India, its State and Prospects. By E. Thornton. A very useful and well-timed volume, intended to do something towards dispelling the apathy which prevails in this country on Indian affairs, and to present, in comparatively small compass, such information as is most requisite for those who are interested in the facilities, recently opened, for projects of commerce or colonization. The chapters on agriculture, manufactures, and foreign trade, and also those on the condition of society, particularly deserve attention. The changes effected by the late Act are now first brought before the public in a permanent form; and the work, notwithstanding its limited extent, may be regarded as containing a digest of the most important parts of the vast body of evidence submitted to Parliament previously to the passing of that Act."

A Tour on the Prairies. By the Author of • The Sketch Book.' The writings of Washington Irving are ever pleasant, graceful, and graphic. The reader may be tolerably sure of seldom being excited, of never being disgusted, and of almost always being amused. He is the drawing-room pattern of a republican gentleman. Yet lie has the American love of the Forest and the Prairie, and writes descriptions of their scenery with an evident and hearty enjoyment of the reality. The excursion which forms the subject of this volume was made in company with a party of mounted rangers or riflemen, sent on an exploring tour from the Arkansas to the Red River, including a part of the Pawnee hunting grounds, where no party of white men had as yet penetrated.' • The Bee Hunt,' • The Crossing the Arkansas,' • The Wild Horse Chase,' and several other incidents, are amongst the author's pleasantest sketches. The following remarks on the Indian character are a warning to romancers :

The Indians that I have had an opportunity of seeing in real life, are quite different from those described in poetry. They are by no means the stoics that they are represented—taciturn, unbending, without a tear or smile. Taciturn they are, it is true, when in company with white men, whose goodwill they distrust, and whose language they do not understand; but the white man is equally taciturn under like circumstances. When the Indians are among themselves, however, there cannot be greater gossips. Half their time is taken up in talking over their adventures in war and hunting, and in telling whimsical stories. They are great mimics and buffoons, also, and entertain themselves excessively at the expense of the white men with whom they have associated, and who have supposed them impressed with profound respect for their grandeur and dignity. They are curious observers, noting everything in silence, but with a keen and watchful eye, occasionally exchanging a glance or a grunt with each other, when anything particularly strikes them ; but reserving all comment until they are alone. Then it is that they give full scope to criticism, satire, and mirth.

*In the course of my journey along the frontier, I have had repeated opportunities of noticing their excitability and boisterous merriment at their games; and have occasionally noticed a group of Osages sitting round a fire, until a late hour of the night, engaged in the most animated and lively conversation, and at times making the woods resound with peals of laughter.

*As to tears, they have them in abundance, both real and affected; for at

times they make a merit of them. No one weeps more bitterly or profusely at the death of a relative or friend; and they have stated times when they repair to howl and lament at their graves. I have heard doleful wailings at daybreak, in the neighbourhood of Indian villages, by some of the inhabitants, who go out at that hour into the fields to mourn and weep for the dead; and at such times, I am told, the tears will stream down their cheeks in torrents.

· As far as I can judge, the Indian of poetical fiction is like the shepherd of pastoral romance, a mere personification of imaginary attributes. p. 52-54.

This volume is the commencement of a discharge by the author of the accumulated contents of his portfolio, as well as the casual lucubrations of his brain, in occasional numbers, published as circumstances may permit.' The announcement is a welcome promise to all lovers of light reading.

[ocr errors]

Poems, with Illustrations. By Louisa Anne Twamley. The' very young authoress' of this volume is an artiste, and gives multifold evidence of her powers in the etchings by herself, from her own designs, which accompany her verses. She is happy in the combination. Her poems show that she is a painter, and her paintings that she is a poet. Of the latter, it is true, we have only evidence as to design; bụt the grouping clearly indicates her sense of colour. Her possession of the true poetic temperament is most obvious. We wish we could quote her wreath, or one of her sketches of Kenilworth, or Tintern Abbey. As that is impossible, we take the

Spirit of song! Thou monarch of the mind !
Holding thy sweet dominion o'er mankind;
Fleeting and transient as the summer breeze,
Kissing earth's flowers, and winging to the seas :

