Imágenes de páginas

the monstrous sum of twelve hundred billions of dollars, -an amount which all the great capitals of Europe could not have supplied, under fictitious names, which made the insult more galling.

The Consul, though delighted with the hospitality of the natives, was exceedingly annoyed by the ever-present spies. The servants furnished him by the Governor reported daily every incident in Mr. Hodgson's family; how many cigars he smoked; how often he coughed; and what he paid for eggs; besides levying black-mail on every vegetable he purchased.

The universal licentiousness, the established disregard of the marriage tie, and the general degradation of woman, present as dark a picture as can be imagined,


[ocr errors]


On the very eve of our January issue, the "Record of an Obscure Man," which we briefly noticed in it, was followed by the promised drama.* The best exposition of its plan and aim is contained in that brief and touching introductory volume. The Tragedy itself, from the single reading we have given it, seems to us a very rich and noble contribution to our literature. The story is very simple; and is unfolded, not by the development of any intricate plot, but by the natural enough sequence of events in a single plantation holiday; and from scenes of calmest moral beauty, it culminates in the deepest passion and the purest moral heroism. A single element of mystery remains, which waits the promised Second Part for its solution. Except for this, the course of incident is natural and clear; and what is painfullest in it is fairly matched in painfulness by a single incident (out of many such) that has just come to our own hearing as fact. Slavery hides many such a tragedy of errors." The easy and simple form of this dramatic tale beguiles the author into rather a lingering and diffuse style of treatment. But, with very rare exceptions, the poetry reads admirably as poetry; and the story gains in naturalness and ease what it loses in condensed vigor. The most hazardous point in such a representation the negro character and dialect is evaded by a frank and noble idealizing. There is nothing in the persons or situations · hardly anything in the style of thought exhibited - but what may be fairly enough justified. The slave-mother's lament, and the address and hymn in solemn remembrance of the dying master, are full of as touching and noble pathos as anything we know. That they are also exquisite poetry, after an English rather than an African type, is not a fault, but a quality of the drama. It is better to succeed so, than to fail in attempting the "Uncle Tom" style of portraiture. The author has preferred to present what is genuinely human and poetic in the subject of her tale, in the forms that appeal most simply and familiarly to us; and what is lost in lifelikeness is more than made up in the profounder lessons of moral sympathy taught through so finely imaginative

a medium.

* Tragedy of Errors. Boston: Ticknor and Fields.

THE brilliant pictures of "The English and India," the former work of M. de Valbezen, have a worthy afterpiece in the stories and sketches of the new yellow-covered volume which has lately appeared from the press of Michel Lévy. La Malle de l'Inde* contains four tales, told in epistolary style, in letters from India to Paris, with four "crayon" sketches, of Damascus, Easter in Jerusalem, a Camp of the Anésis, and the Caravan of Mecca Pilgrims. Vividness of description, quaintness of expression, the liveliest humor, and the most amiable sarcasm are the characteristics of the whole volume, which whoso takes up will not leave until it is finished. To each of the stories there is a plot, but only plot enough to keep curiosity alive, not enough to divert attention from the views of scenery and of social life in India, to exhibit which is the purpose of the book. The scene of the first story is laid in the Himalayas, in the north of the Peninsula; the scene of the second, in the Neilgherries, in the south; the scene of the third, in the central region, at the outbreak of the massacre; and of the fourth, in the island of Java. Englishmen, Frenchmen, Dutchmen, Italians, Greeks, Turks, Arabs, Hindoos, Malays, Chinese, Africans, are all introduced, and each wears the mark of his peculiar nationality. The crayon sketches are inimitable; and there are some features in the picture of the Mecca Caravan which we do not remember to have met in any previous description. M. de Valbezen is one of those accurate observers who lose sight of nothing, and one of those light-hearted optimists who take life easily, enjoy all its good things, and have their laugh on all occasions. It may perhaps occur to a reader, that the style of the letters which tell the sad "episode of a pleasure journey" is too playful for such tragic narrative; but even here it is evident that the writer has tried his best to be serious, and to announce pillage and massacre with suitable gravity. In one point he is wholly sceptical, the worth of conversions from the religion of Buddha to the religion of Christ. He pronounces the Christian Hindoos to be worse than the Pagan, retaining all their old vices, while they lose their former virtues. The scoundrel and hypocrite of the book is "Ezekiel; age unknown, — a Christianized Hindoo, cultivates with the greatest success, under pretext of baptism, the seven capital sins, drunkenness included."

