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The National Magazine.
BRITISH CRITICS-AMERICAN AUTHORS. London Athenæum, in noticing Grace
don, says some very ungallant things of Grace. Two close columns are devoted to a smart castigation of her vivacious genius; she is accused of "fustian;""many of her highest flights" are said to "be but in the style of Miss Martha Rugg's elegist;" her agreeable gossip about noted characters is considered especially offensive, and a side thrust is given at her whole country for this propensity.
"What the English generally reject as fustian (says the critic) the Americans cherish as fancy,what we consider as indiscreet personality, they give out as interesting information. They beat the world hollow as gossips and Boswells: almost every poet and poetess having his paper to which he or she is welcome in proportion as he or she contributes leaves from yesterday's visiting journal or private diary. Those who fancied that the assumed name of the author of these volumes might promise talk about flowers, forests, lakes, and rivers, such as all English lovers of rural literature might delight in, will have been amazed and astounded if they chanced to see what any reader of the American journals might see-a letter from this same Grace Greenwood, published the other day, and dated from London. This letter described neither bee, bird, nor brook, but a dinner at the house of Mr. Dickens, and the singing of Mrs. Sartoris, who was one of the party. The writer, it would seem, is making the grand tour, and turning to account letters of introduction and private hospitalities for the entertainment of a home public. The child's love for Artnot always accompanied by the child's humility or teachableness-is sufficiently universal to be also noted as a feature in light American literature. Grace Greenwood ingenuously confesses that she knows nothing about music, but this does not prevent her from rhapsodizing concerning Herr Knoop, and Signor Sivori, and Mdlle. Jenny Lind. She dashes at pictures with a like confident eagerness getting her lesson and making a market of it in the same breath-blushing at her own enthusiasm while she corrects the proofs of its record which is to go forth for the satisfaction and instruction of her countrymen."
That's severely said; but the severest thing about it is, that there is an item or two of severe truth in it. This avidity for personal details respecting literary, or indeed any public characters, is becoming almost a national appetite among us. It is a sorry indecorum in our literature-one of the many grievous responsibilities of Willis. Though we wince somewhat at the Athenaeum's lashes, it would be a relief to know that they could sober our national vivacity a little in this respect.
These animadversions have reference to Grace's "Letters." The critic is equally, but unjustly, severe on her "Sketches." If there is genuine talent to be found in any collection of American "fugitive" literature, it is in the Magazine "Sketches" of Grace Greenwood; they teem with vivid thought and good sentiment, and fairly revel in exhilarated animal spirits. The Athenæum admits that she is "not without quick instincts and lively descriptive powers," but pronounces her Sketches "slight annual ware-little sentimental stories, written, apparently, sometimes in imitation of Mr. N. P. Willis, sometimes in emulation of Fanny
Apropos of trans-Atlantic criticism on American works, we should make grateful mention of a generous reply by the London Christian Spectator to the North British Review's late critique on American poetry. We referred to the latter article in these columns, and should take pleasure in quoting the Spectator's reply in extenso had we sufficient room. It says of the North British's criticism:-" We remember nothing more disgraceful, more ungentlemanly, and more unlike the polish and refinement of a man of letters. William Cullen Bryant's poems, poor Edgar Poe's, Thomas Buchanan Read's, and Longfellow's, are passed before the reviewer in quick succession, and dealt with in a manner that equally violates the canons of criticism and the rules of good breeding." Of the "advice" which the North British addressed so gravely and pompously to our poets, the Spectator says:-"In reading this advice, running through three pages, we know not whether most to smile or to be indignant; to smile at the pert insolence and extreme Sir Oracleism of the whole, or to be indignant at the brazen hollowness of the man that could
interlard such insolence with scraps from Holy Writ." The Spectator waxes warm in his defense of Longfellow :
"As for Longfellow, he is done for,' clean and complete. Henceforth he will hide his diminished head. The reviewer has given him such a dressing, and done it with such glee, such intense satisfaction, has chuckled over his tomahawk exploits in such a fashion, that we are strongly tempted to think the whole article was written by Master Wackford Squeers, of Dotheboys Hall. It is his juvenile precocity in full development. O my eye! won't I give it to the boys! O, father, won't I make 'em squeak again!' Those of our readers, and those who are not our readers, (for there are many sincere admirers of Longfellow out of our circle, albeit that is a widening one,) who have been accustomed to read in their families the gentle and loving poems of our best American writer, will be surprised at the donyme, dealing with him after the following fashgrand anonymous, with a pompous 'we' for a pseuion-Evangeline' is an ambitious poem,' written in lines that are intended to pass for hexameters,' which are nothing else than the measured prose which was thought so much of in the days of our grandmothers,' in which said hexameters illustrations from the Bible make up in sacredness for any degree of inaptitude,' and in which are conceits of scarcely a first-rate album rank;' and in which the life and doctrines of Christianity are brought in for artistical effect.'"'
