Page images
PDF
EPUB

The results of these have given to this science an economical importance beyond that of almost any other. And while these facts are an evidence of the degree of interest in the subject which already exists, they also tend, at the same time, to excite a still greater one. Under these circumstances, the appearance of this volume from the pen of Professor Hitchcock will be peculiarly gratifying to many in the community.

This work, like that of Dr. Lee, noticed in our April No., is designed to be used as a Text-Book for classes in Geology, in colleges and other seminaries of learning, and, also, to supply the wants of the general reader, who has not the leisure to study the numerous and extended treatises that have been written on different branches of this subject. The plan of it, we think, is admirably adapted to the first of these uses, and nearly or quite as well suited to the second. It enables the author to give a full, and, at the same time, a very condensed view of the facts, theories and hypotheses of the science, together with its religious, historical and geographical relations. One of the peculiarities of this work consists in the abundant references which it contains. These answer as an index to all the valuable works which have been written on subjects connected with Geology, and will very much facilitate the labors of those who wish to make extended investigations in the science. More than a hundred wood-cuts are inserted, illustrative of the structure of the earth and the reasonings of the science. It is, also, ornamented by a Palaeolontological Chart inserted as a frontispiece, the object of which is, “to bring under a glance of the eye the leading facts respecting organic remains." We will only add concerning the contents of the work, that one whole chapter, out of the eleven into which it is divided, treats of the connection between Geology and Revealed Religion. It forms a valuable summary of the various arguments and reasonings that have been advanced on this interesting topic.

We are sorry we cannot speak favorably of the manner in which this work is got up. Besides numerous typographical errors, the paper and print are of an inferior quality, and the wood-cuts are not well executed.

10.-German Literature, translated from the German of Wolf

gang Menzel. By C. C. Felton, Professor in Harvard University. In three volumes. Boston: Hilliard, Gray

& Co., 1840. These volumes form the seventh, eighth and ninth in Mr. Ripley's Specimens of Foreign Standard Literature. This series of books is handsomely printed, and, what is far more uncommon, well translated. Mr. Ripley, the translator of the earlier volumes, is an accomplished scholar in the modern languages. Professor Felton is the well known and able editor of Homer's Iliad, and is a frequent and popular writer in our principal periodicals. So far as we have examined the translation of the volumes of Menzel, we find the work done with remarkable tact, spirit and adroitness. The translator acknowledges his obligations to his friends, Professors Beck and Longfellow, for their kindness in helping him over the difficulties of his undertaking.

The author of these entertaining volumes, Wolfgang Menzel was born at a village in Silesia, June 21, 1798. He studied philosophy at the Universities of Jena and Bonn. In 1825 he formed a connexion at Stuttgard with the great bookseller Cotta. In 1823, he was elected a member of the legislature. He first made himself known to the literary world by some poems, published in 1823. His history of Germans appeared in 1827. A second edition in one large volume was issued in 1834. His work on German literature,

published in 1828, gave a brilliant proof of the originality and universality of his intellectual powers. This work has been very well received in England, and been strongly commended by the most respectable periodi. cal publications there. One English critic compares the author to Burke ; and one of his own countrymen said of him, that he wrote like an Englishman. “He is, undoubtedly," remarks his translator, “a writer of extraordinary vigor and clearness, and his style occasionally rises to eloquence. His power of illustrating his ideas by the ornaments of fancy is almost unrivalled.” On the other hand, he is often careless ; he sometimes descends to coarseness and vulgarity. He occasionally allows the violence of party feeling to blind his better judgment. What he says of Voss and Goethe must be taken with no inconsiderable deductions. Against the last writer he maintains a vigorous and most unrelenting warfare. He denounces with a bitter pen, the idolatry with which almost all Germany have worshipped the “many-sided," though by “the most distinguished” man of his age.

The moral character of neither Schiller nor Goethe, we fear, will stand a very close examination ; though the latter, doubtless, is the more guilty. What Menzel says of his political offences needs large qualifications. The fine criticism, however, will amply repay a perusal. Menzel brandishes alike a heavy claymore and a keen scimetar. He can knock down with the ponderous blow of Ajax, and wound with a fatal elegance and a practised adroitness.

no means

The religious reader will find not a few things in these volumes for which he will thank the author. Menzel has no patience with the cold hearted neologists around him. The religion of Germany wants fire. It is learned, but heartless. It is simple, soothing, flattering, but inefficient. The preachers are not clothed with the terrors of the Almighty. They ought to sound an alarm in God's holy mountain. Such advice, coming from a layman of keen wit, of splendid talents and wide acquisitions, must be felt. The hatred which it has aroused is proof enough that the shots are not at random.

The volumes will furnish one important contribution to our materials for estimating the German character aright. We have the full verdict of a German in the premises :-a verdict too which is, perhaps, as impartial as could be expected. We have been far too ready to condemn the Germans by wholesale, to laugh at them without any discrimination ; or else, which is a more rare case, applaud them too inordinately.

