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Here we take our leave of this interesting and instructive volume. On several points of criticism we should differ with our author, and we doubt the correctness of his decisions as to the origin of a few of the hymns in our collection. It is more than probable, however, that he has reasons for his opinions which we should not be able, in all cases, successfully to controvert; as he is not only in possession of the largest collection of Wesleyan poetry to be found on this side of the water, but has devoted more time and attention to its study than any man, we suppose, in either hemisphere.
ART. VIII.-Loiterings in Europe; or, Sketches of Travel in France, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Prussia, Great Britain, and Ireland. With an Appendia, containing Observations on European Charities and Medical Institutions By John W. Corson, M. D. One volume, 12mo., pp. 397. NewYork: Harper & Brothers. 1848.
John MURRAy’s shop in Albemarle-street has afforded the materials for many nice books of travels. His Hand-books are so convenient that the tourist who is bound either to write long letters home for the amusement of his friends, or to make a book for the benefit of the community, would condemn himself for neglect of duty if he did not make good use of them. It is not a little amusing to track one of our reporting travelers through the little red-backed books of Mr. Murray, as the great bibliopole delights to be styled.
Now Dr. Corson cannot be so tracked; and we are glad to be able to say it. His book is anything but a mere string of favorite sights, gazed at with guide-book in hand, and described, or rather written about, accordingly. A great deal of it, to be sure, is made up of description; but it is the clear, graphic description of a man with an eye for what is before him in nature and art worth seeing and telling about, not merely for what has been written down beforehand for the use of the market. It is no easy matter to say anything that people will listen to on themes so often handled; and our author knows it:—
“Not an inoffensive citizen can dress in black, addict himself to books, and cross the ocean, but on his return, through kind persuasive friends, he is in danger of writing a book of travels or delivering a public lecture. Yet every day makes the task of gratifying this thirst
for something new more difficult. It is hard to shine when the firmament is full of stars. It is not easy to catch the public ear when it is sated with eloquent sounds.”—Pp. 310, 311.
The readers of the Christian Advocate and Journal will remember the series of graphic letters from Europe which appeared in the columns of that journal under the signature of “J. W. C.” some two years ago; and we are sure they will be glad to learn that those articles are now put into a more permanent form in the volume before us. But a very great part of the work is composed of entirely new matter, some of it, indeed, much surpassing in interest and effect anything that appeared in the earlier letters. As a specimen of the pleasant and easy style of the writer, take the following—his entrance into Vienna, and first impressions there:
“We were unpacked from the cars and transferred to carriages drawn by horses, with which, in three or four hours, we scaled the mountains, and took the railroad again on the other side. All the passengers seemed inveterate smokers. There was a regulation posted up in the cars obliging all persons to use pipes secured with a cover or lid from causing accidents by fire, and forbidding smoking, except with the consent of the company; but the inhalers being an overwhelming majority, always ruled. It was intensely cold; and the atmosphere inside the cars was at times perfectly thick and dismal. Though never yet a partaker, I have always enjoyed the sight of the #. of smoking in others. I can conjure up the faces of dear
iends that have never beamed so kindly, never seemed so contented with this sorrowful world, as when, after a social repast, or in the dim twilight, softly as the sighing of a fairy, curled from their lips wreaths of peaceful smoke. But my liberal sentiments were in vain; and, more than the most delicate German lady, I coughed and panted for an open corner of the window. Indeed, the ladies seemed to have admirably disciplined themselves to the puffing propensities of their partners.
“At last we reached Vienna in the midst of a furious snow-storm. I escaped from the cars, and took up my quarters at a clean, spacious hotel, as I fancied in the city. It was only the Worstadt, a sort of outer city, extending like an immense suburb a little distance round the ancient walled city proper. Between this outside city and the inner one, there is an immense pleasure-ground a quarter of a mile wide, laid out with walks, and ornamented with trees, and extending like a belt round the whole of the old city. It is used for military exercises and other purposes, and gives Vienna a different appearance from any city in Europe, constituting an immense breathing place, as it were, for the citizens. After crossing this broad, vacant space, you come to a ditch some twenty or thirty feet deep, inside of which are the defenses of the old city walls that anciently resisted the Turks; and you enter by gates and gloomy passages into the Paris of Germany. Within, all is bustling gayety. Only with the evidences of the lively pursuits of pleasure, there is more of stately magnificence than in the French capital. It is situated in the flat basin of the Danube, about two miles from that noble stream. The streets are narrow, but very cheery; the shops splendid; the houses massive and lofty; and the streaming of gay throngs, and the dashing of rich equipages through every passage and square of the central or old city, keep the stranger in constant excitement.”—Pp. 223–225.
But we wish especially to call the attention of our readers to the Appendia to this volume. Many have written about Paris, Rome, Vienna, &c. You can have “descriptions of travel,” “pencilings by the way,” &c., to your heart's content, in many other books; but we know of no other book except this in which you can find condensed into a few scores of pages a satisfactory account of European charities, institutions for the poor, and of foreign hospitals and schools of medicine. Indeed, much search through various books would not enable one to gain the same amount of satisfactory information on these interesting topics. It is real, practical, and useful knowledge which our author here gives us; and he deserves our thanks for the close observation with which he gathered his information, and the skillful and perspicuous way in which he has set it forth.
