« ElőzőTovább »
do not promise that we shall be at any time able to undertake the examination of this volume, with the view to a report upon the merits of the philosophy or its maker. Our employments scarcely suffer this. Yet we long for the chance to make the attempt, and may
do so, events permitting. Meanwhile, it will answer to say, that to those who incline to the study of the true, the beautiful and the good-and the class should include all people who read at all--these Lectures constitute a body of literature which they should by no means ignore—which will compel the thought, even if it fails to satisfy it.
Personal Narrative of E.cplorations and Incidents in Texas, New Mecico, California, Sonora, and Chihuahua, connected with the United States and Mexican Boundary Commission, during the years 1850, 251, '52, and ’53. By Join RUSSELL BARTLETT, U. S. Commissioner. New York: D. Appleton & Co. 1854.- The political interest of the question of boundary between Mexico and the United States, which gave rise to the commission of which Nir. Bartlett was the head, is necessarily absorbed wholly in the recent Gadsden treaty, which established a new boundary line, in the acquisition of a vast body of new territory. But the interest and value of the work before us in no way depend upon the political question between the two States. It is to be read as the report of an accomplished, well-educated and scientific traveller ; one well prepared, by his experience, good sense, general intelligence, and peculiar studies, for the work of exploration in new regions. Read with this regard, the reader will undergo no disappointment in the perusal of these volumes. They are crowded with interesting facts in natural history, morals and society, delivered in a style clear, expressive, unambitious, and illustrated with maps and numerous engravings, which greatly facilitate the comprehension of their details.
We need scarcely add, that coming from the press of the Messrs. Appletons, they are well printed and handsome publications.
Twenty Years in the Philippines. From the French of PAUL DE LA GIRONNIERE. New York: Harper & Bro. 1854.—These genuine adventures, picked up somehow by M. Dumas, the novelist, have been for some time doing duty in the service of that rare and prolific raconteur M. de la Gironniere has at length reclaimed his property, and reduced the exaggerations of fiction to the sober limits of the actual But his adventures read very much like fiction still, and we are half inclined to suspect that he owes almost as much to the novelist as the novelist to
him. But whether he has used the traveller's privilege or not, he has given us a lively and piquant narrative. Believe as much of it as you please, you are not disposed to quarrel with the narator whose invention is so capable to supply the defiencies in his fact. Of course, at the close of the book, you are left in doubt whether the author swallowed the crocodile, or the crocodile the author. But what matters the
worst result, when you find that the traveller has been allowed to make his testament?
Lives of the Queens of Scotland and English Princesses connected with the Regal Succession of Great Britain. By AGNES STRICKLAND. New York: IIarper & Bros. 1854-The fourth volume of this interesting series has just reached us, containing the continuation (begun in a previous volume) of the Life of Marie Stuart. This biography does not conclude with the present volume, and will probably require another, the second here bringing us down to the Queen's marriage with Darnley, and the period of his unkind and sullen separation from her. It is probable that this history of Miss Strickland will prove more satisfactory than any preceding ones, for the simple reason that it promises to be more thorough. The author has searched the chronicles with a degree of industry and judgment which puts all previous biographers to shame. As might be expected, she inclines favorably—perhaps partially—to her subject, and we shall be curious to see the closing summary, under new lights and evidence, of a case that has puzzled the historians so long. Darnley's murder and the marriage with Bothwell, constitute the main difficulties in the case of Mary Stuart, and we sincerely hope that Miss Strickland
make such a case as will relieve us of these difficulties. But-how?
The Feathered Tribes of the British Islands. By ROBERT MUDIE. Two volumes. Henry G. Bohn. 1854.—These two pleasant volumes have long since had a sterling reputation among our British authors. It is now, for the first time, that we have an American edition, in the popular library of Mr. Bohn, combining, as is the case with all his books, cheapness with elegance. The present edition has had the benefit of the revision of W. C. L. Martin, of the Zoological society. Mudie's volumes are admirably designed for popular use. If less minute than the books of professed ornithologist, particularly in later days, they are far more attractive as books for reading. If less crammed with science, they are made more agreeable by art. They are written with grace,
spirit and a love for the subject, that does its objects with a hearty sympathy, and delights to make them familiar through their most pleasing characteristics. As a hand-book for the wanderer among
scenery, there can be no more agreeable or instructive publication.
Report of the Trial of Matt. F. Ward New York : Appleton & Co. 1854.-Bad laws, bad manners and very doubtful justice are to be found, in any degree, in this pamphlet. Let the reader take nothing but the evidence, and then look at the result, and he will take courage, assured that if he cuts his neighbor's throat, skewers him through the bowels with a bowie-knife, or brains him with bludgeon.or bullet, his chances of escape are liable to few embarassments from justice. Here are men who deliberately plan together an assault, deliberately arm themselves with deadly weapons, go to the house of their neighbor, force a quarrel upon him, and shoot him down like a bullock on his own hearthstones, yet the jury decides that the crime is done in self-defence. We repeat that the criminal has no future reason to fear, after this specimen of law and justice. The prospect is exceedingly encouraging to all that class of offenders who possess money in sufficient quantity to cover aggression. Moloch has but to call in the aid of his brother Mammon, and the sons of Themis will secure him immunity; nay, prove the butchery to be only a proper sacrifice, rather religious than otherwise in character, and eminently creditable to the nice sensibilities than resent an offence to vanity with murder. As for schoolboys, they may take heart hereafter, when they would deal with exacting teachers. The empire of birch is over! What sort of rule is to prevail hereafter, is sufficiently figured out in these pages.
