank to the American pencil of a West, Copley, Trumbull, and Vanderline, would, under domestic patronage, not refuse to inspire the American chisel.-And whence arises it-is it our national ingratitude, our ignorance or our apathy—that those states or municipal bodies, which have endeavoured to erect a memorial to the merits of any of their public men, have confined it to the form of the face or the person; that'the majority of the states have not even gone so far, and that the national legislature has absolutely done nothing:—while four American historical painters have attained the highest eminence in Europe, where their talents have been employed in immortalizing the achievements of a lord Heathfield, or of a major Pearson, in the war carried on against us; and where the patriotism of Trumbull, exhibited in his admirable pictures of the death of Warren and of Montgomery, has been obliged to wear the mask of British victory. The annual expenditure which
nothing. In looking at his figures in general it would appear that his attitudes were those of choice; so little do they embarrass him. There is a motion in his figures that is inconceivable. They seem rather to draw the ship after them than to be impelled by the vessel. Many are of exquisite beauty. I have not seen one on which there is not the stamp of genius. But his element is the water. Ashore, his figures want repose, and that which is his highest excellence afloat, becomes a fault.The ships'-heads of Rush, engraved, would form an invaluable work.
would employ these great artists upon the transactions of our own country, and which would give to them ho. nour and independence, would be as dust in the balance of our public accounts. The national pride, which such records excite, is well worth purchasing at the expense of a few thousand dollars; and, if the example of all the republics that have preceded us, did not authorize the hope, that history will not find us guilty of ingratitude, but only of delay, the national neglect of the memory of Washington would be sufficient to repress every sentiment of patriotism and public spirit. Of this neglect, aggravated by the solemn steps taken by Congress to obtain a right to remove the body of the founder of our liberties to a place of public and honourable sepulture, and the abandonment of that right when obtained, it is painful to speak --nor is it necessary.
There is not wanting a general sentiment of the disgrace which the nation suffers while the body of Washington rests upon a trussle, crouded into a damp and narrow vault, in which the rapid decay of the wooden support must in a few years mingle his ashes with those of his worthy but unknown relatives. Exertions, not altogether worthy of the object, but such as the present fashion of finance authorizes, are made, to give to his memory that honour in other cities which is denied him in the metropolis of the union; and this sentiment, becoming daily more active, will reach and animate the halls of our Congress, and the honour paid to Timoleon by the little republic of Syracuse, will not be thought above the pecuniary means, or contrary to the constitutional prin. ciples of the American people.
But if in painting and sculpture the American public have as yet done nothing for the arts, our necessities and our pride has been more favourable to the advancement of our skill in architecture. It is indeed to be regretted, that instead of adapting our architecture to the age of our society and of our institutions, and exhibiting in our public edifices that republican simplicity which we profess, some of the most magnificent situations in our country and in the world, should be already irrevocably occupied by structures copied from the palaces of the corrupt age of Dioclesian, or the still more absurd and debased taste of Louis the XIV. In this city however it might naturally be expected that the purest taste would prevail. Founded by a man, the beneficent effects of whose wisdom and policy will be enjoyed by a late posterity, and the simplicity of whose manners and principles have descended to a very numerous part of this community as an inheritance, influencing and correcting the character of the whole population, the city is held responsible to the whole union for the purity of her taste in the fine arts. Nor has she altogether set them an unworthy example in her architecture. The beautiful marble with which this neighbourhood abounds, and the excellence of all other building materials, give to Philadelphia great advantages in this branch of the fine arts. The first building in which marble was employed as the principal material of its front, is the Bank of the United States. Although only a copy of a European building of indifferent taste, and very defective in its execution, it is still a bold proof of the spirit of
the citizens who erected it, and of the tendency of the community to force, rather than to retard, the advancement of the arts. Only one year after its completion the Bank of Pennsylvania was built. Whatever may have been the success of the architect in devoting his best talents to produce a pure specimen of Grecian simplicity in design, and Grecian permanence in execution, the existence and taste of this building is due, not to the architect, but to a man, unhappily for the fine arts, now no more. Such a building, so different from all that had preceded it in form, arrangement, construction, and character, would not have overcome the dread of innovation, which uninformed prudence always feels, had not the late President of the Pennsylvania Bank, Mr. Samuel M. Fox, united to the purest taste, and extensive knowledge of the subject, an influence of personal character, which inspired implicit confidence in all he approved. If the style of this single building has given to the Philadelphian architecture, even in our plainest brick dwellings, a breadth of effect and a repose vainly sought in other cities, we owe this superiority to the mild but powerful influence of the discriminating taste of this one man. His death, in the prime of his life and of his usefulness, was a loss, which those, who knew him, who loved him, among whom he shared his admirable qualities, whom his wisdom counselled, his benevolence served, his example instructed, his temper, his taste, and his various knowledge delighted, will never repair. In him native dispositions and talents of rare combination, were brought forth and matured by the best course of culture,