Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

editor himself, are the two Everetts, Henry Wheaton, W. H. Prescott, W. B. O. Peabody and his brother, General Armstrong, Professor Channing, William Ware, and C. F. Hoffman. The literary execution of the several volumes is quite as good as might be expected from such contributors.

In the volume now before us, which is the one last published, we find a life of General Sullivan, by Mr. O. W. B. Peabody; of Jacob Leisler, by Mr. Charles F. Hoffman ; of Nathaniel Bacon, by the Rev. William Ware; and of Major John Mason, by the Rev. George E. Ellis. No separate biography of either of these individuals has ever before appeared in print; and important manuscript materials having been freely used in the preparation of these memoirs, the book has the attraction of novelty, as well as high historic interest, and literary merit. Two of the persons here commemorated, Jacob Leisler and Nathaniel Bacon, were the leaders of the popular party in the two most remarkable contests between the government and the people which took place in the Colonial times, and which in some measure prepared ihe minds of men for the final separation of this country from the English dominions. In the language of their own day, they were rebels, and one of them perished, as such, on the scaffold, while the other was probably rescued from the same ignominious fate only by his sudden death. The general sentiment of posterity has reversed this harsh judgment of their rulers, and now honors them as martyrs to the true patriot cause. can read the brief and simple narrative, here given, of the events in which they were concerned, without acknowledging their claim to be considered among the earliest and most honored defenders of popular rights on this side of the Atlantic.

The life of General Sullivan is a neat and interesting sketch of a man, whose character and services on the field during the Revolutionary contest, and in the civil affairs of his native State after the peace, deserve to be remembered with respect and gratitude. Mr. Ellis has shown the zeal and industry of an antiquarian, as well as the taste of a scholar, in commemorating the exploits of one of those stout old Puritans, ever ready to worship God and to fight the Indians, to whom our fathers were indebted for protection against the numerous perils which surrounded their home in the wilderness.

Few persons

2. — Syntax of the Latin Language, chiefly from the German of

C. G. Zumpt. By Charles Beck, Professor of Latin in
Harvard University. Second Edition. Boston: James
Munroe & Co. 1844. 12mo. pp. 200.

We are very glad to see, that this excellent and philosophical treatise on the syntax of the Latin language has passed to a second edition. As it was not noticed in our pages when first published, we avail ourselves of this late occasion to draw the attention of our readers to it, and to pay a just tribute to its merits. Though modestly stated on the title-page to be taken chiefly from the German of Zumpt, it is so much enlarged and improved, and so admirably adapted to the wants of the English student, that it might well claim to be an original work, - so far, that is, as any complete work on a fixed topic which has been studied for centuries, like the Latin language, can be said to be original. Yet we commend the good taste shown by this modest announcement, which is in striking contrast with the arrogant ignorance of too many pretenders to scholarship in this country, who boldly stand forward as the authors of works on philosophical or classical subjects, which they have filched, either piecemeal or entire, from some European repository of learning.

The high reputation of Dr. Beck has been well earned by the care and precision with which he has finished every work that has appeared under his name. He applies the file to his books with a degree of dexterity and exactness, that might be inferred from the neatness and idiomatic finish of his English style, which preserves not a trace of his German origin and education. This patient and thorough elaboration is very necessary in treating of Latin syntax, as the genius of the language requires sɔ many subtile distinctions to be caught and expressed, and as very slight shades of meaning are indicated by differences of grammatical construction. We would refer the student of this little book to the chapter which treats of the subjunctive mood, for numerous illustrations of this remark. To remove the ambiguity or doubt which might still remain for the younger pupil, each principle is illustrated by a copious selection of examples, the analysis of which will afford a key to every difficulty. The division and arrangement of topics proceed on a simple and clear method, so that, especially with the aid of a very complete index subjoined to the work, one is at no loss to find a rule applicable to every case. The final section, on the use of the particles, embracing a very succinct account of some of the most troublesome peculiarities of the language, appears to us to be admirably executed.

A word of praise is due to the admirable mechanical execution 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 attainment 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
Florence, from 1760 to 1785. Now first published from
the original MSS. Concluding Series. Philadelphia :
Lea & Blanchard. 1844. 2 vols. 8vo.

The writings and character of Horace Walpole have been ex. amined 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 litera. ture. 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, its 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 dislances 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 ihe 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 progress. ed," 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 inost 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 bovered 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 ju beauty aught that the bleak climate 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 seldoi escapes from puvishment; 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.

« AnteriorContinuar »