Part 5 out of 5
he knows well how to state what has come to his notice, and his readers
may get from his pictures many valuable indications in regard to men and
to social conditions, whether they accept his conclusions or not.
The state of the British West Indies is one of peculiar interest at the
present day, both in a social and an economical point of view. The great
questions opened by the emancipation of the slaves in these islands, in
1834, are not yet settled; and upon the solution of the problems now
being worked out there depends not only their own future, but also, in
great measure, the future of all the countries in which slavery still
exists. If the results of emancipation prove, on the whole, advantageous
both to masters and slaves, the question of the universal and
comparatively speedy abolition of slavery would be virtually decided.
If, however, it should be shown that the results, in the long run, are
disastrous both to whites and blacks, or to either of these classes,
then, although no one can doubt that slavery must sooner or later be
done away with, wherever it now exists, the time of its abolition may
be indefinitely postponed, and other means of accomplishing it must be
devised and adopted, than those which the example of the West Indies
will have proved injurious.
As in regard to all matters which have been vehemently discussed, the
accounts in regard to the effects of emancipation in the West Indies
differ widely; but the weight of authority tends to show, that, putting
aside for the moment all moral considerations, the scale inclines
towards the side of good. Mr. Trollope, who writes without prejudice,
may be taken as a fair witness, so far as his opportunities for
observation extended; and as his views will not satisfy the warm
partisans of either side, it may perhaps be assumed that they are in the
main correct. In his chapter on the Black Men in Jamaica, he says: "I
shall be asked, having said so much, whether I think that emancipation
was wrong. By no means. I think that emancipation was clearly right; but
I think that we expected far too great and far too quick a result from
emancipation. These people [the negroes] are a servile race, fitted by
nature for the hardest physical work, and apparently at present fitted
for little else. Some thirty years since, they were in a state where
such work was their lot; but their tasks were exacted from them in a
condition of bondage abhorrent to the feelings of the age, and opposed
to the religion which we practised. For us, thinking as we did, slavery
was a sin. From that sin we have cleansed ourselves. But the mere fact
of doing so has not freed us from our difficulties. Nor was it to be
expected that it should. The discontinuance of a sin is always the
commencement of a struggle."
This is well said. The negroes, freed from the bondage of labor,
suddenly becoming masters of themselves, with simple and easily
satisfied wants, with abundant means of subsistence, to be procured at
the expense of the least possible effort, exposed to no competition
from the pressure of population, and endowed by nature with indolent
temperaments, naturally took to leading idle and easy lives, and refused
to work except at their own pleasure. They had, as a class, no desire of
regular and continued occupation, and little sense of the worth of work
in itself. There was nothing surprising in this, and the blacks were
little to be blamed for it. But the world will not advance, unless men
work; and any country where there is not a sufficient stimulus for labor
is in the course of decline. The inevitable results followed in the West
Indies from the difficulty of obtaining labor. In Jamaica, the largest
and most important of these British islands, other and widely different
causes--mistakes in legislation, previous financial embarrassment, and
especially the unwillingness or inability of the planters to recognize
the necessities of their altered position--contributed to bring about
a condition of wretched adversity. Estates went out of cultivation,
expensive establishments failed, roads were disused, and the island was
full of the signs of decay. The negroes, indeed, were happy; a few days'
work in the course of the year secured them subsistence; and irregular
labor for wages, on the plantations of their old masters, gave them the
means of gratifying their liking for dress and finery.
A full generation has not yet passed since the act of emancipation,
but there are already indications that this transitional condition is
drawing to an end. A portion, at least, of the negroes are beginning to
recognize the responsibilities as well as the privileges of liberty, to
seek employment for the sake of raising themselves and their children in
the social scale, and to accumulate property. They are not merely free,
but are becoming independent. Still the number of those who live from
hand to mouth, in the indolent and useless possession of freedom, is
very great. In Mr. Trollope's opinion, little is to be expected from the
blacks. "To lie in the sun and eat bread-fruit and yams is the negro's
idea of being free. Such freedom as that has not been intended for man
in this world; and I say that Jamaica, as it now exists, is still under
a devil's ordinance." Education is a slow process with the blacks.
