Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

being unrepresentative of the writer's style. The book is not without merits, a sense of humor and most genuine learning being among them. It must, however, be frankly said, that it is so lacking in organic structure, so deficient in method, so “scrappy and patchy,” in Browning's expressive phrase, that it is as though the disjecta membra of a professor's note-book had been pieced or jumbled together into the outward semblance of a book. Lamb, having listened to Coleridge's circumlocutions in a lecture supposed to be on Romeo and Juliet, remarked afterwards : “ Not so bad — he was to give us a lecture on the nurse, and he has given us one in the manner of the nurse."

Henry S. Pancoast.

Lake Champlain and its Shores. By W. H. H. Murray. Author of " Adventures in the Wilderness," “ Daylight Land,” “ Adirondack Tales," " Mamelons,” “Ungava," etc. Boston: De Wolfe, Fiske & Co., 365 Washington Street. Pp. 261. With Portrait. — Too much of this is written in the overcharged and pretentious rhetorical style which is such a favorite in America, and which the author has brought over from the pulpit. He gives us the distinctive animating principles of the various nationalities of Christendom in a fashion that seems intended for an amalgam of the ipse dixit of Pythagoras and the sententiousness of the Seven Wise Men of Greece, but which after all is nothing but the familiar bombast of a popular American preacher. But in the latter part of the prefatory chapter, where he treats of the gradual decay of country influences in American homes, and their gradual restitution in another form, the great abilities of the author find their congenial field, and he gives both admonitions and encouragements which cannot be too deeply laid to heart.

The body of the book magnifies the greatness of Lake Champlain rather beyond what most people will attain unto, for, do what we may, the most of us cannot make Indian history or legends very interesting to ourselves. We cannot discover that there was any principle of progress or of beauty in the aboriginal race. But the author flashes out not ineffectively against Mr. Parkınan's extreme disparagement of it. And the great historical issues between the European races determined around this lake are brought out with deep impressiveness.

We quote one or two pregnant passages :

• The fated lake now known as Lake Champlain lay stretched between its amphitheatre of hills like some ancient arena awaiting, through the still dark hours of night, the coming of dawn, the struggle, and the audience. We say fated ; for on no other single body of water on the globe, so far as known to history or tradition, have so many battles been fought, so many brave men • died, such mighty issues been settled by the sword, or such momentous questions -- as judged by their connection with the government and development of the human race — been decided by the arbitrament of arms. For here on this lake the two great and antagonistic interpretations of Christianity met, in the armed representatives of two warlike races, face to face, and, for a hundred years, the fierce struggle lasted without intermission, save when at intervals, like two strong wrestlers, equally matched, by mutual consent they released their grip each on the other, and stood apart for a space to renew their breath and summon up their powers for a deadlier clinch. For it must be remarked that it was not in Germany or Geneva, at the Hague or among the mountains of Southern France, that Protestantism gained its everlasting triumph over its Papal rival, but here between the Green Mountains and the

[graphic][ocr errors][subsumed]
[graphic]

Adirondack peaks, and on the shores and waters of Lake Champlain was the final and decisive contest between these two mighty and inherently hostile forces waged, - a contest which gave to Protestant thought and its resultant liberty the civic possession of a continent, and, through its developing civilization, inspired by its own genius, the wealth, the commerce, the literatures, the government, and even the fashions of the modern world.”

See, also, the description of Champlain himself and his discovery of the lake, on page 61 ; the striking explanation of Mohawk Rock, on page 75 ; Arnold's exhibition of valor and incompetency (" What a brave fool he is !"), on page 95 ; and that bloodiest of water-fights, Macdonough's victory, on page 100.

The Pleroma. A Poem of the Christ. In Two Books of Seven Cantos each, written in Semi-dramatic Form. By Rev. E. P. Chittenden, A. M. "OTi èv aúto katolkel tâu TÒ IIAñpoma tņs Oeótytos owuaTIKÔS, — Col. ii. 9. New York and London: G. P. Putnam's Sons. 1890. Pp. vi, 347. — This is not Gnostic, but soundly Catholic in doctrine. Into its thorny brakes of expression and meaning we have only penetrated far enough to be able to assure the reader, especially if he be a Churchman, that he will find everything as it ought to be. Indeed, we observe that processionals are provided for rather before the creation of the world. To our poor apprehension the science and theology decidedly overweight the poetry. But that is a matter of opinion.

