different men from those who stand as sponsors to the Royal Society of
Canada. I make no remarks on the scientific branch ofthis Society.
Scientific attainments may be measured as you would measure a yard
of cloth. Not so artistic ability. I make no remarks on the scientific
men who are connected with it as scientific men. But I say there i;-"t
connected with it but four names of any respectability in literature, and
the owner of one-a great name-must have allowed it to be used out of
complaisance unless he has changed the opinions of a lifetime, and his
vigour of thought has begun to decline, and of this last I see no evidence.
I allude to Mr. Goldwin Smith, who is not likely, I think, to take much
interest in such an institution.
The words which a great man applied to the Royal Society of
Literature in England are doubly applicable here in Canada. Mac-
-caulay, speaking of the founders of the institution, said: " Their motives,
I am willing to believe, were laudable." Then he adds: " But I feel,
and it is the duty of every literary man to feel, a strong jealousy of their
proceedings. Thleir society can be innocent only while it continues to be
despicable. Should they ever possess the power to encourage merit, they
must also possess the power to depress it. Which power will be more
frequently exercised, let every one who has studied literary history, let
every one who has studied human nature declare."
Macaulay, having shown that envy and faction insinuate themselves
into all communities, but especially into literary academies, points out
the chief reason why a literary academy must be a nuisance. The prin-
ciples of literary criticism, though equally fixed with those on which
scientific men proceed, are not equally recognized. " Men are rarely
able to assign a reason for their approbation or dislike on questions of
taste; and therefore they willingly submit to any guide who boldly
asserts his claim to superior discernment. It is more difficult to ascer-
tain and establish the merits of a poem than the powers of a machine
or the benefits of a new remedy. Hence it is in literature, tiLat quackery
is most easily puffied ana excellence most easily decried."
" In sonie degree this argumiient applies to academies of the fine arts;
and it is fully confirmed by all that I have ever heard of that institution
which annually disfigures the walls of Somerset House with an acre of
spoiled canvas. But a literary tribunal is i,ecomparably more dangerous.
'Other soci-ties, at least, have no tendency to call forth any opinionis on those
.subjects which most agitate and inflame the minds of men. * * * Literature