Графични страници
PDF файл

and langued gules, with a pair of top-boots argent. The whole forms a striking heraldic curiosity!'

A note to the 'The Girl of Saint Mary-Axe,' by Barry CornWALL, illustrates, with proper ardor, the following lines :

'At times, in sullen silence, she would sit,
And pick a rose to pieces, and, while lay
The ruins on the floor, her pensive fit
Would joy to mark its colors fade away;

And thus,' she cried, 'will this here soul decay ! • The phrase "here,' says Mr. Gifford, ' possesses great expletive pathos, and appears synonymous with the sui ipsius' of the most approved Latin writers. In circumstances of urgent distress, I know no expression that appeals more simply yet touchingly to the heart; and the reader who can unmoved peruse the similar lament of the dying robber in Don Juan, 'Oh Jack! I'm floored by that ’ere bloody Frenchman !' must be more or less than man. The language is truly Virgilian !'

In closing, we would suggest to such of our favored readers as

compass the original works from which we have quoted, to possess themselves of them, at the meetest vantage of the time.' We will insure them an excess of participation. Whether laughing at solemn apes, or embodying the peculiarities of acknowledged genius, the authors every where display an admirable artistic manner, and a minute fidelity of detail, the result not less of a searching examination and comparison of the several authors selected, than of entire ability to appreciate their merits, and scan their defects.


[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]



New-York: WILLIAM Jackson, 102 Broadway.

We have derived much pleasure from the examination, and partial perusal, of several valuable works, lately published by the above-named Society. The most important of these is the one entitled ' Antiquitates Americanæ,' an imperial quarto volume, with eighteen maps and plates, the typographical execution of which it would be well for our own publishers more frequently to imitate.

In the leading article in the present number, the contents of this volume are given; from which it will be seen, that much light is thrown on the early history and disco very of America. It appears, also, that the knowledge of the previous Scandinavian discovery of America, preserved in Iceland, was probably communicated to Columbus, when he visited that island, in 1477. In his memoirs, written by his son, it is stated that he visited Iceland in that year. And although he may have heard the relations of the voyages of the Northmen to a distant and hitherto unknown country to the South-West, we do not think that the glory due to him for his great discovery is in the least degree impaired. These discoveries no doubt operated as incentives to pro secute still farther what had been made known, and to flatter him with a hope of prosecuting his voyage, uninterrupted, to the East Indies. For it appears that, until the discovery of the Western Ocean was made known, it was believed that the newly discovered lands were in reality the eastern portions of Asia, or some large islands little known to voyagers. The name given to the islands, of Indies, and to the natives, of Indians, will remain a perpetual memento of this belief. From the large work under review, we learn that the coasts of Massachusetts and Rhode Island were well known to, and described by, the Scandinavians. Much pains have been taken to identify the places alluded to in the ancient sagas, the numerous papers relating to which are embraced in the work.

Whether John Cabot, before he undertook his voyage to America, had any knowledge of the Norwegian discoveries, is not known. But he undoubtedly bad been informed of the discoveries of Columbus. He however discovered the continent about six weeks before Columbus discovered the main land in South America. In regard to the year of Cabot's discovery, there are different statements, and some mistakes, in modern compilers of American history, which ought to be rectified. The accounts in Holmes' American Annals, and in Marshall's Life of Washington, which have been copied into the Histories for Schools, by Willard, Hale, Goodrich, and Olney, are all, we believe, inaccurate. Fortified corrections of these errors, with important facts in relation to the general subject, are contained in a review of the 'American Annals,' supposed to be from the pen of the veteran lexicographer, Noah WEBSTER, which may be found in ‘The Panoplist for January, 1836.

But to return. We are glad to learn that the Northern Society intend prosecuting their researches in this country, and have instituted a committee, under the title of

the 'Committee of the Royal Society of Northern Antiquaries, on the Ante-Columbian History of America.' They intend following up the traces which have already been discovered; to examine other monuments and inscriptions, known to exist in North America ; and to investigate the languages of the Aborigines, their manners, customs, etc. It is to be regretted, that these interesting subjects should not attract more attention in our own country, and that foreign societies should step forward to make these researches. They are deserving of great credit for the enterprise thus far manifested, which we trust will not abate; and we hope that our learned men will give them all the aid in their power toward effecting the object in view.


: OR THE SIEGE OF GRENADA. By the Author of 'Eugene Aram,' 'Rienzi,' etc. In one volume, 12mo. New-York: HARPER AND BROTHERS. The same, illustrated by fifteen Engravings. pp. 300. Philadelphia : Carey, LEA AND BLANCHARD.

