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their fallacy. In the spirit rather of a good purpose and a cheerful trust, would we greet our read
We desire to preserve those characteristics which have thus far distinguished the Miscellany. The cordial manner in which the literary merit and mechanical beauty of the work, has been recognised throughout the country, justify us in believing that to maintain our place in public estimation, we have but to persevere in the same course, availing ourselves of such improvements as time and occasion afford. We have promises of assistance from many friends, of whose ability to charm and instruct, the public have had ample evidence. In mere names, however, we have but slender faith ; and although the services of many contributors known to fame, have been secured, we consider the nominal reputation of our writers as secondary to the actual excellence of their arti
cles ; and we hope that many papers from anonymous sources, will commend themselves to the intelligent reader, by their intrinsic interest and value. With such views we would bespeak a kindly reception from the readers of the Miscellany, and indulge the hope that we shall prove worthy of their welcome. We would fain make this monthly visiter a cheering guest in many dwellings, to breathe sweet counsel into the weary mind, echo the warm feelings of youth, win the dawning intellect to the love of truth and beauty, enliven the solitary, satisfy, in a measure, the judicious, and last, though not least, lend wings to some hours of the gentle and fair. To do this we must be met in a genial mood, and with something of that friendly confidence with which we tender all our well-wishers the greetings of the season.
a splendid volume entitled " The Hesperian.” It will contain ten long American Poems, beautifully illustrated from original designs. All lovers of native literature will rejoice to learn that R. H. Dana is making arrangements to bring out a new and more complete edition of his writings.
Many interesting works are in preparation or have recently appeared. Among the latter none will be received with more lively interest by general readers, than the additional Travels of Mr. Stephens in Central America. The interest which his former books and the reports of other visiters have excited in that comparatively unknown portion of the world, will cause his new work to be sought for with avidity. Cooper has successfully resumed the original scene of his triumphs — the sea, in his new novel of “ Wing and Wing.” Those subscribers to " Arcturus," whose names were transferred to our list when that magazine ceased, will remember “ The Career of Puffer Hopkins,” by Cornelius Matthews, which appeared in its successive numbers. The work has been completed and published in a handsome volume, by D. Appleton & Co., with illustrations by H, K. Browne (Phiz.) We regret that want of space will oblige us to defer a notice of George Lunt's "Age of Gold and other Poems,” just issued in elegant style by W. D. Tick
Park Benjamin's poem delivered before the Mercantile Library Association, has appeared in a neat pamphlet. It is very creditable on account of its simple diction, and many passages of felicitous satire. We are happy to learn to that W. D. Ticknor of Boston, is about to issue a volume of poems by Albert Pike. Few American bards have manifested more of the true poetic fire than this writer. Some of the imagery in his “ Hymns to the Gods," originally published in Willis's Magazine, is worthy of Keats. Longfellow's new poems will meet with a wide and cordial greeting. John Keese, the editor of the “ Poets of America,” has in press
THE UNITED STATES ALMANAC; or Complete
Ephemeris, for the year 1843. Philadelphia : Published by E. H. Butler.
This work is the most useful annual of the scason, and we hope its success will amply repay the publisher's enterprise. The Astronomical department appears to have been arranged with great skill and attention. The editor of the volume is John Downes, late of the North Eastern Boundary Survey; but, if we do not err in our surmise, there are traces in the scientific calculations, of the valuable assistance of one of the best practical astronomers in the country, whose attainments, however, are better appreciated abroad than at home. Every engineer in America should possess a copy of the United States Almanac, as it contains numerous tables admirably adapted to the wants of that important profession. The statistics, particularly those relating to the Population, Public Debts and Internal Resources of the several states, are very complete and authentic. Altogether, this Almanac is one of the most valuable compends we have
spared, when he will regret the publication of this volume, notwithstanding the conviction expressed in the preface. Books of this character we can never encounter without pain, because they indicate so much that is good in motive and feeling, with so little that is effective in expression. We doubt not that the author of this volume is a very estimable character, and worthy of the esteem of those “personal friends” to whom his poems are dedicated; yet we cannot but feel that the latter did him a wrong, when they failed to point out the impolicy and bad taste of giving to the public, effusions so crude and imitative.
AMERICAN Notes FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION,
By Charles Dickens.
