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CRITICAL NOTICES.

Nemoirs of the Life of William Wirt : By self were so far indefinite as to give each section of

JOHN P. KENNEDY. Philadelphia : Leo & his party hopes of finding it an easy matter to Blanchard.

comply with his taste, in respect to measures. Old

democrats and federalists were united in his cabiThe fact of a second edition of these instructive volumes being called for, sufficiently indicates the

net, without any visible contrariety of position. It standing which they deserve so well, and have so

was an era of surrender and compromise of old

antipathies, with an implied promise of silence, for rapidly taken in the estimation of the public. It

the future, on old topics. By-gones were to be is surprising that so few memoirs of the distin

by-gones. The destination of the party was to be guished American contemporaries of William

settled hereafter. Its principles and measures were Wirt have been published. This kind of literature,

to be left to the chapter of accidents. For the so successful in France, would be eminently so in

present, all differences were submerged beneath this country, where so many great names, endeared

the General's unbounded popularity. This was to the people, still await the labors of the biogra

the condition of that new party, which had just pher, and where writers are to be found, like the

overthrown a political domination of twenty-eight present editor, so fully competent to the task.

years, and which was fated itself to be overthrown The career of William Wirt is that of a highly successful lawyer. It does not abound in incident.

in twenty years more.” But the high station he filled, his popularity at the bar, the important causes in which his eloquence

Roland Cashel. By CHARLES LEVER. With Ilwas displayed, and his correspondence with the lustrations by Priz. New York: Harper & greatest men of the nation, would make his life Brothers. interesting, even from a pen much less qualified The author of Charles O'Malley is the last perthan that of John P. Kennedy. For the sake of

son from whose pen we should have expected a giving an idea of this writer's style, we will ex

work like Roland Cashel. Heretofore he has tract a short passage on the birth of the democratic

generally been content to let his fancy run riot party—so called of late years a party, which

among those scenes peculiar to Ireland, which he now offers a fair field for the labors of the histori

is so well competent to describe. The slightest an, since its rise, its progress, and its fall, belong thread of fiction was, in his hands, a sufficient to a not very distant past, and furnish those requi

canvas for the rich embroidery of anecdote and sites of a full and complete action, which are deem- fun which his well scored memory and his epied necessary for the effect of a narrative :

grammatic genius readily supplied. In the novel “ The election terminated in favor of General

now before us he has taken a somewhat loftier Jackson. He was inaugurated President of the

aim. He has adopted the artifice of an intricate United States, on the 4th of March, 1829. On

plot, whose developments, apart from details, are this day, the democratic party, which had been

sufficient to interest and exc the reader. Bepredominant in the administration of the affairs of sides, he has kept in view a moral truth, whose ilthe general government for twenty-eight years, lustration forms the graver object of the work. surrendered its power into the hands of that new

His conception is to show a young man, every party, which had been brought together by the

way qualified to be an ornament society, sudpopularity of the hero of New Orleans. The new

denly acquiring enormous wealth, and becoming a party was a miscellaneous one. It embraced all

member of the proprietary aristocracy of Ireland that portion of the federalists who were anxious to

-a young man, thus qualified and situated, and come into power,--by no means a small host.

who, nevertheless, and in spite of the best intenIt absorbed a large number of the young politi- tions in the world, turns the blessing into a curse cians, who had grown up to manhood during

for others, as well as himself, and wholly neglects the period of General Jackson's military career.

the high trust reposed in him, and this through It attracted and embodied such portions of the sheer ignorance of the real duties and responsimasses of the people, as conceived the chief ma

bilities attendant upon wealth. In making his gistracy to be an appropriate reward for distin

selection for a hero, the author was somewhat guished military exploits-always a large number

embarrassed. No youth, born and educated in in every government. The leaders in this combina

Great Britain, could be supposed to possess the tion were eager and practised politicians, bred in the

ignorance which the subject required, without also schools of some of the parties, which had heretofore being tainted with qualities peculiar to the lower divided the country. Their political creed, there- classes in that country, and which would disqualify fore, was various, according to the school in which

him for the spirited part of the hero of a British each had been educated ; but it was accomodating, drama in high life. The hero, therefore, must be and sufficiently held in the back-ground to enable

a youth, educated abroad; and the greater the it to await events. The opinions of the chief him.

