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to be. But it strikes us painfully that any woman, in any circumstances, should give her life and power to try to persuade the world that the only thing which has made her a companion instead of a slave of man, is a fiction, a dying, almost dead delusion. Nor will she escape this censure by saying that her system preserves the spirit of Christianity, and only rejects its body. This is sophistry. The spirit of Christianity never did and never will do much for humanity, except as that spirit has wrought and shall still work through the organized form which Christ himself gave it—the ordinances and forces of his church.
5.-A Dictionary of the English Language. By Noah WEBSTER,
LL. D. Edited by CHAUNCEY A. GOODRICH, D. D., LL. D., and Noah PORTER, D. D. 4to. Springfield, Mass.: G. & C. Merriam. 1864.
WHILE we do not adopt this dictionary as our standard in orthography or pronunciation, we regard it as essential for reference upon etymological and linguistic points generally. Its definitions we have long preferred for accuracy, neatness, clearness. Especially is this superiority manifest in the departments of theology and cognate sciences. Dr. Webster was a Trinitarian Christian, and he has done no more than simple justice to the terminology of that system of
noble imprint of the American Dictionary to a most satisfactory completeness in every section of its contents, according to the principles which have guided their work. Its literary treasures, in prefaces, illustrative quotations, and appendices, are affluent and unique. The vocabulary of the names of noted fictitious places and persons would alone make a volume of rare value. We are using this generous quarto daily in connection with oiher similar helps, and thus, by comparison, are able to see its superior fulness to any of its present competitors. It has come as near to the older English spelling and pronouncing as it could without abandoning entirely Dr. Webster's principles of language, and where it differs, it gives both forms of usage. The work is most honorable to American scholarship and enterprise. 6.–Forty Years of Pioneer Life. Memoir of John Mason PECK,
D. D. Edited from his Journals and Correspondence by Rufus BABCOCK. Philadelphia : American Baptist Publication Society. pp. 360. 1864. We had the pleasure of a personal acquaintance with John M. Peck, as everybody used familiarly to call him, in Illinois and
Missouri. He was a decidedly original character. At one and the same time we knew him to fill the various offices of stated preacher, theological professor, editor, secretary of the missionary society of his denomination, and postmaster. He was a tall, bony, loudvoiced, positive, keen-eyed man, with a bright, good-natured countenance, and always ready for an argument with a pedobaptist, or any other challenger. A rent in his elbow and another under his arm were the common embellishments of his pulpit oratory. On a warm day he would take off his coat and hang it over the pulpit-side, or whatever might be its substitute, approaching as nearly as the unbuttoned shirt-sleeves to the more flowing lawn of our brethren of “ the three orders.” None of these ever considered himself a more lineal descendant of the apostles, sent forth to disciple and baptize the nations, than did this lover of deep water. He was a genuine man, with not a particle of flummery about him; and within a wide circle of territory of which St. Louis is the centre, his memory will long live as one of the founders of society.
With very partial book-learning, Dr. Peck was well versed in a certain range of practical affairs, and possessed an activity and energy of mind which made up for the lack of a more liberal education. He went from Connecticut to the Mississippi among the first of living emigrants, and spent his life in pioneer work, to which he was constitutionally and in every way well adapted. To write the life of such a man is not an easy task, for though it must be full of action and variety, it is next to impossible to embody its restless spirit in words. It does not stand still long enough to be photographed distinctly. This is hardly the man whom we knew, in his rough, wide-awake, joking, earnest, work-a-day atmosphere. The cause may be, to some extent, in the editorship of the journals, but more, we fancy, in the inherent difficulties of the. subject. To do such a life justice, it must be written with an abandon which shall have no very nervous fear of violating rhetorical and contentional proprieties. Rowland Hill named his coach horses Order and Decorum, because some one had accnsed him of riding loosely over these excellent virtues. Rowland Hill could have edited John M. Peck's journals, and gathered up his personal oddities, with a closer approach to the original. 7.-Essays on Social Subjects. From the Saturday Review. Boston:
Ticknor & Fields. pp. 351. 1865.
Thirty several papers in this duodecimo do not give room for a very prolix extension of any one of them. Ten pages to an essay is long enough for this easy going, slightly jointed, and often prosy
VOL. V.-N0. XXY.
kind of composition. Addison and Johnson came nearer the right
name; in reality, they were elaborate quarterly-review articles. The essay is legitimately a brief, terse, piquant, pleasant and instructive talk about some common affair, neatly put together, but not stiff in the joints. It ought to have some philosophy under it, but not in any technical outcrops. It is a sort of genre painting in words; a very attractive, but not the easiest branch of art.
On the whole, we like these papers. They are less pretentious, less highly colored, than Mr. Alexander Smith's recent volume ; less elongated and egotistical than the Country Parson's Recreations, yet not nearly so interesting, nevertheless. They seem more made to order, less running like the river, at its own sweet will, than the Scotch parson's lucubrations. There is more tooling in them and less nature. A little more humor would have greatly improved their relish. But it does not take long to read one, and when through with, you have a feeling that your mind has received a gentle and friendly nudge. . Perhaps the author will give us something better the next time.
8.-Sacred and Legendary Art. By Mrs. JAMESON. 2 Volumes.
pp. 843. Legends of the Monastic Orders, as represented in the Fine Arts.