It is singular to observe the universal anxiety still felt throughout this vast country, when a work appears from a foreign source, devoted to American manners and institutions. Few seem to reflect that the actual value of such works depends upon the peculiar fitness of the individual for the task he assumes. Perhaps the rarest combination of talent is that which enables a man to pass good judgment upon the thousand agencies and facts which go to form the character of a country. Writers of every degree of calibre bave taken upon themselves to discuss the United States, as if it were a subject as easily treated as a question of the passing moment Meantime native writers, whose experience and patriotism qualify them to speak with authority, are almost wholly unregarded. We make these remarks with no view of disparaging Dickens's Notes, but merely to indicate their appropriate rank. As a pleasant, graphic picture of a very rapid tour, the book is very agreeable and written with much liveliness. Several passages, such as the description of the Eastern Penitentiary, the voyage out, etc., remind us, by their vividness and truth to nature, of some of the best parts of his earlier works. The true spirit of humanity, which is the most endearing of this author's traits, is also delightfully evident in these pages. We heartily cominend the good taste which induced him so scrupulously to avoid personalities. His visit was too brief to allow of much exactitude of detail, and we think the artist predominates so much over the philosopher in his mind, that it would bave been absurd 10 expect comprehensive views of the great questions which the destinies of this land are every day illustrating. Instead of original reasoning and novel principles like those of De Tocqueville, we find in the “ Notes " an entertaining picture of things as they are, drawn hy a genial hand and in a frank and pleasant style. Thus much had we written, when a letter from a friend in the interior was received, containing a somewhat different, but very discriminating view of the subject, and we cannot better conclude our notice, than by adopting his language:
" You ask me what I think of Dickens's Notes. The book, like everything he writes, is clever — exceedingly clever. I think, too, that it is written in a fair spirit ; that is, that he meant to be and candid, but it shows a narrowness of mind altogether unworthy of the genius of the author. Boz, you know, has ever been a favorite of mine, and I grieve, therefore, to discover that his chief mental characteristic is rather keenness than scope of observation.
discover, for until he wrote this book, and attempted to handle themes to which I had always believed him fully equal, I never dreamed of his total deficiency in that liberality of feeling which, as it characterizes every well-educated gentleinan, I always wish to believe is born with nature's noblemen — the man of genius — from whatsoever rank he may have sprung: But when do I find this rank savor of vulgarity ? I'll tell you, my friend. I apply the same test to this cleverest of British travellers, that we country people do to your Broadway flashers, who sometimes come among us to astonish the natives. He shows his cockney breeding in his impatience of difficulties, which would amuse a born gentleman. I would venture a small wager that Lord Morpeth would not remember the canal boat and hard" staging which so perceptibly affected Mr. Dickens's views of this country. He, Dickens, went into the steamer, expecting the comforts and steadiness of London. He stayed at Boston, was well fed and bedded, and was pleased with all he saw. He travelled again, and all was bad, and his ill-humor grew with his journey. It has been evidently his first journey, and his pains and perils are very amusing, and the dangers he describes are not magnified beyond what his fears made them at the time. I trust bis strictures may reform the press, but I fear we will not be able to cut down ihe trees without leaving stumps, or to filter the Mississippi for a year or two."
“ He traversed a country ten times more extensive than all Great Britain ; a country which, within his own lifetime, has been the abode of the savage ! and he found cities, and steamboats, and stage-coaches. He wonders that they do not equal those of England ; yet there is no portion of this country between the Mississippi and the Atlantic, which is not safer to travel, and has not better roads, than England had one hundred years ago, when she was more than fourteen times as old! There is no part of the world where a man can go the same distance in any one direction, with the same speed, and comfort, and convenience that he can in this ; and if Mr. Dickens would start from the coast of France, and travel twelve hundred miles in any one direction, he would find it to be the case, and excepting England and France, there is no country where he would not find worse accommodations."
“Fifty years ago we had a population of some three millions, and our western limits were then what is now considered our sea-board ; yet the traveller sees large cities where the stumps of the priinitive forest have not had time to rot, and marvels not that the cities but the stumps are there! He sails down rivers which, within his own recollection, have been only navigated by the bark canoe of the Indian, and wonders ibat the boats do not surpass those of his own more wealthy country. He travels in stage coaches, where twenty years since he could not have gone on foot and kept his scalp, and is astonished at the bad taverns and worse roads, and rougher population. What ages have hardly effected at home, he expects to find more pertect here, and that like Minerva, we had sprung full grown from our parent country.”