Where is thy home?
Thou art where Nature spreads her noblest scene,
And where the ken of man hath rarely been ;
Thou art where Fancy wings her wildest flight,
And thy sweet voice breathes in the stilly night:
Thou art where lightnings flash and billows foam ;
Thou art with exiles from their native home;
Thou art among the dewy flowers at eve,
And where love's vows are pledg'd and hearts believe :
Thou art at banquets midst the minstrel train,
Waking their harps with an enlivening strain;
Thou art where rosy, mantling wine is poured,
And bright-ey'd mirth laughs round the social board :
Thou art among the bridal's virgin throng,
Greeting the chosen one with love-fraught song;
Thou art the lover's aid, to bid arise
His ladye fair, and ope her beaming eyes':
Thou art with those for whom Joy's cup o'erflows,
And thou can'st bid dim Grief forget her woes;
Thou art where blushing roses brightly bloom,

And thou dost wreath the cypress o'er the tomb :
No, 100.


Each transient bright creation of the mind,
That gleams and wanes ere e'en its source we find,
Thy magic voice can swift recall to birth,
And leave its glowing transcript upon earth :
The dauntless soul of soaring Genius fires
With rich enthusiasm as thy voice inspires ;
In thee alone exuberant Fancy teems
With language wild and lofty as her dreams :

Where is thy home?
I know thee, and I love thy faintest sigh,
And love thy loftiest strains of melody;
I lay my young heart's treasures at thy shrine,
Spirit of song! I feel thou art divine !

Thy home is Heaven !'

In a few instances a fastidious critic might take exception to a line not exactly measured, or a sentiment which has not yet been accurately weighed; but these are rare cases, and it is a safe prophecy that they will be yet rarer should these blossoms of her spirit be succeeded by the fruits of which they are the promise.

The Manuscripts of Erdely. A Romance. By George Stephens.

3 vols. The motto which the author of this romance has prefixed to it, from Ford, is no unapt description; it is truly' a scholar's fancy,' though we will not add ' a quab, 'tis nothing else- a very quab;' nor would it have been less honest of him to have paused in the quotation. There is no reason why he should affect to despise his literary offspring; and as little justification can there be for the isolation of laudatory words from their connexion in criticisms not so laudatory, by which the advertisements of this work have been distinguished even in these puffing times. The obvious extravagance, and as obvious inappropriateness of these advertised encomiums, after reading a few pages of the work itself, are enough to knock up many readers whom a less obtrusive flourish of trumpets would have allowed to persevere. So it had almost happened to ourselves. However, we did get over the difficulty; and over the not less formidable difficulties of the author's stilted style, unnatural dialogues, straining at effect, parade of learning, pedantry of manner, patchwork of quotations, and sundry other like gifts, exhibited according to Dogberry's exhortation, when there was no need of them; one or two passages of indubitable power helped us along, and many others occurred, until we were fairly in for a strong interest. The materiel of the romance, both the historical and invented portions, is admirable for the purpose ; but, in the putting together and getting up, there is a terrible want of simplicity, nature, fiexibility, grace, and that vitality of diction and composition which Scott has taught us to require in all future historical romances. The author's fancy would have been all the better for not being a Scholar's Fancy.' She is subdued by her pedantic mate, who moreover keeps False Taste for a mistress, whose influence is continually paramount. If he can reform his mental establishment, he may produce glorious things.

Parliamentary History of the County of Sussex. By W. D. Cooper. A CLEAR and succinct account of the Election Contests, from the earliest periods, in the county of Sussex, and its several boroughs and cinque ports; together with lists of their representatives, compiled from the best authorities. Great diligence has been exercised on all matters connected with the disputes on the right of voting in the cinque ports, and much information collected of general interest, as well as of local utility.