The North British made egregious sport of Longfellow's glorious "Psalm of Life." The Spectator (which, be it remembered, is a religious journal) thus speaks of it:
"There is a sweet poem,-the Psalm of Life,'which we have seen quoted by Dr. Hamilton, in his Life in Earnest,' and by Dr. Campbell, in his Witness, and which our eldest son repeats to us frequently on a Sabbath evening, beginning with
Tell me not in mournful numbers, Life is but an empty dream,' &c.
"On this the reviewer says, We, the intelligent critics of the North British Review,' (sic) pronounce these verses to be pretentious, unprofitable, antiChristian trash;' and the young man' who said this in his heart to the Psalmist an unconscionable puppy!' We might go on quoting more, but the task is too sickening: it is like sipping rhubarb and magnesia at dinner. More than once have we thought of bestowing a kindly and a genial notice of Longfellow upon our readers, but this reviewer has moved us out of our place to be wroth instead of fraternal. We ought to add that the cloven foot of the odium theologicum is not quite concealed beneath this rabid effusion of a most dull prosaic soul, apparently without one spark of poetry or enthusiasm. 'Mr. Longfellow, we believe, makes no secret of his being a Socinian: we should have guessed him to be such.' Thus saith the reviewer, and because Mr. Longfellow is a Socinian he cannot write good verses. Burns was a sot and a villain, but he was a Scotchman, knew the Assembly's Catechism, swore by the Solemn League and Covenant, and wrote capital verses, for, thank God, he was not like Longfellow, a Socinian, on whom this great tower in Siloam has now fallen."
LETTER FROM REV. DR. DURBIN
HE following letter, from a distinguished THE clergyman of the Methodist Episcopal Church, will be interesting not only to our Methodist readers, but our readers of all denominations, as it presents facts connected with the ecclesiastical history and prospects of the country, though relating to a single denomination:
MR. EDITOR,In your "Religious Intelligence" you have frequently given important items of Methodist missionary data. You have correctly stated, I believe, that the contributions of the Methodist Episcopal Church to the missionary cause average only about twenty-one cents per member. swer to the question, Why has it not done more in the missionary cause? I offer your readers a few remarks.
It is not yet seventy years since the Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in America. Up to 1784 she had no existence as a Church; there were about thirteen thousand members of the society scattered through the length and breadth of the colonies and the Canadas, the oversight of whom was committed to about one hundred men licensed to preach the gospel, among whom scarcely a dozen were ordained to the holy ministry. These societies assembled in private rooms for worship, and there heard the word preached. They had not probably one church edifice, or (as they were usually called afterward) a meeting-house in the land. In 1784 the Church was regularly organized in Baltimore, and a ministry regularly ordained. From this time, say sixty-nine years ago, we were a Church, and began to grow and spread as such. Of necessity our growth was by accessions from without, made by enlarging ourselves in the older communities where we planted Churches, and by advancing westward with the new settlements rapidly forming beyond the Alleghanies in the great basin of the Mississippi and its tributaries. Thus our whole movement was missionary, acting upon the people without us, and with those forming the new states and territories. In this stage of our growth we could not have done anything else; it was our necessity, the law of our condition and mission. We were, successively, in our infancy and youth, and advancing to maturity. In this condition our increase was necessarily from
without, not from within our own communion by the children born among us. This was our missionary work-confined within the borders of our own land it is true, but not the less a missionary work, and a very great one too.
