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The Rev. D. Edwards, M. A., was re-elected president for the ensuing year; Mr. D. Jones, Llan derfel, treasurer; and Mr. E. Davies, Bala, secretary. At half-past four, from four to five hundred assembled in the Methodist chapel, to hear adjudications read on the best compositions in prose on the following subjects, "Man's influence on society," "The life and genius of the Rev. S. Lloyd, B.A.," an English essay on " Happiness," "The character of Joseph," to juvenile members. The following in verse, a poem on the "Shepherd," "The tragedy of the children of Bethlehem," and also a "Congregational tune." Prizes were awarded on the above subjects to the successful competitors. This plan has been a source of considerable interest in the union; and we feel a desire to see it more generally adopted in other societies, as we are convinced that" writing makes an exact man." The following gentlemen addressed the meeting:-Mr. D. Williams, Cablyd; Mr. D. Jones, Llanderfel; Mr. G. Jones, Bala; Rev. J. Parry (editor of a Welsh Cyclopædia, now in course of publication, and the first ever published in the language); Mr. Simon Jones, Bala; and the Rev. R. Humphreys, Dyffryn. After a few remarks from the president upon the evils that might ensue from a misconceived notion of literature, Mr. O. Jones proposed, and Mr. J. Roberts, student, seconded, a vote of thanks to all the benefactors of the society in the past year. Songs and glees much enlivened the proceedings. -E. J.
Skipton-in-Craven Young Men's Mutual Improvement Society.-The third annual festival of this society was held on Tuesday evening, the 9th instant, in the British schoolroom. An excellent tea was provided, to which upwards of one hundred members and friends sat down. At seven o'clock the public meeting commenced, the president of the society, Rev. R. Gibbs, occupying the chair. After an appropriate introduction, the chairman called upon the secretary, Mr. E. Calvert, to read the report of the past year's operatious. Addresses were then given by members on the following topics :-"The pursuit of knowledge under difficulties," Mr. S. Farey; "Cromwell," Mr. W. Brumfitt, Jun.; "Eminent Reformers," Mr. R. Cornthwaite; "Nature and Art," Mr. J. Huiscliff; "Alfred," Mr. J. Lambert; "The class--suggestions for its improvement," Mr. J. Grayston; "The young men of Skipton," Mr. J. Dawson. At the close of these, the chairman gave an instructive and stirring speech on "The popular literature of the day." The meeting was enlivened by the singing of a few amateurs of local celebrity, whose valuable services were cheerfully given. A recitation by a juvenile member, Master T. Holmes, on "The Mariner's Dream," was very creditably given, and well received. The meeting concluded by singing the national anthem.
in those characteristics which make a good speaker. Our much esteemed president's interest in the society is unabating; besides his regular occupancy of the chair at our weekly meetings, he has shown his desire for our improvement by delivering a series of six lectures, which have been thrown open to all desirous of attending. The topics chosen were--" The young man and his studies;" "Luther;" "A review of the year's essays;" and three on "Uncle Tom's Cabin." logic class is taught by the president; and a class for the study and practice of elocution, some time ago given up, is to be recommenced.-J. D.
Newcastle-upon-Tyne Debating Society.-On Tuesday, 2nd January, 1855, the second annual soirée of this society was held at the Adelphi Temperance Hotel, Newcastle, when upwards of seventy members and friends attended, to pass a sociable evening in celebration of its second anniversary.
A comfortable tea was provided, which being concluded, the chair was taken by Mr. J. W. McNeil, who introduced the proceedings in a suitable speech. The secretary then read his report of the transactions of the society for the past year, which have been attended with considerable prosperity. The treasurer afterwards gave a satisfactory account of the monetary concerns of the society. Mr. Cook then delivered a speech bearing upon the necessity and usefulness of debating societics. These proceedings were intermingled with vocal and instrumental music, Mr. J. S. Liddle presiding at the pianoforte. Dancing and social games concluded the entertainments.
The society, during the past year, has obtained a most elegant and convenient room at No. 15, Grey-street, where it has met weekly, and where it commences the new year, encouraged by continuous success, and with a bright and cheering future before it.
