« AnteriorContinuar »
Improvement in the Navy.—The speech of Hon. S. K. Mallory, of Florida, in the Senate of the United States, June 20, in reference to the condition of the navy, and the necessity for its radical improvement, contains some good suggestions, which we trust will meet with due attention from the proper quarters. The necessity of a " retired list" is becoming daily more and more exigent. The vast importance of higher grades, so as to enable our Captains and Commodores to take rank with those of foreign service, and many other concerns more or less vital to the interests of our navy, need to be discussed and settled before we can hope to put it in a condition to be adequately useful. An increase of the armament is another necessity, The naval arm of a country, to be of proper use, requires to be made strong in due degree with the mercantile marine of that country.
The Message and Documents from the President of the United States to the two Houses of Congress at the commencement of the First Session of the Thirty-Third Congress, (Part iii.) comes to us through the polite attention of Senator Butler, in a copious volume of 800 pages. The contents of this volume are sufficiently various, but too well-known to need description., however much of them may provoke discussion. One thing, however, may be suggested to our readers. These volumes, very freely distributed as they are, are not sufficiently valued. They are but rarely preserved, when but a moment's reflection would suffice to show that they constitute invaluable materials for future history. It is time that our people should exercise more care in the preservation of public documents. Congress itself might do something towards prompting this care, in a more improved style of publication.
The Address of Aaron V. Brown before the Literary Societies of the University of North Carolina, at Chapel Hill, last May, is devoted to a rapid but comprehensive review of the progress of the United States, in government, employment, science, the acquisition of territory, and in moral and material respects generally, all of which our author traces to education. The discourse is simple of style, unaffected, shows reading and reflection, and may be described as a performance of good sense and general propriety of thought, without any effort at eloquence, or any ambition of profundity.
The Iron Cousin. By Mary Cowden Clarke. New York: Appleton & Co. 1854.—The woman whose love and patience have given us the Concordance to Shakspeare is, of course, no ordinary one. The ingenuity which could illustrate Shakspeare's female characters by demonstrative biographies, must possess no ordinary ingenuity. We are not, therefore, surprised to receive from her hands a volume like the present, so grateful from its general good taste, and very happy moral and mental characterization. Its interest is happily sustained throughout, and its whole tenor and tone of the wholesomest sort. We trust that she will make other stories as pleasantly moral as the one before us, and as gratefully instructive.
Narrative of a Voyage to the Northwest Coast of America in the Tears 1811, '12, '13 and '14; or the First American Settlement on the Pacific. By Gabriel Franchere. New-York: Redfield. 1854.— This pleasant narrative of adventure, by a simple, sensible and honest voyager, who had a first hand in the establishment of Astoria, is translated from the French, in good style, by J. V. Huntington. The interest of the narrative will be heightened to the reader, who has already made himself acquainted with Irving's agreeable account of the same establishment. Franchere corrects sundry errors into which Mr. Irving has fallen, chiefly in consequence of that gentleman's natural tendency to impart a picturesque and humorous coloring to his portraits and events. The present work is illustrated by several spirited engravings.
The Hundred Boston Orators, appointed by the Jifunicipal Authorities and other Public Bodies from 1770 to 1852, comprising Historical Gleanings, illustrating the Principles and Progress of our Republican Institutions.—The reader must not alarm himself with the notion that we have here this whole body of Boston orators, on public occasions, from the Revolution to the present moment. Heaven forefend. The editor has done his work more judiciously; and has just given us such samples of the orators as will suffice for a taste of their quality. These samples are coupled, each, with biographical sketches of the speakers, with brief notices of their talents and performances, given with proper heed to a discriminative criticism. We do not answer for the justice of the editor's judgment in all cases, nor for the general propriety of his political opinions. Nor is it necessary that we should. The object of the work, as shown on the face of it, is sufficiently clear, and it will quite suffice if we know that this copious volume affords a very good and general idea of the public eloquence of Boston for the last eighty years.
The World's Temperance Convention affords ua, in pamphlet form, the proceedings of the first General Convention, and an address urging their arguments against strong drink. The Maine Law, in especial, meets their hearty "Well done." We are afraid the world will get heartily sick of the discussion before they get quite full of the drink, and must express our own poor notion that the "well done" is quite too frequently overdone. What is done, is but too frequently done in a wrong direction. But, not satisfied that our zealous conventionists are working after the wisest fashion, we certainly entertain the hope that the result may be the increasing temperance of drinking people. The abuse of the good things of earth is the true offence, and a proper heed to this point it seems to us,#would be more productive of good than the course now pursued. Time will show. The zeal which is itself intemperate rarely contributes much to health or healing.