THE readers of "Cecil Dreeme" may have been prepared for the vigor and power shown in its successor; † but they must, we think, have felt fresh delight and surprise at the stirring out-door life, the swift, clear epical movement, the magnificent range of scenery, the eye as quick and keen to see external facts as moral traits, so characteristic of " John Brent." The book needs no criticism, and no recommendation of ours; only the recognition which is due to the genius of its greatly lamented author, and the record of its appearing in the literary calendar of the new year.

La Malle de l'Inde. Nouvelles, par E. DE VALBEZEN. Paris: Michel Lévy Frères. 1861. 18mo jesus. pp. 333.

† John Brent. By THEODORE WINTHROP. Boston: Ticknor and Fields.

THE very best manual of public speaking which we have seen whether we consider the sagacity of thought, the point of the style, the moral sincerity and candor, or the brevity and directness of the counsel, is Mr. Holyoake's little volume, whose title we give below.* Popular debate is a very earnest and a very formidable business among the humbler classes of intelligent Englishmen, for whom he especially writes. Fas est et ab hoste doceri; and in seeking to give to preachers and teachers of the Divine Word the benefit of such skill as their antagonists have developed, the American editor has done well to adopt this manual. The notes, and the Essay on the British Pulpit, add little to its value.

We have received a thin, handsome volume, on the great old problem, to reconcile Science and Faith.† The author, who writes with considerable ability, and strong conviction, attempts no new metaphysical solution. His argument is, that the two should respect each the other's boundaries; and that a practical solution is found in so adjusting the course of college instruction as to do full justice to both, the results of induction being our authority for the one, and the truths of revelation for the other. The formula is not precisely novel, but it is put with earnestness, and with the strong belief that America is the true field for reconciling the old-world controversies. The best part of the book is the clear and excellent analysis of the tendencies, or parties, that make the existing discords of human belief. The sketch of a proposed course of instruction for the young depends for its realizing, of course, on the degree to which the instructors are already imbued with the method. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? As a book of hints and suggestions, both teachers and thinkers will find it of service. them we cordially commend it.


WHEN one hears the trash that is sung in our country churches nowa-days, it is hard to feel grateful to the pioneers who gave so great an impulse to church music twenty years ago. They brought many really good tunes into use, and some good ones have become familiar since; but there was better psalmody on the whole when honest old "Handel and Haydn" held sway, than now. And the degeneracy in the music has spoiled our choirs. Time was when every country town had its choir, which enjoyed the solid anthems of the Academy, and the rich, sweet music of the Ancient Lyre, and which was not even staggered by a chorus from the Messiah or the Creation. Now, nothing but what is easy and sentimentally pretty will suit. Voices are not trained to the higher notes, ears are not trained to grand chords, and at a change of key, or an unusual interval of notes, the singers are bewildered and discouraged. And there are plenty of so-called musicians to pander to this feebleness, and year after year the market is flooded

*Rudiments of Public Speaking and Debate; or, Hints on the Application of Logic. By G. J. HOLYOAKE. New York: Carlton and Porter.

† Philosophia Ultima. CHARLES WOODRUFF SHIELDS. Philadelphia: Lippincott.

with strange names of books, and stranger names of tunes, until it would seem that ingenuity in nomenclature must be exhausted, and the washy stream stop flowing from its own weakness. One would really despair, were it not for a comforting fact now and then; as, for instance, that it has been thought worth while lately to republish so rich a treasure-house of music as Zeuner's American Harp; that the Ancient Lyre, the best single collection within our knowledge, has a steady and constantly increasing sale; and that, occasionally, a new book is published, as excellent as that which the accomplished Treasurer of the Commonwealth has devoted his leisure hours to preparing.* It is largely made up of new music, and much of the old that is inserted has been forgotten in our generation. Among the old tunes are General Oliver's own productions, some of the best of Zeuner's, and a fine selection of those grand English tunes which ought to form a large part of the repertory of every choir. We should add also the German and English anthems, which may be old, but which are new to us. Arrangements from the great masters we are glad to see comparatively few of. We have no fancy for "Batti, batti," under the name of Smyrna, the Austrian National Hymn under that of Westborough, or the Prayer in Der Freyschütz under that of Betah. Of the new tunes there are many excellent ones by the compiler himself, e. g. Melrose and Algernon. Some, however, seem rather labored and artificial, and none are to our thinking so good as the old favorites, Federal Street and Walnut Grove. Perhaps the best things in the book are tunes by some of our well-known musicians, of which we would especially mention Faith and Aspiration, by S. P. Tuckerman, Newstead and Chelsea, by J. F. Tuckerman, and Gloucester, by Edward Hodges, admirable specimens of very different styles. We are glad to observe that the stanzas of hymns given here are free from dogmatic and sectarian phrases, — which in some collections have been unpleasantly prominent. The book, by the way, is all music, with no "Accidence" or "Elements" for vocal drill.