American Orators and Reformers. Horace Greeley, The Editor. By Francis Nicoll Zabriskie. Funk & Wagnalls, New York: 18 and 20 Astor Place. London : 44 Fleet Street, 1890. All rights reserved. Pp. iv, 398. — William S. Kart, the late Professor of Theology in Hartford Seminary, being asked by the present writer, during the Rebellion, what he regarded as the best religious paper in the country, declared that he gave his verdict for the New York “Tribune.” This judgment of a stanch High Calvinist in favor of a newspaper, called secular, edited by a Unitarian and Universalist, was well warranted. For those lumbering obstacles to the gospel, known as denominations, Horace Greeley had no occasion to plead, though he seems to have been sincerely attached to his own. But his soul was on fire with the desire to see established on earth the Kingdom of God, as this is realized and revealed in Jesus Christ. His want of discipline, and of the historic sense, led his judgment into many serious aberrations, but never deflected the needle of his purpose from its true pole. This little biography renders ample justice to this central inspiration of Greeley's character. At the same time it gives the frankest fullness of description as to the extraordinary multiplicity of roughnesses and eccentricities which rendered him so droll a specimen of outlandishness. His per- · sonal character is well expressed in what the biographer says of his personal habits, namely, that his clothes were uncouthly fitted and more uncouthly worn, but that his linen was always spotless and his baths never neglected. Margaret Fuller said of him : " He is, in his habits, a plebeian ; in his heart, a nobleman.” We remember how warmly he has pleaded the cause of dandies, as having an important function of civilization. The biography says: “He had the face of an angel and the walk of a clodhopper." But no satire on Ameriran manners could be too searching for him, for, as he said, we had needed it all, and ought to regard Mrs. Trollope as having been a special benefactress. Had she

come over a century or two earlier, the good effects of her mission might have filtered down even to him, though his abstraction from outward respects was perhaps intrinsically incurable.

" It was a strange personality, — this clear and commanding intellect and strong elements of manhood combined with a lack of self-discipline. which amounted to childishness. He never lost the simplicity, the naturalness, nor even the spoiled petulance of a child. He stood out from the world of men about him as never a man of the world. He was singular, for one in his position and with his experience, in being swayed by impulse, and in saying directly what he thought. But though he always remained himself a child of nature, he developed the most intense and absorbing interest in the arts and laws and relations of civilization. He seemed to feel, as migratory birds feel the springs and autumns in the air, the atmospheric currents of American life and destiny; and his failure to accomplish greater things was because he was too impatient in desire, and premature in act. His mission, though he would not see it, was to arouse the hunt, to start the cry, but not to be in at the death. His call was to be a Voice in the Wilderness, an awakener of thought and conscience. He belonged to the epoch of the agitator and the pioneer in reform and politics. He was a moulder of opinion, rather than of events.”

Mr. Greeley's Quaker-like abhorrence of war and pain made him a very bad guide through the Rebellion. The “ Tribune” was always inopportunely meddlesome; the “ Times” was of almost an infallible practical judgment. But what of that? The latter part of Greeley's life was a failing epilogue ; but he could afford to have it so. The singular absurdity of his nomination, comical to the world at large, tragical to him and his, could not be overcome by all the scandals of an evil administration. The present writer was in Southern Virginia the summer before the election, and has never seen a funnier sight than the crowds of recent rebels filling the trains and vigorously fanning themselves with the decapitated head of the old abolitionist, stuck on little pike-handles. He addressed one, and remarked, that probably his objection to General Grant was, that he was not anti-slavery enough. “Oh,” he retorted, with a deprecating toss of the head, “Mr. Greeley has amnéstied us, and we've amnéstied him.” It seems almost a pity we could not have had full poetic justice by their putting him in the chair.

But how few men who would be more at home in that New Jerusalem of purity and righteousness whose coming down from heaven he so largely advanced! As the biographer says, we may well confide that the Judge has given him to hear: “ Well done, good and faithful servant.” The little book is altogether to be commended for its frankness, its well packed fullness, and its well-balanced expressions of opinion.

Ecclesiastical Politics in the Methodist Episcopal Church. A symposium. Chicago : Patriotic Publishing Co., 334 Dearborn Street. Pp. 95. In paper. — This gives a dismal picture of the ill results of the rising gradations of honor in the Methodist Episcopal Church, and its concentration of government, in promoting the most virulent forms of the Volo episcopari. If a certain bishop, according to an authentic revelation made to a female saint, was condemned to five years of purgatorial torment for a single fitting wish for the mitre, what is to be thought of the probable destiny of some of the gentlemen alluded to here? These

« НазадПродовжити »