Зображення сторінки

witty or sententious pervading the whole. We are obliged to think of the author instead of his persons; and whenever he does achieve wisdom or wit, we are naturally inclined to give him the less credit for his success, as he has so often tried in vain. He who shoots perpetually at the same mark, will sometimes hit it, but his success is more likely to be attributed to chance than skill. This air of pretension naturally prejudices the reader against the book, and leads him to set down much as indifferent, which, perhaps, if it came in humbler guise, might be regarded as respectable.

Seven Lectures on Female Education; inscribed to Mrs. Garnett's Pupils, at Elm. Wood, Essex County, Virginia. By James M. Garnett. Richmond. 1824. 12mo. pp. 261.

THE importance of the subject which this book professes to treat-the unqualified recommendations of the friends of the author,-and the echo of these same recommendations, with faint and equivocal censure from the tribunals qualified to decide upon its character, have given it a reputation, which it never deserved, and which its own merits never could have gained. We are not about to be severe upon an innocent little book; for it is the result no doubt of the best intentions, and as such is entitled to respect. But we wished merely to account upon the true principles for the facts, that two editions have been published in as many years, and that the public are now threatened with a third.

We have as high an opinion of the importance of female education as Mr Garnett, or any of the gentlemen whose names adorn and recommend his book; but we doubt if its best interests will be much subserved by his exertions as an author. And it is much to be regretted, that the influence of such distinguished names as John Marshall Esq. Chief Justice of the U. S., and the Right Rev. Richard Moore, Bishop of the Diocess of Virginia, and others which it is unnecessary to mention, should not be directed to some object more worthy of them, than giving currency to a book of such slender merit. We have read the work with considerable attention, and the more, because we were desirous of resisting the conclusion, which seemed to be forcing itself upon us, that the respectable names of friends, and the good motives of the author, were its chief recommendations. But such conclusion is settled, and we will give our reasons for it.

The preface," in which a summary view is taken of the principal obstacles to the progress of Education in general, but particularly to that of Females," occupies thirty-seven pages, and is much the best part of the book. Then follows what the author calls the "Gossip's Manual," filling thirty-one pages. These are ironical maxims, intended to saty rize some of the most common faults "in people of both sexes beyond the age of childhood." They are generally very silly, and therefore must fail of their intended effect. The Lectures make up the book. These are upon the following topics. 1. The Moral and Religious Obligations to the Improvement of Time. 2. The best Means of Improvement. 3. Temper and Deportment. 4. Foibles, Faults, and Vices. 5. Manners, Accomplishments, Fashions, and Conversations. 6. Associates, Friends, and Connexions. These several topics are discussed with some zeal and spirit; but we have not been able to discover one principle

in education, which has not long since been much better stated and inculcated by almost all the most popular authors upon the subject. Fenelon, Archbishop of Cambray, although he wrote somewhat more than a century since, will afford more instruction upon the subject, than the volume before us. We recommend Miss Hamilton's Letters on the Elementary Principles of Education; and her Letters addressed to the Daughter of a Nobleman, on the formation of religious and moral principle, as much more complete and satisfactoryupon the subject than any thing Mr Garnett has written. Miss Edgeworth's works are worth Mr Garnett's consideration before he makes another edition of his book; although we must always express regret, that she has not added to the motives she addresses to the young, "In the name of the Lord Jesus." These authors wrote for purposes more general, than those of Mr Garnett, but their works will nevertheless accomplish all his objects much better than his own. We might name various other authors who are decidedly preferable on every account to Mr Garnett, but it is, at present, unnecessary.

The work before us, therefore, offers nothing new upon the subject, and repeats what is old, in exceedingly coarse, vulgar, and disgusting language. This last remark we shall proceed to illustrate and justify by a few specimens.

"If husbands and wives will live in that sort of amity which generally prevails between cats and dogs, they must expect that their daughters will play the cat too, whenever they have opportunities. If mothers and nurses will scold, and hector, and storm, and rave, and fall into fits of 'the sullens,' (a very malignant disease, by the way) either with or without any colour of excuse, the children under their management will certainly imitate their example."

We have not the reputation of being remarkable for cant, but we think when the inspired writings are quoted with such levity as in the following passage, they must, at least, fail of their intended effect.


"Yet thus it is, (in thousands of instances,) by incalculating envy, and hatred, and malice, and all uncharitableness,' in the compendious form of emulation' a priori; and by the administration of birching without form, and often without measure, a posteriori, that the youth of our country are to be imbued with all those amiable qualities of the heart, and useful endowments of the understanding, which are to fit them for this world, and prepare them for the next."