But in Jamaica, as elsewhere, where slavery exists, there is a race
neither black nor white, but of mixed blood, important in numbers,
and important also from possessing a mingling of the qualities of
its progenitors, which seems to fit it peculiarly for the prosperous
occupation of the tropics. Supposing this colored race to have the power
of continuing itself through successive generations, a problem which is
as yet unsolved, it would seem as if the future of these islands were
mainly in its hands. Of pure whites, there are not more than fifteen
thousand in Jamaica; of the mixed race, there are said to be seventy
thousand. Before the abolition of slavery, their position was one of
degradation; since the abolition, it has greatly improved. They are
still looked upon with ill-concealed disdain by their white brothers and
sisters; but they are forcing themselves into social recognition and
equality. "These people marry now," said a lady to Mr. Trollope; "but
their mothers and grandmothers never thought of looking to that at all."
There is matter for reflection, as well as for satisfaction, in that
But as yet the condition of Jamaica is such as may well excite doubt as
to the possibility of its recovery from the misfortunes under which it
has suffered,--misfortunes due quite as much to the evils of preexisting
slavery, as to the blow given to its prosperity by the act of
emancipation. "Are Englishmen in general aware," asks Mr. Trollope,
"that half the sugar-estates in Jamaica, and I believe more than half
the coffee-plantations, have gone back into a state of bush?--that all
this land, rich with the richest produce only some thirty years since,
has now fallen back into wilderness?"
Still, if the experiment of emancipation be considered doubtful or
disastrous, so far as Jamaica is concerned, it cannot be esteemed so
in regard to the chief remaining, islands. In Barbadoes, for instance,
there was no squatting-ground for the blacks. The negro was obliged to
work or starve. Labor was consequently abundant,--and "there is not
a rood of waste land" in the island. Even here, "numerous as are the
negroes, they certainly live an easier life than that of an English
laborer, earn their money with more facility, and are more independent
of their masters." In the report made by the governor of the island, in
1853, he states,--"So far, the success of cultivation by free labor in
Barbadoes is unquestionable."
Trinidad, of which but a comparatively small part has been cultivated,
and where the negroes have displayed the same indisposition to labor as
in Jamaica, is, however, flourishing. Its prosperity seems to be due to
the fact, that, during the last few years, some ten or twelve thousand
Coolies have been brought from the East Indies, and have supplied the
demand for labor.
In British Guiana, or Demerara, on the main land, the same fact has
brought about a similar result. The emancipated negro could not be
depended upon for regular work. He established himself on his small
freehold, and lived, like Theodore Hook's club-man, "in idleness and
ease." But for some years past laborers have been brought in freely from
India and China, and the fertile colony is now in a state of abundant
prosperity. Mr. Trollope seems to us to refute effectually the notion,
so far at least as regards the British West Indies, that this Cooly
immigration, is only slavery under another name. "On their arrival in
Demerara," he says, "the Coolies are distributed among the planters by
the Governor,--to each planter according to his application, his means
of providing for them, and his willingness and ability to pay the cost
of the immigration by yearly instalments.
[Footnote 1: We quote from an extract in an able article in the
_Edinburgh Review_ for April, 1859, entitled, _The West Indies as they
were and are_.]
They are sent to no estate, till a government officer shall have
reported that there are houses for them to occupy. There must be a
hospital for them on the estate, and a regular doctor, with a sufficient
salary. The rate of their wages is stipulated, and their hours of work.
Though the contract is for five years, they can leave the estate at the
end of the first three, transferring their services to any other master,
and at the end of the five years they are entitled to a free passage
home." "The women are coming now, as well as the men; and they have
learned to husband their means, and put money together."
