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a work of art, far inferior to “ Niccolo da Lapi," the translation of which into English appeared two or three years since. The merits of the book are its chaste diction, its graphic descriptions, especially of costumes and scenery, its high moral tone, and its glowing patriotism. The defects are looseness of plot, confusion of characters, lack of consistency in the treatment of the leading personages, distortion of historical facts, and incompleteness. The disposition which the author makes of his principal personages is very unsatisfactory. The Cæsar Borgia who figures here, though no worse than the original, is yet not the Cæsar Borgia of Italian history. The famous duel is made to have an end which is more flattering to the Italians than the verdict of the judges. We believe that it was pronounced by Bayard to be a drawn game, though D'Azeglio represents it as a complete Italian victory. The book may be read with pleasure, but cannot be received as an authority.
THE title of Mr. Henry's volume,* and the quiet humor of the frontispiece, which represents the blind author dictating his lucubrations to his son, prepares us to expect a half-satirical sketch of the contortions and frenzies of camp-meetings and revivals. We get, on the contrary, an earnest defence of such physical excesses, and an indignant answer to all who deprecate or doubt them. Mr. Henry believes in jerking devotion and in bodily spasm, as evidence of the Holy Spirit's presence. He finds in all the sacred narrative, from the birth of creation down to the prophecy of the New Jerusalem, in the story of Gog and Magog, Moses and the Prophets, Christ and the Apostles, - in the history of the Evangelical Church as well, — the abundant proof that noise and excitement accompany the experience of piety. Simeon in the temple, Bartimeus at Jericho, Peter on the sea, and the sisters at Bethany, are not less instances of his theory, than Miriam with her timbrel, Joshua with the rams' horns, and David before the ark. Of course, such a style of argument involves absurdity. Yet Mr. Henry's book is not altogether weak and nonsensical. There are in it a good many wise observations about men and things, and it abounds in humorous turns of phrase, and in shrewd hits at existing follies. Its imagery is singularly felicitous, and almost poetical. We feel, after having finished the volume, like yielding our commonsense to an argument which is urged so genially, and with so much enthusiasm. Sometimes this enthusiasm, we regret to say, leads Mr. Henry to false statements of the facts of Scripture. It is hardly allowable to represent the four thousand whom Jesus fed, “after a great three days' revival,” as “ten thousand,” which number is twice repeated,
* Shouting, Genuine and Spurious, in all Ages of the Church, from the Birth of Creation, when the Sons of God shouted for Joy, until the Shout of the Archangel : with numerous Extracts from the Works of Wesley, Evans, Edwards, Abbott, Cartwright, and Finley. Giving a History of the outward Demonstrations of the Spirit, such as Laughing, Screaming, Shouting, Leaping, Jerking, and Falling under the Power, &c. With extensive Comments, numerous Anecdotes, and Illustrations. By G. W. HENRY. Published by the Author, Oneida, N. Y. 1859. 12mo. pp. 435.
VOL. LXVII. — 5TH S. VOL. V. NO. II. 26
or to represent the crowd as transported to that “camp-meeting” in “ wheelbarrows" and "all sorts of vehicles," or to say that Peter's basket is filled first, and he “takes a good bite himself” before he gives any to the hungry crowd. It is not exact, either, to say of the river Nile, that “its crystal waters were agitated by its finny inhabitants," since its waters are muddy, and its fish are few and sluggish.
Mr. Henry's mind is sometimes unduly exercised by the impiety of Universalists and Unitarians : and it is a charitable spirit which leads us to commend his book as amusing, if not sound.
John Carsten Hauch is a Danish scholar and poet, eminent in his own land in many walks, but little known either in England or France. He has been in turn Professor of Chemistry, Physics, and Zoology in the Academy of Soroe, of Scandinavian Literature in the University of Kiel, and of Æsthetics in the University of Copenhagen; and in all these departments has published works of standard excellence. Comedies, tragedies, epics, romances, as well as scientific essays without number, have proved the fertility of his indefatigable genius. His last important work is that which M. Soldi has just rendered into French, and which the title should make attractive to American readers.* It is a romance founded on the efforts of Robert Fulton to perfect his strange imagination of propelling vessels in the waves without the aid of wind or sails; of the struggles, sacrifices, and noble perseverance of this first martyr and afterward hero of modern practical science. In executing this task, he is more faithful to art than to history. If he has drawn character well, he has indulged in anachronism somewhat more than we should allow to the historical novel. Fulton was certainly the pupil of West, and the friend of Barlow. But we are not aware that he was patronized by Franklin, and there are some events which M. Hauch adds to his life which embellish more than they explain his character.