The first thirty or forty years after our organiza tion as a Church were passed in this work of acquir ing a communion of our own-in gathering in members from the people among whom we executed our mission. Symptoms now began to appear everywhere that our Church was coming to maturity; the want of the institutions and arrangements of wellorganized and established communions began to be felt and expressed. Hence, circuits began to yield up their towns as stations; city churches, which had been associated as circuits, began to separate into distinct charges; conferences began to feel the need of schools and academies for their people born within the congregations, or acquired from without. In brief process of time colleges were required, and then universities, and they were produced; for the Church in her growth had arrived at that state when they necessarily arose within her limits, if she meant to maintain herself in the execution of her mission.
As she was thus executing her divine mission, some thirty years ago she entered formally into the modern missionary enterprise by the formation of the Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Her first formal missionary efforts were necessarily directed to her home work, and she did not enter upon the foreign work until Providence called her to estab lish a mission in Liberia, in Africa. Thus growing, first by spreading among the people and advancing into new countries, and then advancing to maturity by a rapid and vigorous internal growth, she, within a few years past, has become conscious of her mature and permanent existence in the land, and with this condition she is becoming conscious of her responsibilities and duties as a permanent living body as a Church, and is feeling that she is called to excr cise her foresight and judgment, and to take her station and post as a mature and full-grown Church of our Lord Jesus Christ.
It is only within a few years that she has reached this maturity, and awoke to a consciousness of her responsibility and duty growing out of her mature and strong condition. It could not have been otherwise, as will appear from this single fact:-Taking the whole body of Methodists in the United States, they have grown in seventy years from thirteen thousand to one million two hundred thousand members, besides the many hundreds that have died during the seventy years of her growth. A body growing so rapidly and vastly in so short a time could not have attended to anything but its own interior growth, and the perfecting of its own organization.
That you may conceive of the greatness of this growth, and the extent and vigor of the organization, I will note the population it includes. The lowest rule of estimate for the population of a church is three hearers in the congregation (including men, women, and children) to one communicant. By this rule, the population of the Methodist Episcopal Church is one million two hundred thousand members; three hearers for one member would be three million six hundred thousand; add these two numbers together and we have four million eight hundred thousand people composing the congregations and families of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Let us make a deduction of eight hundred thousand, and then one-sixth part of the whole population of the states and territories are now settled in the bosom of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and look to us for their religious instruction and comfort.
I have made this exposition simply to show that the condition of the Church since her organization has been one of unparalleled acquisition and growth, and that her whole attention and strength were necessarily absorbed in her own development; but, having attained to maturity, she is now called to wider and more vigorous action in the missionary
I cannot conclude these remarks on the progress, the present condition, and the future duties of the Methodist Episcopal Church, without referring to another product of her growth: I mean her growth in wealth.
About two months since I said, in a public missionary discourse, that the Methodist communion, taken as a whole body, was the wealthiest Church in
this country. This declaration was received with great surprise, general incredulity, and some little censure. A few weeks afterward, an abstract of the returns of the census of the United States, taken by the General Government in 1850, was published, in which my opinion was fully sustained. It was ordered that the value of the property of each church should be returned in the census: the value of the property of the several churches may be fairly taken as an index of the wealth of their respective populations. This being the rule of estimate, we find the census returns make the Methodist Church the wealthiest in the land. I will give the whole table, and ask attention to the fourth column, headed, Total value of church property:"
No. of Churches.