“ All this part of the book is exaggerated and overdrawn."
“ His accounts of our bridges and improve
ments are singularly incorrect. Mr. Stevenson, an English engineer of some celebrity, travelled the same route as Mr. Dickens did, and speaks of our wooden bridges in quite a different tone. There is not a wooden bridge in Europe which will compare with the one at Columbia ; and Mr. Stevenson says, that excepting the slide at Aushach, the Portage railroad is the boldest work in the world.”
est. The descriptions are detailed and clear, bearing every indication of authenticity. The book is a handsome specimen of printing and contains various excellent illustrations. All who are at all curious in the subject of American antiquities, or lake delight in the company of a pleasant and intelligent traveller, should not fail to possess themselves of these “Rambles in Yucatan."
The Western CAPTIVE, or The Times of Tecum
seh. A Tale by Mrs. Seba Smith. New York: J. Winchester.
The accomplished authoress of this story has won the favorable regards of all lovers of sweet fancy and pure sentiment, by her “Sinless Child,” an elaborate poem which appeared, a few months since, in a southem periodical. In her present work, we find more to admire in the occasional revelations of sentiment, and descriptions of scenery, than in the plot or characters of the tale. There are several passages of beautiful composition; and the grace and ideal spirit of a poetess is continually displayed. We trust the success of this production will encourage Mrs. Smith to attempt a higher range of prose, in which her eminent success may be confidently predicted.
THULIA: A Tale of the Antarctic, by J. C. Palmer,
U. S. N. New York: Samuel Colman.
A good idea and a pleasant -- that of thus constructing a tasteful memorial of some incidents of the Exploring Expedition. The loss of the Peacock consigned to oblivion many valuable records relating to this important voyage. Dr. Palmer has woven some agreeable rhymes descriptive of a few of the vicissitudes and feelings experienced in these far-distant seas; and calling to his aid that most elegant of publishers, Mr. Samuel Colman, they have, by the belp of A. T. Agate, one of the artists of the Expedition, furnished the public with a beautiful ornament for the centre-lable and boudoir, and one, we should think every officer of the navy would delight to present to some fair friend. We have seen no wood cuts in this country, comparable with those which illustrate this volume, either for chaste design or finished execution.
THE CONDITION AND FATE OF ENGLAND. By
the author of The Glory and Shame of England. New York: J. & H. G. Langley.
The publishers of this work have set an example of typographical neatness and convenient form in the various important books they have issued, which we should like to see more generally followed south of New England. The value of Mr. Lester's new volumes consists almost wholly in the facts, politi. cal, social and moral, which he has collected and arranged. The political economist will examine these statistics with interest ; and the impartial reader must acknowledge that many of the positions assumed in the "Glory and Shame of England” are amply sustained in the present work. Mr. Lester proves the existence of terrible abuses, outraged rights and heart-rending misery. We cannot however sympathize in the tone of asperity and evident pride of argument, which seem to have provoked him to the task thus, in many respects, successfully accomplished. While we are often obliged to say "'t is true,” we also feel deeply that “pity 't is, 't is true.” We wish the author had exhibited the “silver lining” to the cloud. We believe that in the fate of nations as well as individuals, there is a divine principle of compensation. There is, for instance, infinitely less slavery to public opinion in the duchy of Florence, under the absolute government of an Austrian prince, than in the republican city of Boston. But in the former, popular education and equal rights are unknown. In discussing the existent evils that threaten the British isle, we would that Mr. Lester had glanced at some of those redeeming associations which brighten her destiny. While we commend this work for the information it contains and the occasional vivacity with which it is written, we must pronounce it a melancholy compend of painful truths. If their announcement, in this shape, has the least influence in bastening the epoch of social reform and benevolent effort, the author will have better reason to congratulate himself than is often the case in the annals of controversy.
RAMBLES IN YUCATAN: including a risit to the
remarkable ruins of Chi-Chen, Kabah, Zayi, and Urmal. By B. M. Norman. New York: J. and H. G. Langley.
This is valuable addition to the records of American Travel. It refers to a country but partially known, and yet at present exciting much inter
Articles from Mrs. Sigourney, Rufus Dawes, T. S. Arthur, and others, are unavoidably postponed, as well as various literary notices. We crave the indulgence of those contributors whose favors were received too late for insertion in the present number. The author of "Winter Evening Chronicles" will please send to the office for a reply to his communication.