Like every production of Mr. Bulwer, ' Leila' will be found to enchain the inte. rest, and excite the imagination, of the reader; yet both, we have reason to believe, in a lesser degree than either of his more recent works. Indeed, the volume has struck us as having been hastily conceived, and as hurriedly executed. There is no lack of spirited dramatic action, and strong contrasts and effects are arranged and 'dashed in' with the hand of a master. Muza, the noble Moorish warrior, is a well-drawn character; and Bobadil, as an outline sketch, for it is nothing more, is another; but Leila, whether from the reason that we expected too much of her, or that the author has failed in making the character all he intended, has disappointed us. The father of the heroine is in the same category. He walks under a mist, and the author takes much pains, and a wide circuit with him, to startle us at last with a single display of his powers of necromance. There is a battle-scene, which will compare with the best efforts of the writer's pen; and throughout the volume, minor points, or collateral incidents, are not wanting, to keep alive the reader's attention. Yet the work has, in some measure, disappointed us. The scene and events chosen have been used before, and to better advantage. Irving’s ‘Conquest of Grenada,' upon the same ground, will live longer in the recollection, and impress the reader more favorably, than 'Leila.' The engravings of the Philadelphia edition are of a high order of art. They are from the English steel plates, engraved by eminent London artists. The letterpress, also, upon the finest white paper, is of rare excellence. New-York: WILEY AND PUTNAM.

The PRINCIPLES OF Political Economy. By HENRY VETHAKE, L.L. D., of the Uni

versity of Pennsylvania. One volume. pp. 400. Philadelphia : NICKLIN AND JOHN. SUN, Law Booksellers.

We have examined this work with attention, and are surprised to find the ramified divisions of political economy so clearly expounded. As a popular lecturer, Prof. Vethake has ascertained, that it needs all we know to make things plain;' and this work seems to have been prepared under a proper appreciation of the adage. We are bound to thank our author, in an especial manner, for comprehending intellectual products under the terms of wealth and capital, and enforcing so ably his incontrovertible positions in this regard. We are left but space to commend the work to our readers, as a succinct exposition of an important science, in its various bearings, whose application to public affairs, and the transactions of private life, together with its moral relations, are clearly defined and set forth. VOL. XI.



CATACOMBS OF Paris, TOMB-STONE WAREHOUSES, ETC. — A subscriber and kind correspondent at Paris, in a recent letter, gives us iwo or three brief but graphic sketches of scenes in the French metropolis. We subjoin an extract, descriptive of the Parisian catacombs, and a manufactory of ready-made' tomb-stones : 'I have to-day, through the kindness of a distinguished French officer, been permitted access to the immense catacombs of Paris. After having reached the spot, I followed my guide, wbo was provided with faring tapere, down a long flight of steps. At length, more than a hundred feet from the surface of the ground, we paused, and entered one of the low passages, leading to the catacombs. Passing along, we presently arrived at a small black door, over which was an inscription in Latin, This is the entrance to the Cavern of Death! How vası is its extent! Here the contents, long collecting, of various cemeteries of the metropolis have been deposited. As the door was closed behind me, a cold shudder crept over me, at the thought that I was shut up with three millions of skulls! They grin in ghastly horror on every side. Here, they repose in conical heaps, laid up like cannon balls in the navy-yard at Brooklyn; and there, stretching in long lines, tier after tier, and one above another, like bottles in an extensive wine-cellar. Mighty congress of the dead !-- representatives from that dim and shadowy realm, the Past! Could they but speak — could each tell his 'story of a life' — what romance would compare with the varied recital! How many victims of ambition - how many votaries of pleabure - how many slaves to passion - how many wretched and oppressed! After tarrying for an hour or more in this awful Golgotha, I emerged to the day-light, feeling more intensely than I ever felt before, the common blessing of existence. Time seemed doubly precious to me, when I reflected that the forms I had left, had been wafted on the same tide that was bearing me on to eternity.' While I am on grave subjects, let me tell you of an incidental visit I paid the other day, with a friend, to a tomb-stone warehouse, in a northern suburb. It was a spacious' shop,' filled with monuments in every variety of form and material, regularly arranged in order of age and character, and - do n't smile, but consider the gravity of the theme – already lettered with minute inscriptions, leaving blanks only for the name! It was amusing to hear the proprietor point out the various divisions: “Those on the left, are for the men above forty;' the “fathers of families above forty' are in the recess behind you,' etc. There is a large variety of engraved virtues, which are suited to all classes and professions of society. 'Friends in need, with a small bill of particulars,' were numerous. "Good husbands' were held at about ten dollars, and ‘faithful wives' were equally cheap, there being a good assortment of both. 'Friends to the poor' were a large department, but 'virgins untimely cut off' were very dear. Poetical additions are paid for by the line, and exclamation points are extra! 'He lies like a tomb-stone!' says Pantaloon in the play; and to see such systematic laboratories of standing praise, as the one I have described, shows the comparison a good one. 'All are equal in the dust,' here, in the most literal sense of the phrase.'

