« ElőzőTovább »
When a man who has done this asks to be allowed to tell what he has thought and learned in such an exile, he deserves a respectful hearing, even if his book were not as interesting as this has proved, since it could hardly fail to contain something which persons less devoted had failed to perceive. As for Mr. Hamerton, he has made a book which is as unconventional as Robinson Crusoe;" and which is straightforward, manly, frank, not offensively conceited, and written with uncommon vigor and freshness of style, - a book full of common sense. As he sat or walked or painted or rowed over these cold bills and colder waters of the Scottish Highlands, he thought many thoughts which do not come to men in cities, painting daintily in luxurious studios. What he thought and saw during these five lonely years of work, he wrote down day by day; and a portion of what he wrote down he has gathered into these two volumes, of which the first is a charming jumble of fun and philosophy, careful description and playful exaggeration, travel-talk, hard work, horse-breaking, hut-building, boat-building, romance, all transfused with so evident and noble a devotion to a true and manly idea of the art of landscape-painting, that no one, we should think, can read it without being struck and impressed as well as interested.
In the second volume, the rambling narrative is discontinued ; and we have, instead, a series of more or less disconnected essays on subjects connected with art, of unequal degrees of merit, but all very well worth reading, and all written with good aim and good feeling. There is a chapter on “ The Painter in his Relations to Society," in which he quotes Thackeray, Balzac, Ponsard, Scott, Dickens, to show the contemptible estimation in which painters are held in society; treating the whole subject, not with pique, but with a manly protest against the inferiority of the place which modern society has assigned to a class of men whose calling should fit them for the highest place.
" When you wish to ascertain the social standing of occupations in any country, ascertain first which are compatible with the highest caste. Do noblemen go into the army and navy? Yes, very generally; even princes of the blood. Do they go into the church? Occasionally. Do they read for the bar ? No. Do they article themselves to attorneys ? Never. Do they study medicine? No. What other recognized profession do they follow? Not one. The highest caste in England can only fight or preach, it appears. The Middle-Age theory, that every gentleman who
had any profession at all must be either soldier or priest, still survives. . . I see here the awful operation of an irresistible natural law. In our exclusiveness, it is always ourselves we exclude. And, in your narrow scorn of all human labor which does not either clothe itself with scarlet coat or white surplice, you have driven half your children into the hell of a forced idleness, and condemned them to seek in the maddening excitements of debauchery that stimulus which they might else have found in the noblest achievements of the intellect."
There is a chapter on “Painting as a Polite Amusement,” in which good-humored satire is joined to grave remonstrance against the trivial pursuits of art by dilettanti. There is a chapter on “Word-painting and Color-painting," in which it is curious to find the author writing fifty pages to prove that natural objects are more adequately represented pictorially than by verbal description. It is interesting as a literary recreation, from its quotations, which are apt and well-selected, and from the writer's comments on them, which are intelligent and in good taste. Word-painting is, however, evidently a favorite study with him, even during his hard work at the rival art; for in the first volume he has given us twenty careful studies of Highland landscape in words. They are good examples of minute and exact description, showing a keen and well-trained faculty of seeing, and, not less, a thorough and hearty enjoyment of the effects he describes. No. 6, A Fine Day in June, — No. 12, A bit of Lake Shore,- No. 15, Loch Awe, on an evening in March, - No. 16, Description of a Highland Clachan, - are good examples of this power of descriptive writing. As an example of Mr. Hamerton's common-sense, which we desire to recommend to any of our readers who expect ever to write a book of travels, we give this extract from the first volume :
“Staffa is a wonderful place, but the popular comparison with architecture is puerile. No doubt the Creator could have built cathedrals, if it had 80 pleased him, and made edifices like Rouen and Amiens grow out of the earth like trees; but he has left all that industry to us. The caves of Staffa are quite inferior, even in size and impressiveness, to the finer examples of Gothic architecture; and the cave of Fingal owes much of its power to its floor of green sea-water, rising and falling with the swell outside, and sometimes rushing to the far end of the cave, where it is shattered into foam with a shock of thunder. The columns are as various as trees in a forest. The difference between architecture and basalt is like the difference between a sonata of Beethoven, and the roaring of the wind.”
NEW BOOKS RECEIVED.
English Travellers and Italian Brigands. A Narrative of Capture and Captivity. By W. J. C. Moens. With a Map and several Illustrations. New York: Harper & Brothers. 12mo. pp. 355.
Inside: a Chronicle of Secession. By George F. Harrington. With Illustrations by Thomas Nast. New York: Harper & Brothers. 8vo.
New Physiognomy; or, Signs of Character, as manifested through Temperament and External Forms, and especially in " the Human Face Divine." By Samuel R. Wells. With more than one thousand Illustrations. New York: Fowler & Wells. 1866. 8vo. pp. 768.
The Albert Nyanza, Great Basin of the Nile, and Explorations of the Nile Sources. By Samuel White Baker. With Maps, Illustrations, and Portraits. London: Macmillan & Co. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott & Co. 8vo. pp. 516.
History of Julius Cæsar. Vol. II. The Wars in Gaul. New York: Harper & Brothers. 8vo. pp. 659.
Harper's Pictorial History of the Great Rebellion. Part I. To the Close of the Peninsular Campaign of 1862. New York: Harper & Brothers. Folio. pp. 380.
