INTERNATIONAL WEEKLY MISCELLANY
Of Literature, Art, and Science.
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Vol. I. NEW YORK, AUGUST 19, 1850. No. 8.
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THE THEATER IN RUSSIA AND POLAND.
The following interesting sketch of the Drama in the empire of the Czar is translated for the International from the Leipzig Grenzboten. The facts it states are not only new to most readers, but throw incidentally a good deal of light on the condition of that vast empire, and the state of its population in respect of literature and art in general:
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The dramatic taste of a people, the strength of its productive faculty, the gradual development of its most popular sphere of art, the theater, contain the key to phases of its character which cannot always be recognized with the same exactness from other parts of its history. The tendencies and disposition of the mass come out very plainly in their relations to dramatic art, and from the audience of an evening at a theater some inference may be drawn as to the whole political scope of the nation. In truth, however, this requires penetration as well as cautious judgment.
In the middle of the last century there were in the kingdom of Poland, beside the royal art institutions at Warsaw, four strong dramatic companies, of genuine Polish stamp, which gave performances in the most fashionable cities. Two of them were so excellent that they often had the honor to play before the court. The peculiarity of these companies was that they never performed foreign works, but literally only their own. The managers were either themselves poets, or had poets associated with them in business. Each was guided by his poet, as Wallenstein by his astrologer. The establishment depended on its dramatic ability, while its performances were limited almost exclusively to the productions of its poet. The better companies, however, were in the habit of making contracts with each other, by which they exchanged the plays of their dramatists. This limitation to native productions perhaps grew partly out of the want of familiarity with foreign literature, partly from national feeling, and partly from the fact that the Polish taste was as yet little affected by that of the Germans, French, or English. In these circumstances there sprung up a poetic creative faculty, which gave promise of a good and really national drama. And even now, after wars, revolutions, and the schemes of foreign rulers have alternately destroyed and degraded the stage, and after the Poles have become poetically as well as politically mere satellites of French ideas and culture, there still exist, as respectable remains of the good old time, a few companies of players, which, like their ancient predecessors, have their own poets, and perform only his pieces, or at least others of Polish origin that he has arranged and adapted. Such a company, whose principal personage is called Richlawski, is now in Little Poland, in the cities Radom, Kielce, Opatow, Sandomir, &c. A second, which generally remains in the Government of Kalisch, is under the direction of a certain Felinski, and through his excellent dramatic compositions has gained a reputation equal to that of the band of Strauss in music. Yet these companies are only relics. The Polish drama in general has now a character and destiny which was not to be expected a hundred years since.
The origin of the Russian theater is altogether more recent. It is true that Peter the Great meddled a good deal with the theater as well as with other things, but it was not till the Empress Catharine that dramatic literature was really emancipated by the court. Under Alexander and Nicholas the most magnificent arrangements have been made in every one of the cities that from time to time is honored by the residence of the Emperor, so that Russia boasts of possessing five theaters, two of which excel everything in Europe in respect to size and splendor, but yet possesses no sort of taste for dramatic art. The stage, in the empire of the Muscovites, is like a rose-bush grafted on a wild forest tree. It has not grown up naturally from a poetic want in the people, and finds in the country little or nothing in the way of a poetic basis. Accordingly, the theater in Russia is in every respect a foreign institution. Not national in its origin, it has not struck its roots into the heart of the people. Only here and there a feeble germ of theatrical literature has made its way through the obstinate barbarism of the Russian nature. The mass have no feeling for dramatic poetry, while the cultivated classes exhibit a most striking want of taste.
But in Russia everything is inverted. What in other nations is the final result of a long life, is there the beginning. A natural development of the people appears to its rulers too circuitous, and in fact would in many things require centuries of preparation. Accordingly, they seek to raise their subjects to the level of other races by forcing them outwardly to imitate their usages. Peter the Great says in his testament: "Let there be no intermission in teaching the Russian people European forms and customs." The theater in Russia is one of these forms, and from this it is easy to understand the condition it is in.
It is true there are in the country a few independent companies of players, but they are not Russian, or at least were formed as a speculation by some foreigner. For example, Odessa has often two such, and sometimes three. The Italian company is said to be good. The Russian, which has now become permanent, has hitherto been under the management of a German, and has been very poor. The company in Kiew consists mostly of Poles, from the old Polish provinces incorporated with Russia, and has a high reputation. In Poland it would be possible in every little nest of a city to get together a tolerable company for dramatic performance. In Russia it would be much easier to raise an army. The ultimate reason of this striking contrast is the immense dissimilarity in the character of the two nations. The Pole is remarkably sanguine, fiery, enthusiastic, full of ideality and inspiration; the Russian is through and through material, a lover of coarse physical pleasures, full of ability to fight and cut capers, but not endowed with a capacity quickly to receive impressions and mentally elaborate them.
In this respect, the mass and the aristocracy, the serfs and their masters, are as alike as twins. The noble is quite as coarse as the peasant. In Poland this is quite otherwise. The peasant may be called a rough creature, but the noble is almost always a man of refinement, lacking indeed almost always in scientific information, but never in the culture of a man of the world. The reason of this is, that his active, impetuous soul finds constant occasion for maintaining familiarity with the world around him, and really needs to keep up a good understanding with it. The Russians know no such want.
Even in St. Petersburg the German was long much more successful than the native theater, though the number of Russians there is seventeen times larger than that of the Germans. The Russians who there visit the theater are the richest and most prominent members of the aristocracy. They however consider the drama as simply a thing of fashion. Hence results the curious fact that it is thought a matter of good taste to be present at the beginning but not to wait for the end of a piece. It has happened that long before the performance was over the house was perfectly empty, everyone following the fashion, in order not to seem deficient in public manners. If there is ever a great attraction at the theater, it is not the play, but some splendid show. The Russian lady, in studying the coiffure or the trailing-robe of an actress, forgets entirely her part in this piece, if indeed she has ever had an adequate conception of it. For this reason, at St. Petersburg and Moscow the ballet is esteemed infinitely higher than the best drama; and if the management should have the command of the Emperor to engage rope-dancers and athletes, circus-riders and men-apes, the majority of Russians would be of opinion that the theater had gained the last point of perfection. This was the case in Warsaw several years ago, when the circus company of Tourniare was there. The theaters gave their best and most popular pieces, in order to guard against too great a diminution of their receipts. The Poles patriotically gave the preference for the drama, but the Russians were steady adorers of Madame Tourniare and her horse. In truth, the lady enjoyed the favor of Prince Paskiewich. General O—— boasted that during the eleven months that the circus staid he was not absent from a single performance. The Polish Count Ledochowski, on the other hand, said that he had been there but once when he went with his children, and saw nothing of the performance, because he read Schiller's William Tell every moment. This was Polish opposition to Russian favoritism, but it also affords an indication of the national peculiarities of the two races.
From deficiency in taste for dramatic art arises the circumstance that talent for acting is incomparably scarce among the Russians. Great as have been the efforts of the last emperors of Russia to add a new splendor to their capitals by means of the theater, they have not succeeded in forming from their vast nation artists above mediocrity, except in low comedy. At last it was determined to establish dramatic schools in connection with the theaters and educate players; but it appears that though talent can be developed, it cannot be created at the word of command. The Emperor Nicholas, or rather his wife, was, as is said, formerly so vexed at the incapacity of the Russians for dramatic art, that it was thought best to procure children in Germany for the schools. The Imperial will met with hindrance, and he contented himself with taking children of the German race from his own dominions. The pride of the Russians did not suffer in consequence.
While poetry naturally precedes dramatic art, the drama, on the other hand, cannot attain any degree of excellence where the theater is in such a miserable state. It is now scarcely half a century since the effort was begun to remove the total want of scientific culture in the Russian nation, but what are fifty years for such a purpose, in so enormous a country? The number of those who have received the scientific stimulus and been carried to a degree of intellectual refinement is very small, and the happy accident by which a man of genius appears among the small number must be very rare. And in this connection it is noteworthy, that the Russian who feels himself called to artistic production almost always shows a tendency to epic composition.
The difficulties of form appear terrible to the Russian. In romance-writing the form embarrasses him less, and accordingly they almost all throw themselves into the making of novels.