As touching monuments and tomb-stones. There is not a little adroit satire in an anecdote of THEODORE Hook, contained in a late London magazine. It illustrates that speedy assuagement of grief which sometimes occurs, with the seemingly ultra affectionate, in this very curious world :

'One of our most eminent sculptors was applied to, some years since, by a Mrs. Gingham, the widow of an opulent tradesman, who had died exceedingly rich, to make a design for a monument to his memory. "The lady, who was, as the poet has it, cursed with a taste, gave a description of the sort of monument she wished for, which was to consist of a group of figlires : Faine was to appear sounding the reputation of the late Mr. Gingham, as an eminent linen-draper; Hibernia, with a piece of Irish cloth under her arm, was to lean on her stringless harp; while Britannia was to be represented embraciog Mr. G., as he was seated in his armed chair, with an open piece of cambric muslin in his lap; while Liberty, standing behind him, displayed her bonnet rouge ou a pole immediately over his head. Above these again were to be two or three naked, plump little boys, with wings, flying about as wild as swallows; and in the fore-ground were to be disposed several bales of goods, an anchor, a pile of cannon-balls, the rudder of a ship, and other suitable objects, calcnlated to convey a just idea of the extent of his business ; while at his feet were to be seen kneeling his mouroing widow and three children. On the right hand was to be a view of St. Paul's Cathedral, with palm-trees, pyramids, crocodiles, and cypresses in the distance. Startled by the elaborate description of the exemplary lady, the sculptor hinted that the execution of such a work would cost at least seven thousand pounds.

"A mere trifle to one who lovod as I have loved!" said Mrs. G. Make the design.'

“The sculptor did make the design, and at the end of three months, the lady called again: she saw the beautiful sketch ; and then suid, she thought perhaps it might appear somewhat too ostentatious; that every body knew how extensive poor dear G.'s trade had been, aud that perhaps the siogle figure sitting alone would be better, under all the circumstances : the fore-ground might he relieved with certain emblems, etc. ; but she wished the sculptor to reduce the design to the cost of about two thousand pounds.

The artist again did as she desired, and her late husband was represented, G. by himself, G., in the same armed chair; Hibernia had left her stringless harp in one corner ; Britannia had posed her shield in the other; Fame had left her trumpet on one side of his seat, and Liberty had placed the pole, with her cap upon it, bebiud it; the figures had taken their departure, but the emblems remained.

* Three months more elapsed, and the widow came again. Again she admired the design: ‘But would it not be better to adopt a little sketch which her friend Mr. Hobkirk had made; merely a tablet - and an inscription — quite plain?'

• Hereabout the sculptor lost all patience, and doing a violence to his naturally kind feelings, entreated the lady to transfer her favors to the first stone-mason she might meet with, who would no doubt be too happy to receive fifty pounds for embodyiug her young friend's ideas.'

It may perhaps be superfluous to add, that Mrs. Gingham became Mrs. Hobkirk, long before the tablet was begun, and that the lamented linen-draper measures his length in the parish church to this day, unhonored and unrecorded.

IMPROVED ALPHABET. — We have examined, with some attention, the characters for an alphabet, sent us by a correspondent, and perused his remarks. The subjecı demands a few words in reply. Within two or three hundred years, many attempts have been made to form and introduce a perfect or more complete alphabet than that which is now used. This has been proposed and attempted in England; Dr. Franklin attempted it in this country, as well as in England; and more recently, three or four plans have been suggested in this country. But all schemes of this kind have failed. From the experience we have already had, and from the intrinsic difficulties of the plan, we are of opinion that a new alphabet cannot be introduced ; and if any improvements in the alphabet could be introduced, no scheme that we have yet seen is well adapted to the purpose. Were a perfect philosophical alphabet to be formed, many of the characters now used would be as well adapted to the purpose as any others which can be invented. The Latin characters we now use, are, in our judgment, the best letters which have been formed. They consist of straight lines, or easy curves, with few sharp corners, and no involutions, or irregularities of form. They are more easily made with a pen, and less painful to the eye, than any other characters we have ever seen. No consideration should induce us to lay them aside, and substitute others. Their extensive use is another objection to change.

The introduction of entirely new characters would render useless all the books now printed, and all the types now used. Such a change as this is not practicable ; and if

« ПредишнаНапред »