« PreviousContinue »
upon the church in the fifth century, and which has been a fruitful source of dissension, persecution, and schism down to the present time. The theory is denounced as the basis of a scheme of theology repugnant to the moral sense of mankind; and the appeal is made to the people, as possessing common sense, and therefore as authorized to decide upon the matter. The authoress is confident that the people are fast outgrowing this theology, and she deems the time not far distant when the dominant creeds will not shock all that is pure and good in the human heart. Without coming distinctly to Universalist conclusions, she repeats Universalist arguments. Her impulses are too strong for her logic, and not unfrequently her generalizations evince impatience rather than caution. Nevertheless her instincts are human; and Universalists will not fail to look upon her as an efficient though not intentional auxiliary in a common theological reform. The book evinces much reading; is systematically put together; and not a line will be complained of as obscure.
4. The History of England, from the Acce:sion of James II. By Lord Macaulay, Volume V. Edited by his Sister, Lady Trevelyan. With Notes to Vols. I., II., 1II. and IV. A Sketch of Lord Macaulay's Life and Writings, by S. Austin Allıbone, and a Complete Index to the Entire Work. Boston: Crosby, Nichols, Lee & Co. 1861.
Memory goes back to the Spring of '49, when, opening the first volume of the work which in the above finds a melancholy close, we read the first sentence—“I purpose to write the history of England from the accession of King James the Second down to a time which is within the memory of men still living.” What a feast for the intellect was promised here! The story of the great English revolution which, in the person of the Prince of Orange, issued in the establishment of protestantism and constitutional liberty; of the subsequent internal struggles which raised England from ignominious vassalage to a foreign throne to "the place of umpire among European powers ;” more particularly of that great conflict in which American independence had its birth, to be followed by the growth of empire which, up to within a few short months, has exhibited to the world a spectacle of material prosperity and power unrivalled in the history of nations. It soon appeared that the promise held out in the opening sentence quoted, could never be made good. The materials at the command of that marvellous brain could not be compressed within the limits which the original purpose contemplated. The five volumes which he lived to complete, embrace but a period of sixteen years. James the Second ascended the throne in 1685; the work abruptly closes with the death of William in 1701. The foretaste of what the history of succeeding periods would have been, had their author been spared for its completion, make it painful to realize that such a repast can never be in store for us. Certainly the death of no other author ever sent such sorrow to the reading community. Sincere was the grief of thousands when the mournful tidings reached them, that the marvellous pen which had given to the facts of history a witchery beyond the pages of romance, was forever motionless. The fifth volume is but a fragment; yet it completes the career of Macaulay's favorite, William the Third. It is a source of satisfaction that the task of finishing the sketch of that monarch has not been left to other hands. The edition of the volume named above contains a most admirable sketch of the life and writings of Macaulay by S. Austin Allibone, and an index to the entire work. Of the volumes first published, one hundred and fifty thousand were sold in four weeks. The sale of the fifth and last will not be less rapid or extensive.
5. The Life and Career of Major John Andre, Adjutant-General of the British Army in America. By Winthrop Sargent. Boston: Ticknor & Fields. 1861. pp. 471.
Americans have been most generous in their sympathies for the fate of " poor Andre.” He was a spy, sought the ruin of the colonial cause, risked the danger which fixed his fate, in an attempt to give the cause of American independence a vital wound. Perhaps the success of the revolution hinged upon the capture of Andre. Yet he seems to have won the love of the American people. They never speak of him except with a sigh for his melancholy doom. Washington deeply regretted the necessity which compelled him to order his execution. We view his designs against our liberty without heat, because he was a Briton ; while his daring, which was heroic, kindles our admiration. The book before us, giving the details which do not appear in the general history, will be welcomed by all American readers, alike for the interest they feel in the fortunes of its hero, and the new light it sheds upon a dark place in our early history. It comes to us too late to speak distinctively of its merits. We can only say that it has the appearance of a laborious and thorough presentation of the youth, manhood, and fate of the real hero of West Point.
6. Reminiscences of Scottish Life and Character. By E. B. Ramsay, M. A., LL. D., Dean of Edinburgh. From the Seventh Edinburgh Edition. Boston: Ticknor & Fields. 1861. pp. 297.
The author is moved to collect and publish these Reminiscences from a fear that, as Scottish manners become obsolete, the “Scottish traditions may be lost entirely." At first he prepared a lecture on the subject, but the materials increasing beyond his expectation, he finds the proportions of a book none too large to contain them. The manner in which the book has grown, may be regarded as an evidence that labor has been expended upon it. It more frequently happens, we fear, that the book wants matter than that matter wants a book. The religious feelings and observances of the Scotch; their conviviality-one feature of which Dean Ramsay is happy to say, is becoming obsolete; the old Scottish servant—that great character in the novels of Scott; Scottish humor and proverbs, with an alphabetical list of the latter—these are the special topics of the quaintly-printed book. The author warmly defends his countrymen on most of their peculiarities. He has certainly made a spicy, entertaining book.
7. Struggle for Life. By the Author of "Seven Stormy Sundays." Boston: Walker, Wise & Co. 1861. pp. 311.
The simplest experiences of poverty-life-in themselves too dramatic to need any other than the simplest portrayal--are here woven into a story touching, yet encouraging, and serious, yet of cheering influence upon a reader's heart. We would gladly say the word of commendation that would help circulate a book so full of the true missionary spirit—so sure to humanize the heart while it interests the fancy.