contrast between the habits of his former life, and

those of the class into which he would be thrown, / ringly added, in particular cases, where the imporby his sudden acquisition of landed property in tance of the subject requires them. Ireland, the better for the purpose of the author. Mr. Anthon has adopted a commendable method Long must the author have pondered ere he solved in the disposition of his task. He treats of the his problem. We wonder that he did not leign great territorial divisions first, in a comprehensive his hero brought up in the United States. Surely, manner, which leaves a clear, general impression no contrast could have been greater than that upon the reader's mind, and afterwards, with such between the principles of equality and political jus- details as may appear necessary, gathering togetice, received here in early life, and the narrow ther, in the shape of notes, such explanatory obserprejudices of the privileged classes of Great Britain. vations as he deems necessary to illustrate the Perhaps, however, this solution of the difficulty text, or to account for his preference in cases would have carried Mr. Lever too far. Perhaps, where authorities conflict. These “observations” in the contest between two such different modes of generally contain lucid summaries of such historical viewing life, the young stranger's ideas must have and ethnological questions as the text suggests. appeared too sensible and just; those of his new Considering the vast range of the work, the friends, too bigoted and arriere. The author darkness of the subject, and the immense number brings his hero to Ireland, from the semi-piratical of authorities consulted, it is to be presumed that naval -service of the late Colombian Republic. | oversights must have occurred in this first edition, Possessor of enormous wealth, suddenly acquired, which the author, at a future period, will correct. gifted with all the attributes of novel-heroism, and Cursory as our own perusal has been, several indesirous withal to administer his high stewardship stances have attracted our notice, where, without for the good of his fellow-beings, but, inexperi- attempting to decide between Mr. Anthon and enced in the ways of the old world, Roland be- our own former teachers, we saw that either they comes the dupe of designing adventurers, and soon or he must be wrong. Not a few passages also learns, through sad experience, that the art of might be cited where our author is in glaring condoing good, is most difficult to acquire. The tradiction with himself. For example, when we manner in which the hero illustrates the truth he read (p. 4) that the Basque was a branch of the intended to establish, is beyond all praise.

Celtic, we fancied that Mr. Anthon must have There is one character, whose presence in this discovered some new facts in philology, which overnovel we regret. It is that of Tom Linton. He turned what we had been led to consider a well is a thorough villain in high life, cold, perfidious, established theory, and which also set at nought unprincipled, and heartless. He has not one single some very agreeable hypotheses of our own there. redeeming trait. For the high intellectual facul- anent. But we found consolation at page 158, ties wherewith he is endowed, only aggravate his where the author, entrenching himself behind the enormous guilt. Not even the pride of station, or formidable authority of W. Von Humboldt, bids the pride of ambition, seems to lend one good im- us rest assured that the Basque is not of Celtic, but pulse to his callous heart. He evinces no affec- of Iberian, and, therefore, remotely, of Flemish tion for any human being. His love for the Lady origin. A conclusion, perfectly in accordance Kilgoff of the novel, is, it would seem, purposely with facts ascertained from widely different shown in a light which gives no relief to his detes- sources, and all tending to prove that the interesttable nature. It seems to have been the author's ing people who inhabit that section of France and predetermined aim to depict a monstrous embodi- Spain, where the beautiful Basque language is still ment of all that is evil. Now, we believe that the spoken, (a language which Montaigne almost reportraiture of such a character is not only a libel grets is not his own,) are the sole surviving repregainst human nature, but, also, a blunder in art. sentatives of the oldest and purest stock in Europe

- perhaps in the world. A System of Ancient and Mediaval Geogra

No maps or plans accompany the work ; phy. For the use of Schools and Colleges : By

our author refers us, in his preface, to Findley's CHARLES ANTHON, L. L. D., &c. New York:

Classical Atlas, as being " the best collection of Harper & Brothers.

classical maps for its size that has hitherto appear.

ed.” We cannot help thinking that the general Professor Anthon bids fair to leave behind him reader, who requires Professor Anthon's work the fame of the most indefatigable compiler of chiefly as a book of reference, would have been modern times. There is scarcely any walk of better pleased with a few maps, representing on classical literature which his laborious erudition

a small scale, so much of the world as Ptolemy has not invaded. He could not have applied his knew of. industrious research to a subject that stood more in need of comprehensive illustration, than ancient and mediæval geography. The reader is not to

History of William the Conqueror : By JACOB understand, from this double title, that the work

