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care of the most eminent living authorities in their peculiar branches; Sir David Brewster, and Professor Nichol, for example, taking charge of the mathematical and physical sciences; Sir Archibald Alison, Professor Ferguson, and others, devoting themselves respectively to history, politics, and war. The English volume had but one serious drawback, and that has been remedied by the editor of the volume which now lies before us. