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to be good small beer; and that measured out in small potations. He inveighs strenuously against the Goths and Vandals, who made it a practice to tipple themselves quite happy, before they commenced upon public affairs; and Epicureanism hangs crude, unwholesome fogs upon the brain, producing besides, all those heavy “ peccant humours” which my lord Verulam, unjustly attributes to study only.
The enlightened congress of Lilliput had assembled to legislate. Circumstances rendered it necessary and expedient that their doors should be kept closed, whilst the subtle financiers were calculating ways and means to meet state exigencies. Many of the grave and reverend seniors, having fcasted luxuriously, with their host of the garter, upon a most delicious venison frasty, were enjoying the balmy dews of golden slumber. Queen Mab, in her sportive mood, visited one of the jolly snorers, and gently whispered, that venison pasties were about to be laid under an enormous excise. “What!” exclaimed he loudly, jumping up on his legs, which were previously crossed over the table, that stood before him, "What! Mr. Chairman, shall this honourable house purchase a padlock from Pythagoras, to place on the stomachs of brave Lilliputians? Forbid it policy! Forbid it justice! Forbid it republicanism! The cardinal principle of natural law inculcates that man may eat, in quantity and kind according to his pleasure. This law is recognized by every civil people on the globe, and particularly confirmed by our divine constitution. The tax contemplated, will virtually tend to the prohibition of venison pasties altogether. The Assyrians, the Medes and Persians, the Greeks and Romans, and Carthaginians"--Here an honourable gentleman, on the right hand of our orator, who had been awakened by the vociferation, that drummed upon his tympanum, rose up with unutterable dignity in his port, and after an animated preface solemnly moved, that this momentous and awful subject be postponed for discussion on the morrow. A long argument ensued about order, which cost the exchequer no less than fifty dollars and fifty cents, governmental currency, in candles.
The next institution, proposed by the venerable theorist is, what he descriptively denominates, a Peripatetic Judiciary:
which he imagines so perfectly constituted, that, were it skilfully put in practice, Astræa would, once more choose her sojourn among the sons of men. Every member of this tribunal should be a muscular pedestrian, as he is required to walk over a particular, assigned circuit, and dispense right without delay, from the château of the nabob, to the cottage of the peasant-It is the province of wise legislation to consult an economical husbandry. Our worshipful bench are therefore allowed only the following compensation. For the trial of certain prescribed suits and actions personal, they shall be entitled to, and receive from the plaintiff, one hearty meal, vulgarly called a breakfast; for deciding on writs of right, the demandant, ipso facto, is indebted in the amount of a comfortable dinner; supper and lodging are the constitutional price of assault and battery, with the long catalogue of mayhem; finally all criminal prosecutions supply them annually, at the expense of the general coffers, three shirts of fine linen, three cambric neck stocks, two pairs of cotton hose, one wig, a Black gown, and a pair of stufbreeches. Equity is thus brought, not merely to the doors of the people, but actually passes their threshold, and is domesticated, like an affectionate daughter, by their fire sides. Moreover a considerable advantage, arising from this improvement, is, that the twenty years' lucubrations of tripe-visaged templars, and knights of the green satchel, are rendered totally useless. Wo unto you, lawyers, for ye would take the key of knowledge; ye enter not in yourselves, and them that are entering in ye hinder.
With regard to the situation, best adapted to promote national happiness, there exists much contrariety of opinion. Aristotle, in his seventh book of politics, appears to prefer a maritime site, from prudential reasons. The venerable theorist, although he would not have it a barren mountain, like St. Marino, yet fears to settle his commonwealth near the sea, lest it should be imagined, that his sentiments advanced farther, than those of the sapient Stagyrite. Commerce, he considers, as the bane of virtue, producing that insatiable avarice, which carries even morality to the common shambles for sale or hire. Mr. Kenneth Macaulay, in his account of Saint Kida, asserts, that when 2 ship touches there, a}} the good to ks votre si
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with a most lamentable influenza. This historical truth is recorded by my grandfather, with great emphasis, in old black letter capitals; so that, should his fond predilection toward fish and oysters, incline him to be near the ocean, he would take the hint, and locate his government, where the citizens might be punished with incessant coughing and pulmonary strictures, if they pretended to meddle with traffic and merchandize.
