Page images

this coffer or the Hebrew laver, both precisely like a bath. He then shows the extraordinary coincidence of English measures with those of the coffer. Its contents are equal to 4 quarters of wheat 128 pecks 32 bushels 4 Hebrew chomers 128 Greek hecters 128 Roman modii. Now a pint is equal to a pound; so, if our original chaldron were shaped like a trough (tro), from that would come Troy weight, or "trough weight,” for solids.*

There is no doubt, we suppose, that wheat originally determined all measures; but 8 lbs. of wheat Troy was equal in bulk to 10 lbs. of water, Troy weight. So any vessel that would hold 10 lbs. of water, only held 8 lbs. of corn. Before the phrase “ Avoirdupois” came into use, the water-measure was expressed by the phrase "merchants’ pound.” All profits of sales were made by buying pounds of 16 ounces, to sell pounds of 12. The bakers' dozen of 13, sold out at 12, had a similar antiquity. The same base — i.e., the cubit of Karnak — controlled the pyramid, Solomon's temple, the coffer of Cheops, and the chaldron of Henry III. The proportion of the diameter of a circle to its circumference is now represented by 1 to 3.1415927. When the pyramid was built, it was as 1 to 3.141792. This measure allows to the diameter 500 millions of inches, but these were English inches !

To the measures before the Flood, we owe the sacred cubit attributed to the Ark, - the Karnak cubit of the pyramid, and the primitive English mile of 5,760 feet, an eleventh part greater than the present mile. The coffer contains 256 gallons of water, each gallon weighing 10 lbs. merchants', or Avoirdupois, weight; also 256 gallons of wheat, each gallon weighing 10 lbs. Troy.

In England, by law, 32 grains of middle-sized wheat are equal to 24 grains Troy. He shows, in this connection, the origin of the English word mud, in the Mut or Mor of the San-Chun-Iath.

In commenting with interest on this book, Sir John Herschel says, “Mr. Taylor has the merit of pointing out, that the same slope belongs to any pyramid which has each of its faces superficially equal to the square described


its height;" also, “ that a belt as broad as the base of the Great Pyramid, passing round the earth, would contain one thousand millions of square feet.” On his own account, he continues :

“The height of the pyramid, casing inclusive, from base to apex, is 1-270,000th of the earth's circumference. Taking the equatorial circumference as unity, the

* 24 barley-corns or 32 wheat-corns 1 pennyweight; 20 pennyweights
1 oz.; 12 oz. = 1 lb.


error of this aliquot is one part in 736 ; but, if the polar be assumed, it is only one part in 3,506, – the former error in defect, the latter in excess. So there exists somewhere a diametral section whose circumference is exactly 270,000 times the height of the Great Pyramid. Though not a meridian, it is not very remote from one."

We believe we have indicated all the salient points of this book, – certainly all those of interest.

C. H. D.

Since the time of Dr. Arnold, the history of Rome has been less studied in England than that of Greece, or at least the study has produced less fruits. Even to this day, Arnold's work continues, on the whole, the best for the ground it covers; and Liddell’s — the best for the whole period of the republic - is only a brief compend, constructed from partial materials. For no one ventures to repeat what Arnold did, — transplant the ripest results of German scholarship into English soil, and recast them in a shape better adapted to the needs of the English mind. They seem hardly to know any authority later than Niebuhr, and to cling superstitiously to theories of his which have long since been exploded. With all these defects, Liddell’s is a very readable and, in the main, accurate work, very serviceable abridgment of Roman history.

The last two or three years have shown a greater activity in this field; and, besides Merivale's great work, which has already been noticed at length in these pages, we are glad to announce a new edition of his earlier work, which serves in some degree as an introduction to the later and larger one. * It is not strictly an introduction to it; for it covers much of the same ground, and, indeed, many pages in the larger work are taken almost verbally from this. On the other hand, it is not a mere abridgment, even of the period embraced by both works; for on some points this work is fuller than the other. Written independently, as it was, and for the general reader rather than the student, it is, no doubt, better suited to those who wish only to get the leading, essential facts of the great historical subject it treats of, in all its philosophical bearings.

W. F. A.

MR. UPAAM’s monograph on the witchcraft delusion of 1692 † is

* The Fall of the Roman Republic; a Short History of the Last Century of the Commonwealth. By CHARLES MERIVALE, B.D. London: Longman, Green, Longman, Roberts, & Green, 1865. 12mo, pp. 564.

† Salem Witchcraft; with an Account of Salem Village, and a History of Opinions on Witchcraft and Kindred Subjects. By CHARLES W. UPHAM. Boston: Wiggin & Lunt, 1867. 2 vols. post 8vo, pp. xl. and 469, 553.

one of the most thorough, elaborate, and satisfactory works of the kind ever written. There is no part of the subject which he has not studied in an exhaustive manner, and no collateral source of information which he has not carefully explored. No one who had not spent years in the investigation, and brought to the task special aptitudes for the work, could have produced two volumes on such a subject, in which it is scarcely possible for the most searching criticism to point out a single omission or misstatement or mark of carelessness, and which literally leave nothing to be desired in respect of breadth of view, minuteness of detail, or candor of statement. Nearly an entire generation has passed away since Mr. Upham’s “ Lectures on Witchcraft” were first given to the public; and the work has long been out of print, though it has always stood high in the public estimation. In reverting, after the lapse of so many years, to a subject which he had thus made his own, he has not contented himself with reproducing his earlier work; but he has retraced every step trodden before, and has extended his inquiries into new fields, so that scarcely any part of his former work can be discovered in his new volumes.

