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nor the intellectual discipline to enable them to grapple with the deeper problems it undertakes to solve, and who-will, therefore, naturally look to the regular standards of opinion for instruction and help. Will not some of the sturdier champions of the accepted faiths, then, take up the glove of this armed and confident challenger, and put him to the test? The theological system of Swedenborg, which he adopts substantially, but which he presents under somewhat new aspects, is silently making its way, we are told, among the younger minds of the nation, and is altogether too portentous a subject to be dismissed in the ordinary newspaper style. It may have been demolished, for aught we know, a thousand times, but there would be no harm in doing it over again, if it can be be done, in the interest of the new generations.
-Cosas de España is one of the works for which, as having partly first met the public eye in our pages, we may be indulged with a little paternal pride and satisfaction. It is, in fact, one of the most racy, sensible, and sprightly records of a charming episode of European travel that we have seen. And so great an admiration have we of the American talent for traveling, and for telling the stories of travel, that we intend in our June number to say something more at length about Cosas de España, and some other recent books of travel. Until then, with a hearty commendation of this most entertaining and brilliant volume, to which we may sincerely say, au revoir, we take leave of it.
-One might parody an ancient English jest, and say that the writer of American Agitators and Reformers, who is MR. D. W. BARTLETT, seems to divide the world into men, women and the Beecher family. Of the fifteen or twenty distinguished individuals whom he sketches, three Beechers Mrs. Stowe, old Mr. Lyman, and young Master Henry Ward. We cannot confess to a knowledge of all Mr. Bartlett's pets-N. P. Rogers being only remotely discerned in these parts, while Mr. Ichabod Codding and Thurlow Brown have never before come within range of our object-glasses. But there are others of his heroes whose names are more familiar to us; such as Garrison, Gough, Greeley, Giddings, and Frederick Douglass. When Dickens was in this country, he was as
tonished at the number of "remarkable men " that he heard of, and we are quite sure that the number has not decreased since he left us. At any rate, Mr. Bartlett tells us that Theodore Parker is "one of the most remarkable men of our time;" that Frederick Douglass is " a remarkable man, who was born a slave in Maryland;" that Mrs. Stowe has written "a remarkable volume;" that Elihu Burritt's "maternal grandfather, Hinsdale, was a remarkable man," as Elihu is, himself; that James Russell Lowell is "a remarkable man, and a poet;" and so on, we presume, to the end of the chapter. Among this score of remarkable men, we find the name of William Cullen Bryant-sandwiched, too, between Joshua Giddings and Lyman Beecher --and we wonder how he got there. Bryant, the most shy, modest, retiring of poets, who has lived thirty years in New York, and is hardly known, personally, to as many men; who shrinks, with the timidity of a woman, from every sort of gaze, and who has a much better acquaintance with the woods and fields than the haunts of bipeds to be classed as an agitator! It is true that he has fearlessly discharged the duties of his calling, as the editor of a newspaper; but we can fancy, if he were brought in actual contact with those with whom he is here placed, how incontinently he would explode out of the hot company into the free, cool air!
The fact is, that we have little sympathy with Mr. Bartlett's worship of personalities, and think he might employ his pen to better purpose. He is excusable, perhaps, on the ground that nearly all of his great men are abolitionists, who, having had a good deal of pounding heretofore, may be now entitled to a share of the pudding and praise; and yet, as a general rule, he may adopt it, that good men do not like eulogy and notoriety, and bad men do not deserve them--while the public is rather nauseated with celebrities of all sorts.
-Professor F. A. P. BARNARD's Letters on College Government, reprinted in pamphlet form, from the Mobile Register, are very lucidly and argumentatively written. The following short extract is terribly true :
"The system of government existing in American colleges, considered as a system of moral restraint, is all but worthless. My own convictions would justify me in using even stronger language than this. To me, it has all the character of an ascer
to expect good to grow out of a system like this? And if young men emerge spotless from the ordeal of a college life, is it not plain that they do so, not in consequence of the system, but in spite of it? Vice and crime would be unknown, but for temptation; temptation would usually be powerless, but for opportunity. Youthful passions rarely fail to find the first; the American college system furnishes the second in its amplest form."
Considerations like these may well appall every mother who is sending away her sons to finish their scholastic training in a college. She may very properly feel that she is casting her child into a whirlpool of the most dreadful dangers. Professor Barnard goes on to show how existing faults have been derived from the imitation, by our colleges, of the European universities; and to urge, very powerfully, the importance and practicability of a reform in the particulars considered, by giving up the dormitory system, leaving the students under the civil authority as to breaches of the peace and minor misdemeanors; and by placing colleges, whereever its possible, in large towns, instead of in remote rural locations. The arguments advanced in support of his views demand and deserve the most careful consideration, from all friends of colleges and of students. -Harvestings in Prose and Verse, by SYBIL HASTINGS, is a collection of sketches of social life, interspersed with short poems. Of these last, very little can be said. The prose tales show considerable power of imagination, but are told in an overstrained, passionate way, and embody some incidents too little probable to be worked up satisfactorily, without a very remarkably plausible rhetoric.