Mr Garnett discourses to his audience of "young ladies" of being "Tygresses," "Tartars," "Spitfires," "She-Dragons," and "She-Devils" and of becoming as loathsome as "hogs dressed in women's apparel." If this is appropriate language to be addressed to young ladies in Virginia, we hope the unqualified recommendations of the book which contains it, will not introduce it here. We could multiply instances of similar offences against decency, but are unwilling to disfigure our pages with any


The Grecian Wreath of Victory. New York. 1824. 24to. pp. 120. In the course of the last year, an association of ladies in the city of New York caused a "Grecian Cross," forty feet high, to be prepared, and placed at the disposal of General Swift, who had presided at a meeting,

held at Brooklyn, in 1822, at which meeting were passed “various resolutions expressive of the sympathy of Americans in the struggle now carrying on by the Greeks."

It was afterwards decided to plant the Cross on the Brooklyn Heights, and to surmount it with a wreath of victory, to be composed of the same material with the "victorious wreaths" of ancient Greece. What was this material, then became a question, for the solution of which the "Grecian ladies" offered a gold medal of considerable value. This procured them various communications from gentlemen of high literary standing, and these communications compose the work before us. The profits of it are to be devoted to the purpose of procuring some memorial of American sympathy, to be presented to the Grecian senate.

When we consider the various respectable names connected with this little work, and remember that the whole matter of the cross and wreath is an affair of the ladies, we dare not say, that it sounds very silly to us. We can only venture to acknowledge, that we are so obtuse as not to see the point of this erecting of crosses, surmounted with pagan wreaths; and to hint, that if such a thing had been elevated on any of the heights in the neighbourhood of Boston, we should have shrugged our shoulders at the "notion."


But leaving the origin of the book, for its contents, we observe in the first place, that among those who took part in this discussion, and whose lucubrations are here published, are the names of Professors Moore and Anthon of Columbia College, Drs Hosack and King, Colonel Trumbull, Mr Genet, and Mr Bancroft of Round Hill. The principal arguments adduced are in favour of the palm, the laurel, the myrtle, and the olive. The claims of the latter are defended by Professor Anthon, in four several communications, which are decidedly the best in every point of view. The volume is closed by the decision of Professor Everett, in favour of the olive, a short essay by Governor Clinton, in which he comes to the same conclusion, and a translation of a Roman war song, by Professor Doane of Washington College. Professor Anthon seems, therefore, to have obtained the prize.

Considerable industry and learning are displayed in many of these essays, accompanied often with a very unnecessary display of exultation. Surely our professors ought to be able to quote Pliny, Plutarch, Potter's Antiquities, Lempriere's Classical Dictionary, Moore's Anacreon, and, if need be, even Pindar, Dion Cassius, or Tertullian, without glorification. There are also some pitiable juvenilities about the fair hands of the Grecian ladies, &c.; and, lastly, there is a metrical translation of the song of Callistratus, which is very bad indeed.

Now we wish well to the cause of the Greeks, and to every rational exertion in their behalf; but we think money might be applied to better purpose, and one quite as advantageous to the Greeks as that of setting up crosses, and dragging grave professors from their elbow chairs, to execute unskilful gambols before them, for the amusement of the public.

Decision, a Tale; By Mrs Hofland, author of Integrity, a Tale; Patience, a Tale; The Son of a Genius; Tales of the Priory; Tales of the Manor, &c. &c. New York. 1825. 18mo. pp. 264.

Mrs Hofland is known to the public as the author of several small vol

umes, by one of which, "The Son of a Genius," she has attained some celebrity. This Tale, as its title purports, is intended to illustrate and encourage the truly estimable and valuable trait of character, Decision; and so far as the work has any tendency, it undoubtedly has the desired one. The story, although it is said to be founded on fact, seems in some respects to be rather improbable; and is told with no very absorbing interest. Mr Falconer, a gentleman in easy circumstances, is suddenly reduced to poverty, by an unfortunate speculation in iron. His only child and daughter, Maria Falconer, resolves to retrieve the affairs of the family. In order to this, she becomes a dealer in iron also. She travels about, establishes foreign correspondences-and by great hardships and perseverance in business, succeeds in making her own fortune, which, with filial piety, she appropriates to the support of her parents and the assistance of her friends. This outline, filled up with minor incidents and interspersed with a proper relish of "love affairs," constitutes the story. Maria Falconer becomes initiated in all the mysterics of waste-book, journal, and ledger. She weighs out her iron to her dusty customers, with scrupulous exactness; and nothing can divert her from her purpose till her object is achieved. But when the business of the day is over, she changes her identity, and appears the delicate and beautiful young lady, such as would grace a fashionable drawing-room. These two characters never interfere with each other; except that in a few instances, a little colour flashes in her face, and her hands wander at random over her files of papers without finding what she is not looking for, when a certain gentleman comes into her store on business. With this very brief notice, we must dismiss Mrs Hofland's "Decision" with the recommendation which we are obliged frequently to give, and which usually attends domestic prescriptions in medicine, "If they can do no good, they can certainly do no harm, and therefore may be safely taken."

