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thorough investigation and faithful record. He appears to have entered upon his willing task with enthusiasm, and he has accomplished it with great success. The very many persons who have had occasion to consult the author on historical subjects, whilst performing his official duties in the Library of Harvard College, and the still larger number who have noticed the scrupulous fidelity and unsparing efforts which he has repeatedly bestowed on the dry but highly important Triennial Catalogue, will feel assured of the thoroughness of his researches and of the gen. eral accuracy of his statements. The inhabitants of Union may with truth assert, that they now possess a more full and complete history from the beginning, than has ever before been written of any other town. The minuteness of the details is wonderful. As an instance of this we may mention that, in the chapter on population, we have the name and age, on the first day of June, 1850, of every man, woman, and child in the town, with figures to indicate the neighborhood and locality of the different families. In the same chapter the respective birthplaces of those inhabitants who were not born in the State of Maine are stated; the number of farmers and mechanics is given; and also of the blind, the insane, the idiots, and the paupers. Almost every thing pertaining to the affairs of the town is related with equal minuteness. Of course, there are many things in the volume, which, although highly important and interesting to the inhabitants of Union, have only a local value. But, besides these, there is a considerable portion relating to the ecclesiastical and educational affairs, the manners and customs of the people, and the dif. ficulties and struggles of the early settlers, which is of general interest. It is from such particular and elaborate, though unpretending, accounts as Mr. Sibley has given of the country church, the village school, the town-meeting, the military muster, etc., that the student of history is to catch the true spirit of former times. Had we space, we should gladly enlarge on several subjects suggested by the perusal of this volume, and have furnished extracts which would do the author more justice than our brief remarks.
Literary Reminiscences; from the Autobiography of an English
Opium-Eater. By Thomas De Quincey. In two volumes. Bouton : Ticknor, Reed, & Fields. 1851. 16mo. pp. 366, 337.
These volumes are partly autobiographical and partly critical. They present some incidental notices of Mr. De Quincey's personal history; but they mainly have reference to the distin
guished literary men with whom he was brought in contact dur. ing his long residence at Grasmere. Among these, Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Southey hold the most prominent position, and much the largest space is devoted to them. There are also two pleasant chapters relating to Charles Lamb, and reminiscen. ces of Sir Humphrey Davy, Mr. Roscoe, William Godwin, Charles Loyd, Walking Stewart, as he was called, Mrs. Grant of Laggan, Miss Elizabeth Smith, and others of lesser note, in. terspersed with anecdotes illustrating the habits and feelings of the inhabitants of the mountainous districts in the North of Eng. land. Perhaps the most interesting portions of the work are those treating of Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Lamb. The earlier chapters are, however, all written in a more genial vein than the latter portions. Indeed, a very great inequality is discoverable in the work; and there are some needless repetitions. These defects are doubtless attributable to the fact, that its contents were originally written at different periods, and also, we be. lieve, for different periodicals.
Some of the more unamiable traits of Mr. De Quincey's character are likewise brought into notice in the volumes before us. From the peculiar constitution of his mind, and perhaps, also, from the habits of his early life and his success in overcoming those habits, he is apt to be narrow and positive. In truth, his intense self.consciousness, if it were not grounded upon such vast stores of learning, would be simply ridiculous, as in any view it is suf. ficiently painful. It is exceedingly difficult for him to conceive the possibility of his committing a mistake, or that any one can understand a subject as well as himself. Of John Locke, for instance, he speaks in the most supercilious manner, and perversely undervalues the philosophy of that great and powerful thinker. This, however, may arise in some degree from his dislike of Locke's politics. Mr. De Quincey is himself a Tory of no very mild stamp; and whenever he has occasion to speak of the Whigs his partisanship becomes clearly apparent. To the same general reason we are disposed to attribute a part of the vehemence which marks his attacks on Addison in the otherwise splendid papers upon Shakspeare and Pope, originally printed in the Encyclopædia Britannica. In speaking of Wordsworth, the tendency of Mr. De Quincey's remarks is to exalt his poetry at the expense of his personal character, which is represented as hard, arrogant, ungenerous, and one-sided. His poetry, on the other hand, is extolled in the highest terms of praise and admi. ration. For our own part, we are not among those who are prepared to admit the validity of Wordsworth's claims to the posi. tion as a poet to which his friends think him entitled, while his personal character hardly appears to us so unamiable as it is repVOL. LI. — 4Th S. VOL. XVI. NO. III.
resented by Mr. De Quincey. It is clear from what our author himself says, that, in drawing Wordsworth's character, he was smarting under the recollection of what he regarded as personal insults. So, too, in speaking of Coleridge's wife, the remembrance of old grievances comes up to give point to his sarcasms. But in writing of Charles Lamb, nearly all that is written indicates kindness and good feeling ; and those delightful chapters, with the introductory chapter on his Literary Novitiate, and the curious chapter in literary history on Walladmor, would be sufficient in themselves to create a large popularity for the volumes. Nor should we be surprised if they were the most popular of Mr. De Quincey's works which have hitherto been reprinted.
