« PreviousContinue »
ings, in feeding upon the substance in fermentation, separate the elementary principles of which it is formed. In the case of beer, the vegetables, which Mr. Turpin calls torula cerevisia, transform sugar into alcohol, and carbonic acid. The escape of the latter, as has long been known, produces the effervescence.
9. Home Education. By Isaac Taylor. First American, from
the second London edition. New York : 1838. D. Appleton & Co. 12mo. pp. 322.
In speaking of such a book as this, upon such a subject, we are in danger of swelling our remarks to a volume. It is so full of pure thoughts, sound principles, and important suggestions upon a matter of the highest moment, we would gladly go beyond our limits and point out its merits in detail. As we cannot do this to any extent, we will do something better, and heartily recommend the work to the attention of the public; and we shall feel that we have done no small service to the cominunity, if we are instrumental in causing it to be more extensively read and followed.
The author is no stickler for some new system of his own invention; he does not believe that he has discovered the long sought royal road to knowledge ; he has studied the nature of the human mind, and watched its development in his own children, and this volume is the result of his study, and his practical observation upon
intellectual culture. To this branch of education it is wholly confined, to the exclusion of religious and moral culture, not, as he observes in his introduction, that he assigns to them a subordinate place, but, for reasons which he does not give, he leaves for the present those subjects which he recognises as of"
supreme importance.” Although the work treats particularly of home education, the author does not come forth as its champion in opposition to public education; he frankly acknowledges the advantage of school discipline, as a general rule, for boys, and claims the no less obvious advantages of home, as the best school for girls. But while he acknowledges as above the general advantages of public education for boys, he maintains that home education, even for them, may often produce some beneficial results not to be derived from schools; and we confess, that strong as we are in the cause of public education, we are glad to see this obvious truth placed on the right ground. A consideration of the difference in the capacity and dispositions of children, and of the great purposes to be effected by education, will suggest to every one the principal arguments urged by our author in favor of his position. The reasoning may be stronger in its application to England than to our country, but it has its force here, and we are by no means disposed to deny the justice of his conclusion, that
"The school-bred man is of one sort, and the home-bred man of another; the community has need of both, nor could any measures be much more to be deprecated, nor any tyranny of fashion more to be resisted, than such as should render public education from first to last compulsory and universal.”
Still more heartily do we concur in the sentiments of the following extract :
“Girls should then be educated at home, with a constant recollection that their brothers, and the future companions of their lives, are at the same time at school, making certain acquisitions, indeed, dipping into the Greek drama, and the like, but receiving a very partial training of the mind in the best sense; or, perhaps, only such a training as chance may direct; and that they will return to their homes, wanting in genuine sentiment, and in the refinements of the heart. Girls well taught at home, may tacitly compel their brothers to feel, if not to confess, when they return from school, that, although they may have gone some way beyond their sisters in mere scholarship, or in mathematical proficiency, they are actually inferior to them in variety of information, in correctness of taste, and in general maturity of understanding, as well as in propriety of conduct, in self-government, in steadiness and elevation of principle, and in force and depth of ferling. With young men of ingenuous tempers, this consciousness of their sisters' superiority in points which every day they will be more willing to deem important, may be turned to the best account under a discrect parental guidance, and may become the means of the most beneficial reaction in their moral sentiments."
We must again lament the necessity of leaving unsaid so much of what we wished to say of this delightful book, particularly of the two admirable chapters on “Happiness, the necessary condition of home education,” and “Family love and order;" those on the “ Three Periods of early life,” and those containing an “ Analysis of the Intellectnal Faculties, so far as relates to the culture of each.” In the conclusion of the volume are found many original suggestions on the culture of the conceptive faculty, in connexion with language, the training of the sense of resemblance and relaţion, the perception of analogy and the expansion of the reasoning faculties, all of them indicating a philosophic spirit, and a profound study of the human mind. Before dismissing this admirable book, we must beg leave to make another short extract, it is so full of practical wisdom, and may be of so much practical service:
“Whatever certainty parents may have of securing future competence, or even affluence, for their children, there can be no doubt - at least I have none of the desirableness, in regard as well to physical health as to the moral sentiments, and even the finest intellectual tastes, of a practical concernment with domestic duties. A substantial feminine industry, and a manual acquaintance with the routine of family comfort, gives solidity to the muscular system, and solidity also to the judgment; - it dispels romantic and morbid sensitiveness, inspires personal independence, dismisses a thousand artificial solicitudes, breaks through sickly selfishness, and, in a word, gives a tranquil consistency to the mind, on the basis of which all the virtues and graces of the female character may securely rest."
We hope that every one who has read the first paragraph in “ Home as Found,” will read the foregoing, and judge of the contrast in the two pictures.
10. American Education, or Strictures on the Nature, Necessity, and
Practicability of a System of National Education, suited to the United States. By Rev. Benjamin O. Peers. With an Introductory Letter, by Francis L. Hawks, D, D. New York : 1838. John S. Taylor. 12mo. pp. 364.
We make it a rule to read every work, especially every American work, on the subject of education, which issues from the press; and without this rule, the clarum et venerabile nomen, which stands on the title page, as the sponsor of the volume now ir hand, would have been sufficient to call our attention to it. It is a work which is very properly introduced to public notice, under so high a sanction, for its great object is to impress upon the citizens of our country the value and importance of general education, established upon the great principles of Christianity, and which shall lead not only to all useful knowledge, but also to a familiar acquaintance with the sacred scriptures, and a practical observance of their injunctions. The cause is one of the highest consequence, and it is not feebly supported by Mr. Peers, although it might have been more powerfully. To all who have made the subject a study, his work offers nothing new; to those who have not before given it attention, it will be found highly instructive and valuable.