As a work of art, however, the romance of Robert Fulton is very interesting. The portraits are powerfully drawn, and illustrate the various features of American character. The scenery of Pennsylvania is described here by one who never saw it, as accurately as by Campbell in his Gertrude of Wyoming. The passionate fondness and jealousy of the beautiful quadroon shows that the Danish Professor has read more than one American anti-slavery novel. The Quaker Milburn indicates an accurate study of the peculiarities of the broad-brimmed sect, as much as the sturdy democrat Baxter proves a sympathetic study of American institutions. Indeed, it is hard to believe that a novel so thoroughly American in spirit, in description, in minute knowledge of men and opinions on this side of the ocean, could have been written by one who has never visited these shores, and has been pressed by the duties of a busy professorship. Mary Howitt would do good service to our
* Robert Fulton, Roman Historique, de C. Hauch. Traduit pour la Première Fois en Français, par D. Soldi. Avec une Notice historique, par ALBERT LE Roy. Paris : A. Taride. 1859. 12mo. pp. 402.
literature in adding to her translations of Miss Bremer's tales of domestic life, a translation of the novels of Hauch as spirited and faithful as this labor of M. Soldi. The romance of Robert Fulton may not be, as M. Foy calls it, “ a hymn in prose," but it is certainly half a poem.
If there be one writer more than another in France who deserves the grateful recognition of an American Unitarian journal, it is that member of the French Institute who so perseveringly perils his reputation for orthodoxy and his standing with his brethren by his defence of Channing and his advocacy of liberal opinions. M. Laboulaye is nominally a Roman Catholic. Yet it is easy to see that his reason, his sympathies, and his resolution are all enlisted on the side of those opinions which our own body represents. He loses no occasion of setting forth our views in the most favorable light, and showing their foundation in common sense and conscience. Channing, indeed, he puts at the head of all writers of this century for insight of vital religion and for service to human thought, and says of him more even than our own brethren would be willing to say.
M. Laboulaye is a careful and thoughtful, rather than rapid writer, and has published only a few volumes, and those upon questions of historical politics and jurisprudence. His last volume, entitled “ Religious Liberty,” * is a collection of a dozen or more of articles which he has from time to time contributed to the leading reviews. All of these bear upon the question suggested by the title of the book, and several of them directly discuss that question. The temper and tone of all are homogeneous, though the aspects of the discussion are various. The first article is an elaborate defence of the view of M. Jules Simon, advocating entire freedom of religious opinion in France, and justifying this historically as favorable to piety not less than progress. The second article, on “Stahl and Bunsen," is a plea for the separation of Church and State, for free investigation in Scripture and dogma, and for equal rights to all communions. The third article on, “ The Immaculate Conception," is a careful and exhaustive proof that that doctrine is new, unfounded, needless, and pernicious, – that it has the leading Fathers against it, and no good argument in its favor. The fourth and fifth articles are devoted to Channing, who is the author's idol. In the sixth article, M. Laboulaye sets forth with a calm but genuine delight the contradictory opinions and uncertain position of the ancient Church, which are revealed in Bunsen's “ Hippolytus and his Age.” In the seventh article, on “ M. Renau and the Semitic Languages,” he opens the question of the unity of the race, and of the inspiration of the Scriptures, and hints some very heretical views. The eighth article, on “ Creuzer,” shows the resemblance of ancient Greek symbolism to that of modern Rome. Of the remaining articles, one shows the defects in Wiseman's Fabiola, another is directed against monastic institutions, another praises the heretic poet of Spain, Luis de Leon, another
* La Liberté Religieuse. Par EDOUARD LABOULAYE. Paris : Charpentier.
shows how near Buddhism is to Christianity, another treats the “Woman Question," and another shows that history is an argument for liberty. We have said enough to exhibit the rich variety of this remarkable volume.
