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that we have no longer any constitutional securities upon which to rely. It was objected by sundry persons, more captious than just, that he spoke as a partisan, and allowed present politics to trespass upon a subject which belonged exclusively to the past. We were required to enjoy an unmixed sentiment of pride and triumph in past achievements, without any regard to present cares and anxieties. As if this were possible! As if such laborious care to avoid the subject of the common thought, was not, indeed, a vulgar sort of hypocrisy, which could deceive nobody. But, in truth, there could be no better use made of the anniversary of American freedom, than habitually to compare its objects and its acquisitions with the degree of security which we enjoy under its supposed guaranties. This was done by our author, and in excellent style. The printed oration amply testifies to this. It is well thought, and graphically expressed, in a style at once lucid and forcible.
19. The History of the United States of America, from the discovery of the Continent, to the organization of Government under the Federal Constitution. By Richard Hildretii. In three vols. Wols. 1 and 2. New-York: Harper & Brothers. 1849.
We know no literary labor which is more really desirable to the American than an honest and well written history of his own country; and we hail with hope and anxiety— which but too commonly conduct to disappointment, the appearance of every new publication which proposes to supply so necessary a want. We are not yet prepared to speak for the integrity of Mr. Hildreth as an historian. We reserve our opinions until the appearance of his closing volume. But his preface discourages us in respect to his claims as a writer, and as a man of taste and modesty. It is written with a pretension almost amounting to insolence, and in a pert and vulgar style which is particularly unsuited to the dignity of the historian. The few pages which we have read, in his first volume, are not calculated to impress us with the freedom and elegance of his pen; at best, his sentences can lay claim only to an intelligible distinctness. But a beginning is always an awkward matter, and our auth or may improve as he proceeds. If an honest historian, we hope that he will do so. If not, the colder and clumsier his narrative the better. So shall he fail in those arts which might beguile the simple and confiding into belief.
1849.] Bulwer and Forbes on the Water Treatment. 259
20. History of the National Constituent Assembly (of France) from May, 1848. By J. F. CoRKRAN, Esq. New-York: Harper & Brothers. 1849,
No narrative of the kind could have been rendered more interesting or more instructive, with less labor and trouble to the reader, than the one before us. It reports, day by day, the proceedings in the progress to the formation of a constitution, of the recemt constituent national assembly of France. It reports the history of the attempt at a second revolution, and the terrible days of strife which followed the efforts of the Red Republicans, to acquire the ascendancy—the equal elevation of their men and policy. In relating this progress, civil and insurrectionary, the author gives us a series of very lifelike pictures of the chief actors in the history—brief biographical sketches rendering each portraiture complete—the vraisemblance of which we have no reason to question. The volume is one of singular interest, and the author discusses the several subjects which occur, with the ease of one perfectly familiar with all their elements.
21. Bulwer and Forbes on the Water Treatment; edited, with additional matter, by Roland S. HoughTon, A.M. M.D. New-York: Geo. P. Putnam. 1849.
Most readers of newspapers will remember to have read the eloquent letter of Sir Edward Bulwer, respecting his recovery from a cruel and seemingly fatal disease, by the cold water treatment. This letter forms the opening portion of this volume. It is followed by a review of the subject from the pen of John Forbes, M.D., a practitioner of the school of allopathy, who acknowledges, in his article, though with evident reluctance, and a costiveness that yields as little as possible, the great virtues and benefits of cold water, as practised by the Silesian Priessnitz, in the relief of many, if not most, human diseases. Alter these papers follow several other contributions rendering the volume a very desirable authority, if not manual, for those seeking a knowledge of the remedial practice which it is designed to recommend. It is an interesting and valuable compilation, very neatly got up.
22. Poems; by WILLIAM CowPER. With a biographical and critical Introduction, by the Rev. Thomas DALE: and seventy-five illustrations, engraved by John S. and Tudor Horton, from drawings by John Gilbert. In two volumes. New-York: Ilarper & Brothers, 1849. Charleston : John Russell.
This is incomparably the most beautiful edition of the works of Cowper which has ever been issued from the American press. In point of typographical costume, and illustration, it will compare favorably with any of the British issues. It deserves general preference. Cowper is not so much read as he deserves to be by our people. We know of but one other American edition, and that was the wretchedest of all samples of mortal typography. Cowper was not merely a moral poet. He was one of admi able fancy, humor and wit. His imaginative faculties were strong if not discursive, and his mind, as an author, was singularly independent. He was, besides, in literature, a reformer. He was the first to strike at the false and meretricious school, borrowed from France and Italy, which, at the opening of his career, beset the poetry of his country He led and taught the proper way to nature, and to that art only which is content to be the accoucheur of nature. He deserves our homage, and will reward our repeated study. His biography, by the Rev. Mr. Dale, will be read hesitatingly, though with interest. We doubt if Mr. Dale was better prepared to be his biographer than Mr. Newton to have been his social and spiritual adviser. It is very certain that Mr. Dale is but a doubtful judge of harmony. The criticism which he bestows upon certain lines of the author, only proves that the critic has no ear, and knows not well how to read or emphasize poetry.