The first lecture treats of charities for children. Our readers will be interested in the following description of what our doctor terms a “nursing society” in Paris:–
“As you go from Pont Neuf to the Sorbonne, in one of the closest quarters of Paris, near the Rue de la Harpe, you may ascend a flight of stairs and enter a suite of rooms filled with cradles, swings, and toys. It is one of the establishments for the children of poor laboring women, termed crèches, or cradles. Any mother having four children, and in indigent circumstances, is allowed, without charge, to deposit her infant offspring during the working hours of the day, while she goes out to earn something for their subsistence. Nurses are hired to attend them, who feed them with milk and suitable diet; the mothers briefly visit them occasionally during the day, and at night return to take them to their homes. Sundays and holidays, of course, these curious infant asylums are empty.
“Imagine, for a moment, the busy scene. The head-nurse is bustling about in the midst of her extensive family, as anxiously as a hen with too many chickens. Some are strengthening their limbs by crawling, and others their lungs by crying. A group are gathered, like lambs in a fold, in a sort of circular crib, forming a Juvenile Mutual Amusement Society. One of the nurses, perhaps, is teaching very young ideas “how to shoot' in natural history, by showing a wooden horse, and another is giving lessons in music on a drum. A few of the older children, who can just walk, are prattling away, and remind you of the simple countryman who wrote to his friends in England, that in France even the little children spoke French. “The cheerful washerwoman that you see pounding away all the day long in one of the arks along the Seine, the rosy-cheeked matron, buried in hyacinths and mignonettes, in the flower market of the Cité, or even the poor rag-gatherer that goes drooping along, picking rubbish and bits of paper from the streets, is perhaps fondly dreaming of her charge in a neighboring crèche. “In each of the twelve arrondissements of Paris is distributed one of these establishments.”—Pp. 311, 312.
Notices are given also of the Parisian Foundling Hospital, of the German “Kinder-bewahr Anstalten,” (Children-preserving Institutions,) of the House of Industry at Rome, and of the Monte Domini at Florence, in which latter establishment there is at least one very useful personage:–
“The head matron of the girls' department happened to be a lively, kind-hearted French lady. She was quite enthusiastic, and with pardonable pride boasted of the superior education of her young ladies, declaring they had regularly taken their degrees in housewifery. It appeared that they were systematically trained for domestic life; and that, occupying themselves in each branch long enough to acquire it well before commencing the next higher, they learned in rotation knitting, sewing, spinning, weaving, and quite a circle of household pursuits. Struck with their accomplishments, I ventured very naturally to ask the communicative matron the bachelor question whether they made good wives. I found her a perfect matchmaker. She stated that four or five marriages had recently taken place, and entertained me with quite a romantic account of the last. Amused with her description, and recollecting that marriage in Italy was generally a cool matter of convenience, arranged by the parents, with little previous acquaintance between the principal parties, further than a bare sight of each other, I inquired of her the way in which these poor-house affairs of the heart were commonly managed. She said that her young ladies went frequently under the charge of some one to take the air, and if any gentleman in the street saw one of the flock whose appearance he admired, he was satisfied with this rank-and-file courtship, and as she did not commonly object to changing her condition, he popped the question, not to the fair, but the poor-officers, and, if accepted, they were forthwith married.”—P. 319.
The Industrial Schools at Aberdeen, the Ragged Schools of London, and Francke's world-renowned Orphan House at Halle, come in for full notices; but we have only space to mention them. The second lecture treats of the benevolent institutions for the relief of adults; and we refer our readers to it as full of interest and instruction.
The concluding letter, on “Foreign Hospitals and Schools of Medicine,” is worth the price of the work, we should think, to any professional reader or medical student. Even for us, all uninitiated as we are, the author has made a topic, which at first sight would seem to be purely professional, both interesting and attractive.
On the whole, we commend this work to our readers, not only as a pleasant and agreeable book of travels, but also as a valuable source of information on subjects not readily to be learned elsewhere. It deserves, and will, we trust, obtain, an extended circulation.
ART. IX.-The Doctrines and Discipline of the Methodist Episcopal Church. New-York: Lane & Scott. 1848.
This article has been prepared for use, not for show. It proposes to state the changes made in the Discipline by order of the General Conference of 1848, and is written mainly for the use of the ministers of our church. We shall be glad if one in twenty of them read it; and shall be obliged to any one who will scrutinize it with a view to detect errors and to supply omissions. Very few alterations have been made in the substance of the Discipline. No rule of the least importance has been struck out; no change, even the slightest, of the spirit of our system has been admitted; while, on the other hand, certain new features have been introduced to facilitate its workings; and one or two old ones, that had lost their original place, have been happily restored. (1.) It is in the ARRANGEMENT of the matter of the Discipline that the principal changes have been made. We need not spend our own or our readers' time in showing that a necessity existed for rearrangement; everybody knew that the book lay in confusion; everybody deplored it, and anxiously waited the remedy. We are happy to say that the work has been well done: a few places there are, indeed, (to be specified below,) which have escaped notice; but as a whole, the Discipline is now a well-arranged, symmetrical, convenient manual;—which it certainly never was before. On the second day of the session of the late General Conference a committee of five was ordered, (on motion of Rev. J. A. Collins,) “to arrange the Discipline.” The committee appointed for the purpose were, Tobias Spicer, John A. Collins, Edward Thomson, H. S. Talbot, and James Porter. The committee was an excellent one, and did its work faithfully. But when we say that to the venerable chairman the credit is mainly due of the improvement that was made, we are sure that the other members of the committee will find no fault with us. The whole church owes a debt of gra