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Mexican, who was fed and feasted in New-Orleans beyond his merits, She describes him as a captive falcon—falcon fiddlestick —
They never cost him a dinner.
Thus an American woman finds the language for an unlick'd savage, who was treated with the greatest sympathy and kindness, and who forgot it all as soon as he got back to Mexico. But this is not all. She makes this excellent captain exclaim, this chief, whose custom it was to lasso the peasantry when he wanted recruits, and who rules in a land where peonage, the most base and cruel system of slavery that ever disgraced humanity, prevails, -she makes him to say aloud, in holy indignation:
“They prate of liberty—deeds great and wise,
And fill the air with patriotic cheers,
Then follows the Ethiopian in the rice-fields, “clanking his chains,” and such an accumulation of fire and smoke, in the guise of tumid and tumultuous words, “smothered curses,” “lava hells,” and all that sort of nonsense and falsehood, by which the stereotypes of abolition misrepresent the mild and patriarchal guardianship with which the South protects and provides for a coarse, feeble, uneducated and incapable race. It is in keeping with this spirit of malicious misrepresentation, that this sympathizer describes the progress of the war, as “slaughtering babes and wives without a cause.” Modesty should have taught this lady sense. She should learn to respect as superior the wisdom of her race, not presume to put herself above it. But we need not waste shot upon such small deer. We simply say to the booksellers, send all this worthless fuel back; to purchasers, wash your hands of it. And let not our enemies mistake the motive which prompts our rejection of all books tainted with these leprous spots of mingled folly and falsehood. It is not that we fear that they should exert any influence, either upon our people or upon our serviles. The folly most completely neutralizes the malice. It is simply because they are impertinences, to which where is no reason that we should submit. A toad may be a very harmless thing, in fact, but that is no reason we should suffer it to foul one's carpet.
8. State Trials of the United States during the administrations of Washington and Adams : With references, historical and professional, and preliminary notes on the politics of the times. By FRANCIs Wharton, author of “a Treatise on American Criminal Law.” Philadelphia: Carey & Hart. 1849, Charleston: J. Russell.
This is a copious and valuable contribution to the library of American politics and history, supplying sundry deficiencies, and providing means of easy reference to many important incidents, in our progress as a nation, to which access has been difficult before. Mr. Wharton has compiled skilfully the details which he seems to have mastered thoroughly. It will require some time and study to determine upon the invariable propriety and justice of his opinions, as he has embodied them in an elaborate and spirited introduction. Yet the general semblance of what he has done, impresses us with a sense of fairness, and the temper which he shows in his argument, is that of an unbiassed judge and not of a partisan. We shall examine more closely into his work hereafter. His style as a writer is animated and forcible, though sometimes a little too colloquial. We could have wished that he had been a little more chary of those freedoms of language, which good taste will be apt to regard as vulgarisms. But for what he has done we are sincerely grateful. His work is ample and unique, and affords us important views of periods and events in our history, of which our historians hitherto have taken too little notice. The samples, which his notes embody of the spirit and temper of party, under the old administrations, are quite curious, and almost persuade us of an improvement in the political decencies of modern periods.
9. The Shakespearian Reader; a collection of the most approved Plays of Shakspeare; carefully revised, with introductory and explanatory notes, and a memoir of the author. Prepared expressly for the use of classes and the family reading circle. By John W. S. Hows, Professor of Elocution in Columbia College. New-York: D. Appleton & Co. 1847. Charleston: J. Russell.
IF people are so pure and fastidious, that they would suffer from contact with Shakespeare, as he is, we are for letting them keep clear of him altogether. As fo. washing his face and hands anew, in order to bring him within the privileges of very fine society, we confess that we see no sort of necessity for it. It will probably do no good to them; and no one will pretend that Shakspeare's fame can derive much increase from the circulation of his writings amongst people of constitutions so delicate. The case is otherwise, however, when the object is the education of the school boy. Though really a severe moralist, in all his teachings, the language of Shakspeare naturally partook of the looseness of his times. Many of these loosenesses had no such evil signification as we discover in them now—and were freedoms of a society, showing rather the frankness of an innocent heart, confident in its real purity, than the grossness of a corrupt nature delighting in its filth. It is important, that, while the young soul is tender, we should protect it from all equivocal influences. Loose conversation, in particular, is frequently the source and occasion for loose conduct, and the corruption of the heart is commonly begun by a corruption of the innocencies of speech. We have no quarrel, accordingly, with him who, proposing to instruct boys in elocution, makes free with the excesses and exuberances of Shakspeare and lops them off when necessary. It has been usual hitherto, with this object, to detach scenes, here and there, from the pages of the great dramatist. This practice, as the editor before us properly observes, afforded but too imperfect an idea of the genius, the sense and the various spirit of the author. His plan is unquestionably the better one, by which the entire play is given—in all its necessary scenes—to the simple exclusion of those portions which exhibited a viciousness in the language. Thus the interest of the story is preserved, always important to the education of the young ; and you are not outraged at the exhibition of a passion for a special scene, for which the provocation was to be found in that only which had been omitted. Sixteen of Shakspeare's plays have thus been pruned by Mr. Hows, who has confined himself chiefly to the serious ones. He has approached his task with a hesitating hand and a self-upbraiding thought, which is, perhaps, the very best security that he will not make his excisions more extensive than necessary. The fact is that Mr. H. is a profound worshipper of Shakspeare. We remember him making his debút on the New-York stage, under fashionable auspices, some fifteen years ago; and though he was not fortunate as a personator of Shakespeare's heroes, it was yet very evident that he venerated their creator. He has no doubt done his “spiriting' as gently, as he could, and, for the purposes of school education, we cheerfully commend this volume ; but, if any grown person of either sex, is apprehensive for his morals from contact with the naked Shakspeare, we commend him to bread and water, the scourge and a stony cell for the rest of his life; for very certainly, even in these situations he will find too much that is inflammable in his nature for the safety of his virtues.