Presbyter'n 4,584 Rom. Cath. 1,112) Swedenb'g 15 52 619
Our brother editor of the Water-Cure Journal, Dr. Trall, if an example of the effects-psychological as well as physiological-of brown bread and cold water, is certainly a "living epistle" in their favor. He "goes in" for nearly all the antis of the day, but does so with a degree of genial good sense and a rollicking sort of humor rarely met with among the modern spitfires of reform. His columns are well worth reading for their jeux d'esprit. They are full of dramatic animation and pointed sense. Some of his single paragraphs are capital hits-as 1,174 good as whole ordinary chapters. Here is one of his poorest :
443,347 14,369,889 8,973,838 108,100
7,206 885 690,065 1,114 3,268,122 18,449 1,767,015 3,576 741,980 2,283 36,011 13,849,896 384 $86, 416,639 $90,133
3,130,878 358 $10,931,382 $1,244
965,880 371,600 2,867,886 94,245 14,636,671
Total Value of
Average Value of
steady support of her ministry, and of all her great
I am aware that the remarks and results given above will surprise almost everybody, and confound many; but a moment's reflection will explain the whole matter. The general opinion has been that the Methodist Church is not rich, nay, even is poor, because but few remarkably rich persons are found in her communion. But we do not note the vast number of her members, viz., twelve hundred thousand, and the vast numbers besides that compose her congregations. The wealth of the whole body distributed among so many hundreds of thousands does not attract attention in any one church, or city, or town, as is the case oftentimes in other churches. The great wealth of individuals in some other churches, and their munificent donations, together with the grandeur of their church edifices, attract public attention. In the Methodist Church this is rarely, if ever the case. Our people, considered individually as persons or churches, are not wealthy; but being sober and industrious, most of them have substance, and many of them are rich, and the aggregate wealth of so large a body is very great. This explains how we are, contrary to common opinion, the wealthiest Church in the country, as shown by the census of the United States.
I am aware that there will be some incredulity still on this subject, particularly in the Eastern States. Perhaps this may be partly removed by the following fact: our Church in the West and South is very far richer in proportion than in the East. Our people were in the West from the beginning, and grew up with the country, and increased in wealth with the wealth of the country. The greatest part of the wealth of the Methodist Church is in the West and South. She will shortly come to understand this matter, and act accordingly.
The conclusion of the whole matter is this: the Church can never fulfill, as she ought, her great mission, until the contributions of her people shall be as general as the distribution of her wealth among them. Now the great mass of our people do not contribute to any of the general or extraordinary objects among us, except the penny or shilling they throw into the public collection on the occasion. The well-being of the Church, the better and more
"The Fashionable Lady puts her children out to nurse, and tends lap-dogs; lies in bed till noon, wears paper-soled shoes, and pinches her waist, gives the piano fits, and forgets to pay her milliner; cuts her poor relations, and goes to church when she has a new bonnet; turns the cold shoulder to her husband, and flirts with his friend; never saw a thimble, don't know a darning-needle from a crowbar, wonders where puddings grow; eats ham and eggs in private, and dines off a pigeon's leg in public; runs mad after the newest fashion; dotes on Byron, adores any fool who grins behind a moustache, and when asked the age of her youngest child replies, Don't know, indeed; ask Betty. She is opposed to Woman's Rights, don't believe in Hydropathy, but thinks it genteel to be sickly, and vulgar to be in robust health. She sings, sighs, and simpers, chatters, giggles, and faints. She never enjoyed a full breath in her life, nor reads, or thinks, or cares; so long as she can spend money the objects of life are attained, and nobody regrets when it ends."
We have received an elegant copy-in embossed
for example,) but little better than caricatured. Among the omissions are Shelley in literature, and Faraday in science! The London Literary Gazette justly calls the work a "burlesque of Gibbon."
"A Story of Life on the Isthmus," by Joseph W. Fabens, has been added to the copy-right series of Putnam's "Semi-Monthly Library." It consists of cleverly-sketched pictures of life on the Isthmus passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific-some of them smacking strongly of the author's lively fancy, but all of them affording good after-dinner entertainment to the reader.
The third volume of Lamartine's "Restora tion of Monarchy in France" has been published by Messrs. Harpers. It continues the history of Napoleon from his embarcation for St. Helena to his death. The tone of the volume is more sober than that of the preceding ones; it is full of incident and salient points; Lamartine can hardly fail to make any points salient; he has in this instance succeeded, partially at least, in reconciling his sentimentality with historical dignity and accuracy. He appreciates rightly his hero, and makes him out what he really was-a grand butcher.
