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In the rural districts, with the exception of a A friend sends us the following brief notice of small number of remote localities, which remain a new historical work issued at Paris :strangers to the movement of civilization, and are, “The Reign of Louis XI., by Benazet, is the in a manner, isolated from the crowd who carry most interesting work I have read for a long time. with them their vices—in these parts of the coun- The author represents Louis as sagacious and cuntry doubt and indifference have made sad havoc. ning, but not cruel, as we have been heretofore led If the law o God is not entirely dead in their to suppose him ; exceedingly placable, and having hearts, it languishes; it no longer inspires them the interest of France deeply at heart—but grossly to act, and very little would be required to extir- superstitious, and, like all such persons, very much pate it altogether. Trite and vulgar objections afraid of sickness and death. By him the postal against religion ; raillery and ridicule, added to im- communications were established; and he did piety, against sacred things, have found their way much towards improving the condition of the lower into the villages without the aid of instruction, orders. On the whole, Mr. Benazet thinks the without the help of books or newspapers. It is reign one of the most brilliant, and Louis one of sufficient for this purpose that travelling colporteurs the wisest kings, that France has known. The or pedlars run over France distributing everything style of this volume is chaste, and the narrative that is bad, and thus ministering to evil passions. happily carried out. The novelty of the views--Add to this, multitudes of soldiers, who are, it is which are rendered specious at least-forms a true, taught and disciplined in their garrisons and strong attraction, and makes the book doubly in barracks, where they learn anything but to love structive.” and serve God—who may bring into villages habits of order and industry, but who too often lavish
The Jamaica legislature was opened at the unuinsult and abuse upon religion and its ministers. sually early period of the 19th October, in order to We must not delude ourselves. Religion has provide for a great falling off in the produce of the nothing to lose, she has everything to gain. The to reduce the income below the point of expenditure.
import-duties; probably not so great, however, as supposed moral superiority of the peasant, at this In his opening speech, the governor admitted the moment, is an error which every one will acknowl- depressed condition of the colony. He warned the edge who has studied the question. We must legislature that the English parliament would not look into Idyls for pictures of rural innocence; retract its steps in the direction of free trade, so as every curate knows too well the truth on the sub- to restore protection for the produce of British colject, and if he dreads the propagation of letters or had a 'strong claim to relief by a further reduction
onies; but he declared his own opinion that they rudiments, it is that, owing to the general indiffer- of duty on their own sugars and rum, if the finances ence of spirit and laxity of morals, everything be- of England would bear it. He did not entertain comes a subject of terror for him, and he fears much expectation of advantage to the colony from that every change may only produce an aggra- the immigration of labor ; but he felt sure that the vation of evil. The state of things is also as dis- slave-trade would not last long in the face of treatressing in those parts of the country which remain ties against it ; and after it should have ceased, the plunged in ignorance as in those where education migration to the West Indies.
Africans would learn to estimate the advantages of
In their reply to has made some progress ; with this difference, that, this speech, the house of assembly made a last and in the first mentioned, the passions of the people earnest appeal to the government and parliament of are sheer brutal—vice has an utterly gross char- Great Britain “ to adopt such measures for the acter which is revolting to the heart. In the one relief of the colony, by the remission of the duties -observes a writer, (M. Cormenin,) who cannot on colonial produce or otherwise, as may, by susbe accused of calumniating the people—they be- taining the value of private property, enable the lieve all sorts of superstitions—the quack instead faith with the public creditor.”. The assembly
island to support its public institutions and maintain of the physician; the sorcerer rather than the declared itself " ready to provide for the contingencurate ; the devil whom they fear, and not God cies of the island to the 30th December, 1848, in the of whom they have no idea ; power, which fervent hope that ere the termination of that period oppresses, and not the law which protects; the case of the island will have been considered and self-interest, which appropriates the wealth of ample relief granted by the Imperial Parliament :” others to itself, and not justice which commands but intimated that, in the present state of the island, them to respect their neighbors' property. In the eration of any measure involving the further expen
it could not “ with propriety proceed to the considother, they believe nothing-everywhere the wor diture of the public money.”' ship of money has superseded that of God; a withei . ing egotism has taken possession of every indi
Forty-THREE officers of the Thirteenth Light vidual ; personal interest is the sole motive of Dragoons are said to have been compelled to quit
the regiment since 1810, in consequence of the exaction ; an insatiable avarice pervades all hearts,
travagant expenditure on the regimental mess.and they seek to satisfy it by every possible means Globe. -by cunning, roguery, and by attacks upon property ; by domestic theft, and by seizing the land
A man having thrown a stone instead of an apple lords' crops. They do not forge, because they do other day, the elephant was so incensed at the trick,
into an elephant's mouth at Lutterworth fair, the not know how to write ; but the course of justice that with one blow of his trunk he felled the ofis always fettered by false witnesses bribed by a fender; who was only rescued from further punishvery low price.
ment by the bystanders' dragging him away.