We pass over the other British "West Indies," though Mr. Trollope's
animated sketches tempt us to linger. The main conclusion to which this
part of his book leads is, that this question of labor is the one upon
which the results of emancipation hinge. Unless moved by necessity, the
negro is disinclined to work. Slavery has rendered labor offensive
to him, and his own nature inclines him to idleness, The pressure of
population, as in Barbadoes, may compel him, for his own good, to labor;
or he may, as in Demerara, be superseded by other workmen. If left to
himself, his tendency seems to be to sink into sensuality, rather than
to rise in civilization by his own efforts. The condition of the mass of
the negroes is undoubtedly a happier one than in the days of slavery;
but it may be fairly doubted whether emancipation has led to any moral
improvement in the race.
How far a forced system of labor for wages might answer for the
blacks,--how far a regular and organized plan of education might elevate
them,--how far the danger of their relapse into barbarism might be
obviated by preliminary precautions,--are questions which that country
which next undertakes emancipation must solve for itself, and which
the example of the British West Indies will give some of the means for
solving in a satisfactory manner. Mr, Trollope's book is well worth
reading by those who would prepare themselves by knowledge and by
reflection for a proper appreciation of the advantages and the evils of
giving unlimited freedom to a race that has been long enslaved.
There is less interest in his account of Central America than in the
other parts of his volume. The ground is more familiar to American
readers, and some of our own travellers have given descriptions of the
country far more thorough and not less entertaining.
Of Cuba, which he trusts may, for the benefit of humanity, be some day
transferred to American keeping, he says but little; and after Mr.
Dana's late excellent, though hasty, sketches of the island, that author
must have more than common ability who can, with hope of success,
venture over the same ground.
_The Public Life of Captain John Brown_. By JAMES REDPATH. With an
Autobiography of his Childhood and Youth. Boston. 1860. l2mo. pp. 408.
It would have been well, had this book never been written. Mr. Redpath
has understood neither the opportunities opened to him, nor the
responsibilities laid upon him, in being permitted to write the
"authorized" life of John Brown. His book, in whatever light it is
viewed,--whether as the biography of a remarkable man, as an historic
narrative of a series of extraordinary and important events, or simply
as a mere piece of literary jobwork,--is equally unsatisfactory. He has
shown himself incompetent to appreciate the character of the man whom he
admires, and he has, consequently, done great wrong to his memory.
There never was more need for a good life of any man than there was for
one of John Brown. The whole country was curious to learn about him, and
to be told his story. Those who thought the best of him, and those who
thought the worst, were alike desirous to know more of him than the
newspapers had furnished, and to become acquainted with the course of
his life, and the training which had prepared him for Kansas and brought
him to Harper's Ferry. Whatever view be taken of his character, he was
a man so remarkable as to be well worthy of study. In the bitter and
excited state of public feeling in regard to him, there was but one way
in which his life could be properly told,--and that way was, to allow
him, as far as possible, to tell it in his own words. For that part
of his life which there were no letters of his to illustrate, his
biographer should have been content to state facts in the simplest and
most careful manner, entering into no controversy, and keeping himself
entirely out of sight. Thus only could John Brown's character produce
its due effect. His letters from prison had shown that he was a master
of the homeliest and strongest English. His words said what they meant,
and they were understood by everybody; he had found them in the Bible,
and had been familiar with them all his life. Whatever he was, he could
have told us better than any other man; and he was the only man who
would have been listened to with much confidence concerning himself. Mr.
Redpath has, very unfortunately, thought differently. He has not taken
pains to collect even all the letters of John Brown which had been
previously published; he has written in the worst temper and spirit of
partisanship, so that with every cautious reader doubts attend many
statements which rest only on his authority; he has thrust himself
continually forward; and he has exercised no proper care in arranging
The truth is, that a life of Brown was not now needed for those who
already admired the stalwart nature of the man, even though they might
deplore his course,--for those who had had their hearts touched and
stirred by his manliness, his truth, his courage, and his unwavering
fidelity to conscience and faith in God; but it was greatly needed for
that much larger class,--the mass of the Northern community,-whose
timidity had been startled at his rash attempt, whose sympathy had been
more or less awakened by his bearing and his death, but who were and are
in a painful state of perplexity, in the endeavor to reconcile their
abhorrence, or at least their disapproval, of his attack on Virginia,
with their sense of the admirable nature of the qualities he displayed.