As is generally the case in the beginning of every nation's literature, any writer in Russia is taken for a miracle, and regarded with stupor. The dramatist Kukolnik is an example of this. He has written a great deal for the theater, but nothing in him is to be praised so much as his zeal in imitation. It must be admitted that in this he possesses a remarkable degree of dexterity. He soon turned to the favorite sphere of romance writing, but in this also he manifests the national weakness. In every one of his countless works the most striking feature is the lack of organization. They were begun and completed without their author's ever thinking out a plot, or its mode of treatment.
Kukolnik's "Alf and Adona," in which at least one hundred and fifty characters are brought upon the stage, has not one whose appearance is designed to concentrate the interest of the audience. Each comes in to show himself, and goes out not to be in the way any longer. Everything is described and explained with equal minuteness, from the pile of cabbages by the wayside, to the murder of a prince; and instead of a historical action there is nothing but unconnected details. The same is the case with his "Eveline and Baillerole," in which Cardinal Richelieu is represented as a destroyer of the aristocracy, and which also is made up of countless unconnected scenes, that in part are certainly done with some neatness. These remarks apply to the works of Iwan Wanenko and I. Boriczewski, to I. Zchewen's "Sunshine", five volumes strong; to the compositions of Wolkow, Czerujawski, Ulitinins, Th. Van Dim, (a pseudonym,) in fact to everything that has yet appeared.
On the part of the Imperial family, as we have already said, everything has been done for the Russian stage that could possibly be done, and is done no where else. The extremest liberality favors the artists, schools are provided in order to raise them from the domain of gross buffoonery to that of true art, the most magnificent premiums are given to the best, actors are made equal in rank to officers of state, they are held only to twenty-five years' service, reckoning from their debut,—and finally, they receive for the rest of their lives a pension equal to their full salaries. High rewards are given to Russian star-actors, in order if possible to draw talent of every sort forth from the dry steppes of native art. The Russian actors are compelled on pain of punishment to go regularly to the German theater, with a view to their improvement, and in order to make this as effective as may be, enormous compensations attract the best German stars to St. Petersburg. And yet all this is useless, and the Russian theater is not raised above the dignity of a workshop. Only the comic side of the national character, a burlesque and droll simplicity, is admirably represented by actors whose skill and the scope of whose talents may he reckoned equal to the Germans in the same line. But in the higher walks of the drama they are worthless. The people have neither cultivation nor sentiment for serious works, while the poets to produce them, and the actors to represent them, are alike wanting.
Immediately after the submission of Poland in 1831, the theaters, permanent and itinerant, were closed. The plan was conceived of not allowing them to be reoepened until they could be occupied by Russian performers. But as the Government recovered from its first rage, this was found to be impracticable. The officers of the garrisons in Poland, however numerous, could never support Russian theaters, and besides, where were the performers to come from? In Warsaw, however, it was determined to force a theater into existence, and a Russian newspaper was already established there. The power of the Muscovites has done great things, built vast fortresses and destroyed vaster, but it could not accomplish a Russian theater at Warsaw. Even the paper died before it had attained a regular life, although it cost a great deal of money.
Finally came the permission to reoepen the Polish theater, and indeed the caprice which was before violent against it, was now exceedingly favorable, but of course not without collateral purposes. The scanty theater on the Krasinski place, which was alone in Warsaw, except the remote circus and the little theater of King Stanislaus Augustus, was given up, and the sum of four millions of florins ($1,600,000) devoted to the erection of two large and magnificent theaters. The superintendence of the work of building and the management of the performances was, according to the Russian system, intrusted to one General Rautenstrauch, a man seventy years old, and worn out both in mind and body. The two theaters were erected under one roof, and arranged on the grandest and most splendid scale. The edifice is opposite the City Hall, occupies a whole side of the main public place, and is above 750 feet in length. The pit in each is supported by a series of immense, stupid, square pilasters, such as architecture has seldom witnessed out of Russia. Over these pilasters stands the first row of boxes supported by beautifully wrought Corinthian columns, and above these rise three additional rows. The edifice is about 160 feet high and is the most colossal building in Warsaw. As it was designed to treat the actors in military fashion and according to Russian style, the building was laid out like barracks and about seven hundred persons live in it, most of them employed about the theater. The two stages were built by a German architect under the inspection of the General whose peremptory suggestions were frequent and injurious. Both the great theater as it is called, which has four rows of boxes, and can contain six thousand auditors, and the Variete theater which is very much smaller, are fitted out with all sorts of apparatus that ever belonged to a stage. In fact, new machinery has in many cases been invented for them and proved totally useless. The Russian often hits upon queer notions when he tries to show his gifts.
On one side a very large and strong bridge has been erected leading from the street to the stage, to be used whenever the piece requires large bodies of cavalry to make their appearance, and there are machines that can convey persons with the swiftness of lightning down from the sky above the stage, a distance of 56 feet. A machine for which a ballet has been composed surpasses everything I ever saw in its size; it serves to transport eighty persons together on a seeming cloud from the roof to the foot-lights. I was astonished by it when I first beheld it although I had seen the machines of the grand opera at Paris: the second time I reflected that it alone cost 40,000 florins [$16,000].
Under the management of two Russian Generals, who have hitherto been at the head of the establishment, a vast deal has in this way been accomplished for mere external show.
The great Russian theatre of St. Petersburg has served for a model, and accordingly nothing has really been improved except that part of the performance which is farthest removed from genuine art, namely the ballet. That fact is that out of Paris the ballet is nowhere so splendid as in the great theater at Warsaw, not even at St. Petersburg, for the reason that the Russian is inferior to the Pole in physical beauty and grace. Heretofore the corps of the St. Petersburg ballet has twice been composed of Poles, but this arrangement has been abandoned as derogatory to the national honor. The sensual attractions of the ballet render it the most important thing in the theater. A great school for dancers has been established, where pupils may be found from three to eighteen years old. It is painful to see the little creatures, hardly weaned from their mothers' breasts—twisted and tortured for the purposes of so doubtful an occupation as dancing. The school contains about two hundred pupils, all of whom occasionally appear together on the boards, in the ballet of Charis and Flora, for instance, when they receive a trifling compensation. For the rest the whole ballet corps are bound to daily practice.
The taste of the Russians has made prominent in the ballet exactly those peculiarities which are least to its credit. It must be pronounced exaggerated and lascivious. Aside from these faults, which may be overlooked as the custom of the country, we must admit that the dancing is uncommonly good.
The greater the care of the management for the ballet, the more injurious is its treatment of the drama. This is melancholy for the artists and especially those who have come to the imperial theater from the provinces, who are truly respectable and are equally good in comedy and tragedy. The former has been less shackled than the latter for the reason that it turns upon domestic life. But tragedy is most frightfully treated by the political censorship, so that a Polish poet can hardly expect to see his pieces performed on the stage of his native country. Hundreds of words and phrases such as freedom, avenging sword, slave, oppression, father-land, cannot be permitted and are stricken out. Accordingly nothing but the trumpery of mere penny-a-liners is brought forward, though this sometimes assumes an appearance of originality. These abortions remain on the stage only through the talent of the artists, the habit of the public to expect nothing beyond dullness and stupidity in the drama, and finally, the severe regulation which forbids any mark of disapprobation under pain of imprisonment. The best plays are translated from the French, but they are never the best of their kind. To please the Russians only those founded on civic life are chosen, and historical subjects are excluded. Princely personages are not allowed to be introduced on the stage, nor even high officers of state, such as ministers and generals. In former times the Emperor of China was once allowed to pass, but more recently the Bey of Tunis was struck out and converted into an African nobleman. A tragedy is inadmissible in any case, and should one be found with nothing objectionable but its name, it is called drama.
In such circumstances we would suppose that the actors would lose all interest in their profession. But this is not the case. At least the cultivated portion of the public at Warsaw never go to the theater to see a poetic work of art, but only to see and enjoy the skill of the performers. Of course there is no such thing as theatrical criticism at Warsaw; but everybody rejoices when the actors succeed in causing the wretchedness of the piece to be forgotten. The universal regret for the wretched little theater on the Krasinski place, where Suczkowska, afterward Mad. Halpert, founded her reputation in the character of the Maid of Orleans, is the best criticism on the present state of the drama.