1. The Life and Writings of Shelley,
North British Review, 2. The Maiden Aunt,
Sharpe's Magazine, 3. Tuition of Idiots,
Chambers' Journal, 4. Truman Henry Safford, 5. Spain, the United States, and Mexico,
El Heraldo, 6. Aifairs in Mexico,
N. Y. Courier, 7. Ruin of Ireland,
Spectator, 8. Foreign Correspondence,
For the Living Age, SCRAPS.- Man's Lasting Works, 66–The Bridge at the Falls ; Funeral of Chancellor Kent,
67— Miscellany, 78, 90 and 95.
49 68 79 82 85 86 87 91
PROSPECTUS.-Ius work is conducted in the spirit of now becomes every intelligent American to be informeu Mittell's Museum of Foreigo Literature, (which was favor- of the condition and changes of foreign countries. And ably received by the public for twenty years,) but as it is this not only because of their nearer connection with oirtwice as large, and appears so often, we not only give selves, but because the nations seem to be hastening, spirit and freshness to il by many things which were ex- through a rapid process of change, to some new state of cluded by a month's delay, but while thus extending our things, which the merely political prophet cannot compute scope and gathering a greater and more attractive variety, or foresee. are able so to increase the solid and substantial part of Geograpbical Discoveries, the progress of Colonization, our literary, historical, and political harvest, as fully to (which is extending over the whole world,) and Voyages satisfy the wants of the American reader.
and Travels, will be favorite matter for our selections ; The elaborate and stately Essays of the Edinburgh, and, in general, we shall systematically and very ully Quarterly, and other Reviews; and Blackwood's noble acquaint our readers with the great department of Foreigu Criticisms' on Poetry, his keen political Commentaries, affairs, without entirely neglecting our own. highly wrought Tales, and vivia descriptions of rural and While we aspire to make the Living Age desirahle to mountain Scenery ; and the contributions to Literature, all who wish to keep themselves informed of the rapid History, and Common Life, by the sagacious Spectator, progress of the movement—to Statesmen, Divines, Law. the sparkling Eraminer, the judicious Athenæum, the yers, and Physicians—to men of business and men of busy and industrious Literary Gazette, the sensible and leisure-it is still a stronger object to make it attractive comprehensive Britannia, the sober and respectable Chris- and useful to their Wives and Children. We believe that tian Observer; these are intermixed with the Military we can thus do some good in our day and generation ; and and Naval reminiscences of ine United Service, and with hope to make the work indispensahle in every well-in. the best articles of the Dublin University, New Monthly, formed family. We say indispensable, because in this Fraser's, Tait's, Ainsworth's, Hord's, and Sporting Mag- day of cheap literature it is not possible to guard against azines, and of Chambers' admirable Journal. We do not the influx of what is bad in taste and vicious in morals, consider it beneath our dignity to borrow wit and wisdom in any other way than by furnishing a sufficient supply from Punch; and, when we think it good enough, make of a healthy character. The mental and moral appetite use of the thunder of The Times. We shall increase our must be gratified. variety by importations from the continent of Europe, and We hope that, by "winnoring the wheat from the from the new growth of the British colonies.
chaff" by providing abundant!y for the imagination, and The steamship has brought Europe, Asia, and Africa, by a large collection of Biography, Voyages and Travels, into our neighborhood ; and will greatly multiply our con- History, and more solid matter, we may produce a work mections, as Merchants, Travellers, and Politicians, with which shall be popular, while at the same time it will all parts of the world ; so that much more than ever it | aspire to raise the standard of public taste.
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WASHINGTON, 27 Dec., 1845. Of all the Periodical Journals devoted to literature and science which abound in Europe and in this country, this has appeared to me to be the most useful. It contains indeed the exposition only of the current literature of the English language, but this by its immense extent and comprehension includes a portraiture of the human mind in the utmost expansion of the present age.
J. Q. ADAMS,
LITTELL'S LIVING AGE.—No. 192.-15 JANUARY, 1848.
From Blackwood's Magazine. a peculiar mystery attached to one phenomenon of
nature more than another, is essentially poetic. EMERSON.