ABBOTT, with engravings. New York: Harper

& Brothers. now before us proposes, systematically, to expound the ebscure and ever changing political geography Mr. Abbott has, it seems, determined to become of the middle ages. The knowledge of the an- the Plutarch of young readers. His series of biocients concerning the continents of Europe, Asia, graphical sketches is one of the most useful proand Africa, is traced from its earliest ascertained ductions of the age. We would recommend it origin, down to the period when the subversion of not only as furnishing instruction in a pleasing and the Roman Empire effaced old boundaries from intelligible shape for the young, but also as a text the map of the world. Mediæval details are spa- book for many who have passed the age of sys

tematic tuition, and desire to gain information, without overtasking minds harassed with the daily cares of life. Nay, more: we feel certain that scholars, even of unusual attainments, could nowhere refresh their historical recollections so usefully and agreeably as in the pages of Mr. Abbott The publishers, too, have neglected nothing to make these little books acceptable in outward form. They are uniformly bound in a neat and appropriate dress. The title-pages are bright with gold, and many colored arabesques, and the cuts with which they abound, are worthy of artists of much higher pretensions. Those in the History of William the Conqueror, signed “ W. Roberts,” are beautiful specimens of art.

an imaginary character, is one of the loftiest attributes of genius.

It is to be deeply regretted that the author of Kehama did not continue these recollections down to a late period of his life. His son, who takes up the unfinished theme, suggests that the sensitive bard shrank from the further prosecution of a task, which, at the particular period where the “Recollections" end, was attended by circumstances of a painful nature. The vast number of Southey's own letters which the Curate of Plumbland intervenes in his narrative, gives it almost the air of an autobiography

Iconographic Encyclopedia of Science, Litera

Dictionary of Mechanics, Engine Work, and

Engineering. OLIVER BYRNE, Editor. D. Appleton & Co.: New York. 1850.

The Messrs. Appletons have been for some time employing the ability of very learned translators and compilers upon this truly elegant and valuable publication. We understand that they have invested a very large sum of money in the undertaking, and from the specimens before us we have formed the highest opinion of the value and success of their enterprise. Every thing in mechanics is here fully explained, and illustrated with extremely elegant illustrations, with lettered explanations, as accurate as modern attention can make them, and almost rendering the letter press unnecessary. The most complicated machinery of cloth weaving, even, of steam engines, the internal construction of boilers and furnaces, are minutely described. The number before us, which is the second of the series, contains a minute and expanded description of the Croton aqueduct. Every portion of that extraordinary work being described and represented with the minutest care. This work is a desideratum, the most elegant thing of its kind, and it carried out in the spirit of its commencement, the most valuable. Its form is large octavo, exquisitely printed on fine paper. The separate numbers are sold for 25 cents each.

ture, and Art. Rudolph Garrigue, No. 2 Barclay street, New York.

We have lying before us Part 5th of this admirable Encyclopedia. The illustrations of this portion are chiefly of Natural History ; inconographs of fish, serpents, lizards and birds, exquisitely engraved. This work is, in its way, beyond praise. In a previous number we have given a full account of it, with terms of subscription. It must have been gotten up at a vast expense. Every thing of interest in the entire range of art and science will be represented and described in this truly Encyclopedic work. The price of each number is one dollar; and contains twenty quarto plates, covered with elaborate engravings.

The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey.

Edited by his son, the Rev. CAARLES CUTHBERT SOUTHEY, M. A., Curate of Plumbland, Cumberland. New York: Harper & Brothers.

Robert Southey had passed the meridian of lise, and was in the full enjoyment of great literary renown, when he undertook, in a series of letters to his friend, John May, to retrace the eventful story of his life. The opening chapters of this autobiography, which the work now before us contains, may be considered as models of this style of writing, and are distinguished for an easy garrulousness, and a digressive fondness of detail, which no one would have expected at the hands of “ Bob Southey, raving.” Some of the characters, which his masterly hand has sketched in these rambling recollections of early life, though strongly marked with the stamp of truth, are so original, or, at least, so unusual, that they would furnish matter for any quantity of novels. The portrait of his uncle, William Tyler, would be accounted a piece of rare good fortune by some writers of fiction. The early indications of Southey's genius do not lose any of their value for being told by himself. Many dramatic writers would do well to take warning from the words of little Bob Southey, when he was about eight or nine years old : “ It is the easiest thing in the world to write a play; for, you know you have only to think what you would say, if you were in the place of the characters, and to make them say it.” Only the precocious child was not aware that this faculty of being able to place onezelf in the stead of

Elements of Natural Philosophy. A Text Book

for Academies and Colleges. By ALONZO Gray, A. M., Professor of Natural Philosophy, &c., in the Brooklyn Female Academy, Author of Elements of Chemistry, &c. Illustrated by 360 wood cuts. New York: Harper & Brothers. 1850.