The Town Officer's Guide, containing a Compilation of the General Laws of Massachusetts, relating to the whole Power and Duty of Towns, Districts, and Parishes, with their several Officers; with a Digest of the Decisions in the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, relating to the several Subjects. To which is subjoined an extensive Appendix of Forms, for the use of Town Officers and Individuals. By JOHN BACON, Esq. Haverhill, Mass. 1825. 12mo. pp. 396.

THIS is a labour-saving age; we can make our clothes, sweep our chimnies, mend our pens or our morals, and educate our children, at a great profit, compared with the prices, which our ancestors paid for these useful purposes. Steam-engines, railways, digests, compends, reviews, and every sort of invention in every department of improvement, of industry, of literature, and of science, obtrude themselves upon the community, to the great delight of the lazy scholar and the rich manufacturer, and the great grievance of all plodding students and poor labourers. Literary turnpikes can be travelled at a less expense than the old roads; and, although we lose some of the pleasant views and delightful associations, which the latter afford, we are transported to the desired point, with less labour and more expedition. A M'Adamizing system is applied to our learning as well as our roads; the rocks in literature and science, which formerly obstructed our paths, are now broken up, and made subservient

to our purposes, in the reduced and compacted form of abridgments, digested indexes, &c. &c. A man, in these days, who should undertake to read any work consisting of more than one volume (novels always excepted), would be looked upon as dementated, and as wilfully disregarding and neglecting the means put into his hands to save his time and his labour.

Town officers have ever been especially favoured of the gifted few, who understand the science of compressing knowledge; and any selectman, overseer of the poor, culler of hoops and staves, hog-reeve, or weigher of beef, who does not understand his duty, and conduct on all occasions "according to the law in such cases made and provided," must, from his stupidity, be "unworthy the suffrages of a free and enlightened people."

Mr Bacon, in the work before us, has contributed his full share to enlighten our municipalities; and has faithfully made the last condensation and refinement, of which his medley of a subject is susceptible.

His abridgments of the statutes are generally correct; his practical forms very good, and some of them very useful. His dedication is of a character, which proves that he is more at home when compiling laws "for the use of town officers and individuals," than when he attempts politics or original composition. President Adams, to whom the work is pompously dedicated, will undoubtedly be delighted with the offering; though he must be somewhat surprised to learn, that to him, "we owe the defence of those immunities and privileges, and the preservation of those rights and possessions, with which our laws have invested us"!!

Upon the whole, and seriously, we recommend this work to town officers, as a valuable and safe guide in the discharge of their duties, and as an improvement upon any former publication of its kind among us.

To the author, we especially recommend, that he abstain, for the future, from all prefaces, notes, and "epistles dedicatory;" and take our leave of him, hoping that he will be rewarded for compiling, and his patrons for reading his book.

The New-York Review, and Atheneum Magazine. No. I. June 1825.

This is the first number of the third volume of the Atlantic magazine which appears under a new name, and with the addition to the editorial department of a gentleman well known to the lovers of poetry.

This number contains eight reviews, and among others one of the Journal of Madam Knight. This singular performance, which has been generally considered as an imposture, the reviewer declares to be authentic. He asserts, that he has seen the manuscript, and that it is "of unquestionable yellowness, of most manifest fragility, and withal, of a very ancient and fish-like smell." On this whole matter we desire for the present to suspend our opinions, and the rather as the reviewer's manner savours so much of irony, that we are not quite sure of his meaning in some instances.

The reviewer of Lionel Lincoln agrees with us in expressing a more favourable opinion of that work, than it has received from the public in general, we should rather say perhaps in our neighbourhood.

We think the magazine department in this number not so interesting

« НазадПродовжити »