Several poets, our Campbell amongst the number, The genius of America seems hitherto disposed have complained that the laws of optics have disto manifest itself rather in works of reason and re-enchanted the rainbow ; but the analysis of Newflection than in those displays of poetic fervor ton is poetry itself compared to that instance of the which are usually looked for in a nascent literature. daring and levelling spirit of science which FrankAnd a little consideration would lead us, probably, lin exhibited, when he proved the lightning to be to expect this. America presents itself upon the plain electricity; took the bolts of Jupiter, analyzed scene, enters into the drama of the world, at a them, bottled them in Leyden jars, and experitime when the minds of men are generally awak- mented on them as with the sparks of his own ened and excited to topics of grave and practical electrical machine. importance. It is not a great poem that mankind As the first efforts of American genius were in now want or look for; they rather demand a great the paths of grave and searching inquiry, so, too, work, or works, on human society, on the momen- at this present moment, if we were called upon tous problems which our social progress, as well as to point out amongst the works of our trans-Atlanour social difficulties, alike give rise to. If on a tic brethren, our compatriots still in language, the new literature a peculiar mission could be imposed, one which, above all others, displayed the unsuch would probably be the task assigned to it. doubted marks of original genius—it would be a
The energetic and ceaseless industry of the peo- prose work, and one of a philosophical character ple of America, the stern and serious character of we should single out :-we should point to the the founders of New England, the tendency which writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson. democracy must necessarily encourage to reason The Americans are frequently heard to lament much and boldly on the interests of the community the absence of nationality in their literature. Per
--would all lead us to the same anticipation ; so haps no people are the first to perceive their own far as any anticipation can be warranted, regarding character reflected in the writings of one of their the erratic course and capricious development of countrymen ; this nationality is much more open literary genius.
to the observation of a foreigner. We are quite The first contribution, we believe, our libraries sure that no French or German critic could read received from America, was the half theological, the speculations of Emerson, without tracing in half metaphysical treatise on the Will by Jonathan them the spirit of the nation to which this writer Edwards. This follower of Calvin is understood belongs. The new democracy of the New World to have stated the gloomy and repulsive doctrines is apparent, he would say, in the philosophy of of his master with an unrivalled force of logic. one who yet is no democrat, and, in the ordinary Such is the reputation which Edwards on the Will sense of the word, no politician. For what is the enjoys, and we are contented to speak from repu- prevailing spirit of his writings ? Self-reliance, tation. The doctrine of necessity, even when in- and the determination to see in the man of to-day, telligently applied to the circle of human thoughts in his own, and in his neighbor's mind, the elements and passions, is not the most inviting tenet of of all greatness. Whatever the most exalted charphilosophy. It is quickly learned, and what little acters of history, whatever the most opulent of fruit it yields is soon gathered. But when com- literatures, has displayed or revealed, of action or bined with the theological dogma, wrung from texts of thought--the germ of all lies within yourself. of Scripture, of predestination ; when the law of This is his frequent text. What does he say of necessity supposed to regulate the temper and affairs history ? “I have no expectation that any man of the human being in this little life, is converted will read history aright, who thinks that what was into a divine sentence of condemnation to a future done in a remote age, by men whose names have and eternal fate—it then becomes one of the most resounded far, has any deeper sense than what he odious and irrational of tenets that ever obscured is doing today.” He is, as he describes himself, the reason or clouded the piety of mankind. We an endless seeker of truth, with no past at his confess, therefore, that we are satisfied with re- back.” He delights to raise the individual existechoing the traditional reputation of Jonathan Ed-ing mind to the level, if not above the level, of all: wards, without earning, by perusal of his work, that has been thought or enacted. He will not the right to pronounce upon its justice.
endure the imposing claims of antiquity, of great The first contribution, also, which America made nations, or of great names. “It is remarkable,” to the amount of our knowledge, was of a scientifiche says, " that involuntarily we always read as character, and, moreover, the most anti-poetical superior beings. Universal history, the poets, the imaginable. As such, at least, it must, be de- romancers, do not, in their stateliest pictures, in scribed by those who are accustomed to think that the sacerdotal, the imperial palaces, in the triunphs
of will or of genius, anywhere make us feel thats wear out virtue ?”! And in a more sublime mood we intrude, that this is for our betters, but rather he proceeds : “Whenever a mind is simple, and is it true that in their grandest strokes, there we receives a divine wisdom, then old things pass away feel most at home. All that Shakspeare says of —means, teachers, texts, temples fall. Whence, the king, yonder slip of a boy that reads in the cor- then, this worship of the past? The centuries are -, feels to be true of himself.”
conspirators against the sanity and majesty of the Neither do the names of foreign cities, any more soul.
