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39. Southey's Commonplace Book; edited by his Son-in-law, John WooD WARTER, D.D., New-York: Harper & Brothers. 1849.
SouTHEY was as great in devouring as in making books. His mental digestion was singularly powerful, and it is wonderful what a variety he read. All languages, and all departments of literature, seem to have ministered equally to his appetites, and the industry and judgment with which he noted down all that was memorable in the progress of his reading, deserves almost as much gratitude from the public as do his original writings, There are few pleasanter volumes for occasional perusal—few that will furnish so many pleasant provocations to thought—as that before us. It is published in a very neat octavo, on a large and wellfilled page, clear type, and handsome paper.
40. Society and Government. Researches upon the Vital Dynamics of Civil Government. By BENNET Dowli:R, M.D., of New-Orleans. New-Orleans : Wild & Co. 1849.
A PAMPHLET, republished from the pages of the New-Orleans Medical and Surgical Journal, which embodies a large and various collection of statistics of peculiar interest, all brought in relation to the great and absorbing question of social economy and political regimen. The author shrewdly suggests, rather than argues, his propositions, which go to show that the prosperity of the human race has invariably resulted from the recognition of the rights of the race, and the lessening influences of despotism. Republicanism, in government, according to our author, is the great secret, not simply of social security, but of the moral happiness, and the physical increase and comfort, of the human family. His views will compel reflection, if they do not always bring conviction. They well deserve study and examination.
41. Valerie: a Tale, by the late Capt. MARRYATT, R. N., author of “Peter Simple,” &c. Completed by a literary gentleman. Philadelphia. Carey & Hart.
VALERIE was a French damsel of great talents and beauty, for whom her mother conceived a most unnatural antipathy. Her brutality drove the child into flight. She took shelter with a female friend, who concealed her, and for a time treated her as her own. Her parents, meanwhile, supposed that she had drowned herself, and, as the cause of her flight was well known, they suffered a loss of caste in consequence. Valerie, nevertheless, grew and flourished, charming, beautiful and accomplished in everything. She was addressed by a gentleman whom she refused, and he subsequently married the lady who had adopted her. This lady pressed her to accept an invitation made to her to visit England; she did so—and, from that moment, instigated by her husband, who never forgave Valerie's rejection of his suite, her patron abandoned her. When this became evident to the girl, she put on a new character, and resolutely determined to be independent. She passed through several vicissitudes as a governess and a teacher of music. In this progress, she learned how bitter was the task, according to Dante, of ‘ascending another's stairs,’ but her independent courage works through all and becomes triumphant. She marries happily, and the story ends in a cloud of roses. Such is the sketch of the novel. Its filling up is unequal. Capt. Marryatt, who was little of a gentleman, knew not well how to describe a lady. The consequence is that ‘Valerie' with great beauty, according to her own account, and considerable intelligence, is anything but an ideal—scarcely a model for the sex.
42. Lectures on Dramatic Literature; or the Employment of the Passions in the Drama; by SAINT MARK GIRARDIN. Professor of the Faculty of Letters in Paris, &c. First series. Translated from the French, by Robert GIBBEs BARNwell “Lectorem delectando, paritergue monendo.” New-York: D. Appleton & Co. 1849.
THE translation of this work is very creditably made by a young Carolinian. Girardin's Lectures may be taken up more formally in these pages hereafter. Meanwhile, we are pleased to express our satisfaction at the performance of our young countryman, whom we hope to welcome in future to more independent labors.
43. The Works of J. Fennimore Cooper. The Spy, complete in one volume. New-York: G. P. Putnam. 1849.
We welcome the edition of Cooper's complete writings, of which the present is the initial volume. It is got up in the excellent style of publication which was adopted by the same publisher in his edition of Irving. These two writers properly go together. They were the first to begin fairly the career of American letters. Mr. Cooper is an old favorite with ourselves, as well as the public. We can forgive all his errors in consideration of his sturdy and sterling merits. We trust, and believe, that his countrymen generally are prepared to welcome him with a renewal of old favors, and a forgetfulness of the old quarrel. They have now an excellent occasion to do so. This fine edition deserves to have a place everywhere in the American library. It is newly revised and improved by the author, coupled with explanatory and illustrative notes, and prefaced by a new and interesting introduction, which shows whence he derived the original germ of the novel which first brought the writer into notoriety.