Notes from the Letters of Thomas Moore to his Music Publisher, Jas. Power—the publication of which was suppressed in London. With an Introductory Letter of Thomas Crofton Croker, Esq., F. S. A. Redfield. 1852.-A curious little volume, supplying some deficiencies in Moore's Memoirs, and, with the letter of Mr. Croker, showing two things besides, which it is not grateful to the public to perceive, viz., that the writer of Moore's Autobiography has not dealt wisely with his subject, and that the subject has dealt still less wisely with himself. Both seem to have been ungrateful and unjust to Mr. Power. Apart from this question of the relations of the several parties, leading to a very pretty quarrel among the survivors as it stands, these fragments contain a good many ana which the literary reader will be pleased to
have. The world did not need this volume, or the Diary of Moore itself, to show that, with all his genius, he was a mere creature of society, not proud enough to reject patronage and rely upon his own genius,--not noble enough to sink in the quiet student and the thoughtful poet, the petty ambition of the well-dressed gentleman about town—the dandy hanging upon the skirts of a society which used him only for its own petty vanities.
De Quincey's Thelogical Papers, just issued from the press of Ticknor & Fields, constitutes another interesting contribution to the American library, from the pen of one of the most piquant of British writers- De Quincey, as a metaphysician, is perhaps more suggestive than satisfactory. He is, at all events, eminently provocative. His analysis of details is sometimes very delicate and exquisite. Of the subject generally he rarely cares to take much grasp. In plain terms, his defect as a philosopher consists in his desultoriness. He prefers guerilla to regular warfare ; and his sudden dashes upon an advanced post, or to the capture of a detachment, are exceedingly brilliant, like a glorious charge of cavalry. Of course, we attempt no discussion of his special views on any subject. They cover too much ground. They compel a degree of study which no results to the reviewer would well justify, for the simple reason that there is nothing in his writings, however bold and brilliant, which is likely to affect, in any degree, the present working of human affairs. He will delight and inspire the student and imaginative man. But to men of mere affairs, he is a book shut and a fountain sealed.
The word “ Eternal” occasioned the dispute between the Rev. Frederick Denison Maurice, of the Theological department of King's College, and the Principal of the same institution, which led to the ejection of the former from his professorship. This gentleman has written a letter on the word in question, which now lies before us, from the press of C. S. Francis & Co. The distinction upon which he insists in frequent cases of biblical use, between the words “ Eternal” and “ Everlasting,” occasion the whole difficulty; the Professor being assumed to incline to Universalism, because of the distinction which he makes in certain
cases, between the two words. The theological difficulty does not lie within our province to discuss; but the use made of it, in this controversy, involves a very serious question, as to the degree of knowledge which we are required to possess in respect to the future purposes of God, to be sure that we have a faith at all ! In other words, our faith in
Christianity is thus made to involve the necessity of a settled body of opinion, as to tife mode in which the Deity will adjust the affairs of men in eternity—the exact period of his judgments, and the duration of our pains and pleasures. At this rate, Faith itself will need to be swallowed up in absolute knowledge, and opinion must be sworn to !
The Myrtle Treath, or Stray Leaves Recalled (Scribner,) is not a volume to be recommended to very exacting readers. It is easy enough reading, but not calculated to satisfy the hungry appetite, or to task the digestive functions. We cannot even affirm that it is calculated to tickle the taste, nor will it vex the temper.
The Constitutional Text Book. Edited by Lemuel Blake, and published by C. S. Francis & Co., New-York. It is the Constitution, as expounded by Daniel Webster, that Lemuel bestows upon us in this copious volume. Here Webster's commentaries are made to precede the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States, and Washington's Farewell Address. The work is designed as a class book. Of course, it will have no uses in the South! The Southern reader will do well to have all of Webster's writings in his library; but we protest against all such wretched manufacturing as this, in which we are furnished with Webster's commentaries upon, and replies to rival statesmen, whose remarks and answers are never given, and who are thus set up as so many wood-pins to be bowled down by this redoubtable player at his own leisure and pleasure.
Poems, original and translated.
By SEMLAN. Charleston : John Russell. 1854. A very prettily printed volume, doing credit to the publisher and the Charleston press. But our young author has been precipitate in the publication of his verses, a practice not to be encouraged, because of its unwise frequency. The writings of young poets are rarely anything beyond an exercise in language; the first object being to acquire such freedom and ease of expression, as to render future thought perfectly malleable in their hands. Such is not the case with Semlan. He will need a much longer practice before he can compel the nimble fancies, and the fairy creatives of the Muse, to glide gracefully about in the golden fetters of harmony and song. But practice will enable him to do this. He has the ear, the taste, and the talent. Frequent exercise, and the study of the best models, will enable him to do the rest. There is considerable encouragement in his volume, and it rejoices us