Man is timid and apologetic. than that of ancient nations, overawe or oppress him. He is no longer upright. He dares not say, 'I Of travelling, he says, “I have no churlish objection think,' 'I am,' but quotes some saint or sage. He to the circumnavigation of the globe, for the pur- is ashamed before the blade of grass or the blowposes of art, of study, and benevolence, so that the ing rose. These roses under my window make man is first domesticated, or does not go abroad no reference to former roses, or to better ones ; with the hope of finding somewhat greater than he they are for what they are ; they exist with God knows. He who travels to be amused, or to get to-day. There is no time to them. There is somewhat which he does not carry, travels away simply the rose -perfect in every moment of its from himself and grows old even in youth among existence. But man postpones or remembers ; he old things. In Thebes, in Palmyra, his will and does not live in the present, but with reverted eye mind have become old and dilapidated as they. laments the past, or, heedless of the riches that He carries ruins to ruins. Travelling is a fool's surround him, stands on tiptoe to foresee the future. paradise. We owe to our first journeys the dis- He cannot be happy and strong until he, too, lives covery that place is nothing. At home, I dream with nature in the present, above time." that at Naples, at Rome, I can be intoxicated with Surely these quotations alone which we have beauty, and lose my sadness. I pack my trunk, made with the additional motive of introducing at embrace my friends, embark on the sea, and at last once to our readers the happier style and manner wake up in Naples, and there beside me is the of the American philosopher-would bear out the stern fact, the sad self, unrelenting, identical, that French or German critic in their views of the I fled from. I seek the Vatican and the palaces. nationality of this author. The spirit of the New I affect to be intoxicated with sights and sugges-World, and of a self-confident democracy, could tions, but I am not intoxicated. My giant goes not be more faithfully translated into the language with me wherever I go.”
of a high and abstract philosophy than it is here. In a still higher strain he writes, “ There is We say that an air blowing from prairie and forest, one mind common to all individual men. Every and the New Western World, is felt in the tone man is an inlet to the same, and to all of the same. and spirit of Emerson's writings; we do not intend He that is once admitted to the right of reason is to intimate that the opinions expressed in them are made a freeman of the whole estate. What Plato at all times such as might be anticipated from an has thought he may think; what a saint has felt American. Far from it. Mr. Emerson regards he may feel ; what at any time has befallen any the world from a peculiar point of view, that of an man he can understand. Who hath access to this idealistic philosophy. Moreover, he is one of universal mind, is a party to all that is or can be those wilful, capricious, though powerful, thinkers, done, for this is the only and sovereign agent.” whose opinions it would not be very easy to an*This passage is taken from the commencement of ticipate, who balk all prediction, who defy augury. the Essay on History, and the essay entitled “ Na For instance, a foreigner might naturally expect ture," opens with a similar sentiment. He dis- to find in the speculations of a New England phiclaims the retrospective spirit of our age that would losopher, certain sanguine and enthusiastic views
put the living generation into masquerade out of of the future condition of society. He will not find the faded wardrobe of the past.” He will not see them here. Our idealist levels the past to the through the eyes of others. “Why should not we present, but he levels the future to the present also," he demands, enjoy an original relation to also. If with him all that is old is new, so also the universe? Why should not we have a poetry all that is new is old. It is still the one great uniand philosophy of insight, and not of tradition, and versal mind—like the great ocean—ebbing, flowa religion by revelation to us, and not the history ing, in tempest now, and now in calm. He will of theirs? The sun shines to-day also ! Let us not join the shout that sees a new sun rising on demand our own works, and laws, and worship.” the world. For ourselves, (albeit little given to
In the Essay on Self-reliance—a title which the too sanguine mood,) we have more hope here might over-ride a great portion of his writings—he than our author has expressed. We by no means says :
“Our reading is mendicant and sycophantic. subscribe to the following sentence. The measure In history, our imagination makes fools of us, plays of truth it expresses—and so well expresses, us false. Kingdom and lordship, power and es- bears but a small proportion to the whole truth. tate, are a gaudier vocabulary than private John “ All men plume themselves on the improvement and Edward in a small house and common day's of society, and no man improves. Society never work : but the things of life are the same to both : advances. It recedes as fast on one side as it gains the sum total of both is the same. Why all this on the other. It undergoes continual changes : it deference to Alfred, and Scanderberg, and Gus- is barbarous, it is civilized, it is christianized, it is tavus ? Suppose they were virtuous; did they rich, it is scientific; but this change is not amelio
ration. For everything that is given, something Constantinople. What does Rome know of rat or is taken. Society acquires new arts and loses old lizard? What are Olympiads and Consulates to instincts. What a contrast between the well-clad, these neighboring systems of being ?” reading, writing, thinking American, with a watch, Or this : Why should we make it a point to a pencil, and a bill of exchange in his pocket, and disparige that man we are, and that form of being the naked New Zealander, whose property is a assigied to us ? A good man is contented. I club, a spear, a mat, and an undivided twentieth love and honor Epaminondas, but I do not wish to of a shed to sleep under. But compare the health be Epaminondas. I hold it more just to love the of the two men, and you shall see that this aboriginal vorld of this hour, than the world of his hour. strength the white man has lost. If the traveller Nor can you, if I am true, excite me to the least tell us truly, strike the savage with a broad axe, uneasiness by saying he acted and thou sittest and in a day or two the flesh shall unite and heai still.' I see action to be good, when the need is, as if you struck the blow into soft pitch, and the and sitting still to be also good. Epaminondas, if same blow shall send the white to his grave. The he was the man I take him for, would have sat civilized man has built a coach, but has lost the still with joy and peace, if his lot had been mine. use of his feet. He is supported on crutches, but Heaven is large, and affords space for all modes loses so much support of muscle. He has got a of love and fortitude. Why should we be busyfine Geneva watch, but he has lost the skill to tell bodies, and superserviceable ? Action and inaction the hour by the sun. A Greenwich n:utical al are alike to the true.