The Russians take great delight in the most trivial pieces. Even Prince Paskiewich sometimes stays till the close of the last act. To judge by the direction of his opera-glass, which is never out of his hand, he has the fortune to discover poetry elsewhere than on the stage. In truth the Warsaw boxes are adorned by beautiful faces. Even the young princess Jablonowska is not the most lovely.
The arrangements of the Warsaw theaters are exactly like those of the Russian theater at St. Petersburg, but almost without exception, the pupils of the dramatic school, of whom seventeen have come upon the boards, have proved mere journeymen, and have been crowded aside by performers from the provincial cities. None of the eminent artists of late years have enjoyed the advantages of the school. The position of the actors at Warsaw is just the same as at St. Petersburg. The day after their first appearance they are regularly taken into duty as imperial officials, take an oath never to meddle with political affairs, nor join in any secret society, nor ever to pronounce on the stage anything more or anything else than what is in the stamped parts given them by the imperial management.
Actors' salaries at Warsaw are small in comparison with those of other countries. Forty or fifty silver rubles a month ($26 to $33) pass for a very respectable compensation, and even the very best performers rarely get beyond a thousand rubles a year ($650). Madame Halpert long had to put up with that salary till once Taglioni said to Prince Paskiewich that it was a shame for so magnificent an artist to be no better paid than a writer. Her salary was thereupon raised one-half, and subsequently by means of a similar mediation she succeeded in getting an addition of a thousand rubles yearly under the head of wardrobe expenses. This was a thing so extraordinary that the managing General declared that so enormous a compensation would never again be heard of in any imperial theatre. The pupils of the dramatic school receive eighteen rubles monthly, and, according to their performances, obtain permission every two years to ask an increase of salary. The period of service extends to twenty-five years, with the certainty of a yearly pension equal to the salary received at the close of the period.
For the artist this is a very important arrangement, which enables him to endure a thousand inconveniences.
There is no prospect of a better state of the Polish drama. Count Fedro may, in his comedies, employ the finest satire with a view to its restoration, but he will accomplish nothing so long as the Generals ride the theater as they would a war horse. On the other hand, no Russian drama has been established, because the conditions are wanting among the people. That is a vast empire, but poor in beauty; mighty in many things, but weak in artistic talents; powerful and prompt in destruction, but incapable spontaneously and of itself to create anything.
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"DEATH'S JEST BOOK, OR THE FOOL'S TRAGEDY."
The Examiner, for July 20, contains an elaborate review, with numerous extracts, of a play just published under this title in London. "It is radiant," says the critic, "in almost every page with passion, fancy, or thought, set in the most apposite and exquisite language. We have but to discard, in reading it, the hope of any steady interest of story, or consistent development of character: and we shall find a most surprising succession of beautiful passages, unrivaled in sentiment and pathos, as well as in terseness, dignity, and picturesque vigor of language; in subtlety and power of passion, as well as in delicacy and strength of imagination; and as perfect and various, in modulation of verse, as the airy flights of Fletcher or Marlowe's mighty line.
"The whole range of the Elizabethan drama has not finer expression, nor does any single work of the period, out of Shakspeare, exhibit so many rich and precious bars of golden verse, side by side with such poverty and misery of character and plot. Nothing can be meaner than the design, nothing grander than the execution."
In conclusion, the Examiner observes—"We are not acquainted with any living author who could have written the Fool's Tragedy; and, though the publication is unaccompanied by any hint of authorship, we believe that we are correct in stating it to be a posthumous production of the author of the Bride's Tragedy; Mr. Thomas Lovell Beddoes. Speaking of the latter production, now more than a quarter of a century ago, (Mr. Beddoes was then, we believe, a student at Pembroke College, Oxford, and a minor,) the Edinburgh Review ventured upon a prediction of future fame and achievement for the writer, which an ill-chosen and ill-directed subsequent career unhappily intercepted and baffled. But in proof of the noble natural gifts which suggested such anticipation, the production before us remains: and we may judge to what extent a more steady course and regular cultivation would have fertilized a soil, which, neglected and uncared for, has thrown out such a glorious growth of foliage and fruit as this Fool's Tragedy."
The following exquisite lyric is among the passages with which these judgments are sustained:
"If thou wilt ease thine heart Of love and all its smart, Then sleep, dear, sleep; And not a sorrow Hang any tear on your eyelashes; Lie still and deep Sad soul, until like sea-wave washes The rim o' the sun to-morrow, In eastern sky.
But wilt thou cure thine heart Of love and all its smart, Then die, dear, die; 'Tis deeper, sweeter, Than on a rose bank to lie dreaming With folded eye; And then alone, amid the beaming Of love's stars, thou'lt meet her In eastern sky."
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WINTHROP MACKWORTH PRAED.
Praed, it has always seemed to us, was the cleverest writer in his way that has ever contributed to the English periodicals. His fugitive lyrics and arabesque romances, half sardonic and half sentimental, published with Hookham Frere's "Whistlecraft" and Macaulay's Roundhead Ballads, in Knight's Quarterly Magazine, and after the suspension of that work, for the most part in the annual souvenirs, are altogether unequaled in the class of compositions described as vers de societie.—Who that has read "School and School Fellows", "Palinodia", "The Vicar", "Josephine", and a score of other pieces in the same vein, does not desire to possess all the author has left us, in a suitable edition? It has been frequently stated in the English journals that such a collection was to be published, under the direction of Praed's widow, but we have yet only the volume prepared by a lover of the poet some years ago for the Langleys, in this city. In the "Memoirs of Eminent Etonians," just printed by Mr. Edward Creasy, we have several waifs of Praed's that we believe will be new to all our readers. Here is a characteristic political rhyme:
ON SEEING THE SPEAKER ASLEEP IN HIS CHAIR IN ONE OF THE DEBATES OF THE FIRST REFORMED PARLIAMENT.
Sleep, Mr. Speaker, 'tis surely fair If you mayn't in your bed, that you should in your chair. Louder and longer now they grow, Tory and Radical, Aye and Noe; Talking by night and talking by day. Sleep, Mr. Speaker, sleep while you may!
Sleep, Mr. Speaker; slumber lies Light and brief on a Speaker's eyes, Fielden or Finn in a minute or two Some disorderly thing will do; Riot will chase repose away Sleep, Mr. Speaker, sleep while you may!
Sleep, Mr. Speaker. Sweet to men Is the sleep that cometh but now and then, Sweet to the weary, sweet to the ill, Sweet to the children that work in the mill. You have more need of repose than they— Sleep, Mr. Speaker, sleep while you may!
Sleep, Mr. Speaker, Harvey will soon Move to abolish the sun and the moon; Hume will no doubt be taking the sense Of the House on a question of sixteen pence. Statesmen will howl, and patriots bray— Sleep, Mr. Speaker, sleep while you may!
Sleep, Mr. Speaker, and dream of the time, When loyalty was not quite a crime, When Grant was a pupil in Canning's school, And Palmerston fancied Wood a fool. Lord, how principles pass away— Sleep, Mr. Speaker, sleep while you may.
The following is a spirited version of a dramatic scene in the second book of the Annals of Tacitus:
Back, Back;—he fears not foaming flood Who fears not steel-clad line:— No warrior thou of German blood, No brother thou of mine. Go earn Rome's chain to load thy neck, Her gems to deck thy hilt; And blazon honor's hapless wreck With all the gauds of guilt.
But wouldst thou have me share the prey? By all that I have done, The Varian bones that day by day Lie whitening in the sun; The legion's trampled panoply The eagle's shattered wing. I would not be for earth or sky So scorned and mean a thing,
Ho, call me here the wizard, boy, Of dark and subtle skill, To agonize but not destroy, To torture, not to kill. When swords are out, and shriek and shout Leave little room for prayer, No fetter on man's arm or heart Hangs half so heavy there.
I curse him by the gifts the land Hath won from him and Rome. The riving axe, the wasting brand, Rent forest, blazing home. I curse him by our country's gods, The terrible, the dark, The breakers of the Roman rods, The smiters of the bark.
Oh, misery that such a ban On such a brow should be! Why comes he not in battle's van His country's chief to be? To stand a comrade by my side, The sharer of my fame, And worthy of a brother's pride, And of a brother's name?