Alphabet of Zoology, Electricity, fc. Orr and Smith. The age we live in is eminently characterised by the facilities which it affords for acquiring every description of knowledge; even the paths of science are weeded of the technicalities by which they were once obstructed, and present a ready access to all who wish to explore them. The Alphabet of Zoology and Electricity are parts of a series of elementary treatises which may be regarded as so many guides to the most interesting and popular sciences. Already have appeared the Alphabet of Insects, Botany, Gardening, Chemistry, &c.,' the individual and collective merits of which consist in the accuracy of the information they contain, and the simplicity of diction in which it is conveyed. Unlike Guides in general, if we may be allowed to speak as old travellers, the knowledge they communicate is in every sense valuable, and their charge exceedingly moderate.

Effects of Veratria and Aconitine. By Dr. A. Turnbull. It is not many years ago since the German and French chemists contrived to extract the active principles of certain plants, whereby they obtained, as it were, the very essence of a number of medicinal agents which were found to act in minute quantities with the greatest efficacy and power. The study of vegetable chemistry thence derived a practical interest which it never before possessed ; and in this country to Dr. Turnbull, and also to Dr. Sutherland, the profession and the public have been recently deeply indebted. They have discovered that veratria, the active principle of the meadow saffron, and aconitine, the active principle of monkshood, possess specific virtues in effectually curing the stubborn and distressing maladies of tic douleureux, paralysis, rheumatism, and other chronic affections, under which hitherto the victim of pain has writhed without any hope of permanent relief. The cases they have detailed are in the highest degree interesting and satisfactory; and we hope Drs. Turnbull and Sutherland will persevere in exploring an arcanum wherein they may reasonably expect to find other vegetable principles, which, properly employed, may mitigate or entirely alleviate many other sufferings incident to humanity.

A Grammar of the French Language. By S. Brookes. This Grammar is introduced by a very sensible and interesting preface, describing what the author terms the Conversational Method of Teaching Language,' which is • based upon the following principles deduced from the operations of nature: 1. To teach first in the maternal language what we wish the pupil to acquire in a foreign : 2. To repeat continually the foreign conventions for those ideas till they are acquired by heart; 3. To compare such conventions with each other, and thence to deduce the grammar of the language. This method has been exemplified by the author in his previous publications of The Analytical Translations of Petit Jack, Elisabeth, and Six Books of Télémaque,' works which have been found eminently useful in practical tuition. His grammar is an appropriate companion for them, and will recommend itself to those who consult simplicity, rationality, and utility.

Wanderings through North Wales. By Thomas Roscoe. Part I. Alike beautiful and elegant in the pictorial illustrations, and in the literary composition. The engraving of the Vale of Langollen is as delicious a scene as the eye can desire to be gladdened with.

Conversations at the Work-table. By a Mother. A CONSIDERABLE variety of information is presented, in these Conversations, to the juvenile reader; and in a manner calculated to amuse and interest. We would rather they had not been held at the Work-table,' and that the frontispiece, representing the imaginary parties, so sitting, and both as stiff as starch, had been away. It will not attract the young eyes that should be drawn towards the book. Among the subjects are, intermingled with others of a more familiar character, submarine forests; dress in the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries; ancient customs; the Arundelian marbles ; gipsies ; troubadours and minnesingers; the mud volcanoes of Turbaco, &c. &c.; and they are so talked over that the child may comprehend and learn, at the same time that many a mother may, as she uses the book, be herself receiving while she imparts instruction.

A Few Observations on the Natural History of the Sperm Whale.

By Thomas Beale. The term 'whale fishery seems associated with the coast of Greenland, or ice-bound Spitzbergen, and the stern magnificence of Arctic scenery few connect the pursuit of this " sea beast" with the smiling latitudes of the South Pacific, and the Coral Islands of the Torrid Zone; and fewer still have any more distinct conception of the object of this pursuit than that it is a whale producing the substance called spermaceti, and the animal oil best adapted to the purpose of illumination. The author spent two years as a surgeon in this service, and has recorded his observations on the sperm whale in so simple and satisfactory a manner as to make them a very interesting chapter in natural history. His pamphlet also contains many curious particulars of the devices and perils of the Southsea Fishery.

« VorigeDoorgaan »