Besides, why manac he has, and so being sure of the information should we be cowed by the name of action ? 'Tis when he wants it, the man in the street does not a trick of the senses no more. We know that know a star in the sky. The solstize he does not the ancestor of every action is a thought. The observe : the equinox he knows as little ; and the rich mind lies in the sun and sleeps, and is nature. whole bright calendar of the year is without a dial To think is to act.” in his mind. His note-books impair his memory ; Or if one were to put down the name of Sir his libraries overload his wit ; che insurance office Thomas Brown as the author of such a sentence increases the number of accdents; it may be a. as the following, are there many who would dequestion whether machiner does not encumber ; tect the cheat? “ I like the silent church, before whether we have not lost by refinement some ener- the service begins, better than any preaching. gy, by a Christianity (entenched in establishments How far off, how cool, how chaste the persons and forms) some vigor of wild virtue. For every look, begirt each one with a precinct or sanctuary ; stoic was a stoic; but in Christendom where is the so let us always sit. Why should we assume the Christian?"
faults of our friend, or wife, or father, or child, A French critic has designated Emerson the because they sit around our hearth, or are said to American Montaigie, struck, we presume, by his in- have the same blood ?” dependence of mainer, and a certain egotism which But Emerson is too original a mind to be either when accompaned by genius is as attractive, as it a Montaigne or a Sir Thomas Brown. He lives, is ludicrous winout that accompaniment. An Eng- too, in quite another age, and moves in a higher lish reader wil be occasionally reminded of the man- region of philosophy than either of them. The ner of Sir Thomas Brown, author of the “ Religio utmost that can be said is, that he is of the same Medici." Like Sir Thomas, he sometimes startles class of independent, original thinkers, somewhat us by a curiosity of reflection, fitted to suggest and wayward and fitful, who present no system, or kindle thought, although to a dry logician it may none that is distinctly and logically set forth, but seem a mere futility, or the idle play of imagination. cast before us many isolated truths expressed in Of course this similarity is to be traced only in vivid, spontaneous eloquence. single and detached passages ; but we think we This class of writers may be described as one couid select several quotations from the American whose members, though not deficient in the love writer which should pass off as choice morsels of of truth, are still more conspicuous for their love Sir Thomas Brown, with one who was familiar of thought. They crave intellectual excitement ; with the strain of thought of the old Englishman, they have a genuine, inexhaustible ardor of reflecbut whose memory was not of that formidable ex- tion. They are not writers of systems, for paactness as to render vain all attempt at imposition. tience would fail them to traverse the more arid Take the following for an instance :-“I hold our parts of their subject, or those where they have actual knowledge very cheap. Hear the rats in nothing new, nothing of their own to put forth. the wall, see the lizard on the fence, the fungus The task of sifting and arranging materials that under foot, the lichen on the log. What do I have passed a thousand times through the hands know sympathetically, morally, of either of these of others, does not accord with their temperament. worlds of life? As long as the Caucasian man Neither are they fond of retracing their own steps, perhaps longer-these creatures have kept their and renewing, from the same starting-place, the council beside him, and there is no record of any same inquiry. They are off to fresh pastures. word or sign that has passed from the one to the They care not to be ruffling the leaves of the old other.
I am ashamed to see what manuscript, revising, qualifying, expunging. They a shallow village tale our so-called history is. How would rather brave all sorts of contradictions and many times we must say Rome, and Paris, and go on, satisfied that to an ingenuous reader their