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A word of praise is due to the admirable mechanical execu. tion of the book, the type and paper being unexceptionable, and the pages being very free from those troublesome eye-sores, typographical errors. The work ought to be introduced into every college in the country, as an indispensable aid for the at, tainment of that full and accurate knowledge of the Latin classics, which is the only sound basis of a liberal education. It is one of the long series of text-books given to the public of late years by the professors at Harvard, the excellent qualities of which are now generally acknowledged. We look with confi. dence for still more valuable contributions to the cause of learn. ing and sound s.holarship from the same source.
3. — Letters of Horace Walpole, Earl of Orford, to Sir Horace
Mann, his Britannic Majesty's Resident at the Court of
The writings and character of Horace Walpole have been examined at considerable length in this Journal. The publication of the volumes now before us, from the original manuscripts, completes the series. These volumes form a body of letters, to which it would be difficult to find a parallel in any other literature. They record, in a polished, agreeable, and witty style, the incidents of the passing moment, together with the chitchat and gossip of society, and the keen and satirical observations of the author, who stood by more as a spectator than as an actor in the scenes he describes. The first volume embraces the letters from 1760 to 1776; the second volume extends to 1786, the date given on the title-page being incorrect. Of course, the series covers the most important events in the reign of George the Third ; and it is very curious and interesting to read the commentaries of a man like Walpole on the events which have such important bearings on the history of the United States. Among the most interesting historical passages is, for example, the last administration of the elder Pitt, he having just been elevated to the peerage as the Earl of Chatham. The letters written in 1775 are full of the troubles with America, and the reader cannot fail of being struck with the sagacity of the writer's views, the soundness of his judgment, and the truth of his predictions. The principal events in the course of the war
are also recorded with contemporaneous speculation. It is impossible, however, to specify a tithe of the interesting matters which are treated, especially in the last volume ; and we think, however high an estimate may have been formed of Walpole's admirable powers as a letter-writer, it will be raised by this new series, many of which are of more weighty import than those of the preceding volumes. The publishers have rendered a valuable service by printing them in a uniform shape ; they would have deserved the public thanks still more, had they caused the press to be a little more accurately superintended. Typographical blunders occur quite too often. How absurd the following example of carelessness makes a book appear!
" What a century,” Mr. Walpole is made by the Philadelphia type-setter to exclaim, “What a century, which sees the Jesuits annihilated, and absolute powder relinquished !” (Vol. 1., p. 363.)
4. — Notes on Cuba, containing an Account of its Discovery and
Early History; a Description of the Face of the Country, ils Population, Resources, and Wealth, its Institutions, and the Manners and Customs of its Inhabitants. By a Physician. Boston: James Munroe & Co. 1844. 12mo. pp. 359.
This is an extremely well written little volume, and it contains a very intelligible account of the island of Cuba in all its aspects. It opens with a series of directions to the traveller, of the most useful and practical kind; for example, a list of hotels and boarding houses, with a tariff of prices, an account of the distances and modes of conveyance between various points, and other like particulars, which are so desirable to be known to the visiter, whether his object be health or pleasure. After this, the work properly commences.
The author gives very agreeable descriptions of his voyage, and of his journeys on the island ; he delineates the natural scenery in a manner which proves that he possesses an accurate eye, and a sensibility to the beautiful; and he presents to us lively pictures of the motley population and strangely diversified society of the place. With these particulars, he interweaves brief notices of the scenes in its early history, drawn from the most authentic sources. The botany of the island is not neglected ; and full statistical statements of apparent accuracy and great importance are presented.
The author shows, that he has not risen above his Southern
prejudices in some particulars; and perhaps it was not to be expected that he should have done so. We should, however, have been better pleased to see a writer of his evidently liberal cul. ture avoiding the South Carolina cant of impeaching the recent policy of England, and accusing her of sinister designs upon the welfare of the Southern States ; for this, we do not hesitate to say, is a tone of remark nu less discreditable to the intelligence of him who uses it, than it is gratuitously insulting to a great nation, with whom we are, and ought always to be, on relations of cordial amity.
The style of this book is simple and unpretending, generally accurate, and always vivid and clear. We notice here and there a solecism of expression. On page 74, we find this phrase : “ Some, indeed, was being prepared close by," instead of was preparing; and on the very next page, as the day progressed," instead of advanced.
We copy the following for its literary interest :
“On the San Patricio coffee-estate, by one of the alleys through which I passed, stood a small stone building, smoothly plastered, with a flight of steps leading to its entrance ; but
it was roofless, and shrubs were springing from its floor and portico, while the door and windows had long since been removed. This had once been the study of Maria del Occidente, where she composed that most fanciful of English poems, ' Zophiel'; but deserted and ruinous as it was, in the midst of an unlettered people, it still seemed, from the recollections that hovered about it, like an oasis in the desert.
