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The Messrs. Harper of New York continue their series of Abbott's Biographies, by one of the Empress Josephine. Her interesting and sad story is told in a way well suited to engage the young, while several respectable engravings speak to the eye. This series has been received with great favor in England, as well as in this country.
The Harpers have also reprinted from the English edition Otté's translation of the third volume of Humboldt's Cosmos, a Sketch of the Physical Description of the Universe. The grand generalizations of this work, as well as the particular facts of science which it embraces, will better than any other book inform a general reader of the present attainments and limitations of physical philosophy.
C. H. Peirce & Co., of Boston, have published a second series of the Memorials of the Early Progress of Methodism in the Eastern States, by Abel Stevens. The work contains biographical notices of preachers, and sketches of the formation and struggles of the churches of that denomination. The true evangelical zeal and devotion find many heartmoving illustrations of their power in these pages. The book should feed the faith and piety of a new generation.
A. D. T. Randolph, of New York, has republished a little book under the double title of "Fruits of Leisure; or, Essays written in the Intervals of Business.” Four editions of this book, under the latter title, have been published in England. It was the first work by which we were made acquainted with the author, Mr. Helps, whose subsequent writings, particularly his “ Friends in Council,” and “Companions of my Solitude," have been received with marked favor in the world of literature.
Phillips, Sampson, & Co. have now issued, complete in forty-seven numbers, their splendid edition of Shakspeare. The type and paper, the choice engravings of the author's heroines, and the admirable apparatus of notes and illustrations which mark this edition, make it every way worthy of the encomiums which have been bestowed upon it.
D. Appleton & Co., of New York, have published a new poem by T. S. Fay, under the title of “ Ulric; or, The Voices." The author has established his reputation as a tasteful and spirited writer. There is poetry, fine language, and true sentiment in this volume, and, above all, a good moral, which can be learned only by reading the tale, - one that has interest apart from its rhythm.
Professor Park gives us in the Bibliotheca Sacra for July (printed also in a separate form)
another rejoinder to his Princeton Reviewer, under the title of " Unity even on Imputed and Involuntary Sin ; with Comments on a Second Article in the Princeton Review relating to a Convention Sermon.” Nominally this controversy relates merely to the rhetorical use of words. But it is obvious that the two disputants, at least, have in view something of higher import than the scope of metaphorical language.
The Discourse delivered by Rev. Dr. Furness, at the Ordination of Mr. Charles E. Hodges at Barre, has been published by Crosby & Nichols. It bears the title “Faith in Christ," and after a vivid statement of the perplexities which have gathered about that condition of discipleship, and a very simple definition of its terms, the preacher proceeds to apply them to the demands which are at this day made upon disciples.
A Discourse on the Unity of God, delivered in 1850 before the Charleston Unitarian Book and Tract Society, by S. Gilman, D. D., has been published in that city, together with the Managers' Report on the Thirtieth Anniversary of that Association. The pamphlet is worthy of a wide circulation, as the Discourse presents its great Scriptural truth in the forcible and candid manner most suited to work conviction.
Story Association of the Dane Law School. — The first celebration of this new Society of the Alumni and Members of the Law School at Cambridge, took place on Tuesday, July 15. The exercises consisted of Prayer by Rev. Dr. Walker, an Oration by the Hon. Rufus Choate, and an Ode by the Hon. George Lunt, in the First Church. The members then dined together in Dane Hall.
Harvard College Commencement. — The halls of Harvard have now witnessed more than two hundred Commencements. How much would it have aided the effect of this anniversary at the present day, if our fathers had had the means for erecting one solid structure, which, by its quaint and antiquated aspect, might have been a visible memorial of their own bodily presence at the first Commencement in 1642. We have not that dread which some persons entertain of a donation to a college locked up in stone and mortar. We suppose, indeed, that the objection to such a use of pecuniary bequests has been greatly strengthened, if not created, by the frequent waste of money upon unsightly and merely temporary structures. Considering the amount which the treasury of Harvard annually expends in altering and rearranging its edifices and lecture-rooms, we are satisfied that it would have been the gainer if some proper and enduring structure had been erected one or two hundred years ago. We would venture to commend to any liberal-minded man of wealth who meditates a gift to the College, that he devote it to the erection of a solid and sightly building, arranged for the reception of the libraries and cabinets of the various societies among the undergraduates, and for their regular meetings. A considerable sum of money is now accumulating by interest for the erection of a suitable chapel.