11. Stanley, or the Recollections of a Man of the World. Phila
delphia : 1838. Lea & Blanchard. 2 vols. 12mo.
This work strikes us as chiefly noticeable for the undeniable tokens of superior power (and therein of promise for the future) on the part of its author. Who he is, we have no conception, and we shall speak of the book as it presents itself to us - as the first work of a new and unknown writer. Considered in itself, as a whole, and as a work of art, it is, we think, imperfect - deficient in artistical construction. It is clearly, however, the production of an original, vigorous, and richly cultivated mind. The style of cultivation displayed is, indeed, for this country, singularly choice and rare; such as instantly awakens our most genial good-will and respect. This sentiment is heightened by the manifestation of equally rare powers of original reflection, and independent thinking — of opinions, tastes, and sentiments, formed, not adopted.
We hava said the book is defective in its construction as a work of art. To make our meaning clear, we must give a glance - it can be only a glance - at the outline of the story.
Stanley, the hero, emerges from college, and finds his youthful hopes of love disappointed; the literary fame, which love had inspired him to seek and win, becomes worthless; he casts off the thought of both, and with a cold heart and calm bearing takes his position as a man of the world in the upper circles of society, in which his family and circumstances place him. Here he meets with a remarkable person, distinguished for high breeding and
- à considered member of the highest society, who turns out to be the master-spirit of an organized body of swindlers and gamblers, and who had some years before fraudulently dispossessed Stanley's father of immense estates. This fact, however, is only gradually unfolded; and the incidents connected with this development, and with the struggle of Stanley to unravel the mystery and regain the defrauded estates, make up a story of intense interest, full of strange Castle-of-Udolpho scenes, and of tragic events.
The development of the story is interrupted by numerous dinner-table and evening-party dialogues and disquisitions upon an infinity of topics pertaining to speculation, to art, to literature, and to life. In these, without stopping to notice particularly some noble truths, nobly set out, and some heresies (as we deem them) of opinion put forward as true, we discover the finest fruits of the high talents and rich cultivation of the author. But here it it is precisely that his defects as an artist are apparent. There is a want of proportion between the mysterious elements of the story and these long conversations: they come in at the very time when the excited imagination of the reader cannot wait to hear them. It may indeed be said, and with some truth, that it is life-like for men's destinies to hang suspended, while dinners are to be eaten, and long conversations are to be had at them which have no relation to the pending destiny. Still we say that more maturity of judgment and power as an artist, would have so constructed the unfolding of the elements of intenser interest, as that the reader's mind would acquiesce in these pauses, and be able to enjoy these conversations without so much impatience for the final development. This, in addition to a due conduct of the main story, might be done hy subordinate incidents, having some perceivable relation to the main movement, and by throwing more of characteristic and individual interest around the persons of the interlocutors.
The moral of the work, as we take it, is sound and all-important — namely, that the most stupendous endowments of intellectual power, employed in speculation and in action, yet for selfish or criminal ends, can never suffice for happiness ; but that the sense of inward contradiction, which cannot be effectually discarded, sooner or later becomes the source of unendurable misery, even in the midst of the most complete and splendid success. From the defect of construction adverted to, and from the hurried and insuf
ficient development entailed by it at the last, as well as from a defect in the mode of the final development, - it has, however, resulted, that this profound moral is not impressed with a quarter of the force it might have been; and thus the very idea, which, if any thing, constitutes the unity and sufficient reason of the work, is not realized; indeed we should not wonder if by many readers it were not perceived at all.
We have made these somewhat extended remarks
this novel, not merely because this class of writings has become one of the most general and powerful elements among the intellectual and moral influences of the age, and might therefore be supposed to claim our attention; for our press teems with silly and stupid novels of native and still more of foreign product, which we feel no call to notice, because their sheer, unredeemed silliness and stupidity, is quite enough to defeat the attempt to read them, on the part of sensible persons, or else to limit their harm to the time wasted in the reading of them, on the part of silly people whom our influence can never reach. But we have noticed this work because it is, in many respects, of a far higher order than the bulk of current novels : with all its defects, we regard it as a work of genius. If we are not mistaken in attributing it to a mind not yet fully matured and self-possessed, and one, therefore, in which reflection and the practice of production will perfect the faculties of judgment and of construction – then we say that the writer of this work has evinced powers, which, if exerted and directed aright, will give him a great influence over the most cultivated and thinking portion of the young minds of the country. We are anxious that the moral spirit of this influence should be pure and lofty, on the side of all that is good and right: then let the author's powers have their full development, and freest action.
12. Babylon : A Poem. By C. W. Everest. Hartford : 1838. Canfield and Robins.
8vo. pp. 48.
We cannot, in the exercise of that judgment which the author, by sending us his book, has invited — award any very high praise to this production, considered as a poem; nor can we say there is enough of poetry in it to make it clear that the author possesses the gift of genuine poetic power, which might hereafter show itself in a true poem. This piece displays some talent for rhyme, some ear for melody and rhythm; but no creative genius. The staple of the poem consists of mere centos of common poetic thought and