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city than the Pentelican quarries to Athens, may well awaken, as they do, new attention to architectural improvement. If this material be not entirely well suited to the elegant Ionic or the rich Corinthian, it is yet fitted, beyond marble, beyond perhaps almost any other material, for the Doric, of which the appropriate character is strength, and for the Gothic, of which the appropriate character is grandeur. It is not more than justice, perhaps, to our ancestors, to call the Gothic the English classic architecture; for in England, probably, are its most distinguished specimens. As its leading characteristic is grandeur, its main use would seem to be sacred. It had its origin, indeed, in ecclesiastical architecture. Its evident design was to surpass the ancient orders by the size of the structure and its far greater heights; to excite perceptions of beauty by the branching traceries and the gorgeous tabernacles within; and to inspire religious awe and reverence by the lofty pointed arches, the flying buttresses, the spires, and the pinnacles, springing from beneath, and stretching upwards towards the heavens with the prayers of the worshippers. Architectural beauty having always a direct reference to utility, edifices, whether civil or sacred, must of course undergo different changes, in different places, on account of climate, and in different ages, on account of the different states of other arts or different notions of convenience. The hypethral temple, for example, or temple without a roof, is not to be thought of in our latitude; and the use of glass, a thing not now to be dispensed with, is also to be accommodated, as well as it may be, to the architectural structure. These necessary variations, and many more admissible ones, give room for improvements to an indefinite extent, without departing from the principles of true taste. May we not hope, then, to see our own city celebrated as the city of architectural excellence? May we not hope to see our native granite reposing in the ever-during strength of the Doric, or springing up in the grand and lofty Gothic, in forms which beauty and utility, the eye and the judgment, taste and devotion, shall unite to approve and to admire ? But while we regard sacred and civil architecture as highly important, let us not forget that other branch, so essential to personal comfort and happiness, – domestic architecture or common house-building. In ancient times, in all governments, and under despotic governments in all times, the convenience or gratification of the monarch, the government, or the public has been allowed too often to put aside considerations of personal and individual happiness. With us, different ideas happily prevail. With us, it is not the public, or the government, in its corporate character, that is the only object of regard. The public happiness is to be the aggregate of the happiness of individuals. Our system begins with the individual man. It begins with him when he leaves the cradle; and it proposes to instruct him in knowledge and in morals, to prepare him for his state of manhood; on his arrival at that state, to invest him with political rights, to protect him in his property and pursuits, and in his family and social connections; and thus to enable him to enjoy, as an individual moral and rational being, what belongs to a moral and rational being. For the same reason, the arts are to be promoted for their general utility, as they affect the personal happiness and wellbeing of the individuals who compose the community. It would be adverse to the whole spirit of our system, that we should have gorgeous and expensive public buildings, if individuals were at the same time to live in houses of mud. Our public edifices are to be reared by the surplus of wealth and the savings of labor, after the necessities and comforts of individuals are provided for; and not, like the Pyramids, by the unremitted toil of thousands of half-starved slaves. Domestic architecture, therefore, as connected with individual comfort and happiness, is to hold a first place in the esteem of our artists. Let our citizens have houses cheap, but comfortable; not gaudy, but in good taste; not judged by the portion of earth they cover, but by their symmetry, their fitness for use, and their durability.
Without further reference to particular arts with which the objects of this society have a close connection, it may yet be added, generally, that this is a period of great activity, of industry, of enterprise in the various walks of life. It is a period, too, of growing wealth and increasing prosperity. It is a time when men are fast multiplying, but when means are increasing still faster than men. An auspicious moment, then, it is, full of motive and encouragement, for the vigorous prosecution of those inquiries which have for their object the discovery of farther and farther means of uniting the results of scientific research to the arts and business of life.
IN February, 1831, several distinguished gentlemen of the city of New York, in behalf of themselves and a large number of other citizens, invited Mr. Webster to a public dinner, as a mark of their respect for the value and success of his efforts, in the preceding session of Congress, in defence of the Constitution of the United States. His speech in reply to Mr. Hayne (contained in a subsequent volume of this collection), which, by that time, had been circulated and read through the country to a greater extent than any speech ever before delivered in Congress, was the particular effort which led to this invitation.
The dinner took place at the City Hotel, on the 10th of March, and was attended by a very large assembly.
Chancellor Kent presided, and, in proposing to the company the health of their guest, made the following remarks: —
“New England has been long fruitful in great men, the necessary consequence of the admirable discipline of her institutions; and we are this day honored with the presence of one of those cherished objects of her attachment and pride, who has an undoubted and peculiar title to our regard. It is a plain truth, that he who defends the constitution of his country by his wisdom in council is entitled to share her gratitude with those who protect it by valor in the field. Peace has its victories as well as war. We all recollect a late memorable occasion, when the exalted talents and enlightened patriotism of the gentleman to whom I have alluded were exerted in the support of our national Union and the sound interpretation of its charter. “If there be any one political precept prečminent above all others and acknowledged by all, it is that which dictates the absolute necessity of a union of the States under one government, and that government clothed with those attributes and powers with which the existing Constitution has invested it. We are indebted, under Providence, to the operation and influence of the powers of that Constitution for our national honor abroad and for unexampled prosperity at home. Its future stability deends upon the firm support and due exercise of its legitimate powers in all their branches. A tendency to disunion, to anarchy among the members rather than to tyranny in the head, has been heretofore the melan