« PreviousContinue »
is a connection of Dr. John Johnson, and had the exclusive privilege of publishing unmutilated the Private Correspondence edited by that gentleman. On the other hand, Dr. Southey has collected from many sources a variety of new documents and traditionary information. Dr. Southey's Life of Cowper, which occupies the first two volumes and nearly the whole of the third, we have just read. With many excellencies it has one striking defect. The biographer indulges in long digressions on the characters of Lloyd, Thornton, Colman, Churchill, and others, with whom Cowper had but an extremely slight connection. There are, also, other wearisome and altogether unnecessary interruptions. 'Such men as Colman had no communion of soul with Cowper. Then why burden his narrative with their story?
The engravings, pictures of scenery, etc. which are numerous, are generally done with that skill and taste for which the London artists are so renowned. Mr. Grimshawe's edition is also enriched with superb engravings. The picture of Cowper's mother, in this edition, is almost worth the entire cost of the set. The great controversy respecting the causes of Cowper's derangement seems as far from being settled as ever. One class of biogra. phers and critics throw their arrows at old Mr. Newton and through him at the “ evangelical school ;" while their opponents seek to vindicate Newton and his religion from having any thing to do with the madness in question. In our opinion religion is wholly guiltless, and Mr. Newton nearly so. Taking the evidence of some of the letters which passed between Newton and Cowper, we cannot but feel that the venerable pastor was not always judicious. His influence on the delicate sensibilities of the poet was generally soothing and salutary; but sometimes he required too much of the shrinking feelings of his companion.
In his preface to the fifteenth volume, Dr. Southey informs us that he is preparing to bring out three supplementary volumes, (which will be sold separately), to contain the memoirs and correspondence of Cowper's principal friends and relations, such as Lady Hesketh, Lady Austin, the Unwins, etc.
11.- Academical Lectures on the Jewish Scriptures and Antiquities.
By John Gorham Palfrey D. D. Professor of Biblical Lite. rature in the University of Cambridge. Vol. I. The four last Books of the Pentateuch. Boston: James Munroe & Co.
1838. 8vo. pp. 511. We have read but a small part of these Lectures. Our principal object in this notice is to mention some of the subjects discussed, The first lecture considers the antiquity and history of the Hebrew language. Some remarks are also made on grammars and lexicons and on the cognate dialects. In the second lecture the author comes to the conclusion that the several books of the Old Testament, like
those of the New, are to be judged on their several and independent grounds of evidence; and that the mere circumstance of being ex. cluded from the canon, and stigmatized by the title of Apocryphal, should not prevent other books from having their claims considered. The third lecture is employed on the history of the text of the O. T., the Samaritan Pentateuch, the Alexandrine version, etc. The authenticity of the books of Moses is discussed in the fourth. It is remarked, that the external evidence, though not to be so confidently urged as it has sometimes been, is in favor of the commonly received opinion, while the internal favorable evidence is of a very weighty kind and of a large amount. The purpose of the Mosaic revelation is considered in the following lecture; various arguments, objections, and difficulties are discussed. The subject of the sixth lecture is the miracles of Moses performed in Egypt, and the exodus of the people from that country. In the seventh lecture various topics come under review. The manna and the quails are both alike considered as natural productions. The miracle consisted in the seasonable provision of such quantities of them on this occasion. The constitution of the Hebrew State, the Jewish magistracy in Egypt and in the wilderness, and the giving of the law at Sinai, are next remarked upon. In the ninth lecture we have a discussion on the Sabbath. Dr. Palfrey remarks, that the manner of its celebration was simply cessation from labor. He supposes that the Sabbath was a Jewish institution merely. In relation to the text which occurs at the beginning of Genesis, he remarks: “When we have advanced to the reading of that book, I shall be better understood when I say, that, supposing the latter half of the second verse, and the third verse, to be genuine, it is by no means clear that any institution whatever was here intended to be spoken of by the writer.” The passage in Exod. 20:11, “ For in six days the Lord made” etc. and ihe parallel passage in Deuteronomy, are not thought by Dr. Palfrey to be genuine. “ His chief reason for this persuasion is, that, supposing the genuineness of either, it presents a fragment, differing in its tone and structure from all the rest of the Decalogue, since the Decalogue, in every other case, studying the utmost brevity,* deals only in laws and their sanctions, without exhibiting the reasons on which they were founded ; a topic which seems foreign to its purpose.” The tenth lecture is on the priesthood, tabernacle, and some events which occurred at Mount Sinai, subsequently to the giving of the law. The three following lectures are on Leviticus, the laws, customs, usages, and events recorded in that book. In the remaining seven lectures, the Mosaic history is pursued, through the books of Numbers and Deuteronomy.