A new and interesting feature in the society's operations during the past year, and one which we much recommend to all kindred institutions, is the delivery of critical lectures by the members of the class. Five of these have been given, on the following topics :-"Chivalry ;""Oratory and British Orators;""The Alliance for the suppression of the liquor traffic;" Wellington;" and "Byron and Kirke White." At the close of these lectures, friendly criticisms are given by members on the excellences or defects of the lecturer,
Kirkintilloch Young Men's Mutual Improvement Society.-The members of this society held their usual social meeting on the evening of the 9th December, in the New Post Office. Mr. Jas. Scott, librarian of the society, occupied the chair, and delivered an eloquent address, in which he gave an outline of the society from its commencement, referring feelingly to the separation of some of the members, who had left the country to push their fortune in a new world. The treasurer, Mr. Wm. Whitelaw, then read his report, which showed the finances were in a healthy condition; and followed up his report with a spirited address on the means of obtaining knowledge. Addresses were then delivered by Mr. D. F. Menzies, on the War; by Mr. J. Craigie, on the advantages of such societies. The intervals of the addresses were filled up by recitations and songs. A manuscript magazine has had five monthly parts issued, and seems to be conducted with good taste. It is carried on by contributions from the members. D. F. M., Sec.
Bristol (Cooper's Hall) Mutual Improvement Society.-The fifth annual soirée of this society was held at the hall on Tuesday evening, Dec. 26th, 1854, when about 200 of the members and friends were present. After tea, and an opening address was delivered by Mr. H. N. Barnett, who kindly presided, speeches and recitations were given by the following gentlemen: - Messrs. Butcher, Taverner, Willway, J. Stoate, Derrick, Powell, and Peachey. Glees, &c., were sung
intermediately by a very efficient choir, under the conduct of Mr. Cox, accompanied on the piano by Mr. Albert Denning. A concluding address
A pension of £50 per annum has been granted | mitted 183 Fellows, 243 demies, and 162 choristo the widow of the late Dr. Kitto. ters." In the literature of our country he will ever be distinguished as the author of the " Reliquiæ Sacræ," a work distinguished by great classical aud ecclesiastical learning.
We have to record the death of the celebrated and popular writer, Bitzius, better known under the nom de guerre of" Jeremias Gotthelf." He was born in Murten in 1797, and died in October last.
The newspapers record the death, on the 30th Dec., at the age of 67, of Mr. W. R. Macdonald, a gentleman industriously occupied in the early part of his life in editing a weekly newspaper, and subsequently in preparing books for the young.
The death of Lord Robertson-one of the Scottish judges-is announced to have occurred at Edinburgh, on Jan. 10th. His eloquence, wit, and social qualities will long be remembered in Scotland. As an author, he sought celebrity late in life, by turning sonneteer, and publishing two volumes of poetry.
Another Edinburgh name we have to add to our literary obituary is that of Dr. A. Crichton, LL.D., an industrious journalist, and author of some volumes in "Constable's Miscellany."
The death of the venerable president of Magdalen College has removed a link which had long united the present with former times at Oxford. Martin Routh was born in September, 1755, in the reign of George II., and survived till the seventeenth year of Queen Victoria's reign. "He had known Dr. Theophilus Leigh, Master of Balliol, the contemporary of Addison, who had pointed out to him the situation of Addison's rooms; had seen Dr. Johnson, in his brown wig, scrambling up the steps of University College; had been told by a lady of her aunt, who had seen Charles II. walking round the parks at Oxford (when the Parliament was held there during the plague of London), with his dogs, and turning by the crosspath to the other side, when he saw the heads of houses coming." In more unromantic fact, it is added, that" Dr. Routh had ad
was given by the chairman, and after joining in "God save the Queen," con molto expressione, the meeting separated.-AUGUSTUS.
NOTICES OF BOOKS.
Among the most important revelations of the census of 1851 are those which relate to the edu cation of the people, the agencies employed, and the institutions established for promoting this object. If, as the census returns state, there are
After a long period of decline and helpless suffering, cheerfully borne, the author of "Our Village" died at Swallowfield Cottage, near Reading, on Jan. 10th, aged 66 years. She was born in 1789, at Alresford, in Hampshire. Her father was a sanguine, cheerful, and speculative man, who tried physic, played at whist, spent every one's money, and something more, and made every living creature about him love him, lend to him, and forgive him. To this love, and to his extravagance, his daughter's life was sacrificed. Miss Mitford first presented herself to the public in three volumes of poetry-one a South Sea romance, after the fashion of Scott. It was by chance that she afterwards fell on the veins of country life, scenery, and manners, on the one hand-and on the other, of high tragic passion and action, which "Our Village" and her plays in verse severally represent. It is unnecessary to dwell upon these and other works, that made a labourer's cottage with a duchess's "flower garden," three miles from Reading, a place of pilgrimage to some of the highest and most accomplished persons in Europe. She bore up against the trials of a hard and ill-understood life with a sweetness and vivacity such as could have made strangers imagine that there was nothing to bear. Not long after her father's death, her own health, which had been shaken by the dutiful attendance on him, began to fail; and the illness which carried her away was slow, painful, and dispiriting. But her sweetness of temper and her brightness of mind never failed her to the last.