10. The Good and the Bad in the Roman Catholic Church. Is that Church to be destroyed or reformed! A Letter from Rome; by Rev. HENRY M. FIELD, New-York: G. P. Putnam. 1849. Charleston. J. Russell.
MR. FIELD is a Protestant clergyman, who inculcates tolerance among his flock in respect to the Roman Catholics, points out and insists upon what is praiseworthy and deserving of preservation in the practices and teachings of the religion to which he is yet opposed, and counsels the preservation and improvement of the church, rather than its destruction. His letter is neatly and gracefully written, and will reward perusal. That he should think it necessary to counsel one Christian church to be tolerant of another, is perhaps the most singular commentary of all upon what is too commonly received as Christianity. That there should be a real necessity for such a preaching, is Mr. Field's ample justification for his mild and inoffensive letter. He enters into no profound discussions, stirs up the embers of no ancient controversy, and rather derives his suggestions from the surfaces of things, in matters of religion, than their depths. We doubt greatly, however, that he will succeed in persuading the Catholics to a surrender of those features in their worship which he proposes to remove, as so little worthy of their care, or needful to their faith. He is for simplifying their forms, which he yet thinks are highly necessary when addressed to a people like the Italians. We, on the contrary, could wish for an increase of forms in a country like ours, where vulgarity and insolence are for breaking down all barriers. He is for having the service performed in the vernacular. This would be, perhaps, important, were religion addressed to the understanding rather than the hearts of men. He is hostile to confession, and so are we. We are too conscious of our sins, and their enormity, to trust them to any audience but that which is unavoidable, and which listens with an inevitable indulgence, such as cannot lie within human compass; and he is for allowing the priests to take wives, as other men; to which we have no manner of objection, supposing the priests themselves willing. His proposed changes, however, are such as we shall hardly hope to see attempted in our day. Mr. Field enforces his views sensibly and gently. His tone is inoffensive, and his arguments, if not very profound, are mildly and modestly put. His letters may be read without annoyance by all parties.
11. The Gold Mines of the Gila. A Sequel to Old Hicks the Guide; by CHARLEs W. WEBBER. New-York: Dewitt & Davenport. 1849.
MR, WEBBER has been for some time past preparing an expedition for the exploration of a Dorado along the Gila to which vague traditions have pointed for a space of three hundred years. These traditions do not content themselves with saying that the land has gold, and that the gold thereof is good. It speaks of great cities, empires of art and civilization, girdled by rocks, and rendered almost inaccessible by interposing deserts. Fable is outdone by these narratives which claim to be only sober history. The ostensible object of this volume is to circulate these traditions, and through them, taking advantage of the present gold-mania which discovery in California has engendered, to promote the objects of an expedition for the discovery of these realms of treasure, of which Mr. Webber is prepared to be the pioneer and conqueror. But the book will measurably defeat its own object. Mr. Webber having an eye to fictitious narrative, and a strong passion for that sort of writing, has manufactured much more of a tale than an argument, and relates such a string of desperate and diabolical adventures, that the danger which he describes will probably frighten many more than his cities of hidden treasure will persuade.
The book is a very rude one, carelessly written, and frequently in very bad, if not brutal taste. It gives a very woful picture, and, we trust, a very unfaithful one, of humanity, as it exists in the border lands of Texas. Though marked by occasional passages of power and beauty, and scenes of vivid interest, it is very far inferior to the work of which it improperly professes to be a sequel. There is nothing in the progress of the story to link it with Old Hicks the Guide—it resumes none of the clues of that work, and brings before us none of its characters. We regret that Mr. Webber has suffered himself to waste his talent on an unworthy and unfitting subject.
12. A Few Thoughts on the Foreign Policy of the United States; by WM. HENRY TREscot. Charleston: John Russell. 1849.
MR. TREscot is well known to the readers of this Review. His writings are distinguished for their force and earnestness. The little brochure under notice is quite an improvement on former efforts. We rejoice at this ambitious demonstration, in a field of study for which Americans—particularly of the South—so seldom betray any predilection. The tastes of Mr. Trescot incline him to diplomacy. His studies