ページの画像
PDF

216

Thomas & Wm. Bradford, Philadelphia, Have in press—3d edition of Walker's Dictionary for schools. J. Simpson and Co...Wew Brunswick, M. J. To republish—The History of Ancient Greece, its Colonies and Conquests; from the earliest Accounts to the Division of the Macedonian Empire in the East. Including the History of Literature, Philosophy, and the Fine Arts. By John Gillies, L. L. D. John Cunningham and Co. Baltimore, To republish by subscription—The Poetical Works of James Thomson, containing A Sketch of the author's Life, The Seasons, Liberty, Castle of Indolence, a number of Songs, Odes, &c. &c. J. Belcher, and JMunroe and Francis, Boston, To publish by subscription—Scriptural Investigations, contained in Letters, and Sketches of Sermons, on the subject of the Great Salvation. By John Murray, Senior Pastor of the First Universal Society in Boston. Jos, T. Buckingham, Boston, To republish by subscription—The Life of Gilbert Wakefield, B. A. The first volume written by himself. With his last corrections, and notes by the editors. To which is subjoined, an appendix of Original Letters. The second volume by the 3ditors of the first volume. With an Appendix, consisting chiefly of original Letters and Papers. Isaiah Thomas, jun. Boston, To publish—Lathrop's Discourses on the Mode and Subjects of Christian Baptism: or, an attempt to show that Pouring or Sprinkling is a Scriptural Mode. With an Examination of various Objections, &c. Fifth Edition, revised, corrected, and greatly enlarged, by the author. C. W. S. and H. Spear, Hanover, JV. H. To republish by subscription—The Works of Dr. Young, author of Night Thoughts. John Cole, Baltimore, To publish—Under the patronage and sanction of the Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church in Maryland, Episcopalian Harmony. Containing the Hymns set forth by the General Convention, with appropriate Musick to each. A selection from the Psalms, embracing all the metres, adapted to some of the most celebrated ancient Psalm Tunes, Chaunts, Doxologics, Responses, Anthems, &c. including Dr. Nare’s favourite Te JDeum. The work is in considerable forwardness, and it is expected will be completed in the course of the ensuing winter. Edward J. Coale, Baltimore, To publish–Advice on the Study of the

Law, with Directions for the Choice of . Books, addressed to Attornies’ Clerks; with some additional Notes for the American Student. E. J. Coale, Baltimore, and George Shaw, ...Annapolis, Propose publishing—Letters from America. By William Eddis, Surveyor of the Customs in Maryland, during the administration of governour Eden.

RECENT BRitish PUBLICATIONS. The Chronicles of Eguerrand de Monstrellet. Translated by T. Johnes, Esq. 12 vols. 8vo. with 4to. vol. of plates. 71.4s. The Elements of Experimental Chymistry. By. W. Henry, M. D. F. R. S. 2 vols. 8vo. 11.5s. Political Essay on the Kingdom of New Spain. By Alexander de Humboldt. Translated from the French by J. Black. 2 vols. 8vo. 11. 8s. Family Sermons: a Selection of Discourses for every Sunday in the Year, and for Christmas Day and Good Friday, from the Works of Archbishop Secker; with a Life of the Archbishop. By Bielby Porteus. 2 vols. 8vo. 11.1s. The Tower of Religion on the Mind. By L. Murray. 8vo. 12s. Sermons. By the Rev. R. Polwhele. A new Volume. 8vo. 10s. 6d. Travels through Denmark and Swedea. To which is prefixed, a Journal of a Voyage down the Elbe, from Dresden to Hamburgh. By Louis de Boisgelin. 2 vols. 4to. 31. 3s. or with plates coloured, 41.4s. Discourses on the Management of Infants, and the Treatment of their Diseases, written in a plain, familiar style, to render them intelligible and useful to all mothers. By John Herdman, M. D. 8vo. 6s. The true Sense and Meaning of the System of Nature, a posthumous Work of M. Helvetius. Translated by Daniel Isaac Eaton. 3s.

PROPOSED BRITISH PUBLICATIONS, Mr. John Pinkerton is engaged in a Collection of Voyages and Travels in Asia, being the second portion of a “Ge. neral Collection of Voyages and Travels.” Southey's History of Brazil, volume the second, is at press. Mr. Joseph Murphy, of Leeds, has in the press, a History of the Human Teeth, with a treatise on their diseases from infancy to age, adapted for general infor. mation. Mr. Southey's Poem of Kehama is nearly finished printing by the Ballantynes, of Edinburgh.

SELECT REVIEWS,

FOR APRIL, 1811.

ORIGINAL.

[for THE SELECT REVIEws.]

The American Review of History and Politicks, and General Repository of Literature and State Papers. 8vo. pp. 260. Farrand and Nicholas. Philadelphia. 1811.