- One who has seen reason,"
This does not appear to be correct in regard to the second and the fifth commandments. In the latter we have the reason of the command given in the form of a promise : " That thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee."
remarks the author, “ to conclude that the preceding books were the work of Moses, will scarcely hesitate to refer this, [Deuteronomy] with an equal degree of confidence, to the same origin." former books are characterized by the comparatively dry manner of an annalist, Deuteronomy by the more full and earnest style of oral discourse.” Our limits compel us to stop with this hasty glance at some of the topics handled in these Lectures. In respect to a part of the discussions, it would not be altogether fair to pronounce an opinion till the remaining volumes have appeared.
12.- Report of Elementary Public Instruction in Europe, made to
the thirty-sixth General Assembly of the State of Ohio, Dec. 19, 1837. By C. E. Stowe. Columbus : 1837. pp.
57. This Report was made in compliance with a resolve of the legislature of Ohio, requesting professor Stowe to collect, during the progress of his contemplated tour in Europe, such facts and information as he might deem useful to the State, in relation to the various systems of public instruction and education which have been adopted in the several countries through which he might pass. We are glad to see the spirit which is manifested by the legislature of Ohio in relation to this excellent Report. A large number of copies were published and distributed, and five hundred dollars given to the author for his pains. We learn that the Report has been, or is about to be, published by the legislature of Pennsylvania. As large extracts, or the entire document, have been published in many of our newspapers, it is not necessary for us, if it were practicable, to copy from it in this place. After some animated introductory observations, Prof. Stowe gives an account of elementary education in Russia. He then proceeds to full details of the Prussian system, under the heads of internal arrangements, institutions for reformation, course of instruction in the common schools, religious instruction and character of the system. Under the last head, he shows that it has great completeness, developes every faculty of the mind, is of an entirely practical character, and has a striking moral and religious bearing. In order to introduce this system into our country, as it may be done, and ought to be done substantially, teachers must be skilful and must be trained to their business; there must be institutions in which teaching is made a systematic object of attention; teachers must be competently supported and devoted to their business ; the children must be made comfortable in their school; they must be punctual, and attend the whole course ; they must be given up implicitly to the discipline of the school; and a beginning must be made at certain points, and the advance towards completeness must be gradual.
13.-History of the Reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, the Catholic.
By William H. Prescott. In 3 vols. Boston: American
Stationers' Company, 1838. Mr. Prescott is a lawyer of Boston, a graduate of Harvard, 1814, and a son, we believe, of Judge Prescott of Groton. We have heretofore seen nothing
from his pen except a Memoir of Charles Brockden Brown in Mr. Sparks's Biography. The History of Ferdinand and Isabella, by the unanimous suffrage of readers of all classes, is destined to reach a very high rank in English literature.