But it is past!—where heroes press And cowards bend the knee, Arminius is not brotherless, His brethren are the free. They come around:—one hour, and light Will fade from turf and tide, Then onward, onward to the fight, With darkness for our guide.
To-night, to-night, when we shall meet In combat face to face, Then only would Arminius greet The renegade's embrace. The canker of Rome's guilt shall be Upon his dying name; And as he lived in slavery, So shall he fall in shame.
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CAMPBELL AND WASHINGTON IRVING.
The Editor of The Albion, in noticing the republication by the Harpers of the very interesting Life and Letters of Thomas Campbell, by Dr. Beattie, has the following observations upon Mr. Irving's introductory letter:
"WASHINGTON IRVING, at the request of the publishers, contributed a very interesting letter to themselves, directing public notice to the value of this edition. He pays also a hearty and deserved tribute, not only to the genius of Campbell, but to his many excellencies and kindly specialities of character. The author of "Hohenlinden," and the "Battle of the Baltic" stands in need of no man's praise as a lyric poet—but this sort of testimony to his private worth is grateful and well-timed. Here is an interesting passage from Mr. Irving's introductory communication. He is alluding to Campbell's fame and position, when he himself first made Campbell's acquaintance in England.
"'I had considered the early productions of Campbell as brilliant indications of a genius yet to be developed, and trusted that, during the long interval which had elapsed, he had been preparing something to fulfill the public expectation; I was greatly disappointed, therefore, to find that, as yet, he had contemplated no great and sustained effort. My disappointment in this respect was shared by others, who took the same interest in his fame, and entertained the same idea of his capacity. 'There he is cooped up in Sydenham,' said a great Edinburgh critic to me, 'simmering his brains to serve up a little dish of poetry, instead of pouring out a whole caldron.'
"'Scott, too, who took a cordial delight in Campbell's poetry, expressed himself to the same effect. 'What a pity is it,' said he to me 'that Campbell does not give full sweep to his genius. He has wings that would bear him up to the skies, and he does now and then spread them grandly, but folds them up again and resumes his perch, as if afraid to launch away. The fact is, he is a bugbear to himself. The brightness of his early success is a detriment to all his future efforts. He is afraid of the shadow that his own fame casts before him.'
"'Little was Scott aware at the time that he, in truth, was a 'bugbear' to Campbell. This I infer from an observation of Mrs. Campbell's in reply to an expression of regret on my part that her husband did not attempt something on a grand Scale. 'It is unfortunate for Campbell,' said she, 'that he lives in the same age with Scott and Byron.' I asked why. 'Oh,' said she, 'they write so much and so rapidly. Now Campbell writes slowly, and it takes him some time to get under way; and just as he has fairly begun, out comes one of their poems, that sets the world agog and quite daunts him, so that he throws by his pen in despair.'
"'I pointed out the essential difference in their kinds of poetry, and the qualities which insured perpetuity to that of her husband. 'You can't persuade Campbell of that,' said she. 'He is apt to undervalue his own works, and to consider his own lights put out, whenever they come blazing out with their great torches.'
"'I repeated the conversation to Scott sometime afterward, and it drew forth a characteristic comment. 'Pooh!' said he, good-humoredly, 'how can Campbell mistake the matter so much. Poetry goes by quality, not by bulk. My poems are mere cairngorms, wrought up, perhaps, with a cunning hand, and may pass well in the market as long as cairngorms are the fashion; but they are mere Scotch pebbles after all; now Tom Campbell's are real diamonds, and diamonds of the first water.'"
"The foregoing is new to us, and full of a double interest. It is followed, however, by a statement, that needs a word of explanation. Mr. Irving says:
"'I have not time at present to furnish personal anecdotes of my intercourse with Campbell, neither does it afford any of a striking nature. Though extending over a number of years, it was never very intimate. His residence in the country, and my own long intervals of absence on the continent, rendered our meetings few and far between. To tell the truth, I was not much drawn to Campbell, having taken up a wrong notion concerning him, from seeing him at times when his mind was ill at ease, and preyed upon by secret griefs. I thought him disposed to be querulous and captious, and had heard his apparent discontent attributed to jealous repining at the success of his poetical contemporaries. In a word, I knew little of him but what might be learned in the casual intercourse of general society; whereas it required the close communion of confidential friendship, to sound the depth of his character and know the treasures of excellence hidden beneath its surface. Beside, he was dogged for years by certain malignant scribblers, who took a pleasure in misrepresenting all his actions, and holding him up in an absurd and disparaging point of view. In what hostility originated I do not know, but it must have given much annoyance to his sensitive mind, and may have affected his popularity. I know not to what else to attribute a circumstance to which I was a witness during my last visit to England. It was at an annual dinner of the Literary Fund, at which Prince Albert presided, and where was collected much of the prominent talent of the kingdom. In the course of the evening Campbell rose to make a speech. I had not seen him for years, and his appearance showed the effect of age and ill-health; it was evident, also, that his mind was obfuscated by the wine he had been drinking. He was confused and tedious in his remarks; still, there was nothing but what one would have thought would have been received with indulgence, if not deference, from a veteran of his fame and standing; a living classic. On the contrary, to my surprise, I soon observed signs of impatience in the company; the poet was repeatedly interrupted by coughs and discordant sounds, and as often endeavored to proceed; the noise at length became intolerable, and he was absolutely clamored down, sinking into his chair overwhelmed and disconcerted. I could not have thought such treatment possible to such a person at such a meeting. Hallam, author of the Literary History of the Middle Ages, who sat by me on this occasion, marked the mortification of the poet, and it excited his generous sympathy. Being shortly afterward on the floor to reply to a toast, he took occasion to advert to the recent remarks of Campbell, and in so doing called up in review all his eminent achievements in the world of letters, and drew such a picture of his claims upon popular gratitude and popular admiration, as to convict the assembly of the glaring impropriety they had been guilty of—to soothe the wounded sensibility of the poet, and send him home to, I trust, a quiet pillow.'
"Now, the very same facts are seen by different observers in a different point of view. It so happened that we ourselves were present at this dinner, which took place in 1842; and the painful circumstance alluded to by Mr. Irving did not produce the effect on us, that it appears to have produced on him. Without making a long story about a trifle, we can call to mind no appearance of hostility or ill-will manifested on that occasion; and on the contrary, recollect, in our immediate neighborhood, a mournful sense of distress at the scene exhibited, and sufficiently hinted in the few unpleasant words we have italicized. A muster of Englishmen preferred coughing down their favorite bard, to allowing him to mouth out maudlin twaddle, before the Prince, then first formally introduced to the public, and before a meeting whereat "was collected much of the prominent talent of the kingdom." Mr. Irving, himself most deservedly a man of mark, looked on with much, surprise. Looking on ourselves then, and writing now, as one of the public, and as one of the many to whom Campbell's name and fame are inexpressibly dear, we honestly think that of two evils the lesser was chosen. We think Mr. Hallam's lecture must have been inaudible to the greater part of the company."
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The Archbishop of Lemburgh has prohibited his clergy from wearing long hair like the peasants, and from smoking in public, "like demagogues and sons of Baal."
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The Persians have a saying, that "Ten measures of talk were sent down upon the earth, and the women took nine."
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AUTHORS AND BOOKS
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No man is more enshrined in the heart of the French people than the poet BERANGER. A few weeks since he went one evening with one of his nephews to the Clos des Lilas, a garden in the students' quarter devoted to dancing in the open air, intending to look for a few minutes upon a scene he had not visited since his youth, and then withdraw. But he found it impossible to remain unknown and unobserved. The announcement of his presence ran through the garden in a moment, the dances stopped, the music ceased, and the crowd thronged toward the point where the still genial and lovely old man was standing. At once there rose from all lips the cry of Vive Beranger! which was quickly followed by that of Vive la Republique! The poet whose diffidence is excessive, could not answer a word, but only smiled and blushed his thanks at this enthusiastic reception. The acclamations continuing, an agent of the police invited him to withdraw, lest his presence might occasion disorder. The illustrious songwriter at once obeyed; by a singular coincidence the door through which he went out opened upon the place where Marshal Ney was shot. If he were now in the vein of writing, what a stirring lyric all these circumstances might suggest.