Catharine Sinclair's "Beatrice; or, the Un
Relatives," has been issued by De Witt & Davenport, New-York. It is one of the numerous works which the Papal controversy in England has recently called forth. It is an exposure, in the form of a fiction, of the jugglery of the Jesuits in their plans of proselytisma book which cannot fail of a good impres
Rev. Mr. Mattison's "High School Astronomy," referred to by us lately, has been issued by Huntington, and Mason & Son, New-York. We repeat what we before said of it, that it is the best text-book of the kind extant in this country. Besides preliminary observations and definitions, it treats, first, of the solar system
The American Missionary Memorial is a volume of much interest, issued by Messrs. Harpers, and edited by Rev. W. H. Pierson. It is a series of sketches of the most distinguished mission--the sun, planets, comets, eclipses, &c.; secaries from different pens, illustrated with por- ond, the sidereal heavens-fixed stars, consteltraits and other engravings, and prefaced by lations, nebulæ, &c.; third, practical astronoa valuable essay on the origin of American Missions, from the pen of Rev. Dr. Worcesterthe whole forming a beautiful presentation book, and a "valuable contribution to our missionary literature."
- instruments, parallax, refraction, &c. The arrangement and style of the book are succinct, comprehensive, and simple. It is a model text-book.
The Milk Trade in New-York, &c. Mr. Mullaly deserves what the English call a "tes-timonial" from the Gothamites for this book. It is a startling disclosure of what may be called the horrors of the New-York milk-trade. Our city pays $5,150,000 annually for milk. only $1,350,000 of this is for milk produced in the natural way. More than two millions and a half is paid for a detestable liquid called milk, but obtained from distillery swill through diseased cows, some of which are so poisoned by their food as to need to be held up while they are milked. $1,250,000 are paid for molasses, magnesia, chalk, &c., by which this swill-milk is rectified into the appearance and taste of milk. But we stop; read the book. (Fowlers & Wells, New-York.)
Messrs. Harpers have issued the first volume of Alison's "History of Europe from the Fall of Napoleon in 1815 to the Accession of Louis Napoleon in 1852." Personally we are very obtuse in estimating the merits of Alison's historical writings. We have never been able to
wade through them. They are intolerably wordy and diffuse, stiff with old Tory "fogy- The Rev. J. M. Wythes, M. D., has prepared ism," and meritorious only for their thorough a very interesting volume for juvenile readers research. The present volume gives the series on the "Curiosities of the Microscope." The of leading European events for the last thirty- illustrations are excellent colored lithographs; five years, disfigured by unusually strong po- and the text, while avoiding technicalities and litical prejudices, and some one-sided critical | other scientific peculiarities, brings out in a estimates. Some of the best names are omitted very entertaining style the marvels of the subfrom its literary list, and others, (as Chalmers, ject. (Lindsay & Blakiston, Philadelphia.)
"The Cap-Sheaf-a Fresh Bundle," by Lewis Myrtle, is a volume of charming sketches, which, though they present nothing notably original, will be read with genuine pleasure by such as love good taste and good thoughts, though they relate to familiar scenes. (Redfield, New-York.)
"The Brand of Dominic," by Rev. Wm. Rule. A capital book is this-one of the very best yet produced by the anti-papal agitation in England. It is a record of the Inquisition-remarkably impartial, and even rigorously exact. It excludes most of the unauthenticated anecdotes of horror with which such works are usually crammed, but its well-attested data are horrible enough to make the reader's heart palpitate. Guarding against extraneous matter, the author has presented the means of a just, a sober, yet appalling estimate of the history and policy of the Inquisition. (Carlton & Phillips, New-York.)
tains some very appropriate counsels to the communicant respecting the nature of the sacrament and its spiritual improvement. The theological relations of the institution are somewhat discussed; but the work is chiefly practical-a good manual for "the people."