It was needed also for the very large class who received from the
newspapers but a confused and imperfect account of the events which took
place in Virginia from October to December, and who, according to their
political predilections, condemn or applaud the course of Captain Brown.
And, above all, it was needed for the men who have disgraced themselves
by denying to Brown the possession of any virtues, and who have
outstripped his Southern enemies in applying to him the most opprobrious
and the falsest epithets. Now, none of these classes will Mr. Redpath's
book reach with effect. Its tone is such, it is so violent, so
extravagant, that it will offend all right-thinking men. Even those who
have known how to hold a steady and clear opinion, in the midst of the
confusion of the popular mind,--who have not applauded Brown's acts of
violence, and have condemned his judgment, but who have, nevertheless,
honored what was noble in him, and sympathized with him in his strong
love of liberty,--who, while acknowledging him guilty under the law,
mourned that the law should not be tempered with mercy,--and who
have recognized in him at once the excellences and the errors of an
enthusiast,--those who have most faithfully endeavored to find the truth
concerning him, though they will obtain some interesting information
from Mr. Redpath's book, will be the most dissatisfied with it.
It has always been among the offences of the out-and-out Abolitionists,
to abuse the force of words, and to make exclusive pretensions to virtue
and the love of liberty. This book is written in the spirit and style
of an Abolition tract. In representing John Brown as little more than a
mere hero of the Abolitionists, the author has done essential disservice
to the cause of freedom, and to the memory of a man who was as free from
party-ties as he was from personal ambitions.
Although John Brown's character was a simple one, a long time must pass
before it will be generally understood, and justice be done to it. The
passion and the prejudice which the later acts of his life have excited
cannot die away for years. Mr. Redpath has done his best to perpetuate
them. In seasons of excitement, and amid the struggles of political
contention, the men who use the most extravagant and the most violent
words have, for a time, the advantage; but, in the long run, they damage
whatever cause they may adopt; and the truth, which their declamations
have obscured or their falsehoods have violated, finally asserts itself.
In our country, the worth and the strength of temperance and moderation
of speech seem to be peculiarly forgotten. Words, which should stand
for things, are too commonly used with no respect to their essential
meaning. Political debates are embittered, personal feeling wounded,
the tone of manners lowered, and national character degraded, by this
disregard of words as the symbol and expression of truth. Moderation is
brought into disrepute, and justice, fairness, and honesty of opinion
tendered as rare as they are difficult of attainment. The manner in
which John Brown has been spoken of affords the plainest illustration
of these facts. Extravagance in condemnation has been answered by
extravagance in praise of his life and deeds.
The most interesting and the most novel part of Mr. Redpath's book is
the letter written by John Brown in 1857, giving some account of his
early life. It is, in all respects, a remarkable composition. It
exhibits the main influences by which his character was formed; it
affords a key to the history of his life; it illustrates the nature of
the social institutions under which such a man could grow up; and it
shows his natural traits, before they had become hardened and trained
under the discipline of later experience and circumstance. Nothing has
been more marked in the various exhibitions of his character, as they
have come successively to view, than their complete consistency. This
letter, this account of his youth, squares perfectly with what we
know of his manhood. The whole of it should be read by all who would
understand the man, with his native faculty of command, with his mingled
sternness and tenderness, with his large heart, his steadfast will. The
base of his soul was truth; and the motive power of his life, faith in
the justice of God.
He was a man of a rare type,--so rare in our times as to seem like a
man of another age. He belonged to the same class with the Scottish
Covenanters and the English Regicides. He belonged to the great company
of those who have followed the footsteps of Gideon, and forgot that the
armory of the Lord contained other weapons than the sword. He belonged
to those who from time to time have adopted some cause,--the good old
cause,--and have shrunk from no sacrifice which it required at their
hands. "I have now been confined over a month," wrote John Brown to
his children, in one of that most affecting series of letters from his
prison, "with a good opportunity to look the whole thing as fair in the
face as I am capable of doing, and I now feel most grateful that I am
counted in the least possible degree worthy to suffer for the truth."