-It has sometimes been inquired whether Mr. MELVILLE's Israel Potter is a romance or an authentic narrative; and in the dedication of the book (which did not appear in our Monthly), he explains. He says:"Shortly after his return," (i. e. Israel's return to this country from England,) "a little narrative of his adventures, forlornly published, on sleazy gray paper, appeared among the peddlers, written, probably, not by himself, but taken down from his lips by
another. But, like the crutch-marks of the cripple at the Beautiful Gate, this blurred record is now out of print. From a tattered copy, rescued by the merest chance from the rag-pickers, the present account has been drawn, which, with the exception of some expansions, and additions of historic and personal details, and one or two shiftings of scenes, may, perhaps, be not unfitly regarded something in the light of a dilapidated old tomb-stone retouched."
The original, however, is not so rare as Mr. Melville seems to think. At any rate, we have a copy before us, as we write, which is clearly printed and neatly bound, with a coarse wood-cut frontispiece, representing Israel as he trudged about London, with his two children, crying "old chairs to mend." The title-page we copy for the benefit of the reader :-" Life and Adventures of Israel R. Potter, (a native of Cranston, Rhode Island,) who was a soldier in the American Revolution, and took a distinguished part in the battle of -Bunker hill, (in which he received three wounds,) after which he was taken prisoner by the British, conveyed to England, where, for 30 years, he obtained a livelihood for himself and family, by crying 'old chairs to mend' through the streets of London. In May last, by the assistance of the American Consul, he succeeded (in the 79th year of his age) in obtaining a passage to his native country, after an absence of 48 years. Providence Printed by J. Howard, for I. R. Potter, 1824. Price 31 cents."
Mr. Melville departs considerably from his original. He makes Israel born in Berkshire, Mass., and brings him acquainted with Paul Jones, as he was not. How far he is justified in the historical liberties he has taken, would be a curious case of literary casuistry.
-A Long Look Ahead, by A. S. ROE, is a story of rural life, of which the scene is laid in Fairfield county, Connecticut. It is an honest, hearty narrative of the successful struggles of a rather remarkably gifted young man, who, with his brother, begins with a small farm and two hundred dollars in cash, and ends with much more land and much more cash, besides great reputation and influence. As a work of art, the book is not of a high order. The language is very often either too good or too bad for the social standing of the speakers; and the incidents are selected, as if by some
conventional rule, from an assortment of incidents which had been used before. The value of the work is in its detailed, truthful delineations of New England life; which are very creditable to Mr. Roe's observation.
-The History of Connecticut, from the first settlement of the Colony to the adoption of the present Constitution, by G. H. HOLLISTER, is a work to be completed in two volumes, of which the first is just issued. It is handsomely printed, and is enriched with accurately engraved portraits of several of the famous men of Connecticut, Gov. John Winthrop, Rev. John Davenport, Ezra Stiles, General Putnam, Jonathan Edwards, Oliver Wolcott, and others. The work is not only invaluable to every son of Connecticut, but it is the most interesting recent contribution to our history, since all local history is part of the national history. The author says his "main object, in undertaking the work, was to turn the attention of the descendants of the Connecticut emigrants from the present to the glorious past. * Indeed, no state, since the fall of Lacedæmon, has ever, in the history of the world, waged so many wars in the same number of years, with equal success, or voluntarily borne such heavy burdens as Connecticut." And when it is remembered how much of the charm and romance of early New England history, and the fierce Indian wars, had for its scene the placid valley of the Connecticut; that there Putnam was born and lived, and Edwards preached; that it was the land of blue laws, and the most ascetic Puritanism, of the Regicides and the Hartford Convention, and it will be seen at once how important and ample, how various and picturesque the material is, and we could hardly praise the work more than to say, that the material has found a worthy workman, and the historic traditions a shrewd and genial chronicler.
The present volume brings the history down to the capture of Lewisburg, in the old French War. It deals, not only with the political and religious affairs of the Colonists, but presents careful and graphic pictures of old Colonial life and manners, with a penetrating and discriminating analysis of the old Connecticut character. It is a comprehensive and exhaustive survey of Connecticut society, in every aspect, from the settlement of the State. And if
a similar history of every State were prepared, with the same intelligence, appreciation, and ardor, the task of the national historian would become an easy and grateful labor.