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AUDUBON AND WASHINGTON IRVING—THE PLAGUE OF RAILROADS.—The voyager up the Hudson will involuntarily anathematize the invention of the rail, when he sees how much of the most romantic beauty has been defaced or destroyed by that tyranny which, disregarding all private desire and justice, has filled up bays, and cut off promontories, and leveled heights, to make way for the intrusive and noisy car. But the effects of these so-called "improvements," upon the romantic in nature will be forgotten if he considers the injury and wrong they cause to persons, and particularly to those whose genius has contributed more to human happiness than all the inventions in oeconomical art.
The Nestor of our naturalists, and in his field, the greatest as well as the oldest of our artists, AUDUBON, with the comparatively slight gains of a long life of devotion to science, and of triumphs which had made him world-renowned, purchased on the banks of the river, not far from the city, a little estate which it was the joy as well as the care of his closing years to adorn with everything that a taste so peculiarly and variously schooled could suggest. He had made it a pleasing gate-way to the unknown world, with beautiful walks leading down to the river whose depth and calmness and solemn grandeur symboled the waves through which he should pass to the reward of a life of such toil and enviable glory. He had promise of an evening worthy of his meridian—when the surveyors and engineers, with their charter-privileges, invaded his retreat, built a road through his garden, destroyed forever his repose, and—the melancholy truth is known—made of his mind a ruin.
WASHINGTON IRVING—now sixty-seven years of age—had found a resting-place at Wolfert's Roost, close by the scenes which lie in the immortal beauty that radiates from his pages, and when he thought that in this Tusculum he was safe from all annoying, free to enjoy the quietness and ease he had earned from the world, the same vandals laid the track through his grounds, not only destroying all their beauty and attraction, but leaving fens from which these summer heats distilled contagion. He has therefore been ill for some weeks, and as he had never a strong constitution, and has preserved his equable but not vigorous health only by the most constant carefulness, his physicians and friends begin to be alarmed for the result. Heaven avert the end they so fearfully anticipate. He cannot go alone: The honest Knickerbocker, the gentle Crayon, and the faithful brother Agapida, with Washington Irving will forever leave the world, which cannot yet resign itself to the loss of either.
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Mr. SEBA SMITH, so well known as the author of the "Letters of Major Jack Downing," and to a different sort of readers for his more serious contributions to our literature, has just completed the printing of an original and very remarkable work, upon which he has been engaged about two years, entitled "New Elements of Geometry," and it will soon be published in this city by Putnam, and in London by Bentley. It will probably produce a sensation in the world of science. Its design is the reconstruction of the entire methods of Geometry. All geometers, from the dawn of the science, have built their systems upon these definitions: A line is length without breadth, and A surface is length and breadth, without thickness. Mr. Smith asserts that these definitions are false, and sustains his position by numerous demonstrations in the pure Euclidean style. He declares that every mathematical line has a definite breadth, which is as measurable as its length, and that every mathematical surface has a thickness, as measurable as the contents of any solid. His demonstrations, on diagrams, seem to be eminently clear, simple, and conclusive. The effects of this discovery and these demonstrations are, to simplify very much the whole subject of Geometry and mathematics, and to clear it of many obscurities and difficulties. All geometers heretofore have claimed that there are three kinds of quantity in Geometry, different in their natures, and requiring units of different natures to measure them. Mr. Smith shows that there is but one kind of quantity in Geometry, and but one kind of unit; and that lines, surfaces, and solids are always measured by the same identical unit.
Besides the leading features of the work which we have thus briefly described, it contains many new and beautiful demonstrations of general principles in Geometry, to which the author was lead by his new methods of investigation. Among these we may mention one, viz., "The square of the hypothenuse of a right-angled triangle equals four times the area of the triangle, plus the square of the difference of the other two sides." This principle has been known to mathematicians by means of arithmetic and algebra, but has never before, we believe, been reduced to a geometrical demonstration. The demonstration of this principle by Mr. Smith is one of the clearest, simplest, and most beautiful in Geometry. The work is divided into three parts, I. The Philosophy of Geometry, II. Demonstrations in Geometry, and III. Harmonies of Geometry. The demonstrative character of it is occasionally enlivened by philosophical and historical observations, which will add much to its interest with the general reader. We have too little skill in studies of this sort to be altogether confident in our opinion, but certainly it strikes us from an examination of the larger and more important portion of Mr. Smith's essay, that it is an admirable specimen of statement and demonstration, and that it must secure to its author immediately a very high rank in mathematical science. We shall await with much interest the judgments of the professors. It makes a handsome octavo of some 200 pages.
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M. FLANDIN, an eminent dilettante and designer attached to the French embassy in Persia, has published in the last number of the Revue des Deux Mondes an interesting memoir of the ruins of Persepolis, under the title of "An Archaiological Journey in Persia." On his route to the ruins he witnessed melancholy evidence, in the condition of the surface and population, of the improvidence and noxiousness of Oriental despotism. He tells us that the remains of the magnificent palace of Darius are dispersed over an immense plateau, which looks down on the plain of Merdacht. "Assuredly, they are not much, compared with what they must have been in the time of the last Prince who sheltered himself under the royal roof. Nevertheless, what is now found of them still excites astonishment, and inspires a sentiment of religious admiration for a civilization that could create monuments so stupendous; impress on them a character of so much grandeur; and give them a solidity which has prereserved the most important parts until our days, through twenty-two centuries, and all the revolutions by which Persia has been devastated. The pillars are covered with European names deeply cut in the stone. English are far the most numerous. Very few, however, are of celebrated travelers. We observed, with satisfaction, those of Sir John Malcolm and Mr. Morier, both of whom have so successfully treated Persian subjects."
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EMILE GIRARDIN states in his journal that he paid for the eleven volumes of Chateaubriand's Posthumous Memoirs as they appeared, piecemeal, in his feuilleton, the sum of ninety-seven thousand one hundred and eight francs. They occupied a hundred and ninety-two feuilletons, and cost him thus more than a franc a line. Alfred de Broglie has made these memoirs the test of a paper entitled "Memoirs de Chateaubriand, a Moral and Political Study," in the Revue des Deux Mondes. It is a severe analysis of the book and the man. He concludes that Chateaubriand was one of the most vainglorious, selfish and malignant of his tribe. He, indeed, betrayed himself broadly, but surviving writers, who knew intimately his private life—such as St. Beuve—have disclosed more of his habitual libertinism. The Radical journals, and some of the Legitimists, turn to account the portraits left in these memoirs of Louis Philippe, Thiers, Guizot, and other statesmen of the Orleans monarchy. They are effusions of personal and political spite. Chateaubriand hated the whole Orleans dynasty, and has not spared the elder Bourbons.
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GUIZOT has been for thirty years in political life, many of them a minister, and was long at the head of the government of Louis Philippe, but is now a poor man. Recently, on the marriage of his two daughters with two brothers De Witt, the descendants of the great Hollander, he was unable to give them a cent in the way of marriage portions. This fact proves the personal integrity of the man more than a score of arguments. Not only has the native honesty of his character forbidden him to take advantage of his eminent position to gain a fortune, but the indomitable pride which is his leading characteristic, has never stooped to the attractions of public plunder or the fruits of official speculation. Guizot is not up to the times, and hence his downfall, but future historians will do justice alike to his great talents and the uprightness of his intentions.
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One of the best works yet produced on the History of Art, is by Schnaase, of Duesseldorf. The first three volumes have been published and translated into French and English, and have met with great success in both those languages. The fourth volume is just announced in Germany. Artists and other competent persons at Duesseldorf who have seen the proof-sheets, speak in the highest terms not only of its historical merits, but of the excellence of its criticisms.