It was commenced and prosecuted under extraordinary circumstances. Soon after the author's arrangements were made, early in 1826, for obtaining the necessary materials from Madrid, he was deprived of the use of his eyes for all purposes of reading and writing, and had no prospect of again recovering it. He then made the ear do the work of the eye. With the assistance of a reader uninitiated in any language but his own, he worked his way through several venerable Castalian quartos. He then procured the services of one more competent to aid him in pursuing his historical inquiries. The process was slow and irksome to both parties, till the ear was accommodated to foreign sounds and an antiquated and barbarous phrase. ology. After persevering in this course for some years, his eyes, by the blessing of Providence, recovered sufficient strength to allow him to use them with tolerable freedom, in the prosecution of his labors, and in the revision of all previously written. Mr. Prescott's labors to dig up the original sources, and to explore paths where no Spaniard's foot had trod, are worthy of all praise and of all imitation. He had free access to the Ebeling and Warden collections in the Harvard College library, and the very valuable private library of Mr. George Ticknor, collected by the owner during a long residence in Spain and other parts of Europe. Mr. Rich of London, a learned antiquary, rendered Mr. Prescott much assistance. Mr. A. H. Everett, American minister in Spain, and his secretary of legation, interested themselves to procure what might have been difficult of access without such official aids. Mr. P. thus obtained some works not found in the general libraries, and many of which are not cited by any European writer, at least out of Spain. He secured, for instance, a complete collection of all the laws, ordinances, and pragmáticas, published during the reign of Ferdinand. In addition, a number of unpublished MSS. of that age, invaluable for illustration, and probably little known even to Castalian scholars, were procured.
Investigations so patient, industry so iron-like, and, we may add, morality so commendable and so uncommon in going to the foun. tain-heads, will have their reward. The labor will be appreciated throughout the civilized world. Thanks will flow in to the author from proud and jealous Europe. For us, Americans, the work will have special claims. Isabella has been justly termed the mother of America. Her reign is inseparably connected with the fortunes of this new world. Those interested in the Catholic question, as many are in this country, will find in these volumes much food for contemplation. They contain the best account of the Inquisition which has appeared, derived mainly from the voluminous disclosures of Llorente.
14.-Antiquitates Americanae, sive Scriptores Septentrionales Rerum
Ante-Columbianarum, in America. Samling af de i Nordens Oldskrifter in deholdte efterretninger om de gamle Nordboers opdagelsereiser til America, fra dei 10de til det 14de Aarhundrede. Edidit Societas Regia Antiquariorum Septentriona
lium. Hafniae, 1837. 4to. pp. 479. This great work, a solitary copy only of which we have seen, was edited by Prof. C. C. Rafn of Copenhagen, and is brought out under the patronage of the Royal Society of Danish Antiquaries. It gives extracts from eighteen ancient authors principally Icelandic; several containing detailed accounts of the discovery, and all of them allusions to it. About one half of the volume consists of two narratives. The first may be called the History of Eric, the first settler of Greenland, and the second, which is the longer performance, is the History of Thorfinn the Hopeful, who conducted the most important expedition to Vinland or Wineland, a name given to the country discovered, from the abundance of grapes found by the adventurers. Appended to these extracts and documents, is an account of certain monuments of the ancient occupation of Greenland by the Scandinavians. There seems, on the whole, to be good reason for believe ing that these reports of the discoveries of the Northmen are founded on fact, and that the American continent was visited by them in the
15.-Specimens of Foreign Standard Literature. Ediled by George
Ripley. Vols. I. and II., containing Philosophical Miscellanies, from the French of Cousin, Jouffroy, and Benjamin Con
stant. Boston: Hilliard, Gray & Co. 1838. pp. 383, 376. The publication, of which these two volumes form the commencement, has special reference to the three leading divisions of Philosophy, History and Theology ; though its plan includes writings of a popular character, selected from the most finished specimens of elegant literature, and adapted to interest the great mass of intelligent readers. The following works will compose a part of the series : Menzel's History of German Literature ; Goethe's Life, his Correspondence with Schiller, Zelter, etc., and his Conversations with Eckermann; Benjamin Constant on Religion, and on Roman Polythe. ism ; De Wette's Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion ; Select Minor Poems of Goethe and Schiller ; Guizot's History of Civiliza