We learn that the subject of the Seatonian prize poem at Cambridge for 1855 is to be the "Plurality of Worlds."
some 23,514 Sunday schools, with 318,135 teachers, and 2,407,642 scholars, the importance of these institutions can scarcely be over estimated. We look, therefore, with kindly interest on every effort made to raise the character of these schools by improving the quality of the instruction. The publications enumerated at the head of this notice are brought out by a committee of practical men; they appear well adapted to meet the wants of the majority of teachers, and we therefore cordially recommend them to the examination of such of our readers as are engaged in this work.
Aids to Self-Culture.
THE ART OF READING.
IN "the pursuit of knowledge under difficulties," the eager-minded student frequently finds a deficiency of elementary culture a great hindrance to progress. The initiatory processes of education are by no means unimportant, nor can any one availably exert the higher qualities of mind, unless the more humble and ordinary powers have been trained as aids and auxiliaries in the work. The importance of an accurate and ready acquaintance with words cannot be too strenuously impressed on a student's attention. Words, as the symbols of thought and its processes, possess two prime qualities, on a right comprehension of which their utility almost wholly depends-sound and sense. Reading is the translation of represented thought into such sounds as shall convey the precise sense of the thinker to the who are to be impressed by his thoughts. There are implied in Reading, therefore, any things of essential importance. Accuracy of articulation, fluency and ease of utterance, correctness and beauty of intonation, a ready and true knowledge of the meaning of words-singly and combinedly, skill in seizing the point in the structure of a sentence, the power of giving fit and unstrained emphasis to important words, and the constant habit of attending to intellectual pausation: these varied qualities, in harmonious combination, constitute the chief elements in good reading.
It is not our intention to enter into details regarding the mechanic operations enumerated in the preceding paragraph, except in very brief and general terms, as we purpose devoting the chief portion of this paper to the imparting of such hints on intellectual rather than vocal reading as we deem of importance to those engaged in self-culture. We abstain from making these remarks all the more readily because the greater and the more important portion of these topics has already been treated of by a gentleman whom we know to be, not only an able but an esteemed contributor to this serial. He will readily excuse us for placing the matter before our readers in our own point of view, if our readers will pardon us the repetition of matter with which they are already familiar.
On "the mechanism of speech," and consequently on the elements of articulation, our dent readers would do well to peruse attentively, "The Philosophy of Language: Part Universal Grammar,'" by Sir John Stoddart, Knt., LL.D., chap. xvi.,* and by diligent and sedulous practice acquire a ready habit of giving to each alphabetic sign its own proer individual sound; they should then proceed to learn the effect which these have upon Each other in combination. In this they will be very materially aided by the thoughtful study of Latham's “Handbook of the English Language," Part III.† If, after this, and with proper attention to the principles laid down in these works, some pronouncing dictionary, such as Walker's, is thoroughly studied, there will be little danger of defective or improper articulation. To make success more certain and decided, however, we advise the reading aloud of a portion of some classical author daily, with strict watchfulness and con
* London: R. Griffin and Co.
tinual reference to the standards laid down in the above works. This will secure the accurate rendering of the sounds of individual words.
Let this same reading be gone over slowly and carefully with the intellect alone in activity; think over the signification of each sentence separately, then analyze each individual word to see what portion of the whole meaning it contributes, and whenever a difficulty arises have immediate recourse to a dictionary. Do not rest satisfied until you are confident you comprehend, not only the meaning of the sentence in the gross, but the different additional elements of thought which each separate word conveys. Thus the precise sense of individual words will be discovered.
Having studied the sentence thus thoroughly you will know the chief and paramount dement of thought which it embodies, and upon the word or words which contain that, the emphasis must be placed, while according to its peculiar quality the intellectual pausation will occur before or after, as explained in the paper on that topic.
By attention to these rules, the grand universal canon of good reading, viz., "Understand what you read, and enunciate it as if you did so," becomes easy of obedience.
