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FOR THE FIRESIDE,
The Best Imerican Authors.
A. DOWLING, 36 BEEKMAN STREET.
RURAL, OBJECT; IN EUROPE AND AME-
MR. PEPPERAGE'S FOURTII OF JULY
CURIOSITIES OF Puritan HISTORY, 132 THE EDITOR AT LARE,
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SALT LAKE AND TIE NEW SARATOGA, 260 Count STEDINGK,
345, 492, 571
324 Our PARTIES AND POLITICS-A South-
AFRICAN PROVERBIAL Pullosophy, : 362 Sea,.
*** All the Articles enumerated in this Table are complete in this Volume.
A Magazine of Literature, Science,
VOL. VI.-JULY, 1855.-NO. XXXI.
IRVING'S LIFE OF WASHINGTON.*
IOGRAPHY may be said to bear to modern times we have no heroes; but
history somewhat the same relation the reason, probably, is not so much that portraiture does to historical painting. that men or society are yet very differLike other comparisons, there are some ent from what they have been, as that points in which this one fails; but it is we have a different way of viewing exact enough for purposes of illustration. things-perceiving that to be accomThe great essential requisite for histori- plished by the united weight of many cal composition, as for historical paint- persons acting under a common impulse, ing, is the power of grouping. If there which, according to the old method of is a failure in this respect, skillfulness explanation, would have been regarded and elaboration in details, so far from as the heroic work of some single indimaking up for it, may only render con- vidual. fusion worse confounded, and the failure History, considered as a science, and more conspicuous. This power of group- historical compositions, looked upon as ing is, indeed, essential to every species demonstrations, have, no doubt, gained of composition, whether pictorial or much by this change. But, the great written; but a much less degree of it mass of the reading public are hardly will answer for biography or portraiture yet prepared for this journey into the than for compositions in history. Nor wilderness of historical speculation, even is this by any means the only advantage though the promised land of a reorganwhich the former possess. Though not ized and regenerated society may be ranked so high in the critic's scale, their alleged to lie beyond it; while fed merits and beauties and power of pleas- with this philosophical manna, they do ing are much more level to the common still look back with great longings and apprehension, and more likely to be some murmurings to the flesh- pots of generally felt and appreciated.
Egypt, breaking out into occasional History, as it becomes more compre- complaints that they have been led into hensive, more scientific and abstract, the desert to starve. giving more and more of its attention to
Hence, the popularity of that semirelations and causes not accidental, but historical species of biography, of which natural and necessary, comes to deal Washington Irving, in the volume beless and less with men as individu- fore us, has furnished the first installals, and to confine itself to those mo- ment of a very pleasing specimen. tives and impulses shared by groups Biography, indeed, in this shape of it, and masses in common-motives and may be said to have picked up not impulses to which, rather than to in- merely the dropped mantle, but, as it dividual peculiarities, the course and were, the cast-off body of the ascending order of events is every day more and muse of history; and, as yet, the great more traced. It is said that in these mass of readers seem much to prefer a
Life of George Washington. By WASHINGTON IRVING. New York: G. P. Putnam & Co. Three vols., Vol. I., pp. 504