THE powerful abilities with which the Edinburgh Review is supported, has given an importance to works of that description, which they never before enjoyed. Literary reputation, at least of the higher orders, was heretofore sought in the publication of some elaborate production, and nothing more than a temporary fame was expected from occasional essays in periodical journals. The Edinburgh reviewers, and, since them, some others, have taken much more commanding ground; assuming a jurisdiction over the political, as well as the literary world; undertaking, indeed, to direct publick opinion upon every subject interesting to man or society. These gentlemen boast, whether vainly or not, I cannot decide, that their efforts had much effect in producing the abolition of slavery in Great Britain; and pledge themselves, by similar exertion, to procure, what is there called, farliamentary reform. The immense circulation of that work, and one or two others of the same kind, with the extraordinary talents

VoI. v. 3 E

by which they are supported and directed, cannot fail to have a most impressive influence on publick opinion. Their manner of treating a subject, and their captivating and popular style, are calculated to seize upon the attention, and carry with them, on a sudden, the understanding of their readers. Whether a deliberate judgment, formed by cool reflection, may not, in many instances, detect fallacies at first concealed by artifice, or recommended by wit, is another question. In the literary department, too, these reviewers have taken a range heretofore unknown. Their remarks are not confined to the mere criticism of the work under consideration, or a limited examination of its facts, principles, and manner of execution. The review is rather an occasion seized upon to introduce some original essay, very often much more instructing and entertaining than that which gives birth to it. This mode of exercising the highest talents and conveying the most important information, having had such unequivocal success in Great Britain, an attempt of the same kind in this country should be received by every American with pleasure, and the most zealous co-operation. It is, indeed, peculiarly suited to our state of society, where men are too much engaged in action and necessary occupations to write, or very generally to read, great books, and yot where there is both talent and leisure enough for occasional and is genious lucubrations. While we are indignant at the contempt with which foreigners treat the Anerican genius and intellect, let us cherish every opportunity to refute the calumny, not by vain anger and acrimonious reproach, but by a strenuous exertion and display of the powers of our country, and the encouragement of every means to bring them into active operation. It is thus we shall be judged by the world and not by self praise, unsupported by good works; not by angry complaints of injustice, without ally evidence of better deserts. The AMERICAN REv1Ew will, in some measure, put our pretensions to the test; and discover whether the talents we lay claim to, really exist among us; or, at least, whether there is liberality enough in the American community to foster and encourage them. Our men of money are too apt to think that scholars may take care of themselves, and to feel no obligation to aid their efforts. This sentiment, so fatal to our improvement, so degrading to our character, must be corrected; and the man who has any pride of country, must feel it as much a duty to uphold its literature and science by a moderate contribution of his means, as to support its government by a just proportion of its taxes. The political power and prosperity of the nation depend upon the one, and its moral estimation and improvement upon the other. We can never attain any high degree of literary excellence until

we have a class of men of letters; scholars and students by profession; who will devote themselves exclusively to the acquirement of knowledge and the cultivation of their genius. While the literature of the country depends upon men, however fond of it, who must make it subordinate to those occupations by which they live, and who can resort to it only as an amusement in their few hours of leisure; as a relief to a mind almost exhausted by labour and exertion in another direction, what can be expected but superficial knowledge, unsatisfactory investigations, and meagre productions? Not indeed, to the discredit of those who do even thus much, for, in their circumstances, it is wonderful they afford any attention to such pursuits, but to the discredit of the country, which should liberally sustain a class of men on whom she should build her reputation in literature, and from whom she would then have a right to demand it—and such a class we certainly shall have. The citizens of the United States are a reading people; there is no deficiency of judgment or taste in them in deciding upon the merits of foreign productions. The number of books sold here is immense in proportion to our population. But this is not enough; the honest pride of country will not be satisfied until we are as independent in letters and science as we are in government. We must have our authors, whose writings wiil accord with our situation, our wants, our views, and interests, and not for ever resort for every intellectual enjoyment to an importation from abroad. A periodical work is now presented to the publick patronage, which, if received with the kindness and courtesy it merits, will bear honourable testimony to the world of our claims to crudition and genius; and, if suffered to fall neglected, will testify as loudly to our condemnation and disgrace. The complete ability

[ocr errors]

of Mr. Walsh, the editor, to conduct and enrich this work; to make it not only a most interesting and useful manual at home, but a respectable witness of American literature abroad, cannot be called in question. He is not now upon trial; his sufficiency has been amply and proudly proved, before a tribunal where no flimsy pretension can impose, no pedantick affectation deceive. The star that was conspicuous in the Edinburgh constellation, needs no other evidence of its lustre. But there are some, a very few I hope, who, not doubting the abilities of the editor, have, or affect to have, some fears of his principles; and suggest that his opinions and feelings are not sufficiently American; but have received an unfortunate biass from his residence for a short time in Great Britain. If this objection had any foundation in truth, there is no man with whom it would have more weight than myself. I would certainly cease to admire, or at least to encourage talents, however rare and brilliant, which were preparing their powers to vilify and degrade my country. If the knife is whetted to go to my heart, I cannot gaze with much rapture on the polish of the blade. But where is the proof by which this charge is supported; We look for it in vain in the birth, the education, the hopes, and prospects of Mr. W. These are all American; purely so. He has planted his happiness and fortunes in his native soil; and there is no feeling in his heart that is not interested in American prosperity and honour. There being nothing, then, in the situation of this gentleman that should make him an object of this suspicion, can it be verified from any of his publications. His Letter on the Genius and Dispositions of the French Government, is before the publick, and while, it has added so much to his literary fame, has taken nothing from his patriotism. If it were admitted that he exaggerates the cor

