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vocation in obscurity and secresy, had looked into the domestic life, and watched the workings of the hidden mechanism of society in that mysterious empire still so imperfectly known, though extending over a surface greater than that of all Europe, and comprising a population of one third of the human race. His knowledge of the institutions, religion, manners, and customs of the Chinese, was not taken on hearsay from the accounts of others, but gathered from actual experience, and he has communicated his knowledge to the reader, not in a heavy, formal dissertation, but in a much pleasanter manner, apropos to the various incidents of his extraordinary journey."

13. We have received from the publishers, Messrs. Crosby, Nichols & Co., the last two numbers of the North American Review. This Review, which has been published for thirty-nine years, holds the leading position among the best periodical works of our country. Since it came under the charge of the present editor, it has dropped its ultra conservatism, and deals fearlessly with the reform questions of the age. It aims to express the best tone of American thought, and no literary or public man can well afford to be without it. A new volume commences in July.

R. A. B.

14. The History of Napoleon Bonaparte. By John S. C. Abbott. Two vols., large 8vo., with Maps and Illustrations. pp. 611 and 712. Published by Harper & Brothers. Revised and reprinted from the pages of Harpers' New Monthly Magazine.

There are so many different stand-points from which the character and influence of Napoleon may be estimated, that no "history" of that extraordinary genius can hope for anything like unqualified approval from any one, nor for general approval from even a majority of readers. The "history of Napoleon is far from being finished. Its issues, whether on the whole for good or for evil, are not, as yet, developed. We of to-day, even, are his contemporaries. We live too near him; and our thinking, our feelings, and our partisan relations are so involved in the operations which he set on foot, that we could not, even if we would, fully and accurately appreciate his mission. There are four facts, however, which may be considered as settled: Napoleon had an inordinate, even insane ambition; his impulses, though inconsistent, were often generous, yet were never permitted to interfere with his schemes of aggrandizement; he was a lover of science, and made his victories tell, incidentally, for the spread of learning and the discovery of knowledge, and-whatever may have been his motives-his ascendency had the effect of weakening the crowned despotisms of Europe.

In estimating the character of Napoleon, the matter of motive is directly involved; and this is a matter, which, for reasons already given, the present age cannot determine. One party will take the

ground that his motives were uniformly good, another party that they were uniformly bad; and between these two, there is room for all grades of opinions.

Mr. Abbott stands prominent among the eulogists of Napoleon. He presents him as a model hero, and assumes, that, from first to last, he was actuated by generous impulses, enlarged and progressive purposes, and that he died the benefactor-on principle, the benefactor-of his age, and of the world. We must regard this as too high an estimate of the moral character of the great warrior; and such, we think, will be the almost unanimous verdict of the critics. Though not competent to pronounce an authoritative judgment, we feel that Mr. Abbott has been misled by his enthusiasm, and that, unconsciously, he has given his hero altogether too much of a saintly halo.

We are not aware that any good critic complains of Mr. Abbott's simple statement of fact. The style is easy, flowing, and, in many passages, truly fascinating.

The printing is above all praise. We know not where to look for a finer specimen of typography. The plates and maps are the same as in the Magazine; but the letter-press is entirely new. The columes are single. The two volumes are handsomely bound. So far as regards the mechanical execution, it will be a long while before even the Harpers excel the two volumes which embrace the History of Napoleon.


15. Tri-colored Sketches in Paris, during the years 1851-2-3. New York: Harper & Brothers. 1855. 12mo. pp. 368.

Written originally as a journal for one of the New York daily papers. It will be seen, from the dates in the title, that it covers the whole period of the late French revolutions; and, being a diary of events and observations noted down at Paris, the very centre of the movements and the theatre in which the several characters acted their parts, it gives us the impressions of the passing instant as they arose from the author's point of view. He describes the scenes in a lively, sportive style, often with an air of humorous mockery, and always with considerable effect. His scorn of Louis Napoleon is not at all allayed by the metamorphosis of the adventurer into Emperor, nor by the change which the tone of the English press has undergone since the successful coup d'etat. Parisian customs, manners, and character, the state of society, and the political parties, together with the distinguished men, have their share of notice, amid the shifting pictures that come before us. On the whole, we have found the work quite amusing, and quite instructive, notwithstanding the author's undisguised partisanship.

16. History of Switzerland, for the Swiss People. By Heinrich Zschokke. With a continuation to the Year 1848, by Emil Zschokke.

Translated by Francis George Shaw. New York: C. S. Francis & Co. 1855. 12mo. pp. 405.

In our country, a history written "for the people" would not be distinguished by any peculiarity in the mode of treatment. But, for the Swiss people," Zschokke seems to have thought it proper to adopt such a tone and manner as we should think suited rather to the capacities of children or of young persons. Allowance being made for this peculiarity, it is but just to say that the work is written in a simple, plain, straight-forward style, and, for the most part, in a condensed form. The author begins his account with the earliest notices that we have of the ancient inhabitants of Switzerland; and, passing cursorily over the contests of the Helvetians with the Romans, and the influx of the Northern barbarians, he enters on a more particular narrative with the commencement of the thirteenth century. From this time onward, the history becomes fuller and fuller, till it reaches the present day. The reputation of the elder Zschokke, as a historian, gives this work a high character as an authority, and the intrinsic interest of the subject will, we think, make it quite popular. It is hardly needful to observe that the history of the Swiss Republics, of their noble struggles for independence, and of their subsequent revolutions, has a strong claim on the special attention of the citizens of every free state. To such sources must we chiefly look for the lessons of experience to guide us in the preservation of that liberty which has been committed to us as a sacred charge.