The style of the narrative is sometimes quite too ambitious, but the excess is easily to be traced to that enthusiasm of the author for his subject which best fits him to treat it well. He maintains stoutly the side of the Yankees against the Knickerbockers, but, on the whole, he seems to us to do justice to all parties, even if, with national jealousy, he is impatient of our good Diedrich Knickerbocker's estimate of "the losel Yankees."
We shall await with great interest the appearance of the second volume, which will contain, we learn, a careful examination of the connection of General Putnam with the battle of Bunker hill. And we cannot but congratulate our neighbors, that their history of the State has fallen to the pen of a scholar who adds to the accuracy of the chronicler the imagination of the poet.
-BURNHAM Sounds like Barnum, and Mr. Burnham has written a book which reads like the book of Mr. Barnum. In subject, style, and end, they are as like as two peas; i. e., as like as a big pea and a little pea. Mr. Barnum made money by woolly-horses and Fejee mermaids, and Mr. Burnham made money by Shanghai chickens.
Mr. Barnum writes a book about the way in which he did it, and Mr. Burnham writes another book about the way in which he did it. Both practiced a little delusion on the public, and both are proud of it; and both have resolved to let the public know what ninnies they were. The difference is, that Barnum is the more genuine humbug, or the Simon Pure of Humbugs; while Burnham is only an imitator. Barnum has the merit of originality, but Burnham has no merit whatever. He only follows in the footsteps of his illustrious predecessor. He is a pinchbeck copy of a a pinchbeck model. He is the sneaking Jacques Strop striving to put on the large and free manner of Robert Macaire-a miserable long-legged, befeathered, and oppressed-looking Shanghai, decking himself in the gay plumage of the peacock, and chattering like a parrot. He is funny, of course: Barnum was irresistibly funny; and so Burnham must be deadly-lively.
He chuckles over the adroitness with which he allowed the public to deceive itself,-to buy real imported Cochin-Chinas reared at Roxbury, and to pay twenty dollars a dozen for eggs, as if he had endowed the public with the royalest favors. He pretended to sell chickens all the time that he was only selling geese; and his morality is, that if the geese were silly enough to be sold, he might as well have the profits of the bargain as any other rogue. It is pretty certain that the public will be cheated, and it is better for you and I to cheat them, than Tom, Dick, and Harry. We shall cheat them more scientifically than those vulgar knaves, we shall do it with a sly laugh in our sleeve, but they with fear and trembling; we shall make a joke out of it, as well as a living, but they only a living, and that a poor one, ending at SingSing.
Mr. Burnham heads one of the chapters of his book (which is entitled The History of the Hen Fever, as we ought to have said before) with the motto, that "Policy is the best Honesty," and we have no doubt that it is the best he knows. He seems to think that if one can feather his nest, like one of his own Dorkings or Bantams, he has done all. There is no virtue and wisdom beyond that. And yet, let us tell Mr. Burnham, and all who would do like him, that it is not very great, or wise, or noble, or sagacious, or even cunning, to take in a fool. Here is an extract from a letter addressed to him by one of his victims,-a man who paid twenty-six dollars for three fowls:
"i bred them orl by themselves an never had no other cockrill on my plase, an i no yu cheeted me like the devl, an yu no it 2."
Surely, it is not a very difficult or glorious thing to have deluded a fellow such as this letter indicates,-a thing to write a book about, and call upon the world to admire. Some crimes have an air of magnificence about them, but robbing a henroost, or picking the pocket of an idiot, or misleading a very old countrywoman in a very large city, is not of this class.
It is curious in the history of swindles, that the adepts should all aim at Queen Victoria, as if she were the prime hen of all to be plucked. Why is it that they all apply to Buckingham Palace for passports? Barnum paraded Tom Thumb before royalty, and Burnham got a portrait
from the Queen for his fowls; but who will be the next favorite?
It may seem beneath our while to notice such books as this; but such books are getting to be common in our literature, and it is time that they were stopped.
-MRS. HARRIET BEECHER STOWE has just sent forth a Primary Geography, which is spoken of by practical teachers as a very judicious one, clearly arranged, and welladapted to juvenile instruction. It differs in plan from other geographies, inasmuch as it begins with the town in which the learner is supposed to live, teaching him all about the geography of that, and then advancing gradually to the county, the state, the nation, the continent, and finally the world. The old way was to begin with the world, and come down to the town, or, in other words, to descend from generals to particulars. Mrs. Stowe ascends from particulars to generals.