EVERYBODY in Paris knows Madame Louise Colet, her smooth verses, her obstinate temper, her lawsuits, her liberalism, and her intense passion for notoriety. Few female writers have outraged good taste more abominably, both in poetry and in prose; yet the writings of Madame Colet, whether dramas, novels, lyrics, epics, or epistles, are always readable, always spicy. Her last production, which has at once all the graces and all the faults of her piquant style, is a description of Holland,* — its life in village and city, its natural and social features, its treasures of industry and art. The pictures which she gives are as accurate as daguerreotypes, and as minutely finished as the works of the old Dutch school of painting. Rotterdam, the Hague, Leyden, Harlem, Amsterdam, and Utrecht, that inevitable hexagon of Dutch towns, all pass in review before us, and rapidly show all that they have of quaintness, worth, or wealth. Madame Colet's fancy will not rest with merely reporting what she sees, with sketching costumes and criticising museums and churches. She is constrained to join pleasing fiction to her veracious narrative. Apropos of Rotterdam, she tells a story of two young maidens, who, after waiting and pining fifteen years for their respective lovers to return from India, found at the end of that period that their choice was mistaken, and adjusted it by changing lovers. Apropos of Leyden, we have the tragi-comical history of a scientific couple, — the husband a lover of shells, and the wife a devotee of insects, — their spoiled, heartless, and magnificent daughter, with her pair of desperate admirers, the best of whom goes to Japan to get for her father a famous shell, comes back, finds her false, and kills himself, while his rival marries her. These stories are wrought up with some skill, but have improbable features.
Some errors we have noticed, though fewer than we might expect from so dashing a writer. It is not correct to speak of “two Descents from the Cross” in the Antwerp Cathedral. One of the pictures is “ The Elevation of the Cross.” The Museum at Leyden is very grand and complete, but it is by no means “the finest in the world.” It is far inferior to the British Museum, and is more than equalled in many departments by the museums of Berlin, Dresden, Turin, Naples, and Paris. The tower of Utrecht is set down as “969 metres” in height. So gross a blunder must belong to the printer. And the trees in the famous eight-rowed avenue, “ oaks, pines, and plane-trees," as she calls them in her sentimental stanza, happen to be lime-trees. In her descriptions of dress and faces, Madame Colet is never at fault. One glance shows her every color and fold, every line and expression.
A rapid visit to the Prussian cities of Cologne and Aix-la-Chapelle gracefully finishes an entertaining book.
* Promenade en Hollande. Par MADAME Louise Colet. Paris : Hachette. 1859. 12mo. pp. 274.
An eccentric friend of former days reappears to us under a new title and costume.* To the last generation of newspaper readers the name of “Major Jack Downing” was at least as familiar as any other on the public stage. It is certainly a proof of real merit of some kind, that a series of papers like these, originally wholly local in their character, ridiculing the small quarrels of provincial politics, should have outlived their “thirty years," and find fresh readers now.
It was, perhaps, a hazardous experiment, but it was a successful one, to transfer the rustic Major from the field of state, to that of national politics, and make him the right-hand man of Old Hickory himself. . Great liberties are no doubt taken in this part of the work with General Jackson's name, and he is often placed in a supremely ludicrous light. But after all, it may be questioned whether he is treated more unfairly in these good-humored caricatures than hundreds of the eminent men of history are in the so-called historical novels. Whether the author did wisely to enlarge his plan further, and continue his hero's activity through the times that followed, may admit of doubt.
UNDER a whimsical and rather questionable name,t we have a reprint — with omissions, alterations, and additions, to bring it up to the times, and adapt it to American readers — of a work as old as 1836. The quaint title indicates a quaint volume. And such it is ; — a collection of scraps, a decantation of the multifarious contents of a commonplace-book, to be glanced at and taken in homeopathic doses. It is instructive and suggestive, — well done, for a thing of its kind. It has wisdom, wittily worded ; paradoxes, to breed thought; half-satirical assertions, and sharp antitheses, to provoke a smile, or to start reflection; together with the profound or humorous or imaginative sayings of noted authors, with running comments thereon. Taking no very high place in literature, even the soberest and solidest of readers may find it worth dipping into now and then. It is daintily printed, and arranged in a way to make it very easy reading, - a serviceable text-book for random conversation.
JOURNALS AND REVIEWS. The promise of the first volume of the great French Review, which we noticed in our issue for May, is fully met by the ability and interest of the succeeding volumes. The volume for May and June, I the last which has come to our hand at the time of writing this notice, has never, in our judgment, been surpassed for the variety and excellence of its contributions. Chief among these we place the article of M. Charles de Masade, on the Italian Question, which for good sense, accurate insight, and clear statement is superior to anything which has
* My Thirty Years out of the United States Senate.
† The Tin Trumpet; or, Heads and Tales for the Wise and Waggish. New York: D. Appleton & Co.
| Revue des Deux Mondes. XXIXe Année, 2mo Periode. Tom. XXI. 4 Livraisons. Mai - Juin, 1859. Paris. 8vo. pp. 1008.