"Suffering is a gift not given to every one," wrote one of the
Covenanters, who was hanged in the Grassmarket in Edinburgh, in
1684,--"and I desire to bless God's name with my whole heart and soul,
that He has counted such a poor thing as I am worthy of the gift of
That John Brown was wrong in his attempt to break up slavery by
violence, few will deny. But it was a wrong committed by a good
man,--by one who dreaded the vengeance of the Almighty and forgot His
long-suffering. His errors were the result of want of patience and want
of imagination, and he paid the penalty for them. He had faith in the
Divine ordering of the affairs of this world; but he forgot that
the processes by which evils like that of slavery are done away are
thousand-year-long,--that, to be effectual, they must be slow,--that
wrong is no remedy for wrong. He was an anachronism, and met the fate of
all anachronisms that strive to stem and divert the present current by
modes which the world has outgrown. But now that he and those dearest
to him have so bitterly expiated his faults, both charity and justice
demand that his virtues should be honored, and he himself mourned. It
will be a gloomy indication of the poor, low spirit of our days, if fear
and falsehood, if passion or indifference, should cause the lesson of
John Brown's life to be neglected, or should check a natural sympathy
with the noble heart of the old man. That lesson is not for any one part
of the country more than another; that sympathy may be given by the
South as well as by the North. It is not sympathy for his acts, but
for the spirit of his life and the heroism of his death. The lesson of
manliness, uprightness, and courage, which his life teaches, is to be
learned by us, not merely as lovers of liberty, not as opponents of
slavery, but as men who need more manliness, more uprightness, more
courage and simplicity in our common lives.
All that is possible of apology for John Brown is to be found in his
letters and in his speech to the court before his sentence. It is,
perhaps, too soon to hope that these letters and this speech will be
read with candor and a feeling of human brotherhood by those who now
look with abhorrence or with indifference on his memory. But the time
will come when they will be held at their true worth by all, as the
expressions of a large, tender soul,--when they will be read with
sympathetic pity, even by those who still find it difficult to forgive
their author for his offence against society. These letters appeal to
the better nature of every man and woman in America; and it will be a
sad thing, if their appeal be disregarded.
We trust, that, before long, a fairer and fuller biography than that by
Mr. Redpath will remove the obstacle which this book now presents to the
general appreciation of the character and life of John Brown.
_Poems_. By SYDNEY DOBELL. Boston: Ticknor & Fields. 1860.
Many of Mr. Dobell's poems have passages which are musical, vigorous,
and peculiar, and hardly in any part can he be justly charged with
prolonging an echo. He is not one of the many mocking-birds that infest
the groves at the foot of Parnassus. Though portions of his songs be
wild, fitful, and incoherent, they gush with the force and feeling of a
heart loyal to its intuitions, and thus many strains captivate and keep
the tuneful ear. Yet such charming lines make conspicuous the want of
that high appreciation of form and proportion without which any felicity
of touch in the treatment of details will only cause the consummate
master to grieve over glorious forms that have no effective grouping,
and turn away from colors, however exquisite, that are strewn, as it
were, on a palette, rather than wrought into picture and harmonized
to the tone of life. The truth is, that the grandly designing hand is
nowhere completely visible in the poetry of Young England. Many of her
more youthful poets show a mass of rich materials, but they appear to
have been upheaved by convulsions, half-blinding us with their splendor,
while, like lava pouring from a volcano's crater, they take no
prescribed channel, they flow into no immortal mould. It is this fiery
gleam on the surface of matter hot from chaos, which the multitude honor
as the highest manifestation of genius. But this is to desecrate a word
which implies constructive power of the first order. Form is its highest
expression. Without the shaping faculty, which artistically rounds
to perfection, no glitter of decoration, nor even force and fire of
expression, can keep the work from falling into ruins. If the beautiful,
as Goethe said, includes in it the good, then perfect beauty alone is
everlasting. This is a rigorous rule for anything which man has made,
but it does not try "Othello" so severely as "Balder"; and "Balder" is
not utterly crushed by it. There are scenes in this drama, and also in
"The Roman," which will not soon lose their significance, or easily melt
out of the memory.