The weather on Commencement day (Wednesday, July 16) was more comfortable than is usual, and the church was filled, as it undoubtedly would have been if its capacity were doubled. The Governor and suite were escorted to Cambridge by the Lancers. The Overseers, meeting in the Library Hall, assented to the several proposals of the Corporation for bestowing the degrees which belonged as a matter of course to the various graduates of the day. Of these, sixty-one members of the Senior Class received the Degree of Bachelor of Arts ; thirty-two Alumni that of Master of Arts, twenty-three that of Doctor in Medicine, twenty-eight that of Bachelor of Laws, and four that of Bachelor in Science, which last honor was conferred for the first time, as a token of the first fruits of the Lawrence Scientific School.
The exercises in the church were of a character to answer all reasonable expectations, some of the parts exhibiting vigor and skill, while all were of a high literary standard. It becomes all mature persons who listen to such performances to consider what they ought to look for, and what ought to satisfy them as conformed to the spirit of the occasion, and to the age and circumstances of the speakers. Any thing very brilliant, positive, or independent from their lips would be pronounced pert or flippant, while very proper and judicious sentiments are called tame and commonplace. Practical men, especially some who had not the training of a college course, will often complain of the exercises at Commencement as being too much devoted to classical themes and past and foreign characters and events, to the neglect of present and domestic topics. But old wisdom is the surest and the safest, and he that looks for the morals of ancient characters and incidents, will find more in them to instruct him than in any crude dealings with the agitations and controversies of our own day, especially if young men are to speak upon them for five or ten minutes each.
The following Honorary Degrees were conferred by the President in behalf of the Corporation. That of Doctor of Divinity upon the Rev. Alonzo Hill of Worcester, Rev. Rufus Phineas Stebbins, President of Meadville Theological School, Rev. John A. Albro of Cambridge, and Rev. Stephen H. Tyng of New York. That of Doctor of Laws upon His Excellency George Sewall Boutwell, Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts; Sylvanus Thayer, Colonel of Engineers, U. S. A. ; Alexander D. Bache, Superintendent of the U. S. Coast Survey ; Joseph Henry, Director of the Smithsonian Institute, Washington, D. C. ; John J. Crittenden, Attorney-General of the United States; Benjamin F. Dunkin, Chancellor of South Carolina ; and John A. Lowell, of Boston.
The Honorary Degree of Master of Arts was conferred upon Rev. Nathaniel Hall of Dorchester ; Ormsby N. Mitchell, Director of the Astronomical Observatory at Cincinnati, Ohio ; Simeon Borden of Fall River; William R. Lee of Roxbury ; Jonathan Kimball of Lowell; James Rhoads of Philadelphia ; and John D. Runkle of Cambridge.
The tables in Harvard Hall were crowded by the Alumni at dinner, a blessing having been invoked by Rev. Dr. Kendall of Plymouth. The usual psalm — the Seventy-eighth of the Old Version – was sung, under the lead of Mr. John L. Sibley, the Assistant Librarian. President Sparks then resigned the chair to the Hon. Edward Everett, who, as President of the Association of the Alumni, introduced with appropriate remarks a list of those of the graduates who had deceased during the closing academical year. Of these, the number, as far as had been ascertained, was forty-three. Mr. Everett gave their names in the order of their graduation, with brief biographical notices, leaving to any classmate or friend to follow him at the close of the enumeration by more extended notices. Mr. Samuel Payson, of Charlestown, though not the oldest in years, was the oldest in the order of graduation who had died during the year. He belonged to the class of 1782, was the son of the Rev. Phillips Payson, predecessor of Dr. Tuckerman in the church at Chelsea, was for many years a teacher in Charlestown, and for nearly a quarter of a century cashier of the Massachusetts Bank in Boston. He was a man of many virtues, of sterling integrity, of great benevolence, and of a most winning and guileless simplicity: one of the honored gentlemen of the old school, and a Christian of the only true school. He died January 10, 1851, leaving his classmate, the Hon. John Welles of Boston, to be the College Nestor. There are survivors in every class down to the present year.
Ex-President Quincy rose to say a few words in commemoration of two of his classmates, — 1790, — whose names were on the list, though he had not known the fact of but one of them, till that moment. They were Benjamin Hasey, of Topsham, Me., and Peter Holt, of Greenfield, N. H. It was impressive and delightful to observe the stillness of the large audience, as, with all the freshness of youthful remembrance and sensibility, the venerable speaker recalled his companions of sixty-five years ago, when they entered upon their college course.
The Hon. Charles G. Loring, of the Corporation, gave a respectful and affectionate tribute to a deceased classmate.