A Narrative of Andersonville, drawn from the Evidence elicited on the Trial of Henry Wirz, the Jailor. With the Argument of Col. N. P. Chipman, Judge Advocate. By Ambrose Spencer. New York: Harper & Brothers. 12mo. pp. 272.
Sherbrooke. A Novel. By H. B. G. New York: D. Appleton & Co. 12mo. pp. 463.
Land at Last. A Novel. In three books. By Edmund Yales. pp. 147.
Homes without Hands ; being a Description of the Habitations of Animals, classed according to their Principle of Construction. By the Rev. J. G. Wood, M.A., F.L.S., &c. Illustrated. 8vo. pp. 651.
Four Years in the Saddle. By Colonel Harry Gilmor. 12mo. pp. 291. Phemie Keller. A Novel. By F. G. Trafford.
Felix Holt, the Radical. A Novel. By George Eliot. New York: Harper & Brothers.
The American Annual Cyclopædia and Register of Important Events of the Year 1865. Vol. V. New York: D. Appleton & Co. 8vo. pp. 850. (An invaluable record, containing, among its great accumulation of the raw materials of history, the statistics of about three hundred engagements in the late war, a table of the daily fluctuations in the price of gold for three years, a very full record of Congressional debates, several public documents of remarkable interest, and a well-digested index of twenty-two pages. The number of independent articles is 244.)
Chambers's Encyclopædia : a Dictionary of Universal Knowledge for the
People. On the Basis of the latest Edition of the German Conversations. Lexicon. Illustrated by Wood Engravings and Maps. Philadelphia : J. B. Lippincott & Co. Nos. 104, 105, 106. Sewage — Sound. Being the completion of Vol. VIII. pp. 828.
Summer Rest. By Gail Hamilton. Boston: Ticknor & Fields. pp.
St. Martin's Summer. By Anne H. M. Brewster. Boston: Ticknor & Fields. pp. 442. (A pleasing book of travels and personal adventure in Southern Italy, - anecdotic, sentimental, and diffuse. It includes a description, full of faith and fervor, of the annual miracle at Naples of the liquefaction of the blood of St. Januarius.)
The South since the War; as shown by Fourteen Weeks of Travel and Observation in Georgia and the Carolinas. By Sidney Andrews. Boston: Ticknor & Fields. pp. 400. (The narrative of the very intelligent correspondent of the "Boston Advertiser” and “ Chicago Tribune.”)
Letters of Life. By Mrs. L. H. Sigourney. With a Portrait. New York: D. Appleton & Co. 12mo. pp. 414.
Thirty Years of Army Life on the Border ; comprising Descriptions of the Indian Nomads of the Plains; Explorations of New Territory; a Trip across the Rocky Mountains in the Winter; Descriptions of the Habits of Different Animals found in the West, and the Methods of Hunting them; with Incidents in the Life of different Frontier-men, &c., &c. By Colonel R. B. Marcy, U.S.A. With numerous Illustrations. New York: Harper & Brothers. 1866. 8vo. pp. 442.
Elements of Pronunciation; containing many important Orthoëpic Discoveries. By Caleb Bates Josselyn. Boston: Walker, Fuller, & Co.
The Principles of Biology. By Herbert Spencer. Vol. I. New York: D. Appleton & Co. 1866. 12mo. Cloth. pp. 475.
A Text-Book on Physiology, for the Use of Schools and Colleges; being an abridgment of the author's larger work on Human Physiology. By John William Draper. New York: Harper & Brothers. 1866. 12mo.
Life; its Nature, Varieties, and Phenomena. By Leo H. Grindon, Lecturer on Botany at the Royal School of Medicine, Manchester. Philadelphia : J. B. Lippincott & Co. 1866. 12mo. pp. 578.
Asphodel. Boston : Ticknor & Fields. pp. 224.
Maxwell Drewitt. By F. G. Trafford. New York: Harper & Brothers. 1866. pp. 167.
Hand and Glove. A Novel. By Amelia B. Edwards. pp. 122.
Spare Hours. By John Brown, M.D. Second Series. Boston: Ticknor & Fields. pp. 426. (Containing the charming sketch,“ Marjorie Fleming," with interesting criticisms of Thackeray and John Leech.)
Art. I. — UNITARIAN VIEWS OF CHRIST..
Being the Fourth Popular Lecture in the Course given by Eight Unitarian
Ministers in the Cooper Union, New York, January and February, 1866. By the EDITOR.
My aim, on this occasion, is to unfold the Unitarian idea of Jesus Christ with all frankness and simplicity. I should relieve myself of some embarrassment, if I said simply my own view as a Unitarian; but that is entitled to little consideration, and many would go away, saying, “ Yes; that is what one minister of the Unitarian faith thinks about Christ, but we wish to know what the body of the denomination think:” and that is a reasonable expectation. On the other hand, the Unitarian body allows and encourages such independent thinking in regard to Christian doctrine, that no man is fully authorized to speak for all the rest. And I shall not pretend to do so in any other way than by a perfectly open and frank disclosure of our varying views, endeavoring to give you as full an idea of the breadth and openness of our faith on this point as is possible.
The first half of this discourse will be occupied with negative statement, showing what Unitarians deny about Jesus Christ; and the last half with a positive statement, showing what they affirm, and profess to believe.
There are within the Unitarian ranks all shades of opinion
VOL. LXXX. - NEW SERIES, VOL. II. NO. III.