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The fifth volume of the History of Spain, by Rousseau St. Hilaire, includes the period from 1336 to 1649. The professor has been employed ten years on his enterprise; he is lauded by all the critics for his research, method, and style. We have recently spoken of this work at some length in The International. The PARIS ACADEMY OF INSCRIPTIONS and Belles Lettres is constantly sending forth the most valuable contributions; to the history of the middle ages especially. It is now completing the publication of the sixth volume of the Charters, Diplomas, and other documents relating to French History. This volume, which was prepared by M. Pardessus, includes the period from the beginning of 1220 to the end of 1270, and comprehends the reign of St. Louis. The seventh volume, coming down some fifty years later, is also nearly ready for the printer. Its editor is M. Laboulaye. The first volume of the Oriental Historians of the Crusaders, translated into French, is now going through the press, and the second is in course of preparation. The greater part of the first volume of the Greek Historians of the same chivalrous wars is also printed, and the work is going rapidly forward. The Academy is also preparing a collection of Occidental History on the same subject. When these three collections are published, all the documents of any value relating to the Crusades will be easily accessible, whether for the use of the historian or the romancer. The Academy is also now engaged in getting out the twenty-first volume of the History of the Gauls and of France, and the nineteenth of the Literary History of France, which brings the annals of French letters down to the thirteenth century. It is also publishing the sixteenth volume of its own memoirs, which contains the history of the Academy for the last four years, and the work of Freret on Geography, besides several other works of less interest. From all this some idea may be formed of the labors and usefulness of the institution.
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M. LEVERRIER, the astronomer, has published a long and able argument in support of the free and universal use of the electric telegraph. He has supplied a most instructive and interesting exposition of the employment and utility of the invention, in all the countries in which it has been established. The American and the several European tariffs of charge are appended. He explains the different systems, scientific and practical, in detail, and gives the process and proceeds. He observes that the practicability of laying the wires under ground along all the great roads of France, which will protect them from accidents and mischief, will yield immense advantage to the Government and to individuals. He appears to prefer Bain's Telegraph, for communication, to any other, and minutely traces and develops its mechanism. A bill before the French chambers, which he advocates, opens to the public the use of the telegraph, but with various restrictions calculated to prevent revolutionary or seditious abuses; to prevent illicit speculations in the public funds, and other bad purposes to which a free conveyance might be applied. The director of the telegraph is to be empowered to refuse to transmit what he shall deem repugnant to public order and good morals, and the government to suspend at will all private correspondence, on one or many lines.
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THE WORKS OF REV. LEONARD WOODS, D.D., lately Professor of Theology in the Congregational Seminary of Andover, are in course of publication, and the third and fourth volumes have just appeared, completing the theological lectures of the venerable Professor, making in all one hundred and twenty-eight. In these, the student is furnished with a complete body of divinity as generally received by the orthodox denominations in New England, and has presented in a clear, condensed manner, the matured results of a long life of thought and study devoted to these subjects.
The fourth volume is occupied with theological letters. The first 121 pages contain those to Unitarians; next follows the Reply to Dr. Ware's Letters to Unitarians and Calvinists, and Remarks on Dr. Ware's Answer, a series remarkable for courtesy and kindness toward opponents, and clearness and faithfulness in the expression of what was regarded as truth. Following these, are eight letters to Dr. Taylor of New Haven; An Examination of the Doctrine of Perfection, as held by Mr. Mahan and others, and a letter to Mr. Mahan; A Dissertation on Miracles, and the Course of Theological Study as pursued at the Seminary at Andover. One more volume will complete the works of this long active and eminent divine.
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THE REV. ORVILLE DEWEY, D.D., we learn from the correspondence of the Christian Inquirer, is living upon the farm where he was born, in Sheffield, Massachusetts, having, in the successive improvements of many years, converted the original house into an irregular but most comfortable and pleasant dwelling. The view from the back piazza is as fine as can be commanded anywhere in Berkshire, and should the shifting channel of the Housatonic only be accommodating enough to wind a little nearer the house, or even suffer some not impossible stoppage which would convert the marshy meadow in front into a lake, nothing can be conceived of which could then improve the situation. In this lovely retirement, Dr. Dewey endeavors to unite labor and study; working with his own hands, with hoe and rake, in a way to surprise those who only know how he can handle a pen. He is preparing, in a leisurely way, for a course of Lectures for the Lowell Institute, upon a theme admirably suited to his previous studies, and in which it is evident his whole mind and heart are bound up. We are glad to know that it is not until winter after next that this work must be taken from the anvil.
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DR. HOOKER, we learn, has again proceeded to a new and unexplored region in India, in the prosecution of his important botanical labors. THE AUTHOR OF THE AMBER WITCH, the Pomeranian pastor, Meinhold, has been condemned to three months' imprisonment, and a fine of one hundred thalers, besides costs, for slander against another clergyman named Stosch, in a communication published in the New Prussian Zeitung. The sentence was rendered more severe than usual in such cases by the fact that Meinhold, who appears to possess more talent than temper, had previously been condemned for the same offense against another party. The Amber Witch is one of the "curiosities of literature", for in the last German edition the author is obliged to prove that it is entirely a work of imagination, and not, as almost all the German critics believed it to be when it appeared, the reprint of an old chronicle. It was, in fact, written as a trap for the disciples of Strauss and his school, who had pronounced the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be a collection, of legends, from historical research, assisted by "internal evidence". Meinhold did not spare them when they fell into the snare, and made merry with the historical knowledge and critical acumen that could not detect the contemporary romancer under the mask of the chronicler of two centuries ago, while they decided so positively as to the authority of the most ancient writings in the world. He has been in prison before.
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"THE NIGHT SIDE OF NATURE", by Catharine Crowe, so well known as one of the cleverest of the younger set of literary women in England, we have already mentioned as in the press of Mr. Redfield; it is now published, and we commend it as one of the most entertaining and curious works that has ever appeared on the "wonders of the invisible world". We quote from the judicious critic of the Tribune the following paragraphs in regard to it:
[Footnote 1: The Night side of Nature; or, Ghosts and Ghost Seers. By Catherine Crowe. New York. J.S. Redfield.]
"The author of this work is an accomplished German scholar. Without being a slave to the superstitious love of marvels and prodigies, her mind evidently leans toward the twilight sphere, which lies beyond the acknowledged boundaries of either faith or knowledge. She seems to be entirely free from the sectarian spirit; she can look at facts impartially, without reference to their bearing on favorite dogmas; nor does she claim such a full, precise and completely-rounded acquaintance with the mysteries of the spiritual world, whether from intuition or revelation, as not to believe that there may be more "things in heaven and earth than is dreamt of in our philosophy." In this respect, it must be owned that she has not the advantage of certain religious journals in this city, like the Christian Inquirer and The Independent, for instance—which have been so fully initiated into the secrets of universal truth as to regard all inquiry into such subjects either as too vulgar for a Christian gentleman, comme il faut, or as giving a "sanction to the atheistic delusion that there may be a spiritual or supernatural agency" in manifestations which are not accounted for by the New-England Primer. Mrs. Crowe, on the contrary, supposes that there may be something worthy of philosophical investigation in those singular phenomena, which, surpassing the limits of usual experience, have not yet found any adequate explanation.
"The phrase 'Night Side of Nature' is borrowed from the Germans, who derive it from the language of astronomers, designating the side of a planet that is turned from the sun, as its night side. The Germans draw a parallel between our vague and misty perceptions, when deprived of the light of the sun, and the obscure and uncertain glimpses we obtain of the vailed department of nature, of which, though comprising the solution of the most important questions, we are in a state of almost total ignorance. In writing a book on these subjects, the author disclaims the intention of enforcing any didactic opinions. She wishes only to suggest inquiry and stimulate observation, in order to gain all possible light on our spiritual nature, both as it now exists in the flesh and is to exist hereafter out of it.
"It is but justice to say, that the present volume is a successful realization of the purpose thus announced. It presents as full a collection of facts on the subject as is probably to be found in any work in the English language, furnishing materials for the formation of theoretic views, and illustrating an obscure but most interesting chapter in the marvelous history of human nature. It is written with perfect modesty, and freedom from pretense, doing credit to the ability of the author as a narrator, as well as to her fairness and integrity as a reasoner."
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MR. MILNE EDWARDS presented at a recent meeting of the Academy of Sciences, in the name of the Prince of Canino, (C. Bonaparte), the first part of the Prince's large work, Conspectus Generum Avium.
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M. GUIZOT has addressed a long letter to each of the five classes of the Institute of France, to declare that he cannot accept the candidateship offered him for a seat in the Superior Council of Public Instruction.
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SIR EDWARD BULWER LYTTON is to be a candidate for the House of Commons, with Col. Sibthorp, for Lincoln. He has a new play forthcoming for the Princess's Theatre.
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MISS STRICKLAND has in preparation a series of volumes on the Queens of Scotland, as a companion to her, interesting and successful work on the Queens of England.
