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respect to the argument of the orator in behalf of the Pacific Railroad, we need say nothing, at present; hereafter we may possibly make some remarks on the discussion of the subject. But we may reasonably express our regrets that the honorable member did not confine himself simply to his argument, and forbear that tone of denunciation and hostility which threatens us with the withdrawal of our young sister from the Confederacy, in the event of Congress not acceding to her wishes. We have no doubt that California will set up for herself as soon as she can do so with safety. She will not wait upon mere propriety. She will get all she can from the Confederacy, meanwhile. There is no reason why she should not withdraw—much reason why she should—in process of time; but we submit that the threat is in bad taste at present —a little premature—and the charge of neglect quite unfounded. When all the facts in our relations are considered, the Government has probably done quite as much for California as it could, without disparaging utterly the claims of other States and sections. To increase the taxation enormously, for the special wants of California, is no part of our policy. As for protecting such a frontier as that of California from the Indians, the thing is clearly impossible. It would consume all the resources of the Confederacy. Government cannot protect the frontiers of Texas—could not—though in fulfilment of a treaty pledge—protect the Mexican frontier; and to make this neglect, in the case of California, a plea for growling, is out of all reason. Our orator speaks of the millions of tribute paid by California. Where is it? The returns to the treasury of the U. S., from this quarter, as opposed to the outlay, do not show one dollar to fifty. California thus far has been an expense to government. The people of California send us gold, which, as a people, we pay for in breadstuffs, and clothing, and implements, and shelter. There is no tribute, on either side, in all these exchanges.
Calavar : or the Knight of the Conquest.—A Romance of Mexico. By Robert Montgomery Bird. Redfield, New York: 1854.—Calavar was originally published about twenty years ago, and at once impressed the public with the grand, stately, Hidalgo-like genius of the author. His sonorous periods, gorgeous descriptions, highly elaborate scenes, compelled the instantaneous conviction of the reader, that he was a writer destined to take very high place among our native authors. Nor did he fail to realize this promise. Dr. Bird's novels deserve an honored place, and must find it, in all American libraries. His impressive novels—a handsome collection, " The Infidel," "Nick of the Woods," "Hawks of Hawkhollow," "Sheppard See," (originally published arrangements) with several others, contributed, at each successive issue, to confine him in the high place which he had won in his very first attempt; and now, since his premature death, while still a young man, they assert their former place in our collections, and will always appeal with interest to our minds. The pictures of scenery, portraits of men, descriptions of events, in this volume, are as complete, truthful, impressive and ingeniously elaborated as in any of our authors. Dr. Bird's career was begun with the drama. He is the writer of some of the most successful of American plays, such as, in the hands of Mr. Forest, still keep attractive place upon the stage; such are the Gladiator, Orallowa, the Broker of Bogota, etc. To those who have libraries, and who feel a patriotic interest in the development of American genius, we commend these very interesting and artist-like legends of Bird.
Armenia: A Year at Erzeroom and on the frontiers of Russia, Turkey and Persia. By the Hon. Robert Curzon. New York: Harper & Brother, 1854.—Curzon will be remembered by most readers as the author of a very pleasant volume, discriptive of a visit or visits, to the monasteries of the Levant, where he sought chiefly old manuscripts, and found and described some curious, if not valuable ones. The work before us is hardly so well written as the first, though, we suspect, that its materials, in the present condition of the great powers cf the East, will be thought even more interesting. It is a slight and stately miscellany, giving us equal glimpses of present life and past history, in the countries which he visits, and a more detailed, but still very sketchy picture of Armenia, a few, brief biographical touches, lively and new, giving us a very good idea of life in Armenia, constitute the most attractive portions of the volume, which, by the way, is illustrated with maps and woodcuts.