23. Mardi : and a Voyage Thither. By HERMAN MELville. In two volumes. New-York: Harper & Brothers. 1849.
MR. MELVILLE is well and favorably known as the writer of two very pleasant books of South Sea experience, in which the critic persuaded himself that he found as many proofs of the romancer, as of the historian. Mr. Melville alludes to this doubt and difficulty, and somewhat needlessly warns us that, in the present work, we are to expect I.othing but fiction. His fiction takes the form of allegory rather than action or adventure. His book, in fact, is a fanciful voyage about the world in search of happiness. In this voyage the writer gives a satirical picture of most of the deeds and doings of the more prominent nations, under
names which preserve the sound of the real word to the ear, while slightly disguising it to the eye. In this progress, which is a somewhat monotonous one, the author gives us many glowing rhapsodies, much epigrammatic thought, and many sweet and attractive fancies; but he spoils every thing to the Southern reader when he paints a loathsome picture of Mr. Calhoun, in the character of a slave driver, drawing mixed blood and tears from the victim at every stroke of the whip. We make no farther comments.
24. Mordaunt Hall; or a September Night. A novel. By the author of “Two old men's Tales,” &c. New-York: Harper & Brothers. 1849.
A story, like most of those written by Mrs. Marsh, too uniformly sad and sombre, wanting relief and lightness in its progress, as well as in its close. It is an ordinary tale of seduction and misery—the terrible consequences of crime accruing to the innocent, embittering their lives, and leading only to the disappointment of a noble career in an early death. In this narrative, the author succeeds in some lovely and striking portraitures, in some sweet and touching scenes, in the inculcation of moralities at once truthful and tender ; in rebukes to pride as well as to merit and innocence ; and in the delineation of pictures such as require and receive the assistance of a very happy fancy. But for the uniform sombreness of the tints, some occasional defects in portraiture, and a catastrophe which disappoints expectation, and defeats the objects of poetical justice—a very frequent fault with our author—we should esteem this work quite equal to any of her pen. It may be read with profit, and will certainly be read with interest, as a domestic story full of pathos and not deficient in power.
25. The Midnight Sun; a Pilgrimage. By FREDERIKA BREMeR ; author of “Brothers and Sisters, &c.” Translated from the original, by MARY Howitt. New-York: Harper & Bro. 1849. Charleston: J. Russell.
A slight sketch, or series of sketches, in Miss Bremer's usual and well known manner—marked with a lively fancy, a pure taste and a truthful household morality. As a story, the volume exhibits equally a lack of force and compactness. The design is very slender, and wholly wanting in novelty. The value of the performance consists almost entirely in the pictures of the extreme north which the author unveils to us, her fancy and patriotism equally tending to invest with a purple atmosphere that region of her birth from which the inhabitants of more southern climates are apt to shrink with a nameless horror. It will need that she infuse a greater degree of fire into her “Midnight Sun” before she will be successful in warming us with more agreeable impressions of the realm which she inhabits, than we now possess. Her enthusiasm in regard to her country, though very pleasant to consider, will require a genius more intense than is in her gift, to reconcile us to its prolonged and terrible midnight, and to the tutelar deities of its ice bound crags and gloomy seas and precipices.
26. A Man made of Money; by Douglas JERRold, author of Mrs. Caudle's Curtain Lectures. Philadelphia: Carey & Hart. 1349 Charleston: J. Russell.
A very lively and well sustained allegory—that of a man, who, goaded by a wife's vanity, selfishness, and love of show and expense, to constant expenditure, is made to wish that he were made of money, and is taken at his word by some one of those busy devils who are always at hand to take advantage of a reckless customer. It is with some ingenuity that the author associates his allegory with the daily working of facts—making his material and spiritual operations harmonize, in such a manner, as to reconcile us to the absurd exaggeration which constitutes his foundation. His allegory is, perhaps, unfortunate in being too close, since we lose sight of his hero too frequently as a real being, in regarding him as a figurative one. Still, the painful and humiliating portraiture of passions that grow diseased, that prey fatally upon the frame, as well as the heart and the affections of the man— that gnawing avarice, that baneful pride, that usurps the place of the proper nature and makes shipwreck of all its true interests in the pursuit of mere lusts and vanities—is exceedingly forcible. The work ends abruptly—we had almost said unsatisfactorily. Something seems to be wanting, which a sequel may probably supply.