_A Good Fight, and other Tales_. By CHARLES KEADE. New York: Harper &
About the middle of the fifteenth century, a youth named Gerard, a
native of Tergou, in Holland, loved Margaret, the daughter of Peter,
a learned man of the neighboring village of Zevenbergen. Expecting
immediate marriage, their intimacy was restrained by no limits. The
interference of Gerard's relations, however, separated them for a time,
during which the young man visited Rome, and gained some distinction as
a transcriber of ancient manuscripts. Learning, after a while, that he
was about to return, his kindred caused a false report of Margaret's
death to be conveyed to him, and, by thus crushing all the hopes of
his young life, had the final satisfaction of seeing him take priestly
orders, which threw his patrimony into their hands. Having broken two
hearts, and brought a world of shame upon an innocent girl to get it, it
is only fair to suppose they enjoyed it with tranquillity.
Margaret, left alone, gave birth to a child, the greatness of whose
manhood might have softened the remembrance of her earlier sorrows, had
she lived to witness it. But she died when he was thirteen years old.
Gerard, her true husband, who had never rejoined her while living, also
died within a brief space. The son they left was the famous Erasmus.
Mr. Reade has taken this little record, which would never have become
historical but for the accidental consequence of the loves of Gerard and
Margaret, and wrought it into a story of exquisite grace and delicacy.
A dead and half-forgotten fact, he has warmed it into fresh life, and
given it all the beauties with which his brilliant imagination could
endow it. Though shorter and simpler than most, it is certainly inferior
to none of his other works. Perhaps its simplicity is its first merit.
The extravagant peculiarities of style which overlaid his two longest
books have almost entirely disappeared in this. Here the narration is
for the most part as unostentatious as the events are natural. But its
power is remarkable. Although the regularity with which the incidents
follow one another is such that they may all be anticipated, yet the
interest in them never fades. There is nothing startlingly new in the
entire story. On the contrary, it follows pretty closely the old formula
of troubled true-love until the closing chapter, when triumphant virtue
sets in. But this takes nothing from the effect. All is so clear and
vivid in description, so glittering with gleams of wit, relieved by soft
shadows of purest pathos, so full of the spirit of tender humanity,
that the reader finds no reason to complain, except that the end is so
The author has sacrificed history, in his conclusion, to satisfy a
natural feeling. No one will object because the "Good Fight" terminates
victoriously in the right direction. The parents of Erasmus suffered;
but it would be a pity, if readers, after the lapse of four hundred
years, must mourn their woes to the extent that would inevitably be
necessary, if Mr. Reade had not arranged it otherwise. And his object,
which was to prove--if proof were needed--that all human lives, however
obscure, have their own share of romance, is not disturbed by this
variation from the severity of the chronicle.
_The Undergraduate_. Conducted by an Association of Collegiate and
Professional Students in the United States and Europe. [Greek:_'Ekasto
onmachoi pantos_]; January, 1860. Printed for the Association. New
We are not unused to the sight of College Periodicals. They have
commonly greeted us in the form of monthly numbers, each containing two
or three essays which sounded as if they might have done duty as themes,
a critical article or two, some copies of verses, and winding up with a
few pages in fine print, purporting to be editorial, jaunty and
jocular for the most part, and opulent in local allusions. It would
he unnatural, if these juvenile productions did not often reflect the
opinions of favorite instructors and the style of popular authors. A
freshman's first essay is like the short gallop of a colt on trial; its
promise is what we care for, more than its performance. If it had not
something of crudeness and imitation, we should suspect the youth, and
be disposed to examine him as the British turfmen have been examining
the American colt Umpire, first favorite for the next Derby. But three
or four years' study and practice teach the young man his paces, so that
many Bachelors of Arts have formed the style already by which they will
hereafter be known in the world of letters. We are always pleased,
therefore, to look over a College Periodical, even of the humblest
pretensions. The possibilities of its young writers give an interest and
dignity to the least among them which make its slender presence welcome.
But here we have offered us a more formidable candidate for public favor
than our old friends, the attenuated Monthlies. "The Undergraduate" has
almost the dimensions of the "North American Review," and, like that,
promises to visit us quarterly. It is the first fruit of a spirited and
apparently well-matured plan set on foot by students in Yale College,
and heartily entered into by those of several other institutions.
