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Art. XII.-CRITICAL NOTICES.
History of the French Protestant Refugees, from the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes to our own days. By M. CHARLES Weiss, Professor of History in the Lycée Bonaparte. Translated from the French by HENRY WILLIAM HERBERT. With an American Appendix by a descendant of the Huguenots. In two volumes. New-York: Stringer & Townsend. 1854.-These two very well printed and interesting volumes will prove grateful memorials to a large portion of the very best people of this country. M. Weiss has summed up the whole history of the Huguenot persecution, of the wanderings of that people when dispersed after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, of their fortunes when scattered abroad over other nations, and of the fortunate career of certain families which rose to well merited distinction in the strange lands to which they fled for refuge. Of course, as a summary only, the details will be comparatively meagre in a thousand respects, where we could have wished to find them more copious. Unfortunately, the materials for a more elaborate performance are not now to be found, or they would require, in the search, an amount of labour and expense, to which the results, of value and interest, would probably be quite inadequate. Enough, however, is preserved, and to be found in these volumes, to awaken the most lively interest in the history, and to justify fully the propriety of making the publication. The author, or, more properly, the compiler, has shown great industry and research in the accumulation of his materials. He has sought, no doubt, all accessible means of information. His chief deficiencies are probably in the case of those who sought refuge in America. Still, even here, he has shown a tolerably general and correct knowledge of the various progresses of the scattered flock. Some errors, mostly trivial, have crept into his narrative, but not of a sort to impair its general integrity or its value as an authority. We turn naturally to such portions of the volumes as relate more particularly to the Huguenots of Carolina-a region in which they especially flourished, and where they put forth the most vigorous shoots of greatness-producing many of the first men, warriors and statesmen of the nation, in the most trying periods. We have reason to be proud of the infusion into our family of the good blood of these despised, but honourable, wandering, but worthy people, who fled to the wilderness for conscience' sake, and amidst all the fluctuations of life and society, have always steadily maintained the virtues which sustained them when they first went forth as exiles. M. Weiss
shows himself well acquainted with the main facts in their fortunes in our section. He pursues the attempts of Coligni to establish settlements at first in the Brazils, and afterwards in Carolina and Florida. He gives correct summaries of their adventures in both regions-of the expeditions of Villegagnon to the former, and of Ribault and Laudonniere to the latter province. Subsequently, the narrative unfolds the progress of other colonies, no longer independent, but established within the limits and under the rule of the British settlements. To these details the American Editor provides brief notes, correcting the errors of the text and supplying deficiencies. In regard to this portion of the history, our own local chronicles are more full, correct, and in every way more valuable; but this was to be expected. This portion of the present work is only important, as it constitutes a necessary part of the main history. In this connection let us express the hope that Mr. Thomas Gaillard, formerly of our own State, now, we believe, of Alabama, will be persuaded to give to the public, as soon as possible, the more complete history upon which he is known to have been engaged. We have noted several errors in this portion of M. Weiss's book, relating to the South, but of a sort which do not materially affect its valueand some omissions, which a little more pains-taking, on the part of the American Editor, might have supplied. For example, when naming the persons upon whom, in 1663, the English charter of Charles the Second was conferred, the Frenchman tells us of a “Lord John;"—the American Editor remarks, “ it is almost useless to state this is a French blunder. There never was such a title as · Lord John ;' and who is meant does not appear.” Had the Editor turned to any of our histories of South-Carolina, he could have made it appear. The name to be supplied was John, Lord Berkeley. M. Weiss says, somewhat loosely, that the Huguenots created, among other settlements in Carolina, that of Charleston. This, we need not say, is a great error.
That settlement was originally English, and the refugees of France formed but a small portion of the population. Our author shows a disposition to. exaggerate, in his details of occurrences in this region, which was not necessary to his purpose. Thus, the little infant settlement of “Jamestown,” is called a city. He adds, repeating a former error _“ But the richest and the most populous of all the settlements formed by the refugees in that province, was that of Charleston.” We need not repeat our correction of this error, which is due to the natural tendency of all authors to exaggerate the claims of a favourite subject. His mistakes, or those of the American printer, in the spelling of proper names, make many of those, of well known Southern families, exceedingly doubtful
to the eye
Mazyck,” as we write it now, is written “ Mazicq" by our Frenchman. “Dubose," in his hands, is "Dubosc," which, by the way, better accords with our ordinary pronunciation of the word; for “Sarrazin,” the printer gives us “ Larrazin ;" " Horry" appears in one instance as “Hony," and so of many others, scattered through the volumes, which should have been more carefully revised. Our author could have found, in many instances, much better sources of information than those upon which he has relied. He has looked to second and third hands for authorities, when the records of the first were still to be had. The American Editor might have amended this, and has probably forborne doing so, only because of the minor importance of the points in question, and because it would have swollen the work to unsaleable dimensions. As it is, it will prove useful and instructive, and of great help to the student in the field of history.