“ An English critic has expressed his surprise, that such a poem could be composed on a Cuba coffee-plantation. Why! it is by a quadruple alley of palms, cocoas, and oranges, interspersed with the tamarind, the pomegranate, the mango, and the rose-apple, with a background of coffee and plantains covering every portion of the soil with their luxuriant verdure. I have often passed by it in the still hour of night, when the moon was shining brightly, and the leaves of the cocoa and palm threw fringe-like shadows on the walls and floor, and the elfin lamps of the cocullos swept through the windows and door, casting their lurid, mysterious light on every object; while the air was laden with mingled perfume from the coffee and orange, and the tube-rose and night-blooming ceres (?); and I have thought that no fitter birthplace could be found for the images she has created. A cof fee-estate is indeed a perfect garden, surpassing in beauty aught that the bleak cliinate of England can produce.” — p. 139.
And we give the following extract, because it is so honorable to the moral character of the writer :
“With all the corruption of the bench in Cuba, the murderer very seldom escapes from punishment; and so well is justice administered in certain cases, that (that) foul excrescence on civilization, and most deliberate defier of the laws of God, the duellist, receives no mercy, and the crime is now unknown on the island.” — p. 238.
5. – 1. Kate and Lizzie, or Six Months out of School. By
ANNE W. ABBOT, Author of " Willie Rogers," &c. New
York : C. S. Francis & Co. 1845. 2. The Tamed and the Untamed, and other Stories. By
the Author of " Willie Rogers.” Boston : Samuel G. Simpkins. 1845.
Nearly a year ago, we noticed with high praise a story for the amusement of children, from the pen of this graceful and pleasing writer. Though very humble in its pretensions, the scenes and incidents in it were so naturally conceived and described, and the sentiment expressed was so pure and true, being debased neither by cant nor sentimentalism, that it deserved to be drawn out of the heap of trash which is published every year under the much abused title of " Books for Children." The public of little men and women, to whom it was addressed, ap. parently agreed with us in opinion, and they are rewarded this year by the appearance of two or three other stories from the same source. We notice in them the same peculiarities which obtained so much favor for “ Willie Rogers." The characters are sketched with great spirit, and the scenes are so lifelike, or rather so home-like, that the reader almost fancies that they were copied from his own fireside experiences. The shrewdness and humor with which the queer fancies, little failings, and generous impulses of children are represented, preserving the very trick of their manner and talk, are inimitable. They are not portrayed as tame angels, uttering words of inspiration and teaching the wise, after the affected fashion which is now too much in vogue. Neither are they stiff patterns of propriety and all moral and religious excellence, such as some very worthy persons like to draw in stories “ calculated to do good,” and are very much astonished that nobody recognizes the likeness. They are only romping, but good, children, doing mischief half of the time, and gravely fitting themselves for the cares and tasks of manhood or womanhood during the other half. Among the writers of established reputation, only Miss Edgeworth and Miss Mitford appear to have hit upon
and accurately expressed this conception of a child's character.
Of the two books before us, “ Kate and Lizzie” is much the better. Some of the older characters are admirably drawn, and the general views of life and duty which are presented in it, though never obtrusively, nor in a sermonizing strain, are eminently sound and healthful. Miss Marcia is a capital portrait, and one which many persons of excellent intentions, who have a drop or No. 126.
two of acid in their temper and manners, will do well to contemplate. The mode in which this rather sharp and ungracious goodness is rebuked by the spontaneous charity and mildness of the children is a fine lesson, delicately conceived and impressively taught.
We hope the writer of these charming stories will be induced to continue her good work. Considering the interest she is able to create, and the purity of the instruction which she gives, we can hardly conceive of any wider and more effectual means of doing good.
6.- A Discourse of the Baconian Philosophy. By SAMUEL
Tyler, of the Maryland Bar. Frederick City, Md. : 3 Printed by Ezekiel Hughes. 1844, 12mo. pp. 178. . We have read this unpretending little volume - unpretending in every respect, perhaps, except the title — with much pleasure, and with great respect for the learning, sound judgment, and general ability with which the writer has explained and defended important truths. He is an ardent but judicious admirer of the Baconian system, and the views which he expresses of its scope and leading characteristics are sound and discriminating, and cal. culated to place the learner upon the right track. We would mention with particular praise the remarks upon analogy considered as a species of inductive evidence, upon the distinction between logical and rhetorical analogies, and upon natural theology when viewed as a branch of the inductive philosophy. The examination of Lord Brougham's “ Discourse on Natural Theology,” and of Hume's essay on a special Providence and a future state, though not carried far enough to bring out all the difficulties of the subject, is a good specimen of criticism, and shows a clear comprehension of the great questions at issue. These are topics well worth the attention of every reflecting mind, and they are here discussed with remarkable good sense, and an earnestness which manifests the depth of the writer's conviction.
Mr. Tyler writes in an easy and well sustained style, which never sinks into meagreness, nor offends by rhetorical display. His chief fault is diffuseness both of thought and expression ; if his diction was more compact and sinewy, and his ideas pressed into smaller bulk, he might sustain a comparison to advantage with most American writers of the present day. Speculations on such a theme as he has chosen cannot be widely popular; but to the few who take an interest in them we can cordially commend this little volume as containing valuable hints, and food for profitable reflection.