The standard Life of Wellington has yet to be written; meanwhile, many temporary and not uninteresting memoirs are appearing; the very best of them, judging from the first volume, is Stocqueller's "Life of Field Marshal, the Duke of Wellington," published by Ingraham, Cooke & Co., London. The author was personally acquainted with the Duke, and has drawn his data from his recollections, the "Dispatches," and a great variety of other sources. He quotes too much, and has written with evident haste, but gives us a very readable book. The first volume only has yet appeared; it reaches to Napoleon's return from Elba. The engravings are numerous, and have the important merit of accuracy in "the matter of scenery, costume, and portraiture." (Bangs, Brother & Co., New-York.)
Guizot's Shakspeare and his Times" has Like his been issued by Messrs. Harpers. "Corneille," it is a reproduction of one of his early works, much improved. It comprises a masterly, though somewhat inaccurate, sketch of Shakspeare's life and times, separate critically estimates of his tragedies, historical dramas, and comedies, and an essay by the Duke de Broglie on "Othello and Dramatic Art in France in 1850," this section being entitled "Shakspeare in France." The work is throughout characterized by the peculiar excellences and defects of Guizot, his critical acuteness, his hard and dry philosophy, and his sometimes vacant abstractions.
The "Pretty Plate" is the title of a juvenile story well written and well got up, but teaching the Roman Catholic doctrine of the Confessional. (Redfield, New-York.)
"The Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste," is, in its new series, a really elegant affair. Some of its engravings are unusually fine, and its contents are always varied, (Vick, able, and tasteful. $2 per annum. Rochester.)
Such of our readers as have examined Trench "on Words" will welcome his new work on "Proverbs"-a singularly interesting dissertation, in five lectures, on the formation and generation of Proverbs; the Proverbs of different nations compared; the poetry, wit, and wisdom of Proverbs; the morality of Proverbs; and the theology of Proverbs. An appendix on the metrical Latin Proverbs of the Middle Ages concludes the volume. (Redfield, New-York.)
"There is no book of reference more useful to all classes of readers than a good gazetteer." So says Putnam's new "Hand-Book of Geogra phy;" and, we may add, that none is more needed just now than a good American gazetteer. Independently of the fact that old works of the kind have been recklessly negligent of American geography, (meaning by that, of course, the topography of "Uncle Sam's farm,") such has been the recent growth of our civil geography that a very large proportion of our important localities are now to be set down for the first time. Mr. Putnam's volume is a real
Messrs. Carlton & Phillips have issued a neat pocket-volume entitled a "Guide to the Lord's Supper," by Rev. Daniel Smith.
thorough and reliable work, excepting some statistical inaccuracies; it comprises more places than even M'Culloch's. It is on the basis of Johnston's, but supplies his deficiencies. It is closely but neatly printed, and must inevitably supersede all other works of the kind among us. The public are much indebted to Mr. Callicott, its indefatigable editor. (Putnam, New-York.)
Messrs. Harpers have issued the third volume of Agnes Strickland's Queens of Scotland. It sketches, in part, the history of Mary, Queen of Scots, and is, of course, the most romantic in the series of her entertaining volumes. She justly remarks that "more books have been written about Mary Stuart than all the queens in the world put together." She has entered upon her task with great spirit, and a command of its best resources; but its romance has too much fascination for her. She repeats the old enthusiastic eulogies, despite the latest historical verdicts to the contrary.
The Cabin Book is an illustrated volume of sketches of character in the south-west-a fiction from the German of Charles Sealsfield, issued by Ingraham, Cook & Co., London, and for sale by Bangs, Brother & Co., New-York. The engravings are unusually fine for wood-cuts.
An interesting volume, entitled "The Conversion of a Pupist," an autobiographical sketch by Rev. J. B. Cocagne, has been published by Carlton & Phillips, New-York. It is introduced by a few appropriate pages from Professor Mattison, who indorses the character of the author. Its style and temper is excellent, and, unlike many late works of the kind, is well adapted to conciliate the attention of Roman Catholic readers. The incidents of the book are quite interesting, and its illustrations of Popery are of no little value-showing its popular influences and workings in a manner at once striking and evidently truthful. It is a good book to put into the hands of inquiring Roman Catholics. Several attractive engravings illustrate the volume.