Harper's Gazetteer of tlie World. This work is designed to occupy some ten parts, each of near 200 pages, royal octavo. It is to be enriched by seven new and accurate maps, illustrating the several divisions of the earth. The compilation is confided to J. Calvin Smith. An examination of the first number assures us that his labours will supply a greatly pressing statistical want in our libraries. The world grows so rapidly, in speed if not civilization, that a Gazetteer of ten years ago, is completely outgrown, and is of much more mischief than use. No doubt the one before us, will report amply our present statistical knowledge, and will serve its purpose for the next decade. After that—but let posterity look to its own affairs. If men and arts will prove thus prolific, they must not murmur at the cost of a new Gazetteer, at frequent periods.
A popular account of the ancient Egyptians; revised and abridged from his larger work, by Sir J. Gardner Wilkinson, D. C. L., F. R. S., &c. In two volumes. Illustrated with 500 wood outs. New York: Harper & Brothers. 1854.
The great work of Wilkinson, in the English edition—and we doubt if there ever has been one from the American press—was quite too expensive to be within the reach of the popular reader. This abridgment will enable him to compass a work which is recognized as one of the most sterling authority on the highly interesting subject of Egyptian antiquities. We do not see that there have been any omissions here, of very material matter. Of course the student will require the original work in all its fullness; but the omissions of this edition will not be felt, as causing any loss, to that large class of readers who are content with a general knowledge of the subject. , To such as these, the publication before us will be at once quite ample for instruction, and a grateful acquisition.
Washington Christian Association. An active and efficient society, the first annual report of which is before us, showing us worthy designs, prosperously begun. We trust that the association will realize all its proper objects.
Cowper's Works by Southey. The Bohn Library gives us the three first volumes of this admirable collection of the complete works, prose and verse, correspondence and translations, of William Cooper, edited by Robert Southey—the only complete and correct edition. Cooper was the dawn of a literary revival in Great Britain. His works are valuable in a twofold respect—as those of a greatly endowed poet, and of one who began a very great literary revolution—rescuing Great Britain, in fact, from the sway of French taste and authority in letters. This new edition is a fine one, and illustrated with choice engravings.
The Knout and the Russians; or the Muscovite Empire, the Czar and his People. By German De Lagny. Translated from the French. Harper & Bros. 1854.—We are beginning to tire of the scores of volumes, relating to Turks and Russians, which the press is spawning forth in monthly shoals, in consequence of the existing trial of strength between the countries of these respective people. The volume under notice, however, is confined chiefly to the delineation of the social aspects of the Muscovites, though it does not withhold from us any necessary information touching the resources, civil and military, of the empire. It is very full in social details, and will agreeably employ the attention of the reader. Numerous plates are used to illustrate the costume of all classes, the architecture of the chief cities, and the manners and employments of the people.
Atherton and other Tales. By Mary Russell Mitford. Boston: Ticknor & Fields. 1854.—The reader is always secure of a pleasant and wholesome story at the hands of Miss Mitford. This veteran lady (?) has an old, well-worn and often-tried reputation, which criticism will not idly venture to disturb. Her writings are pure throughout and interesting, without rising, at any time, into the higher regions of romance. She is not largely imaginative, nor is 8he eager and passionate; but she has fancy and invention, uses ordinary materials with considerable art and ingenuity. The story of "Atherton" is a very pleasing, if not powerful, sketch from real life. The collection of tales and sketches which follow it, afford a very grateful interest, and will serve to while away the summer hours agreeably.
Kip's Catacombs of Rome.—The last and wonderful cities of the silent, which underlie the "Eternal City"—their curious avenues, their unknown extent, their mysterious history, "as illustrating the Church of the first three centuries," are all matters of which American readers in general know nothing, and only vaguely conjecture. This little volume will contribute considerably to their enlightenment. It will, at all events, furnish proper clues to conjecture, and supply adequate data and criteria for this exercise of thought. It attempts nothing further, and this we regret. How much more of those three centuries of mysterious conflict, trial, scourge, persecution, martyrdom—hope, fear, sacrifice—divine love and noble triumph, might have been made to contribute to the interest of these pages! But they would have swelled them to a monstrous volume, and that might have been fatal to the objects of the writer. Little books are the only sort to be tolerated by a people in a hurry; and this, which is nicely got up, with plans of the catacombs and engraved specimens of the tombs, vaults and inscriptions, will answer for the present.
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