The Works of Apuleius. London: H. G. Bohn. 1853.—The writings of Apuleius, complete, are here collected in a compact volume; a new and well prepared translation, comprising the Metamorphosis, or Golden Ass, the God of Socrates, the Florida, the defence of Apuleius on a charge of magical practice, in which he discourses of magic, and gives us its history to the period in which he writes and in the region in which he lived. The work is one of those helps equally to history and philosophy, which he must necessarily study who would be thoroughly informed of the faith, the social practice and the height to which the popular mind and cultivation had reached in his time and country. It is rich in other respects, as a development of the highly imaginative genius of the author. “The Golden Ass” is the work by which Apuleius is best known to fame. This tale, which is quite too free for the use of the sex, is, at the same time, distinguished by its poetic beauties and the brilliant episodes in which the author exhibits his grace, his fancy and his invention. Among these, the Allegory of the Soul, or Cupid and Psyche, is the most remarkable. It has furnished a theme for succeeding poets and artists, through whom, rather than its original author, it is chiefly known to the moderns. The volume contains the poetical version of this story as made by Gurney and Mrs. Tighe. The latter poem is a somewhat cold, tame, diffuse paraphrase, which is commended to us only by its delicacy and correctness. The version of Gurney is more loose and less finished; but more free, and, in modest quatrains, unfolding the fable with more spirit and simplicity than the more elaborate effort of Mrs. Tighe. Garney's poem, however, omits many portions of the original; the rersifier seeming to be gov
erned in this omission by a desire rather to tell the story itself, than to display its poetical beauties, and the mere sentiments of the author, as they rose naturally out of its situations. Something, therefore, was lost to the reader of the original—some passages of fancy and description which readers of taste would not care to lose. These passages ought to have been supplied by the present translator or editor, and we could have wished that he had known of the version made by the Hon. John L. Wilson, formerly one of the Governors of this state, who published an edition in Charleston several years ago. Mr. Wilson's volume may be found in our libraries by the curious. He was a man of taste, talent and education, a lawyer and politician, who relieved his public labours by an occasional indulgence with the Muse, and who, in supplying the gaps in Gurney's version, showed himself fully equal to an original translation, which would have been quite as worthy as Gurney's of the public eye.
But Bohn's volume will supply all that the reader desires. It is undoubtedly the best and most complete edition of Apuleius that has yet been given to the English tongue.
Poems. By JAMES T. Fields. Cambridge: Metcalfe & Co. University Press. 1854.--The author of these poems is one of our most amiable and accomplished publishers. He unites the intellectual with the material manufacture of books, and in both respects reminds us of one of the very best of the living Sonnetters of England—-Edward Moxon. Like Moxon, the publishing house to which Mr. Fields belongs puts forth its publications in a style singularly neat and appropriate, and is something recherche, also, in the authors whom it honours by selection. Individually, the genius of Mr. Fields resembles that of Moxon. They are both of the contemplative class of poets—with a delicate ear and fancy ; never startling, never audacious, never attempting eagle flights; but, in brief circles, darting gracefully about their objects, and making song moralize in sympathy with nature. Mr. Fields does not frame his sentiments in sonnets, but his short poems resemble them, and, saving the form, might well be ranked in this category. Take a sample in the following graceful tribute, addressed, we take for granted, to Sam. Rogers : * On a Book of Sea Mosses, sent to an Eminent English Poet."
"To him who sang of Venice, and revealed
Sail to our rougher shores, and rise and fall,
And offered unto genius in the old.” To seize upon some well known anecdote, something illustrating inno cence and faith, and weave it into fanciful and gentle verse, is, with Mr. Fields, a frequent exercise, in which he is as frequently very successful. Here, for example, is an old thought of an innocent child, whose faith finds her security against all forms of terror, woven into very pleasing stanzas :
BALLAD OF THE TEMPEST.
We were crowded in the cabin,
Not a soul could dare to sleep-
And a storm was on the deep.
'Tis a fearful thing in winter,
To be shatter'd in the blast,
Thunder, “ Cut away the mast.”
So we shudder'd there in silence-
For the stoutest held his breath,
And the breakers talked with death.
As thus we sate in darkness,
Each one busy at his prayers,
As he stagger'd down the stairs.
But his little daughter whispered,
As she took his icy band,