17. My Mother: or, Recollections of Maternal Influence, &c. Boston: Gould & Lincoln, &c. 1855. 12mo. pp. 254.


manner in which these There is apparently no peculiar charm of simjudicious execution, we

Nothing can be more natural than the sober though tender reminiscences are told. effort to intensify them; every thing has the ple truth. As a matter of mere taste and would refer to this volume as exemplifying how much superior is the effect of such an unaffected manner, to that of a more ambitious A mother's gentle and sacred influence forming the characters of her household-this is the theme that pervades all the sketches, the thought that shines out in every pleasant or sad recollection of early life. Seldom is her agency, in this respect, adequately appreciated, its power is so quiet in its working. For this very reason it needs to be the more frequently and the more distinctly illustrated. After all that has been written and said upon the subject, few are aware how much the mother always does towards making her children what they become,-fewer still, how much she can do to improve or to pervert. Thanks to the author of this work for his valuable contribution, though it is in two or three places marked with exceptionable Orthodox notions. These, however, are incidentally, not

obtrusively, presented; and the general religious tone is worthy of all commendation.

18. Elements of Astronomy, for Schools and Academies, with Explanatory Notes, and Questions for Examination. By John Brockelsby, A. M., Professor of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy in Trinity College, Hartford, &c., &c. Fully Illustrated, &c. New York: Published by Farmer, Brace, & Co., &c. 1855. 12mo. pp. 321.

The plan of this work is very different from that of Prof. Loomis's; it being more popular, more superficial, and adapted to a lower range of study. But for the purposes for which it was designed, as specified in the title, we think it the best class-book of Astronomy that we have seen,-clear, though concise, readily understood, well illustrated wherever illustrations were needed, and sufficiently thorough" for schools and academies." Though we agree with the author, that "the hill of science will always be a hill" which can be ascended only with labor, and that it is futile to avoid the difficulties which demand "patient and earnest study," yet the attrac tiveness of his work, and the facilities it offers for the acquirement of the science, are good recommendations.

19. The Philosophy of Sectarianism; or, a Classified View of the Christian Sects in the United States; with Notices of their Progress and Tendencies. Illustrated by Historical Facts and Anecdotes, &c. By the Rev. Alexander Blakie, Pastor of the Associate Reformed (the first Presbyterian) Church, Boston. Second Edition. Boston: Phillips, Sampson, and Company. 1855. pp. 362.


While looking through this book, we thought it rather amusing, till we saw at the end the recommendations of some Honorable and Reverend gentlemen, who certify that they have profited by the reading of it, and aver that the friends of truth owe much gratitude to the author. Such being the case, it may be worth the while to state that the Philosophy of Sectarianism is in brief this, viz. that the true Scotch or Irish Presbyterian form of Church economy the only kind of ecclesiastical regimen under which can be preserved the precious inheritances of downright old Calvinism, the Synagogue sort of public worship, infant-sprinkling, the doctrine of infant-damnation, (p. 231), the death-penalty, &c. With these, our republican goverment also is equally dependent, for its permanence, on the peculiarities of Presbyterianism. Papacy and Episcopacy are of monarchial tendency; Congregationalism is radical and anarchical; Presbyterianism, if of the right old Scotch stamp, holds the juste milieu,-the American copies having degenerated.

20. Louis Fourteenth, and the Writers of His Age; being a Course of Lectures delivered (in French) to a Select Audience in New York, by the Rev. J. F. Astié. Introduction and Translation by the Rev. E. N. Kirk. Boston: J. P. Jewett & Company. 1855. 12mo. pp. 413.

The very readable and valuable introduction to this volume contains the following passages: "Our progress in Science has been very respectable, and our progress in the material arts wonderful. The schools are elevating the standard of literature; but our unconcious deficiency is in historical science. Too little zeal seems to be manifested for that knowledge of man, of humanity as a unit, which includes the entire history of civilization, and which is supremely important to us." This Course of Lectures is published as an humble contribution to our stock of knowledge concerning the most brilliant, and, in many respects, most important period, in the history of France. The subjects of the Lectures are the following: The Age of Louis XIV, Pascal's Provincial Letters, Corneille, Fenelon, La Fontaine, Boileau, Racine, Moliere, Pascal's Thoughts. These headings will scarcely indicate to the reader the wide field of observation which is brought under the notice of Mr. Astié. We have read his Lectures with more than ordinary satisfaction. They are very suggestive, marked by a calm and discriminating judgment, unusually free from man-worship, and, by the skill of the translator, clearly and forcibly expressed.

In speaking of the great epochs of human history, Voltaire says: "The thinker, and, what is still more rare, the man of taste, will recognize but four periods of the world's history in which the arts were brought to perfection, and which, serving as epochs of the greatness of the human mind, furnish examples for posterity. The four happy periods are, that of Pericles in Greece; that of Augustus in Rome; that of the Medici in Italy; and that of Louis XIV. in France." Making all necessary allowance for Voltaire's partiality, it must be conceded that the age of Louis XIV. was an extraordinary period. The theory of absolutism had its full developement in "Louis le Grand." Adored by the people for those personal qualities which they admired, and for his entire devotion to the glory of France, his will was felt at the extremities of the nation, and all its resources were open to his view, and subject to his command. That was indeed the culminating period of despotic rule; absolutism was then in the full bloom. We recommend the Augustan Age of France to the reader. It is a valuable work.


21. Memoirs of Rev. Edward Mott Woolley. By his Daughter, Mrs. Fidelia Woolley Gillett, assisted by Rev. A. B. Grosh. With an Appendix, containing Selections from his Sermons, &c. Boston: Published by Abel Tompkins, &c. 1855. 12mo. pp. 360.

We merely insert the title of this volume, at present, as we hope to receive, in season for our next No., a review of it, from a correspondent who knows well how to sympathize in the filial piety of the author, and to appreciate such a character and experience as are here presented.

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