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THE MARQUIS DE FOUDRAS has published Un Caprice de Grande Dame—clever, but as corrupt as her other works.
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MR. HERBERT'S NEW BOOKS.—The Southern Quarterly Review for July has the following notice of "Frank Forester's Fish and Fishing in the United States and British Provinces," recently published by Stringer & Townsend:
"There are few of our writers so variously endowed and accomplished as Mr. Herbert; of a mind easily warmed and singularly enthusiastic, the natural bent of his talent inclines him to romance. He has accordingly given us several stories abounding in stately scenes, and most impressive portraiture. Well skilled in the use of the mother tongue, as in the broad fields of classical literature, he has written essays of marked eloquence, and criticisms of excellent discrimination and a keen and thorough insight. His contributions to our periodicals have been even more happy than his fictions. With a fine imagination, he inherits a penchant and a capacity for poetry, which has enabled him to throw off, without an effort, some of the most graceful fugitive effusions which have been written in America. His accomplishments are as various as his talents. He can paint a landscape as sweetly as he can describe it in words. He is a sportsman of eager impulse, and relishes equally well the employments of the fisherman and hunter. He is a naturalist, as well as a sportsman, and brings, to aid his practice and experience, a large knowledge, from study, of the habits of birds, beasts and fishes. He roves land and sea in this pursuit, forest and river, and turns, with equal ease and readiness, from a close examination of Greek and Roman literature, to an emulous exercise of all the arts which have afforded renown to the aboriginal hunter. The volume before us—one of many which he has given to this subject—is one of singular interest to the lover of the rod and angle. It exhibits, on every page, a large personal knowledge of the finny tribes in all the northern portions of our country, and well deserves the examination of those who enjoy such pursuits and pastimes. The author's pencil has happily illustrated the labors of his pen. His portraits of the several fishes of the United States are exquisitely well done and truthful. It is our hope, in future pages, to furnish an ample review of this, and other interesting volumes, of similar character, from the hand of our author. We have drawn to them the attention of some rarely endowed persons of our own region, who, like our author, unite the qualities of the writer and the sportsman; from whom we look to learn in what respects the habits and characters of northern fish differ from our own, and thus supply the deficiency of the work before us. The title of this work is rather too general. The author's knowledge of the fish, and of fishing, in the United States, is almost wholly confined to the regions north of the Chesapeake, and he falls into the error, quite too common to the North, of supposing this region to be the whole country. Another each volume as that before us will be necessary to do justice to the Southern States, whose possessions, in the finny tribes of sea and river, are of a sort to shame into comparative insignificance all the boasted treasures of the North. It would need but few pages in our review, from the proper hands, to render this very apparent to the reader. Meanwhile, we exhort him to seek the book of Mr. Herbert, as a work of much interest and authority, so far as it goes."
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MR. PUTNAM is preparing some elegantly embellished works for the holiday season. Among others, an edition, in octavo, of Miss Fenimore Cooper's charming Rural Hours, embellished by twenty finely-colored drawings of birds and flowers; The Picturesque Souvenir, or Letters of a Traveler in Europe and America, by Bryant, embellished by a series of finely-executed engravings; and The Alhambra, by Washington Irving, with designs by Darley, uniform with the splendid series of Mr. Irving's Illustrated Works, some time in course of publication. We have also seen a specimen copy of a superbly illustrated edition of The Pilgrim's Progress, printed on cream-colored paper, as smooth as ivory; and the exquisite designs by Harvey, nearly three hundred in number, are among the most effective ever attempted for the elucidation of this first of all allegories. Professor Sweetser's new work, Menial Hygiene, or an Examination of the Intellect and Passions, designed to illustrate their Influence on Health and the Duration of Life, will be published in the course of the present month. Professor Church's Treatise on Integral and Differential Calculus, a revised edition; The Companion, or After Dinner Table Talk, by Chelwood Evelyn, with a fine portrait of Sydney Smith; The History of Propellers, and Steam Navigation, illustrated by engravings: a manual, said to combine much valuable information on the subjects, derived from the most authentic sources, by Mr. Robert MacFarlane, editor of the Scientific American; and Mr. Ridner's Artist's Chromatic Hand-Book, or Manual of Colors, will also be speedily issued by the same publisher. Mr. Putnam's own production, The World's Progress, or Dictionary of Dates, containing a comprehensive manual of reference in facts, or epitome of historical and general statistical knowledge, with a corrected chronology, &c., is expected to appear in a few weeks. Mr. Theodore Irving's Conquest of Florida is also in progress.
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It is said that Meyerbeer has already completed a grand opera with the title of L'Africaine, and is now engaged on a comic opera. This is probably nothing more than one of the trumpets which this composer knows so well how to blow beforehand. Meyerbeer is not greater in music than in the art of tickling public expectation and keeping the public aware of his existence.
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The Lorgnette has just appeared in a volume.
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AUGUSTUS WILLIAM NEANDER.
OF this most eminent Christian scholar of the nineteenth century, The Tribune furnishes the following brief sketch. "The name of JOHANN AUGUST WILHELM NEANDER is familiar to a large number of our countrymen, both on account of his important contributions to the science of theology, and his personal intimacy with many of our eminent scholars, who have enjoyed the benefit of his instructions, or who have made his acquaintance while pursuing their travels in Germany. Although he had attained a greater age than might have been anticipated from his habits as a confirmed invalid, being in his sixty-second year, his decease cannot be announced without causing an emotion of surprise and regret to a numerous circle who recognized in him one of the most faithful and conscientious Christian teachers of the present day.
"NEANDER, as it is well known, was descended from Jewish parents, by whom he was instructed in the rudiments of religion, and at a subsequent period of life became a convert to the Christian faith, by personal inquiry and experience. He was born at Goettingen, in 1789, but passed a considerable portion of his youth at Hamburg, where he was initiated into the rudiments of a classical education. After he had made a profession of Christianity, he continued his studies for a short time at the Universities of Halle and Goettingen, returned to Hamburg, and finally completed his University career at Heidelberg. The following year he was called to the University of Berlin, as Professor of Theology, where he soon gave promise of the brilliant eminence which he has since attained. His first publications were on special topics of ecclesiastical history, including treatises on 'The Emperor Julian and his Age,' 'St. Bernard and his Age,' 'The Development of the Principal Systems of the Gnostics,' 'St. Chrysostom and the Church in his Age,' and 'The Spirit of Tertullian,' with an 'Introduction to his Writings.' These treatises are remarkable monuments of diligence, accuracy, profoundness of research and breadth of comprehension, showing the same intellectual qualities which were afterward signally exhibited in the composition of his masterly volumes on the history of the Christian Religion. His earliest production in this department had for its object to present the most important facts in Church history, in a form adapted to the great mass of readers, without aiming at scientific precision or completeness. This attempt was eminently successful. The first volume of his great work entitled 'General History of the Church and the Christian Religion,' was published in 1825, and it was not till twenty years afterward that the work was brought to a close. The appearance of this work formed a new epoch in ecclesiastical history. It at once betrayed the power of a bold and original mind. Instead of consisting of a meager and arid collection of facts, without scientific order, without any vital coherence or symmetry, and without reference to the cardinal elements of Christian experience, the whole work, though singularly chaste and subdued in its tone, throbs with the emotions of genuine life, depicting the influence of Christianity as a school for the soul, and showing its radiant signatures of Divinity in its moral triumphs through centuries.
"His smaller work on the first development of Christianity in the Apostolic Age is marked by the same spirited characteristics, while his 'Life of Jesus' is an able defense of the historical verity of the sacred narrative against the ingenious and subtle suggestions of Strauss.
"The writings and theological position of NEANDER have been fully brought before the American public by Profs. ROBINSON, TORREY, McCLINTOCK, SEARS, and other celebrated scholars who have done much to diffuse a knowledge of the learned labors of Germany among intelligent thinkers in our own country. NEANDER was free from the reproach which attaches to so many of his fellow laborers, of covertly undermining the foundation of Christianity, under the pretense of placing it on a philosophical basis. His opinions are considered strictly evangelical, though doubtless embodied in a modified form. In regard to the extent and soundness of his learning, the clearness of his perceptions, and the purity and nobleness of his character, there can be but one feeling among those who are qualified to pronounce a judgment on the subject.