On this topic, viz., vocal reading, the student will find some observations, distinguished by the usual good sense and lucidity of exposition of their author, in" The Elements of Rhetoric," by Archbishop Whately, D.D.,* Part IV., chap. i. and iii., and he may also consult with advantage "A Course of Lectures on Elocution," by Thomas Sheridan, A.M.†
So much we felt bound to say upon the vocal symbolization of written thou ht, prior to entering upon the main subject of our present prelection.
"Books are not seldom talismans and spells;"
but they become much more efficaciously so when to the energy and richness of thought there is added the living power and melodious tones of a voice which
"Pours a sensibility divine Along the nerve of every feeling line,"
when the reader, sympathizing with the writer, becomes one in thought with him, and,
"Life rising s on life, in higher tone,"
"sweet silence" which hides and
in reading aloud for the grate arely gathering up the significati
thought." But we are not so frequen and culture of other minds, as in silently tained in the thought-embalming words of w ch good books are composed. At these -if we choose our books aright and well- -we sit in quiet communion with the master-spirits of the universe, and learn their choicest thoughts. It is thus that we w into the texture of our own minds the wisdom of past ages, and reproduce them in ne and richer combinations. It is in this process of moving circumspectly along the pathwTM*
gives audible embodiment and actuali in the pages of a book, and makes
* London: J. W. Parker.
+ London: Strahan, 1762.
We cannot help thinking, however, that amongst all the beneficial exercises prescribed in ou mutual improvement societies, "the art of reading" is too much neglected. Would it not be advantageous were one evening a month set aside and devoted to select readings upon any pre-determir ed topic, on which evenings each member would be expected to bring some extract having a bearing the subject agreed upon, and be called upon to read, and, if need be, explain it?
of thought, that the earnest student most requires the guidance of method; and it is here that we are most desirous of rendering him the aid of which we in our student years felt the want, and of which we have for many years been experimentally feeling the immense importance.
Reading is the primary process in study. The course of reading which ought to be pursued by each one ought, therefore, to be in a great measure directed by the purpose which he intends to fulfil by his studies. Each will therefore have one broad, direct course of thought marked out for himself, to and along which all the traffic of his thinking hours will be carefully carried. It will be impossible to lay down, in this paper, any system of reading which will be equally available and beneficial to all parties, but we do expect to furnish some general hints upon this subject which—when modified as each may see needful-will materially assist our readers in their study of the great thinkers on any peculiar branch of knowledge.
All knowledge, according to the Baconian classification, may be regarded as appealing to, and exciting, three grand energies of human thought, viz., the Memory, the Imagination, and the Reason. This, which may be called the subjective classification of knowledge, agrees with the objective division of all topics of thought into History, Poesy, and Philosophy. Facts are the prime elements of knowledge. To ascertain, classify, and remember these, therefore, are rightly the earliest efforts of thought. Memory lays up in its archives the passports upon the credit of which each element of thought was allowed entrance into the kingdom of ideation, translates the original into the current language of that realm, and re-examines each on each occasion of ingress or egress. Our earliest reading, like our earliest thoughts, should refer to facts; whenever a new topic of study is undertaken, the facts regarding that study, its objects, its utility, its successive steps of improvement, &c., should earliest receive attention. History is always the most interesting reading for the youthful, and we doubt not it is so for wise ends. History is a record of facts, to whatsoever those facts relate. It is, therefore, the great supply-store for the operations of thought and fancy. History is an extension of experience. One who reads the history of nations and of sciences is not limited to the little sphere in which his own eyesight confines him, but widens his range of vision, by the use of a thousand eyes. There can be no doubt that great pleasure as well as much benefit is derivable from the study of history properly pursued. The greater number of readers of history, however, look upon it as combining the excitement of the novel with the additional quality of truthfulness, and they take up a work of this class as a harmless and pleasing pastime. They do not read with a high endeavour and a lofty aim ever before them. Immethodical, irregular, inconsecutive reading of history is most injudicious and injurious. Vague and confused notions fill up the mind, and order is quite impossible. History thus read is like a succession of episodes, with no great co-linking, harmonizing, epic structure into which they fit-like the scenes of a strange tragedy, read as the book chances to open, in which the characters become a jumble, and the plot of the play a complicated maze-like one of the masterpieces of Raphael, cut up into scraps like a child's puzzle to be replaced without a key, reconstructed into unity without a comprehension of the design of the picture-like all these, but oh! how different; for history is the poem of the Deity, traced by the finger of man—the drama of God, in which men and women are merely players—the painting of