44. Last Leaves of American History: Comprising Histories of the Mexican War and California; by EMMA WILLARD. New-York: George P. Putnam. 1849.
The principal events in the history of the United States, beginning with the inauguration and death of Harrison, and bringing down the record to the close of the war with Mexico, are here compressed into the smallest possible space. This is the chief, perhaps the only merit of the volume, which is rather chronological than historical, which expatiates fully upon none of the particulars in our progress, and is written in a style exceedingly slip-shod. An excellent map of the United States, including our new acquisitions in Oregon and California, accompanies the volume, which is got up in the usual handsome manner of all Putnam's publications.
45. The Mystic Tie: or facts and opinions illustrative of the character and tendency of Freemasonry; by ALBERT G. MACKEY, M.D., author of “Lexicon of Freemasonry,” &c. Charleston: Miller & Browne. 1849.
DR. MACKEY is habitually known as a student con amore, and an authority in all that relates to freemasonry or can interest the craft. His Lexicon was a valuable compend, supplying a generally acknowledged deficiency. The merit of this work is of another nature. It does not so much teach the laws of freemasonry, as it illustrates its virtues, benefits and beauties. It is, in fact, a volume of masonic anecdote, grateful to the mason, and agreeable reading to those who do not belong to the fraternity. It is compiled with care, and the stories are generally
well related. They appear, all of them, to be quite authentic.
46. Practical Hints on the Comparative cost and productiveness of the Culture of Cotton and the cost and productiveness of its manufacture. Addressed to the Cotton Planters and Capitalists of the South. By Charles T. JAMES, Providence: Jos. Knowles. 1849.
Mr. James gives us a very useful body of Statistics, with a very interesting running commentary. His pamphlet appears at the right season. Our people are every where opening their eyes to the importance of engrafting the manufacture of Cotton, upon our present plan of simply raising it. The pamphlet before us is designed to foster this spirit. Mr. James is a practical man, of large experience in machinery. He should be listened to with attention and respect. One of his suggestions, in particular, should compel inquiry. He insists that steam is preferable to water power for manufacturing purposes, making always a superior article of goods. With equal abundance of water power and fuel, the South is at no loss, whatever may be the preferable agent.
47. Bullclin of the American Art Union. New-York. 1849.
By this we rejoice to learn the continued prosperity of this Institution. The last picture engraved was one by Leutze, on the subject of Queen Mary signing the death warrant of Lady Jane Grey. Copies of this picture, accompanied by the outline sketches of Darley, on the subject of Rip Van Winkle, were distributed to subscribers. Medals in honor of Gilbert Stuart and Washington Allston have also recently been distributed, though in small numbers and by lottery. Could not this be so contrived as to give one of these to each of the subscribers ? The subject of the engraving for the next year, is one of the allegorical series by Cole, representing youth in pursuit of triumph—“hope at the prow and pleasure at the helm.' A small and very pretty etching from this picture has been issued already in order to afford an idea of the subject. The larger picture will be of the usual size of the series. The Art Union's plan is a fortunate one. The society in New-York seems doubly so in the management of its affairs. The President, Gen. Wetmore, is singularly well calculated for the chair which he occupies.
48. Illustrations of Rip Van Winkle. Designed and etched by FELIX O. C. DARLEY. For the members of the American Art Union. 1848.
These are very spirited sketches, from the hands of an artist whose reputation is based rather upon his achievements in works of humor, than in the higher and bolder performances of art. Mr. Darley is destined most probably to acquire more credit from his serious, than his humorous performances. He is yet young, and, with study and industry, and the avoidance of conventionalities, which is the great danger from living in a large city—he must rise to eminence in his profession. He deserves to do so. We have great faith in his natural endowments, and we are pleased to believe that he is a student. This implies not only the constant examination of what his bretheren of the profession teach, but that he as constantly goes out of the profession and into himself. Solitude, and that brooding thought which knows how to concentrate itself upon its own heart, are the great and proper teachers in all arts which require the agency of the imagination.
49. Transactions of the Art Union of Philadelphia, for the year 1849. Philadelphia: King & Baird. 1849.
This institution differs from that of New-York in one single respect. It allows to him who draws a prize, the choice of any picture within the collection, or which he may purchase with the money. In the New-York Art Union he draws a picture; in the Philadelphia, the means to buy one. The report of this Institution shows it to be prosperous. The agent for SouthCarolina is Saml. Hart, Sen., Bookseller, King-street.