-The New Pastoral, by THOMAS BUCHANAN READ, (Philadelphia: Parry and McMillan) is a poem, in thirty-seven books of blank verse. It treats of the homeliest incidents of Western Pennsylvanian life, of twenty or thirty years ago, in the homeliest manner. The Husking, the Fourth of July, the common-place and the rural charm of the country, all have their praise and their careful description. The poem has the same scope as Goethe's Hermann and Dorothea, and a prolix minuteness like Thomson's Seasons. The happy and unhappy loves of village girls and youths, however, do not afford incident or variety of passion enough for 249 pages. The landscape and festival descriptions do not seem accessory to the human interest of the poem, but they supersede it. The pastoral, as it is the most fascinating, so it is the most difficult style, to treat well. It tends to monotony and dullness, and only a very masterly genius can withstand these tendencies, and by the cunning play of its resources make a graceful and complete poem. Mr. Read's work is, in one sense, complete. It touches, with varying power of description, all the aspects of American rural life. So far, it is curious, and will be always interesting to the historical student. But it nowhere kindles the reader's mind with sympathy, or the exquisite sense of entire mastery. The New Pastoral is tedious, and we doubt if many, who begin with the first page, will persevere, much
less be irresistibly swept on, to the two hundred and forty-ninth. A work of the kind here attempted might well be the work of a life, and would be quite sufficient for a permanent reputation. American rural life offers no less material for the great poet than English, or German, or Italian. But The New Pastoral is not the poem which will be cherished in solitary cottages, and scanned by delighted farmers as the poetic picture of their life. It is written with sincerity and feeling: there are descriptions which have great truth of detail, and the poem has the great merit of a subdued and natural tone. There is no strain after something fine. It is often crude, but rather in thought than in manner. On the whole, we should call it a work by which Mr. Read will maintain, but will hardly enhance, his reputation. In entering the field of descriptive pastoral poetry he finds Bryant, Lowell, and Street before him. But his various works evince a resolution to do something, and to do it well, and we see no reason why Mr. Read should be the least in any field where he chooses to labor.
-SYDNEY SMITH, in his review of Madame D'Epinay's Memoirs, says, "There used to be in Paris, under the ancient régime, a few women of brilliant talents, who violated all the common duties of life, and gave very pleasant little suppers." Of the same class, in London, according to general report, was the late Lady Blessington-and this report was true, So far as the brilliant talents and the little suppers are concerned. A woman of remarkable beauty, of graceful manners, charming conversation, and the kindest heart, her house-which shone with all the splendors of a palace, chastened by the refinements of artistic taste-was the resort of the most distinguished authors and wits of her time. The names of her intimate friends and admirers recall many of the brightest in the politics, the literature, and the arts of the last half century. Among them, for instance, are such as Byron, Landor, Moore, the two D'Israelis, the two Bulwers, the two Smiths (Horace and James), Lord Lyndhurst, the Duke of Wellington, Lord Holland, Henry Erskine, Dr. Parr, Lord John Russell, the Prince Soutro, Hospidar of Moldavia, William Godwin, Fonblanque, Thomas Noon Talfourd, Thos. Campbell, Galt, Reynolds,
Landseer, Maclise, Haydon, Wyatt, Eugene Sue, Casimir Delavign, Alfred de Vigny, Mlle. Rachel, Emile de Girardin, Louis Napoleon, Chorley, Macready, Barry Cornwall, the Mathewses, Milnes, Dickens, Thackeray, Washington Irving, N. P. Willis, etc., etc.; not forgetting Baboo Dwarkanouth Tagorè, the celebrated Hindoo, and America Vespucci. Her saloon, though less powerful in its social influence than that of Madame De Stael, and in some respects less brilliant than those of Madame Geoffrin and Lady Holland, must take its place among the most intellectual known to history. As a reunion of wit and genius, it was deficient only in one direction -the want of women. We do not find there, as in the other assemblages we have named, and in the dazzling salons of Mlle. Contat, Madam Recamier, Lady Charleville, the beauty which is the inspiration of both wit and genius. The Countess of Blessington, with an occasional female friend from the continent, and her nieces, were the sole divinities: but what is society, however brilliant, without the presence of its most enduring and tender charm? The deficiency, however, was one of choice, on the part of the Countess, and not of necessity, as some have alleged, to her disadvantage. Among her correspondents were many distinguished women, such as Mrs. Hall, Mrs. Sigourney, Lady Canterbury, etc.
What a fine life was that of the Countess of Blessington! some will, perhaps, exclaim. Beauty, wealth, fashion, admiration, luxury, fame, genius, travel, art-all were hers! But no, dear reader, it was not a fine life-even if there had been no Death at the feast. Life, to be really fine, must have other objects than these,-higher aims than such successes-and better lights than the flashes of wit. Look behind it, into the naked facts of it, and how much of it is sad and hideous? Lady Blessington, whose maiden name was Power, was the daughter of a rollicking, murderous Irishman, bankrupt in fortune, character, and domestic happiness, who ought to have been hung, but was not. In her fifteenth year she was married, against her will, to a half-crazy Captain, whom she was obliged to desert in a few years, and who subsequently died in a drunken frolic. Her second husband, the Earl of Blessington, though an accomplished man, to whom she