Its objects are clearly stilted in the well-written Prospectus and
Introduction. They are briefly these:--"To record the history, promote
the intellectual improvement, elevate the moral aims, liberalize
the views, and unite the sympathies of Academical, Collegiate, and
Professional Students, and their Institutions."
The name, "Undergraduate," shows by whom it is to be managed; but its
contributors are, and will doubtless continue to he, in part, of a more
advanced standing. There are articles in the present number which we
have read with great interest, and without ever being reminded that they
were contributed to a students' journal. The first paper, for instance,
"German Student-Life and Travel," is not only well written, but full of
excellent suggestions, which show that the writer has reached the age of
good sense, whether he count his years by tens or scores. "A Student's
Voyage to Labrador" is a well-told story of scenes and experiences new
to most readers. Not less pleased were we to have an authentic account
of the two ancient societies of Yale College, "Brothers in Unity" and
"Linonia," rivals for almost a century, and still maintaining their
protracted struggle for numerical superiority. Articles like this will
interest all students, and many outside of the student-world, "The
Undergraduate" would not treat us fairly, if it did not temper them
somewhat, as it has done, with specimens of more distinctly youthful
character. Perhaps it might be safe to lay it down as a law, that, the
tenderer the age, the wider the subject, and, contrariwise, the
older the head, the more limited and definite the probable range of
discussion. It is safe to say that a young man's essay is most likely
to be interesting when he writes about something he has seen or
experienced, so as to know more about it than his readers. Disquisitions
on "Virtue," "Honesty," "Shakspeare," "Human Nature," and such large
subjects, are valuable chiefly as showing how the colts gallop.
On the whole, "The Undergraduate" is most creditable to the enterprise
that gave it birth, and to the young men who have contributed to it. If
we should give any additional hints to that just whispered, it would be,
that more care should be taken in looking over the proofs. Calvinism
should not be spelt Calv_a_nism, Thackeray Thack_a_ray, nor Courvoisier
_Corvosier_,--neither should traveller be spelt _traveler_, nor theatre
_theater_. These last provincialisms, particularly, should not find a
place in a journal meant for students all over the English-speaking
world; and if, as we hope, contributions shall hereafter appear in
the new Quarterly from any persons connected with our neighboring
University, it should be a condition that the English standard of
spelling should be adopted in preference to any local perversions.
With these suggestions, we give a most cordial welcome to a periodical
which we trust will begin a new period in the literary history of our
RECENT AMERICAN PUBLICATIONS
RECEIVED BY THE EDITORS OF THE ATLANTIC MONTHLY.
The American Almanac and Repository of Useful Knowledge, for the Year
1860. Boston, Crosby, Nichols, & Co. 12mo. pp. viii., 399. $1.00.
The New American Cyclopedia: a Popular Dictionary of General Knowledge.
Edited by George Ripley and Charles A. Dana. Vol. VIII. Fugger-Haynau.
New York. Appleton & Co. 8vo, pp. 788, vii. $3.00.
Life Without and Life Within: or, Reviews, Narratives, Essays, and
Poems. By Margaret Fuller Ossoli, Author of "Woman in the Nineteenth
Century," "At Home and Abroad," etc. Edited by her Brother, Arthur B.
Fuller. Boston. Brown, Taggard, & Chase. 12mo. pp. 424. $1.00.
Footfalls on the Boundary of Another World. With Narrative
Illustrations. By Robert Dale Owen, formerly Member of Congress, and
American Minister to Naples. Philadelphia. Lippincott & Co. 12mo. pp.
Title-Hunting. By E. L. Llewellyn. Philadelphia. Lippincott & Co. 12mo.
pp. 357. $1.00.
The Rivals. A Tale of the Times of Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton.
By Hon. Jere. Clemens, Author of "Bernard Lite" and "Mustang Gray."
Philadelphia. Lippincott & Co. 12mo. pp. 286. 75 cts.