ruption and misery of France (which I fear is impossible) and paints in deceptive colours, the strength, wealth, and happiness of Britain, is he the less an American on this account. He may be a prejudiced enthusiast; he may, while in France, have mistaken Paradise for Pentiemonium, and has reversed the delusion in England, but still he is not the less a true member of his own country. We may doubt his judgment, or, if you please, the soundness of his intellects, but not the honesty of his principles, or the purity of his patriotism. I do not know that an American is, as such, bound to be in love with French rapine and murder, or to think Napoleon the most delectable tyrant that ever scourged the earth. It is urged against the editor, that, both in his prospectus, and throughout the Inquiry into the past and present Relations of France and the United States, he speaks with frequent indignation and contempt of some of our own great men, and severely taxes the conduct of the administration. This may be a reason why, to the particular adherents and dependants upon that administration, he should not be very acceptable; but it is no reason why he should not be greeted by every American who is independent of the government, and of its offices and patronage; and bends not with a blind faith before its infallibility; who desires truly and honestly to be informed of the course, situation, and prospects of our publick affairs, and who has understanding and liberality enough to judge for himself, whether they be fairly represented or not, in the Review. Is it any evidence of the want of American feelings in Mr. W. that he does not approve of the ruling administration? On the contrary, would he have the feelings of an American if he did not express himself decidedly and independently upon their conduct. Is not this the first and most valued right of the citizen of every free government? and if it be conscientiously exercised with an honest view to publick information, with a just regard to the general honour and prosperity of the country, we must not be too nice about the selection of terms in which a man, having a right to do so, expresses his opinions of what he considers ruinous imbecility and disgraceful misconduct. If in these, too, he is mistaken, it is his judgment and not his patriotism, that should meet condemnation. This right, and the free exercise of it, constitute , the soil and base of our constitution, Shall we have a right to choose our rulers, and shall we not be informed of their management of our affairs? and shall the man who would give us that information be driven from his task, be hunted from the service by absurd suspicions of his integrity, and unsupported charges against his patriotism : It is the interest of a few to attempt this politick game; but it is the interest of many more to defeat it. It is not expected that the leaders of that party, whose administration is condemned, will have any fond affection for the work that exposes its weakness. But it is hoped and believed, that many, very many, who honestly follow the predominant party from a belief in its wisdom and virtue, will not avert their eyes from those pages which fairly examine its pretensions. There is no witchcraft in the book, that men should fear to trust their senses with it. Read it patiently, and judge it candidly. The importance of the subject, and the character of the author, at least, merit so much attention; and if he fails to convince, he will not corrupt. Whether the manner in which he makes his assault upon those who administer the publick affairs, has in it too much of acrimony and violence or not, is a question on which there will naturally be a difference of opinion. A man will judge of it,

in some degree, by his own temperament and maxims. But even those who may be disposed to disapprove of this feature in the Review must admit that the objection is a very limited one, and by no means impairs the general integrity and utility of the work. Besides, decorum is perfectly preserved; and however cutting the sarcasm, it is untainted with vulgar abuse. Men whose tempers are unusually mild and forbearing, may desire that even the guilty should be touched with a tender hand; while others may imagine that in our perilous times, becoming daily more perilous, the plain truth may be told in plain language; and that the man who undertakes to be a publick monitor should sacrifice no part of his duty to the feelings of those to whom we owe all our calamity. Listen to the wailings of distress, mingled with the indignant reproaches of honour, which resound through our country, and say if those who cause them have very strong claims to tenderness in rebpke. Our merchants, after exerting, in vain, every effort to save themselves; af. ter struggling against destruction assailing them from every quarter, and in every shape, are seen dropping, in melancholy succession, in the abyss of ruin, like exhausted mariners from the floating wreck. A floating wreck, indeed, is our commerce; abandoned and abused by those who were sworn to protect her; beaten by conflicting tempests, and existing by precarious accidents. How is our character changed and fallen! So long since as 1775, Burke, speaking of our country, said it was an object “not to be considered as one of those minima which is out of the eye and consideration of the law; not a paltry excrescence of state; not a mere dependant, who may be neglected with little damage, and provoked with little danger”— that “ some degree of care and caution was required in the handling such an object”—that, “to trifle with

« 前へ次へ »