The whole number of Graduates of Harvard College is 6,342. Of these, there are supposed to be living 2,177. Alluding to the usage by which, in the College Catalogue, an asterisk is affixed to the name of a deceased graduate, and to the summary mention in the words, “ E vivis cesserunt Stelligeri,” Mr. Everett asked why we might not say of those who have left us, “In vivos accesserunt Stelligeri.”
The Triennial Catalogue, which is published this year, makes a large increase in size at each successive appearance. The present one includes for the first time the graduates of the Theological School. We cannot but commend the care and pains which have recently been spent upon this Catalogue to ascertain all the honors which the graduates have borne in life, and the distant dates of the decease of many of them. The eagerness with which this pamphlet was sought after on Commencement Day is a token of the interest of the Alumni in their Alma Mater.
After the usual time of social intercourse had been spent around the tables, the Association of Alumni met in the hall above, Mr. Everett in the chair. The officers were reëlected, except that the place of Secretary was filled by the choice of Dr. Shurtleff of Boston, the Rev. S. K. Lothrop being abroad. It was announced by the committee that they had continued their efforts to secure a literary festival for the Alumni, and that a request was to be made of the members of the Phi Beta Kappa Society that they would, on alternate years, yield the day following Commencement to the use of this Association. At the meeting of the Phi Beta Kappa on the next day, this request was cordially acceded to; so that we may look for a pleasant occasion with all proper accompaniments in the academic week of 1852.
Changes in College Professorships. — Several changes have taken place in the College during the academic year by the termination of the labors of three professors, and the introduction of new incumbents in their respective places, as well as by new appointments to tutorships. The Erving Professorship of Chemistry and Mineralogy is now filled by Josiah Parsons Cooke, whose nomination has been confirmed by the Overseers, and who is at present in Europe. Dr. Charles Beck, having filled the Professorship of Latin for eighteen years, resigned it last year, after a term of most faithful and effective service. With all the advantages of his German training, and of his long devotion to his chosen study, he must be admirably furnished for the work of facilitating to others the labors of his own life. We hope that his easy and wellearned leisure will be spent in some attractive works which he can so well adorn by his ripe scholarship and his profound attainments. The Corporation have nominated in place of Dr. Beck, Mr. George Martin Lane, a distinguished classical scholar of the class of 1846. He also is now in Europe, pursuing the studies for which he had a taste from his earliest youth, and in which he has sought the advantages of Continental universities. His return to commence his labors with the next college term will be warmly welcomed. Mr. Edward Tyrrel Channing, having been appointed Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory in 1819, has most faithfully and laboriously discharged his duties till he resigned the office at the close of the last term. His duties have been as onerous as those of any officer of the College, requiring a diversity of tasks and a kind of work which have made large demands on patience. To one whose taste might lead him to choose only the best compositions in the language, it must have been a somewhat irksome task to correct the themes of students, to read over every week a pile of letter-sheets, – such as they
- written in every conceivable strain of flatulency, bombast, stilted extravagance, commonplace, or inanity, with occasional, perhaps not rare, specimens of genius. To find the subjects suited for themes for so many writers requires some considerable pains. To be able always to discover when a student has preferred to be indebted to some writer already in print rather than to draw upon his own brain, implies a considerable amount of reading and an acquired watchfulness. It is easy to imagine that a college professor in this department might need to be constantly alert and well furnished with a large charity for tyros, as well as disposed to extend to the utmost limits of allowance all the phenomena which could be brought within the compass of the fact, that the same thought, and even the same words, may occur to two or more writers when dealing with the same subject. There is even a tradition that the excellent Professor was once astounded by the presentation of the same theme in duplicate by two young gentlemen of the same class. The youth who began each line with a capital letter, and who met the suggestion of the Professor, that it was not well to have his sentences all
of a length and all so short as they appeared to be, by announcing that the theme was written in blank verse, must have been relieved by the exclamation, “Oh! Poetry? Is it? O, that accounts for it !!! But who of us that has passed under the discipline does not rejoice over it? Who of his pupils does not remember with gratitude the pruning skill and good taste shown in the suggestions of the Professor, and smile inwardly at the remembrance of his good-humored, but sometimes keen, criticism upon bathos, vulgarism, or nonsense ? “What makes you read that sentence aloud, and emphasize it in so marked a manner ? has doubtless been the question suppressed only by the teeth of many a nervous sufferer, when an unfortunate passage has been uttered in the hearing of laughing classmates. Yet the discipline, the humor, the almost drollery and raillery, were all good. We return our cordial and