He has divided his work into three parts of unequal length, but of Dearly equal merit. The first is devoted to a preliminary sketch of the history of Salem Village, and to an account of the various families living there, and of the state of society among


previous to the witchcraft prosecutions. This part fills more than twothirds of the first volume, and is not surpassed by any similar sketch which we have found in any of our local histories. It is a monument of the unwearied diligence and perseverance of the author, and a needed introduction to the narrative which follows.

The second part, which covers the remaining pages of the first volume, is a scarcely less thorough and satisfactory history of opinions on the general subject of witchcraft, from the earliest times to the close of the seventeenth century, with the special design of illustrating the origin and character of the superstitions commonly accredited in New England in the period to which his work relates. In this part of his inquiry, Mr. Upham traverses ground not unfamiliar to cultivated persons: but he does not exhibit less breadth and minuteness of research ; and he brings to light many details which will be new to the larger proportion of his readers.

The second volume is mainly devoted to a full and circumstantial history of the delusion, from the first sitting of the circle of " afflicted

girls,” through the preliminary examinations in the village and the trials in Salem, to the final termination of this terrible story in the release of those prisoners, who, more fortunate than the others, had escaped the first fury of the storm. Every part of the narrative is illustrated and strengthened by citations from the original and unpublished documents; and, through Mr. Upham's unrivalled familiarity with the actors and the localities, every incident is described so vividly, and yet so minutely, that the reader finds it difficult to persuade himself that he is not in the presence of an eye-witness. At the same time, our author never identifies himself with the contemporary quarrels and prejudices, but uniformly preserves his candor and impartiality. The narrative is followed by a general survey of the subject, and by some judicious and well-considered observations on the characteristics of the delusion, on the motives which led so many persons to confess that they were witches, on the testimony of the witnesses, and on the general topic of intercourse with spirits at that time and in our own age.

A Supplement considers and answers several of the questions which must occur to every reader, and embodies much information in regard to the subsequent history of the prominent actors, the contemporaneous and more recent opinions on the subject of the prosecutions, and other kindred topics; and in the Appendix are several illustrative documents.

We have written of Mr. Upham's labors in terms of warmer praise than we are accustomed to use ; but the rare merits of his work fully justify the highest commendation of its thoroughness, its impartiality, and its interest. There are, however, a few criticisms in respect to the mechanical part of the work which must not be omitted. The convenience of the reader would have been much promoted if the several parts had been broken up into chapters ; if an analytical table of contents had been prefixed to each volume; and if the Index had been placed at the end of the second volume. The occasional use of the direct, personal form of address, which was originally adopted in the “Lectures,” is also a defect in the literary execution.

C. C. S.

News has just come of the death of the most eminent of German philologists, August Boeckh. Although his season of productive activity was over, and he had nearly reached the ripe age of eighty, his death is none the less a loss to classical scholarship, even more by the influence of his refined tone and high aims in investigation

be so.

and discussion, than by the instruction that he had, until very lately, continued to give in the University. German scholars are not famed for comity and good temper in debate, and will wrangle over a Greek particle or a new emendation with the true fervor of theologians; but Boeckh has been habitually as courteous in argument as earnest and eloquent. His features and manners expressed a nobility and kindness of nature which were thoroughly characteristic of him, and made him one of the best loved as well as most honored of his class.

Boeckh’s fame is founded upon services of a deeper and more enduring nature than even the books he wrote and the discoveries he made. He was founder of a school of philology, which has carried with it most of the younger scholars of the day in Germany, and which ought before now to have redeemed German philology from the bad name of “Dryasdust.” The great impulse given by Wolf to verbal criticism, with its priceless results in the way of restoring the texts of ancient authors, had at the same time directed the energies of that generation chiefly to this work. It was indispensable that it should

Without correct texts of the classic writers, no certain or valuable results could be derived from them. But this work, which, after all, was only a preparation for the real study and interpretation of antiquity, came to be pursued as if it were itself an end. Hence the dry and uninspiring school of which we have all heard enough.

Boeckh's first labor was in that line, which was then most energetically pursued; and we owe to him the restoration of the text of Pindar. But, having thus broken ground in the study of antiquity, he was not long in making his way to that field to which he felt most strongly attracted, — the restoration, not merely of the words of books, but of the life of the nations themselves. We owe to him an accurate and nearly complete picture of the political life of Athens, in the “Staatshaushaltung der Athener," and other works which followed. Once the way pointed out, other scholars followed it, according to their bent. The work of textual criticism had not by any means been completed, — indeed, it is far from completed even now; and those lovers of Homer, Æschylus, Demosthenes, and Plautus, who are so fond of laughing at the painstaking labors of the Germans, would perhaps be astonished to learn how much of their pleasure they owe to men like Gottfried, Hermann, Lachmann, Bekker, and Ritschl. But the school of Boeckh has become the prevailing one; the men of antiquity and their thoughts are studied rather than their mere words; and every year is making the life of the Greeks

« PreviousContinue »