If we were writing a review of these volumes we should feel constrained to animadvert at some length upon our author's defence of duelling in the last chapter ; but in a brief notice we can only express our entire dissent from his views. A single extract will show what those views are; and it is not easy to see how a more complete reductio ad absurdum of his argument could be made than is offered in his own language. Speaking of duelling he says: “The actual basis upon which reposes the security of us all, the peace of our wives and our daughters, and our own immunity from the vilest degradations under their eyes, is the necessity, known to every gentleman, of answering for his outrages in a way which strips him of all unfair advantages, except one (which is not often possessed), which places the weak upon a level with the strong, and the quiet citizen upon a level with the military adventurer, or the ruffian of the gambling. house.” In other words, our personal security, and “ the peace of our wives and our daughters,” depend on the practice of duelling. That a man of Mr. De Quincey's extraordinary intellectual powers should entertain such a notion indicates a strange idiosyn. crasy.
With these remarks we take leave of Mr. De Quincey's works for the present, hoping that Mr. Fields, who has edited the series thus far in a manner deserving the highest commendation, will continue to give us still more of these eloquent and striking productions.
A Book of Romances, Lyrics, and Songs. By BAYARD TAYLOR.
Boston : Ticknor, Reed, & Fields. 1852. 16mo. pp. 155.
MR. Taylor, though still a young man, has obtained a considable degree of popularity. He first became known by the pub. lication of a very entertaining book of European travels, called " Views Afoot," which passed through several editions. Since then he has published à volume of ballads and other poems under the title of “ Rhymes of Travel,” showing a marked improvement over his previous work, and two volumes of personal observations in California, entitled “ El Dorado.” The volume before us consists mostly of pieces which are now printed for the first time ; but a few have appeared in the various periodicals to which he has been a frequent contributor. They are of vari. ous degrees of merit, and display an easy versification, a moder. ate fancy, and a winning tenderness of feeling. The principal poem in the collection is called “ Mon-da-Min, or the Romance of Maize," and is founded on an Indian legend narrated by Mr. Schoolcraft. The story itself is much more simple and beautiful than most. Indian fancies, and is very gracefully versified. The other pieces which strike us most favorably are Hylas, Manuela, Adrift, The Two Visions, and some of the small poems. It is, however, in ballad poetry that our author succeeds best ; and we trust that we shall again hear from him in that path, or in a fresh volume of travels, the fruit of his present wander. ings in the Old World.
1. Fleming and Tibbins's French Dictionary abridged, with
Tables of the Verbs, by Charles Picot. Edited by J. Dobson. Philadelphia : E. H. Butler & Co. 1851. 12mo. pp. xxviii.
and 724. 2. The Serial and Oral Method of Teaching Languages; adapt
ed to the French. By L. MANESCA. Philadelphia : Thomas,
Cowperthwait, & Co. 1851. 12mo. pp. xxviii. and 535. 3. French Reader. By the same. 1851. 12mo. pp. 286 and 26.
These are text-books of very great merit. The Dictionary is by far the most complete within our knowledge, containing a large number of technical, colloquial, and newly coined words, such as we meet in French books of the day, and are usually compelled to interpret by analogy or conjecture. Manesca's father was the author of the Ollendorf method, which the son has embodied with judgment and skill in his first book, and to the further development of which the second is happily adapted.
Cicero on the Immortality of the Soul, with English Notes.
By Thomas Chase, Tutor in Harvard College. Cambridge: Published by John Bartlett. 1851. 16mo. pp. 225.
This book contains every thing written by Cicero directly upon death and the survival of the soul, - writings of remarkable per. spicuity, elevation, and
and on a theme of transcen. dent interest. The editor has also collected here nearly all the
incidental allusions to the subject of immortality to be found in the voluminous works of the splendid Roman. A few such passages, however, we miss; for instance, the close of the first oration against Catiline. “ Tum tu Jupiter, . .. hunc et hujus socios ... . æternis suppliciis vivos mortuosque mactabis.” The ad. mirable and copious notes, drawn from the best sources, and the excellent Introduction, furnished by Mr. Chase, reveal a clear and discriminating judgment, purity of rhetorical taste, and choice and abundant critical information. They are alike a credit to the young editor, and a favor to the student.
Memoir of Edward Bickersteth. New York: Harper & Broth
2 vols. 12mo. pp. 398, 409. We have read these volumes, and thereat take to ourselves a considerable share of credit; for although prefaced by an introduction from the elegant pen of Dr. Ting, they are more repulsive than attractive. They have few graces of style to recommend them, and none of the fervors of a poetic spirit
. They are vi. tiated from beginning to end by a narrow orthodoxy, and abound in almost every page with the expletives and cant phrases of a sect.
And yet we have read the book with profit. Few works better show what a devout, earnest, self-forgetting, and self-devoted spirit may do; how much a single man, without superior original gifts, by his own energies, unaided except from above, never diverted, never suffered to relax, but consecrated to one great object, may accomplish. Mr. Bickersteth was a shrewd man and of an indomitable spirit, and in this view he takes a foremost rank among the Evangelical ministers and reformers of the age. In his sphere, he went along with the Buxtons of our own and the Baxters of Puritan times. His name has become associated with all the great social and religious movements of the day, and his memory is held dear by a large body of Evangelical churchmen in England and our own country.
He was born in Westmoreland, in 1786, and in early youth placed in the office of a solicitor in London, with the design of being educated as a lawyer. Here he displayed the same traits which distinguished him through his long life. We see him thus entering on a course of rigid religious discipline which he never relinquished, and of active charity which became more varied and grew with his course. At length he finds that he has mistaken bis profession, that his sympathy, tastes, and habits all point to the Christian ministry. He renounces the business of the office, begins life again, enters upon a preparation for the ministry, and at length, at the age of tweniy-nine, assumes the duties of his new profession. But scarcely has he been ordained when he