"NEANDER was never married. He was the victim of almost constant ill health. In many of his personal habits he was peculiar and eccentric. With the wisdom of a sage, he combined the simplicity of a child. Many amusing anecdotes are related of his oddities in the lecture-room, which will serve to enliven the biography that will doubtless be prepared at an early date. We have received no particulars concerning his death, which is said to have been announced by private letters to friends in Boston."
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JACOB JONES, U.S.N.
COMMODORE JACOB JONES, of the United States Navy, died in Philadelphia on the 6th inst. He was born in Smyrna, Kent county, Delaware, in the year 1770, and was therefore, eighty years of age. He was of an eminently respectable family, and commenced life as a physician, having studied the profession at the University of Pennsylvania. He afterward became clerk of the Supreme Court of Delaware for his native county. When about twenty-nine years old he entered the navy, and made his first cruises under Commodore Barry. He was a midshipman on board the frigate United States, when she bore to France Chief Justice Ellsworth and General Davie, as envoys extraordinary to the French Republic. He was next appointed to the Ganges as midshipman. On the breaking out of the war with Tripoli, he was stationed on the frigate Philadelphia, under Commodore Bainbridge. The disaster which befell that ship and her crew before Tripoli, forms a solemn page in our naval history; atoned, however, by the brilliant achievements to which it gave rise. Twenty months of severe captivity among a barbarous people, and in a noxious climate, neither broke the spirit nor impaired the constitution of Jones. Blest by nature with vigorous health and an invincible resolution, when relieved from bondage by the bravery of his countrymen, he returned home full of life and ardor. He was soon after promoted to a lieutenancy. He was now for some time employed on the Orleans station, where he conducted himself with his usual judgment and propriety, and was a favorite in the polite circles of the Orleans and Mississippi territories. He was shortly after appointed to the command of the brig Argus, stationed for the protection of our commerce on the southern maritime frontier. In this situation he acted with vigilance and fidelity, and though there were at one time insidious suggestions to the contrary, it has appeared that he conformed to his instructions, promoted the public interest, and gave entire satisfaction to the government. In 1811, he was transferred to the command of the sloop-of-war Wasp, mounting eighteen twenty-four pound carronades, and dispatched, in the spring of 1812, with communications to the courts of St. Cloud and St. James. Before he returned, war had been declared against Great Britain. He refitted his ship with all possible dispatch, and repaired to sea, but met with no other good fortune than the capture of an inconsiderable prize. He next sailed from Philadelphia on the 13th of October, and on the 18th of the same month encountered a heavy gale, during which the Wasp lost her jibboom and two seamen. On the following night, the watch discovered five strange sail steering eastward. The Wasp hauled to the windward and closely watched their movements until daylight next morning, when it was found that they were six large merchant vessels under convoy of a sloop of war. The former were well manned, two of them mounting sixteen guns each. Notwithstanding the apparent disparity of force. Captain Jones determined to hazard an attack; and as the weather was boisterous, and the swell of the sea unusually high, he ordered down top-gallant yards, closely reefed the top-sails, and prepared for action. We cannot give a detail of this brilliant engagement, which resulted in the capture of the Frolic. It was one of the most daring and determined actions in our naval history. The force of the Frolic consisted of sixteen thirty-two pound carronades, four twelve-pounders on the maindeck, and two twelve-pound carronades. Both vessels had more men than was essential to their efficiency; but while there was an equality of strength in the crews, there was an inequality in the number of guns and weight of metal—the Frolic having four twelve-pounders more than the Wasp. The exact number of killed and wounded on board the Frolic could not be ascertained with any degree of precision; but, from the admissions of the British officers, it was supposed that their loss in killed was about thirty, including two officers, and in wounded, between forty and fifty. The captain and every other officer on board were more or less severely wounded. The Wasp sustained a loss of only five men killed, and five wounded.
While erecting jurymasts on board the Frolic, soon after, a suspicious sail was seen to windward, upon which Captain Jones directed Lieutenant Biddle to shape her course for Charleston, or any other port of the United States, while the Wasp should continue upon her cruise. The sail coming down rapidly, both vessels prepared for action, but it was soon discovered, to the mortification of the victors in this well-fought action, that the new enemy was a seventy-four, which proved to be the Poictiers, commanded by Admiral Beresford. Firing a shot over the Frolic, she passed her, and soon overhauled the Wasp, which, in her crippled state, was unable to escape. Both vessels were thus captured, and carried into Bermuda. After a few weeks, a cartel was proposed by which the officers and crew of the Wasp were conveyed to New York. On the return of Captain Jones to the United States, he was everywhere received with demonstrations of respect for the skill and gallantry displayed in his combat with the enemy. The legislature of Delaware gave him a vote of thanks, and a piece of plate. On the motion of James A. Bayard, of Delaware, Congress appropriated twenty-five thousand dollars, as a compensation to the commander, his officers, and crew, for the loss they had sustained by the recapture of the Frolic. They also voted a gold medal to the Captain, and a silver medal to each of his commissioned officers. As a farther evidence of the confidence of government, Captain Jones was ordered to the command of the frigate Macedonian, recently captured from the British by Decatur. She was rapidly fitted out under his direction, in the harbor of New York, and proposed for one of Decatur's squadron, which was about to sail on another expedition. In May 1811, the squadron attempted to put to sea, but, in sailing up Long Island Sound, encountered a large British force, which compelled the United States vessels to retreat into New London. In this situation the enemy continued an uninterrupted blockade during the war. Finding it impossible to avoid the vigilance of Sir Thomas Hardy, who commanded the blockading fleet, the government ordered Captain Jones to proceed with his officers and crew to Sackett's Harbor, and report to Commodore Chauncey, as commander of the frigate Mohawk, on lake Ontario. There the Americans maintained an ascendency, and continued to cruise until October, when the British squadron, under Sir James Yeo, left Kingston, with a greatly superior force, which caused the United States squadron to return to Sackett's Harbor. It seemed, indeed, that the contest now depended on the exertions of the ship carpenters. Two line of battle ships were placed on the stocks, and were advancing rapidly to completion, when, in February 1815, the news of peace arrived, with orders to suspend further operations on these vessels. A few weeks after the peace was announced, Captain Jones with his officers and crew was ordered to repair to the seaboard, and again to take command of the Macedonian, to form part of the force against the Algerines, then depredating on our commerce in the Mediterranean. As soon as the Algerian Regency was informed that war existed between the United States and Great Britain, the Dey dispatched his cruisers to capture all American merchant vessels. To punish these freebooters, nine or ten vessels were fitted out and placed under Decatur. This armament sailed from New York in May, 1815, and when off Cadiz was informed that the Algerines were along the southern coast of Spain. Two days after reaching the Mediterranean, the United States squadron fell in with and captured the Algerine frigate Messuado, mounting forty-six guns, and the next day captured a large brig of war, both of which were carried into the port of Carthagena, in Spain. The American squadron then proceeded to the bay of Algiers, where its sudden and unexpected appearance excited no slight surprise and alarm in the Regency. The Dey reluctantly yielded to every demand to him; he restored the value of the property belonging to American merchants which he had seized, released all the prisoners he had captured, and relinquished forever all claims on the annual tribute which he had received. After having thus terminated the war with Algiers, and formed an advantageous treaty, the squadron proceeded to other Barbary capitals, and adjusted some minor difficulties, which, however, were of importance to our merchants. After touching at several of the islands in the Mediterranean, at Naples, and at Malaga, the entire force came back to the United States early in December. From this period till his death, no event of much importance distinguished the career of Commodore Jones. He was, however, almost constantly employed in various responsible positions, his appointment to which evinced the confidence government placed in his talents and discretion. In 1821, he took the command of a squadron, for the protection of our trade in the Mediterranean, in which he continued for three years. On his return he was offered a seat in the Board of Navy Commissioners, but, finding bureau duties irksome, he accepted, in 1826, the command of our navy in the Pacific, where he also continued three years, Afterward he was placed in command of the Baltimore station, where he remained, with the exception of a short interval, until transferred to the harbor of New York. Since 1847, he had held the place of Governor of the United States Naval Asylum, on the Schuylkill, near Philadelphia.