By Mrs. JAMESON. pp. 500. Boston : Ticknor & Fields. 1865.
FLOWERS are not so necessary in a garden as vegetables ; nor are the fine arts so essential to life as are the useful. We expect to see more people in the market than at the Athenæum ; yet we are always glad to find a crowd at our picture-rooms. It adds greatly, however, to the pleasure of these visits to know what one is looking at, * beyond simply the impression of the canvas or marble upon the eye. These things have a history which is worth studying. Without it they can not be properly understood nor enjoyed. These standard volumes are just the helps which are needed to subserve this end. They tell the story of the older religious paintings in a more serviceable way than any other work in our language. You find here the explanation of the sacred and traditionary emblems which
for instance, always found in the representation of the apostle John. Mrs. Jameson ranges over the whole field of Christian art, with studious care and charming taste. If her art-criticism is not always of the profoundest insight, it is clear, sensible, appreciative, pure. Our people are just awaking to an intelligent love for the beautiful productions of the pencil and the chisel. It is a branch of clerical education not to be undervalued. Hence we welcome every accession to our treasures of thoroughly good pictorial, plastic or architectural art; and also, every help, like this elegant work, to the better study and enjoyment of these embodiments of beautiful ideas.
9.- A New Atmosphere. By GAIL HAMILTON. Boston: Ticknor
& Fields. 1865.
We have read every word of it, and like it and dislike it, positively. It is Jeremiah's figs all together. We wish they were in two baskets. The style of this author is not to our fancy. It is too intense, too italic in type. It is a woman's voice on a high key. For once reading, and in brief paragraphs, such style has power, but like gunpowder and other explosive materials, it becomes qnite feeble with use. Page 174 illustrates our meaning.
Many things, and not often said elsewhere, are most admirably said in this volume. Some things in our social life concerning the relations of the sexes, of woman to society, of the education of the girl, and of married life, are touched and put with a point and tone and force that we greatly delight in. The conjugal relations in some of their surface and family features are satirized, stigmatized, cauterized, as they richly deserve to be. The selfishness, tyranny, coldness, arrogance and low earthy life of some husbands, are thoroughly exposed, and the author has our hearty thanks for this. Such husbands need a "new atmosphere.” They are not worthy a Camanche squaw, and reform in such fields of matrimonial life deserves well. And these worthy and well put portions of the volume are not a small part of it. But they will largely fail of being favorably noticed and profitably read, because of their association with other parts of the book.
The volume lacks a thorough, all-sided view and appreciation of its theme. The view taken is intensely one-sided and limited, and we marvel that a New England woman of even average culture and acquaintance should have had only such a range of observation and experience as are made to constitute the staple of this little work. The author gives no just conception of woman's life among us, and we protest against the general representation of the volume. We mark our protest with quotations.
Our daughters are taught “ that the great business of their life is marriage"; that they “ will have very little more spontaneity than the Circassian slave” in contracting it: “ that for an unmarried woman earth has no honor and no happiness, but only toleration and a mitigated or unmitigated contempt.” Husband-getting is the main point in our system of female education, and to succeed “a girl receives such training that it is well nigh impossible for her to be sincere,” since she must seem to be totally averse to the acquisition of a husband. pp. 5, 6, 10, 12. Speaking of the domestic labors of the wife, our author is left to say: “I would rather be a good Sioux Indian than most New England house-wives.” p. 71. And again : “ As far as my observation goes, the best women, the brightest women, the noblest women, are the very ones to whom it is most irksome." p. 104.
On the more intimate relations of husband and wife we have these passages on 'pages 167,8: “ They do not talk with their wives. If a neighbor is married, they tell of it. If a battle is fought, or a village burnt down, they communicate the fact ; but for any interchange of thought or sentiment or emotion, for any conversation that is invigorating, inspiring, that causes a thrill or leaves a glow, how often does such a thing occur between husband and wife?" “There is nobody in the world with whom it is so important for a man to be intimately acquainted as bis own wife, while such intimate acquaintance is the exception rather than the rule.” We have at other times in our reading noticed how information on a subject helps a writer on that same subject. “People in general are not half-married ; . . . and what is still worse, the fraction that is married, is, in a vast majority of cases, not only the least, but the lowest.” p. 172. On the permanence of affection in the marriage state our author's range of observation leads her to this utterance : “ As a matter of homely fact, is there love enough in ordinary housekeeping to keep it sweet? The first year or two runs well, but how much living love survives the first olympiad ? ... If she marries for love, are not the odds against her?... Love in marriage! Marriage is the grave of love.” Strangely enough the author adds: “ On such a topic as this the truth must be felt rather than proved.” pp. 192,3.
Precisely. This maiden writer lacks experience as well as observation to write on this vast theme. She is not in possession of the subject, or a competent witness. We can prove an alibi on her.
Here is one of the fatal defects of this volume. There is no appreciating conception of marriage as a fact, or of the facts that mark its state among us. A narrow and unfortunate range of observation must, we think, have led to this most unfortunate generalization. The book is a travestie, a caricature of the marriage state and relations in New England. We concede that there are isolated cases corresponding to the strong statements of the author, but they are not the rule. They are the very rare exceptions. The condition of woman in New England, married and single, is not fairly put.