We have not had leisure to examine this compilation or to estimate its particular merits as compared with others of its kind. The principles of Natural Philosophy are set forth and illustrated by the author very clearly and concisely. It has evidently been prepared by an experienced teacher; and condenses into a small space a vast amount of information.

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The Modern Housewife or Menagere. Compri

sing nearly 1000 receipts. By Alexis SOYER, author of the “ Gastronomic Regenerator.” Edited by an American Housekeeper. New York: D. Appleton & Co. 1850.

It would require a year's acquaintance with such a book as this, and a much more extensive knowledge of cookery than is expected in an editor, to pronounce upon its merits. The name of Soyer, a celebrated cook, attached to it, will ensure its popularity. It contains an immense number of economic and judicious receipts for the

preparation of every meal of the day, with those of the nursery and sick room ; together with minute directions for family management in all its branches ; and if it goes near to fulfil the promise of its title page, must be a perfect treasure for house-keepers.

of everything noticeable in the great metropolis It is a complete and satisfactory stranger's guide. One half of the volume is occupied by advertisements, directing the stranger to the best stores and wholesale business establishments. The work is illustrated by excellent steel engravings of the principal buildings, and has an excellent map of the city. Mr. Belden's opportunities for the preparation of such a work have been, to our certain knowledge, at least equal to those of any one of our citizens. It is a small volume, very neatly printed.

The Fountain of Living Waters. In a series of

sketches. By a Layman. New York: George P. Putnam. 1850.

This work is a series of religious meditations, illustrated by a very excellent wood cut of a scene on the North River.

Memoirs of the Life and Writings of the Red.

Thomas Chalmers : By his son-in-law, the Rev. WILLIAM HANNA, L. L. D. In 3 volumes. Vol 1. New York: Harper & Brothers, Publishers. 1850.

The publishers have sent us the first volume of this work. It will be received with interest by the Evangelical churches of America. It is unnecessary here to attempt any criticism, or to make any remark upon it.

saurus.

Philo. An Evangeliad. By the author of “ Mar

garet," a Tale of the Real and Ideal. Boston: Phillips, Sampson & Co. 1850.

A good neighbor who plants an offence upon his door-step, need not expect visitors; and a poet who occupies the first ten pages of his poem with the most flat, insufferable common-place, need hardly expect readers. With feelings, we confess it, of hope and expectation, we commenced the reading of this poem, and with all sincerity and gravity delivered the first few pages of it aloud ; but as the effect was directly the reverse of that intended by the author, we found it impossible to proceed. Here we have an angel coming down by appointment to meet a real Yankee, who enters into a very common-place conversation with him, and acts as a kind of cicerone to the heavenly visitant,-showing him a church, and saying “ that is a church,”-showing him pews and a pulpit, and assuring him that those are pews, and that that is a pulpit. The angel understood English, and either there are pews in heaven, which we seriously doubt—at least, not straight backed ones—or the angel had a vague notion of the meaning of the words pew and pulpit out of his dictionary, else there were little profit in telling him that this was a pew and that was a pulpit. But the absurdity of the thing is too broad for comment, and the author who could perpetrate such nonsense, is either hoaxing us, or he is a solemn trifler. This entire Evangeliad, we take it, is a mistake. The author has a theory that the ideal is to be sought in the real, but he entirely overlooks the distinction between the real and the common-place; a mortal sin in poetry.

A Romance of the Sea Serpent ; or, the Icthyo

Also, a collection of the Ancient and Modern Authorities, with Letters from Distinguished Merchants, and Men of Science. Cambridge : John Bartlett. 1849.

This is a very droll book : one-third story, onethird poetry, and the rest notes. We presume that every person who has ever seen the sea serpent, off Manhattan, or elsewhere, will desire to have a look at this book about him.

The Mirror of the Patent Office, and National

Cyclopedia of Improvements of the City of Washington : William Greer & Co., No. 177 Broadway, New York. 1849.

This, as its name purports, is a quarto publication, coming out in numbers, and containing illuştrated descriptions of new and important inventions.

New York; Past, Present, and Future : By E.

PORTER BELDEN, Projector of the “Model of New York.” New York: George P. Putnam. 1850.

In this work Mr. Belden has furnished the traveller in New York with a full statistical account

(We are compelled, for want of room, to omit noticing a number of valuable books, sent us by the publishers, but which we reserve for our succeeding number.]

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