THE plan of an annual survey, which should arrange, digest, and fuse into a symmetric form the best literary productions of the year, giving the substance of theology, philosophy, history, and literature, as they have been brought out in the year's publications, commends itself to the reason of all thinking men. The difficulty is only in its impartial and judicious execution. In so large a survey, much must be omitted. What shall be the standard of insertion or omission? If dogmatic prejudice rules, the most valuable works may be excluded. If literary friendships are allowed to have influence, works may be admitted which severe justice would reject. Clearly, no single editor is competent to the task and in the number of editors which so various a task would seem to require, there is great risk of inequality in the parts, and of

* Oliver's Collection of Hymn and Psalm Tunes, Sentences, Anthems, and Chants; a National Lyre, for Use in the Church, Family, or Singing-School. By H. K. OLIVER. Boston: Oliver Ditson and Company. pp. 320.

want of harmony. If all the editors are of the same school, the work will be one-sided and not trustworthy. If they are of different schools, it is likely to be vague, weak, and hesitating in its criticism, bearing throughout the tone of caution and compromise. It would seem almost impossible to make such an annual "Tableau " a frank, full, and impartial condensation of all the new and permanently valuable thought of the year.

We cannot say that the company of Catholic priests and professors who have aided the Dr. Duillé de Saint Projet in describing and reviewing the literary and theological productions of the year 1860,* have succeeded in giving a complete, an impartial, or a satisfactory survey. We could not expect this, where the design is so avowedly to criticise everything from the Romanist stand-point, and to point out its relation to Catholic doctrine and to Catholic ideas. These gentlemen not only confess their dogmatic purpose, but they defend it and they rejoice in it. The main object of their joint labor is to refute heresy and to oppose dangerous error. They write as watchmen of the faith, whose duty it is to give the alarm and to show the danger. Their selection of books to be noticed is made wholly with a view to exalt that which is Catholic, and to degrade that which has any other interest. Although less than half the volume is appropriated specially to "Theology," the whole volume is sacred to Catholic orthodoxy, which rules the notice of science, of history, of novels, of journalism, and of the fine arts, as much as of religious criticism and controversy. No one of the painters in this large "Tableau" forgets that he is a pledged servant of the Holy Mother Church.

Allowance made for this open and dominant dogmatic prejudice, the plan which these priests propose is well carried out. They have given us an interesting book, always good and clear, and often eloquent, in style, ingenious in reasoning, well proportioned in its parts, and just in many of its criticisms. After an Introduction of fourteen pages, in which the design and plan of the work are explained, it proceeds to treat in order, under the head of " Religion," 1. The Catholic Movements of 1860, principally those which relate to the Papal sovereignty, noticing here all the most important books and pamphlets, and the great Cyclopædia of Catholic Theology, translated by Goschler from the German of Drs. Wetzer and Welte; 2. Apologetic labors, with notice of the works of Deschamps and Freppel; 3. Polemics, with notice of the works of the Prince Albert de Broglie, of the various answers to M. Renan, and of the famous "Conferences de Notre Dame "; 4. The Worship of Mary, with especial praise of the work, "The Virgin Mary alive in the Church," by Auguste Nicolas (a very different writer from Michel Nicolas, who is to these Catholics only a blasphemer); 5. "Piety," or Practical Religion, with obituary notices of eminent deceased preachers, and of recent ascetic works; 6. The Græco-Russian theology, as interpreted by Gagarin and Galitzin, with the hope con

* Revue de l'Année Religieuse, Philosophique et Littéraire, Tableau Annuel des principales Productions de la Théologie, de la Philosophie, de l'Histoire et de la Littérature. Paris: Jacques Lecoffre et Cie. 1861. 12mo. pp. 520.

« AnteriorContinuar »