Poems. By Sydney Dobell. Boston. Ticknor & Fields. 32mo. pp. 544. 75
cts. An Overland Journey from New York to San Francisco, in the Summer
of 1859. By Horace Greeley. New York. Saxton, Barker, & Co. 12mo. pp.
Morphy's Games: a Selection of the Best Games played by the
Distinguished Champion in Europe and America. With Analytical and
Critical Notes by J Loewenthal. New York. Appleton & Co. 12mo. pp.
xviii., 473. $1.25.
Compensation: or, Always a Future. By Anne M. H. Brewster. Philadelphia.
Lippincott & Co. 12mo. pp. 297. 75 cts.
The Eighteen Christian Centuries. By the Rev. James White, Author of a
"History of France." With a Copious Index. From the Second Edinburgh
Edition. New York. Appleton & Co. 12mo. pp. 538. $1.25.
An Appeal to the People in Behalf of their Rights as Authorized
Interpreters of the Bible. By Catherine E. Beecher, Author of "Common
Sense Applied to Religion," "Domestic Economy," etc. New York. Harper &
Brothers. 12mo. pp. x., 380. $1.00.
On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection: or, The
Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life. By Charles
Darwin, M. A., Fellow of the Royal Geological, Linnaean, etc., Societies;
Author of "Journal of Researches during H. M. S. Beagle's Voyage round
the World." New York. Appleton & Co. 12mo. pp. 432. $1.25.
Life in Spain, Past and Present. By Walter Thornbury, Author of "Every
Man his own Trumpeter," "Art and Nature," etc. With Illustrations. New
York. Harper & Brothers. 12mo. pp. 383. $1.00.
Poems. By the Author of "A Life for a Life," "John Halifax, Gentleman,"
etc. Boston. Ticknor & Fields. 16mo. pp.270. 75 cts.
The Female Skeptic: or, Faith Triumphant, New York. R. M. DeWitt. 12mo.
pp. 449. $1.00.
Report on Weights and Measures, read before the Pharmaceutical
Association, at their Eighth Annual Session, held in Boston, September
15, 1859. By Alfred B. Taylor, of Philadelphia, Chairman of the
Committee of Weights and Measures. Boston. Press of Rand & Avery. 8vo.
pamphlet, pp. 104. 50 cts.
The Adopted Heir. By Miss Pardoe, Author of "The Confessions of a Pretty
Woman," "Life of Maria de Medicis." etc. Complete and unabridged.
Philadelphia. Peterson & Brothers. 12mo. pp. 360. $1.25.
A Narrative of the Discovery of the Fate of Sir John Franklin and
his Companions, by Captain M'Clintock, R. N., LL.D. With Maps and
Illustrations. Boston. Ticknor & Fields. 12mo. pp. xxiv., 375. $1.50.
The Path which led a Protestant Lawyer to the Catholic Church. By Peter
H. Burnett. New York. Appleton & Co. 8vo. pp. xiv., 741. $2.50.
Sermons on St. Paul's Epistles to the Corinthians. Delivered at Trinity
Chapel, Brighton. By the late Rev. F. W. Robertson, M.A., the Incumbent.
Boston. Ticknor & Fields. 12mo. pp. xii., 425. $1.00.
Trinitarianism not the Doctrine of the New Testament. Two Lectures,
delivered, partly in Review of Rev. Dr. Huntington's Discourse on the
Trinity, in the Hollis Street Church, January 7 and 14,1860. By T. S.
King. Printed by Request. Boston. Crosby, Nichols, & Co. 8vo. pamphlet,
pp. 48. 25 cts.
Lyrics and other Poems. By S. J. Donaldson, Jr. Philadelphia. Lindsay &
Blakiston. 16mo. pp. 208. 75 cts.
Twenty Years Ago, and Now. By T. S. Arthur. Philadelphia. G. G. Evans.
12mo. pp. 307. $1.00.
The Water Witch: or, The Skimmer of the Seas. A Tale. By J. Fenimore
Cooper. Illustrated from Designs by F. 0. C. Darley. New York. Townsend
& Co. 12mo. pp. 462. $1.50.