8. The Heroes of Europe: a Biographical Outline of European History from A. D. 700 to A. D. 1700. By Henry G. Hewlett. Boston: Ticknor & Fields. 1861.
An aphorism from Emerson is the text upon which this book discourses and gives illustrations: “All history resolves itself very easily into the biography of a few stout and earnest persons."
Twenty-eight personages-among them Charlemagne, Hildebrand, William Tell, Christopher Columbus, Martin Luther, Ignasius Lyola, and Cardinal Richelieu—are the centres of as many epochs in a thousand years of European history. The chapters are well written, clear, and often graphic. Of value to any one who will read, it has a special value for those who cannot read the voluminous histories.
9. The Avenger, a Narrative; and Other Papers. By Thomas De Quincey. Boston: Ticknor & Fields. 1859.
Were it not for a note from the author, the reader depending for information upon the book itself would have no suspicion that for this collection of papers, as also for those which make up the preceding twenty volumes, he is indebted to the taste and industry of an American editor. The author, however, confesses his indebtedness in this particular-acknowledges that another has done for his writings what he could not have done himself. In view of the beautiful series of De Quincey's works, now accessible for a moderate sum, the name of James T. Fields will always command honorable mention in connection with that of Thomas De Quincey. “The Avenger" portrays, as only its strange author can do, the passion of revenge. The book also contains “Additions to the Confessions of An Opium Eater," a “ Supplementary Note on the Essenes,” a paper on “ China," and another paper on “ Traditions of the Rabbins,"—to our taste hardly second to his best. The print is of course uniform with the preceding volumes.
10. The China Mission: Embracing a History of the Various Missions of all Denominations among the Chinese. With Biographical Sketches of Deceased Missionaries. By William Dean, D. Ď. 'New York: Sheldon & Co. 1859.
We shall feel more at liberty to criticise the sectarian aspects of Foreign Missions, when, by our own example in a better method of philanthropic labor, we have earned a right to find fault with the method chosen by others. The so-called evangelical form of Christianizing the heathen may be wrong as judged from the sectarian point of view; but the fact that it exists in any form is an expression of philanthropic purpose which rebukes the inaction of sects claiming to be “liberal.” But of the book before us, let us say, that with the exception of its theological peculiarities,—which are, as a matter of course, widely different from those we receive,we find in it nothing to censure, and much to commend. It makes a valuable contribution to the ethnology, history, and geography of a portion of the globe embracing more than a third of its population; while its biographical sketches are redolent of heroic character. Twenty years of experience as a missionary gave the author ample qualifications for his task.
11. Lectures on the English Language. By George P. Marsh. New York: Charles Scribner. 1860. 8vo.
An extended review article in a late number of the Quarterly did ample justice to this excellent book. We cannot, however, refrain from expressing our word of commendation; so great has been the satisfaction with which we have read it. We recently heard the complaint that many of our best teachers of Greek and Latin in the act of teaching habitually
outraged their mother tongue." Mr. Marsh tells that, “A distinguished British scholar of the last century said that he had known but three of his countrymen who spoke their native language with uniform grammatical accuracy;” and he quotes Couvier as saying of the French, “ There are five or six persons in Europe who know Greek; those who know French are much fewer.” As respects our native language, it is undoubtediy but too true that “familiarity breeds contempt;” and so it happens that American scholars need to study few things more than the English language. A work similar to the lectures named above has heretofore been a desideratum. Latham, Fowler and Brown, have done much to elucidate the principles of English grammar; but we have had few works which treat of the incipient and initial steps of the language before grammar can apply to it. Mr. Marsh begins at the very source of the language, even its elementary sources; and he traces their historical combinations, elucidating the etymology of words by apt though not too numerous citations from the old authors. The occasions of new combinations, or of the more popular introduction of words heretofore of but seldom use, are stated, and form a most unique feature of his work. The author explains in what sense, and to what extent, foreign learning will help towards a right knowledge of English; he does not attach so much importance to this kind of aid as scholars are wont to do. The chief method is to study the English itself, in its original masters, rather than through the scattered specimens which are given in grammars and dictionaries.
So numerous, however, are the points presented by Mr. Marsh that we cannot here allude to a tithe of them. We sincerely hope that the reader will, without delay, make his acquaintance with all the points in the book itself. He will find it full of curious matter. Let us state, as a single specimen of interesting information, that according to Mr. Marsh our English Bible has 97 per cent. of Anglo-Saxon words ; Cowley and Swift each 89 per cent.; Thomson and Shakspeare 85 per cent. ; Pope 76 per cent.; and Gibbon only 58 per cent. These facts show what books we must read to get nearer the “ well of English undefiled ;” and that in this particular, even, the Bible is “the book of books.” We are glad to learn that the Lectures are meeting with a rapid sale. Such publications richly deserve pecuniary encouragement.
12. Nature and Art in the Cure of Disease. By Sir John Forbes, M. D., D. C. L. New York: Samuel S. & William Wood. 1858.
The unscientific can appreciate the distinction between the principle of cure in ‘disease and the removal of obstructions in