« VorigeDoorgaan »
sons, governor Livingston thus writes, “And now, my dear child, I wish you a safe voyage, with prosperity in this world, and everlasting happiness in the next; and to secure the last, which is of infinitely the greatest consequence, oh! let me entreat you not to forget your Creator in the days of your youth, but wherever you go, to remember your duty to the great God, who alone can prosper you in this life, and make you happy in that which is to come.'
His attachment to Mrs. Livingston is thus beautifully expressed in his old age. “If I was to live to the age of Methusaleh, I believe I should not forget a certain flower that I once saw in a certain garden; and however that flower may have since faded, towards the evening of that day, I shall always remember how it bloomed in the morning ; nor shall I ever love it the less for that decay which the most beautiful and fragrant flowers are subject to in the course of nature.”
3.—Letters on Slavery ; addressed to the Cumberland congrega
tion, Virginia. By J. D. Parton, their former pastor.
Lexington, Ky.: A. T. Skillman. 1833. pp. 207. A Book of this character from a slave State, is really an animating sign of the times. The author is a highly respectable minister of the Presbyterian denomination, and was dismissed from his congregation in Virginia, a few years since, in consequence of an excitement occasioned by some remarks on slavery, which he published in the Richmond Family Visitor. After his removal, he took occasion to address his former con. gregation on the whole subject of slavery, in a series of letters, which are now published. The following are the topics discussed : ministerial prudence in regard to slavery ; reasons for discussing the subject; origin and nature of slavery in the United States; inconsistent with our free institutions and the natural rights of man; inconsistent with the moral teaching of Scripture; the servitude tolerated by the Jewish law not slavery for life; examination of Leviticus xxv., and of the practice of the patriarchs; examples of God's judgments for slavery; the bearing of those things in the Old Testament on the testimony of the New, respecting slavery ; various evils of slavery; excuses considered ; several plans for removing the evil proposed; motives to immediate effort, from the doctrine of divine recompenses.
While Mr. Paxton speaks with all plainness respecting the sin and dangers of slavery, his language is decorous, and his whole manner candid and becoming. Having by marriage become possessed of slaves, he immediately commenced the task of fitting them for freedom, and in a few years sent them all to Liberia. He has lived for a long time in the slave-country, and is intimately
acquainted with all the details of the system. The facts with which his arguments are supported, are of great importance. His limits did not allow him to present the scripture argument in that prominent light in which it deserves to be presented. A much more efficient use could be made of the principles of the Bible in opposition to slavery, than has been yet attempted. In endeavoring to prove that the word dovloş means a servant and not strictly a slave, it was incumbent on Mr. Paxton not only to show the classical but the New Testament usage, and to have fortified his position with stronger authorities than that of Pool, or even that of Potter. We think it will be difficult to show that the slavery of the Greeks and Romans was not, in general, grinding and intolerable. Slavery is a bitter cup everywhere.
We commend the letters of Mr. Paxton as worthy of high consideration.
we should think can read them without being greatly interested, and no one, who is in the wrong, with out being convinced of his error,
4.- The People's Magazine. The Penny Magazine.
The object of these magazines, and of similar publications the diffusion of knowledge—is very laudable. They furnish a large amount of reading material, at a very low price. Some of the selections are interesting, and a portion of the cuts and other embellishments, striking and decorous. We think, notwithstanding, that their circulation would be injurious to the country. The knowledge which they diffuse is miscellaneous in the extreme. Every possible subject, in literature and science, is taken up, and inevitably treated in a very superficial manner. The excitement, which the monthly or weekly appearance of these penny publications produces, is momentary, and unnatural while it lasts. No deep interest, in literary or scientific subjects, is created. What the great body of our people need, is not news, nor startling facts, nor the illustrations of the various sciences. They find these, in overwhelming abundance, in the common newspapers. They need the principles of science and literature—not materials for idle conversation, but the real reasons of things. It is im. portant that knowledge should be diffused, but of far more importance that the right kind of knowledge should be diffused, and in the right manner. A magazine ought to be the means of awakening a permanent interest in literary subjects. It should lead men to think, to ascertain the grounds of their knowledge, to compare, and to form intelligible conclusions.
If we mistake not the signs of the times, we are in danger of becoming an exceedingly practical people. The sermon on the Sabbath must be practical. The newspaper is not in its province, if it explains things, and furnishes food for thought. The Bible class and Sabbath school exercises must not consist of can
did and intelligent scriptural explanations, but of vigorous exhortation, or story-telling. Now, facts are important, only as they illustrate principles; and exhortation is the veriest vanity, unless it is legitimately drawn from truth. This tendency, in our community, should be counteracted, and not strengthened.
According to present appearances, there will be a strong reaction, at no distant time. Men will not only return to the sober reading of former days, but will entirely abjure what is really commendable and important, in the lighter kinds of literature of the present day. We are not pleading for an abandonment of magazines and other like things, but that they should be kept in their proper place, and not be multiplied, so as to become the paramount object of public interest. We wish that they may be so managed, as to prevent the necessity of a reaction. We think that the sober part of the community always prefer to give a fair price to their old booksellers, for the standard works. What is very cheap, will be valued accordingly.
Again, the habit of condensing, and compiling, and extracting, and arranging with questions, is attended with real injustice to the original authors and publishers. A man may be a pirate, without coming under the cognizance of the statute. take out the best portions of a book, prepared with great care and at great expense, by the author, and so work them up into another form, as to set the law at defiance, and at the same time defraud another man of his property. We are advocates here, as well as elsewhere, of the strictest conscientiousness. It is no apology for this theft, that the sentiments of the author, by transmutation, are attaining a wider circulation. They are his property, and are not to be touched, but by his consent. The laws of Christian integrity apply here, in their fullest force.