The Lacedæmonians were trained to war from their cradles; the members of our social compact, on the other hand, are to be educated in all the amiable arts of peace. Should any foreign power aggrieve them by a violation of their rights, the supreme magistrate, (who must be distinguished for sweetness of temper) is directed to behave with becoming circumspection and polite
Special messengers are immediately to be deputed, with the compliments of his excellency, and a present of the most splendid copies of Grotius, Puffendorff, Vattel, Bynkershoek, and Grunther, that can be found. Care must however be previously taken, that the index-ribbons shall point to those chapters, which define and establish the rights so unworthily violated—If this complaisant inuendo fail of the desired effect, that part of the Philo-politico-national wardrobe, representing such unfriendly power, to wit, either the red-breeches of Paris cut, or the Bond-street coat of London brown, or the silk stockings of Valdemoro, or the stone-coloured waistcoat, with scarlet button-holes, or the big funnel bonnet with a bead on top of it, shall at once, be contumeliously discarded, and home-spun substituted. But, although the temple of Janus be always kept shut, no oriental effeminacy shall be allowed-No, no; my grandsire exclaims with honest, manly indignation against those Chinese mandarins, who, when their wives are in the family way, and
as well as can be expected,” lie abed, one entire month, to receive the visits and welcomes of their neighbours-shame! shame!
Littleton Honeysuckle has just returned from a pleasant dance into the country. The courteous reader, I know, will cheerfully permit me to lay my manuscript aside, and shake hands with my kind-hearted yokefellow.-
lorfolk. I'r. 1811.
FOR THE PORT FOLIO.
The subject of a national university has occupied the attention of congress, from time to time, almost from the organization of the government.
But no report was ever made to congress on the subject.
President Madison's message on that subject was referred in the house of representatives, to a committee of seven members, these were Messrs. Mitchill, Burwell, Macon, Pitkin, Wheaton, J. Porter and Ringold. The opinion of the chairman was warmly in favour of having a Seminary worthy of the nation, at the seat of government. He had collected a large mass of information, framed a plan of education, drawn a bill, and demonstrated whence funds could be derived. But he was overruled by the gentlemen with whom he was associated. Five of the committee decided against the measure, upon every consideration. And Mr. Ringold was the only member who joined Dr. M. in the wish to make a communication of all the evidence and documents to the house, and in the propriety of acting immediately upon it.
The report as it stands is the account of the chairman, in obedience to the ma. jority, and expresses their opinion, and not his own.
The practical inference from the report is this; that there is no prospect of getting a national university; and of course all literary and scientific institutions must be within the jurisdictions of the respective states, or under their patronage. Washington, February 22d, 1811.
Of the committee to whom was referred, on the tenth day of December, 1810, that part of the president's message to both houses of congress, at the opening of the session, which relates to the establishment of a seminary of learning by the national legislature.
In obedience to the order of the house, the committee has duly considered the important matter referred.
A university, or institution for the communication of knowledge in the various departinents of literature and science, presents to the mind, at one view, subjects of the most pleasing contemplation.
To a free people it would seem that a seminary, in which the culture of the heart and of the understanding should be the chief objects, would be one of the best guards of their privileges, and a leading object of their care.
Under this conviction, the patriotic spirit of Washington led him more than once to recommend, in his speeches to congress, an attention to such an undertaking. He even bequeathed a legacy to the national university, which he persuaded himself would, at some future day, be brought into being. Two other presidents have subsequently presented the subject to the legislature as worthy of special consideration.
Authorities so respectable in favour of a project so desirable, carry with them great weight. A central school at the seat of the general government, darting the rays of intellectual light, or rolling the flood of useful information throughout the land, could not fail to make a strong impression. A noble and enlarged institution, may be conceived to impart to its pupils the most excellent instruction, and by properly qualifying persons to be teachers and professors, to introduce a uniform system of educacation among the citizens.
On weighing these and other advantages, it was necessary to consider whether congress possessed the power to found and endow a national university?
It is argued from the total silence of the constitution, thąt such a power has not been granted to congress, inasmuch as the only means by which it is therein contemplated to promote the progress of science and the useful arts, is by securing to respective authors and inventors, the exclusive right to their writings and discoveries for limited times. The constitution therefore does not warrant the erection of such a corporation by any express provision.
But it immediately occurred, that under the right to legislate exclusively over the district wherein the United States have fixed their seat of government, congress may erect a university at any place within the ten miles square ceded by Maryland and Virginia.
This cannot be doubted. Here, however, other considerations arise. Although there is no constitutional impediment to the incorporation of trustees for such a purpose at the city of Washington, scrious doubts are entertained as to the right to appropiate the public property for its support. The'endowment of a university is not ranked among the objects for illich drafis