Africa and the American Flag. Appleton.—An interesting sketch of the slave trade, and of the condition of the colonial settlements of Europe and the United States, on the Coast of Africa, from the pen of Commander Andrew H. Foote, of the U. S. Navy, and Lt. Commanding Brig. Perry, on the Coast of Africa, in 1850-1851. We do not concur, in all the views, moral and ethnographical, of our ' Commander,' who is something ambitious as a philosopher, and something of a partisan; but we find pleasure in the additional proof which his volume gives us of the daily increasing* intelligence, science, skill and refinement, on the part of the ofacers in the sea service. His narrative is quite readable and instructive. It is illustrated by numerous engravings.
Apheila and other Poems. By two Cousins of the South, Miss Julia Pleasants and Thomas Bibb Bradley. New York: Charles Scribner. 1854.—Literary partnerships, particularly in poetry, are almost unknown since the days of Beaumont and Fletcher. Such partnerships have still more rarely been known in the case of the.two sexes, the respective natures of which seem to require a much more intimate union. Yet why should there not exist mental marriages? How pure and exquisite should be such communion. We see no good objection to it, though it may conduct to others, and these might tend, in some degree, to qualify the more felicitous condition of the simply mental bond. Without speculating on the problem, any way, it is quite enough that the book before us shows a very pleasant partnership of two minds of different sexes, the respective qualities of each seem nearly level, and of highly sympathetic character. Miss Pleasants and Mr. Bradley seem to think and feel in unison. Their talents appear to he nearly of the same ordeT. Her verses are new to us. His we have seen before. Both -writers are polished, pure, graceful of sentiment, and fanciful; neither is boldly distinguished by imagination or original thought. Like all young writers, they are mostly imitative, the wing not yet being selfpoised, not confident of strength, not attempting yet to go alone. Of course, this confidence of strength, this independent will and courage to go alone, constitutes the great essential of permanent life in poetry. The verses of our young authors must therefore be considered simply as preparatory exercises, as those of young birds—short flights—in which they barely exercise the wing, almost without aim or motive. The first great necessity is to learn the uses of the wing, or, to drop the figure, to acquire a perfect command of rhymthical language, so as to be able to embody the future thought as it grows and expands with every day's experience. Our young authors have made considerable progress in this exercise, and have reached a very fair degree of facility in giving expression to their sentiments. It now remains to them, having the medium of thought, to see that they have the thought. The next book should show them thinking as well as rhyming; for in poetry as in prose, it is after all the thinking that establishes the just claims of the poet upon posterity. We give a favorable specimen from each of our authors. The first is from the pen of Miss Pleasants. The reader will please see with us the grace and boldness of the lines.*
One specimen, from the pen of Mr. Bradley, is in a less ambitious vein, but one in which he usually succeeds best. The reader will find the sentiment as sweet and tender as the verses are musical.
* Not« By Thb Publisher.—The editor haying omitted to send the volume of poems with the manuscript, and our inability to procure it from any other source at the present moment, has unfortunately prevented the publication of the passages referred to above.
The Undying One, Sorrows of Rosalie, and other Poems. By the Hon. Mrs. Norton. New York: C. S. Francis & Co. 1854.—The fortunes of Mrs. Norton have been of a painful and humiliating character, and her griefs and trials have given a very sombrous character to her poems, adding unnecessarily to the saddening effect which most poetry of the sentiments and affections must inspire. The farther effect is to render them monstrous. But, in spite of this, she has achieved a wide reputation as a popular poet, taking the place in England—somewhat below it, perhaps—which was formerly occupied by Mrs Hemans. The muse of Mrs. Norton is not ambitious, or capable of startling flights. She never soars very high, never passes out of sight. She sings, after the fashion of the night-bird, where she broods, close in the tree, or swinging slowly from the twigs, balancing her wing just above the earth. The plaint is uniform, of under tone, soft, pleading and persuasive. In sad moments, which may be sweet moments also, the young heart will find pleasure in her subdued, faint, creeping undersong. Her fancies will please, in spite of her small invention, and of a too protracted vein of musing in which she too much indulges. We have space only for a short lyric, which is a fair specimen of her miscellaneous poems. These, by the way, are much more agreeable than her narrative pieces.
"WE HAVE BEEN FRIENDS TOGETHER."
We have been friends together,
In sunshine and in shade;
In infancy we played;
A cloud is on thy brow;
Shall a light word part us now?
We have been gay together,
We have laughed at little jeste;
But laughter now hath fled thy life,
And sullen glooms thy brow;—
Shall a light word part us now?
We have been sad together,
We have wept with bitter tears,
The hopes of early years;
Would bid thee clear thy brow;
Oh! what shall part us now?
The Speech of Hon. James A. MacDougall, M. C. from California, in advocacy of the Great Pacific Railroad, is a sturdy assertion of the rights (?) of that young and promising sister of the Confederacy. In