We have examined several numbers of the Penny Magazine. With many useful and interesting articles, it contains things of a pernicious tendency. It is, in fact, a perfect medley. It may be useful in Great Britain, and not in this country. We do not believe that the Lord Chancellor, and the Society for the Diffu-sion of Useful Knowledge, would circulate works of an immoral character. Still, some of the most respectable people of Great Britain believe that the Penny Magazine is hurtful, in its moral tendency; and they have accordingly established a “Saturday Magazine," as an antidote.
5.-A Greek Grammar, for the use of High Schools and Uni
versities. By Philip Buttmann. Translated from the German ; with additions, by Edward Robinson. Andover : Flagg & Gould. 1833.
494. A SCHOLAR-LIKE perception of the nature of the Greek language, and a real love of its beauties, are very uncommon in this
country. The usual apology is, want of time. There are so many things to be done, that there is little opportunity to explore the mysteries of Greek literature. Clergymen, it is said, are so engrossed with the active duties of their profession, that it would be sacrilege in them, to make the study of pagan literature a business. We have, however, no confidence in these excuses. What has been, can be again. There are numberless instances on record, of the entire compatibility of close study of Greek and laborious performance of practical duties. The real cause of the neglect of the language, is the lack of early and thorough initiation into its principles. How small is the number of the young men who enter our colleges, who have a radical acquaintance with any one of the books which they have professedly studied ! A large part of the time of the college course, is wasted in efforts to inculcate an acquaintance with the common forms of the grammar. The root of the difficulty, as we think, lies here. The existence of our colleges depends, in no small degree, on the tuition received from students. Of course, the temptation to admit individuals, without the necessary qualifications, is irresistible. Besides, there is the rivalry of a large number of institutions, all eager to show the largest list. Consequently, there is no pressure on the preparatory schools, compelling them to adopt a vigorous and thorough classical discipline.
Such is the evil; the remedies, we think, are obvious. Let a few private schools, or academies, determine to insist on ample Greek discipline, as a part of their course. Let them acquire a character for promoting radical scholarship ; and they will be patronised. Intelligent men will send their sons to such schools, and the support, in a short time, will be ample. Let the examining board, at our colleges, reject all the Grock stammerers, who apply for admission, even at the risk of some pecuniary embarrassment. Let instructors make unwearied efforts, in public and private, to promote a relish for the nameless beauties of the best classical authors. We believe that Virgil might be studied with eminent advantage, in every college. We are sure that the tenderness, and beauty, and grace, of that amiable author, are lost, by the wretched manner in which he is generally read, with the help of Dryden, and an ordo, notes full to exhaustion, and, last of all, a clavis. Virgil ought never to be an elementary author.
The preparation of good grammars and lexicons, is another important auxiliary. Some of the common Greek grammars we have found extremely deficient, where the pupil has had any measure of inquisitiveness. On this account, we welcome the larger grammar of the veteran Buttmann. Mr. Robinson has laid the country under great obligations, by his seasonable and excellent translation. The grammar, published in this country a few years since, under the name of Buttmann's grammar, was an abstract or compend of the present work, and was not entirely
satisfactory to the advanced scholar, by its want of detail, nor to the younger pupil, by its want of the simple elementary principles. The work now offered to the scholars of the country, we doubt not, will give universal satisfaction. We have read a part of it, with great pleasure. It is translated from the thirteenth German edition, which the author lived just long enough to complete. He was a professor in one of the principal gymnasia of Berlin, and died January 21, 1829.
6.-Discourses and Addresses on subjects of American History,
Arts and Literature. By Gulian C. Verplanck. New
York: J. & J. Harper. 1833. pp. 257. The first discourse in this volume, is one pronounced before the New York Historical Society, in December, 1818. It is a rapid and highly interesting review of the services of the leading founders of the American States-Las Casas, * Roger Williams, Oglethorpe, Dean Berkeley, William Penn, Baltimore father and son, Professor John Luzac, of Leyden, an ardent friend of American liberty, Thomas Hollis, and others. In the appendix, Mr. Verplanck illustrates, at length, some of the opinions of the discourse.
A very brief eulogy on Lord Baltimore, is the second article in the volume. “ The first colony of modern times, which was founded on the broad principles of religious freedom, explicitly recognising the rights of conscience and the liberty of thought, was that of Maryland, a Roman Catholic colony, founded by a Roman Catholic legislator."
The next address in order, was delivered at the opening of the tenth exhibition of the American Academy of the Fine Arts, May, 1824. It contains some very enlightened strictures on the state of architecture and painting, in this country. Mr. V. does not claim for the arts “ the holy power of reforming vice, or illuminating moral darkness. Without religion, and her most fit and natural attendants, education and freedom, they are weak and feeble agents indeed.” “But when controlled, and purified, and elevated, by holier principles, they contribute most efficiently to the moral melioration of society."
Next follows a tribute to the memory of Daniel H. Barnes, an eminent teacher of youth, and one of the principals of the high school for boys, in the city of New-York. As a conchologist, he obtained the highest rank. Within the last four or five years,
* Mr. Verplanck employs much learning and ingenuity, in an attempt to vindicate Las Casas from the charge, which Dr. Robertson, on the authority of Herrera, makes against him, of first advising the importation of slaves from Africa. We think the evidence which Mr. V. brings forward very strong. We should rejoice, if it were entirely conclusive.