11.-Introduction to the French Language; comprising a French

Grammar, with an Appendix of Important Tables and other matter ; and a French Reader, consisting of Selections from the Classic Literature of France, accompanied by Explanatory Notes, and a Vocabulary adapted to the Selections. By David Fosdick, jr. Andover and New

York: Gould, Newman and Saxton ; 1840. pp. 402. The principal difficulty in the French grammars which we have attempted to study, is their plethoric fulness. They were made by Frenchmen for Frenchmen. We can imimagine scarcely any thing so preposterous, as that we should undertake to write an English grammar for Germans and Frenchmen. We should not meet their wants; we might, indeed, say something about the pronounciation of the sand the th, or the enormous or rather abnormous character of some of our verbs; but, on the other hand, we should multiply superfluous remarks and be guilty of manifold deficiencies. do not understand the French idiosyncrasy, or what a Frenchman considers to be the knotty points in our language. nostrocht’s French grammar is a perfect wilderness. To the eye of the tyro, at least, it is an inextricable labyrinth of rules, exceptions, exercises, criticisms, etc., without any clear, typographical divisions.

We

Wa

of

Mr. Fosdick has avoided this serious embarrassment both in his German and French grammars. The typographical arrangement is distinct. The pages are not encumbered with useless or less important matters. Their appearance is inviting. The author has not introduced exercises for practice in writing French, because a grammar does not appear to be a very suitable repository for such exercises. The learner will do better by translating some easy French into English, and when he has forgotten the words of the original text, he should re-translate the English into French. The grammar Mr. Fosdick occupies about three-fourths of the volume. About fifty pages are taken up with selections from French literature, and the same number of pages with the vocabulary. The lessons are firm standard writers, such as Boileau, Rousseau, Pascal, Fenelon, Montesquieu, De Sevigne, Condorcet, Maury, La Harpe, Lamartine, Bossuet, Massillon, etc. The selections have been made especially from those authors who furnish a convenient opportunity of presenting entire pieces, or, at least, extracts not unintelligible when withdrawn from their connection. There are various explanatory notes which refer to principles in the grammar by which they are iliustrated. A somewhat minute account is very properly given of French pronunciation. This is one of the principal obstacles which a foreigner meets in acquiring the language. Upon a prominent peculiarity of the grammar--the incorporation of the syntax with an account of the etymology, or of the forms of words,we do not feel authorized to pronounce an opinion. 12.-Views of the Architecture of the Heavens. In a series of

letters to a Lady. By J. P. Nichol, L. L. D., F.R.S. E., Prof. of Practical Astronomy in the University of Glasgow. Republished from the last London and Edinburg Editions : to which has been added Notes, and a Glossary, etc. by the American publishers. New-York:

H. A. Chapin & Co.; 1840, pp. 138. The wonderful discoveries of Modern Astronomy claim the attention of all classes. Though intensely interesting to the man of science, they can be clothed in a popular form. In proof of this we have only to appeal to the work before us. While most of these discoveries, particularly those revealed by the late researches in firmamental nebulæ are confined to learned and elaborate treatises, this volume, the publishers justly remark, "is indited in plain but glowing and elevated language, comprehended by, and alike inspiring to all.” The author takes us into the very centre of the mighty frame.

[ocr errors]

work of the universe; and makes us acquainted with those distant bodies-majestic and awful for their vastness—which are known to us only as nebule. Those who have paid the least attention to the science of Astronomy will have no difficulty in following Prof. Nichol; and they may hereafter look at the heavens with something of the feelings of the accomplished Astronomer.

We rejoice that the execution of this plan has fallen into such hands. The eminent talents of the author, and his experience as a practical Astronomer would lead us to expect a work like the present. Few could have prepared one interesting, and at the same time so trustworthy.

It is due to the publishers to add, that the maps and plates are beautifully executed; the notes and glossary, by Mr. Chapin, have been diligently prepared. 13.-An Exposition of the Law of Baptism, as it regards the

Mode and the Subjects. By Edwin Hall, A.M., Pastor of the First Congregational Church, Norwalk, Connecticut. Norwalk : John A. Weed. New-York: Gould, Newman

& Saxton, 1810. pp. 216–18 mo. This little volume is composed of four discourses, written, as the author states, for the defence of the truth in his own congregation. They are characterized by great energy and directness. On the mode of baptism the author begins with stating the principles of interpretation, which he thinks adapted to settle the controversy. The first of these he illustrates, by citing the following example from “Blackstone's Commentaries.” “A law of Edward III. forbids all ecclesiastical persons to purchase provisions at Rome.” “This law,” says Blackstone, "might seem to prohibit the buying of grain and other victuals : but when we consider that the statute was made to repress the usurpations of the Papal See, and that nominations to benefices by the Pope were called provisions, we shall see that the restraint is intended to be laid on such provisions only.

This, Mr. Hall assumes as the leading principle of his reply to the reasoning of our Baptist brethren, who maintain that the meaning of Bantito in classical Greek, must govern its meaning in the New Testament, and as applied to the Christian ordinance of baptism. As Blackstone would have us search out the meaning of “provisions," as used in the canon law of those days, so our author takes us to Christ and his apostles for the meaning of baptize. “The decision of Blackstone,” he says, “ carries all common sense with it. Away go

« PreviousContinue »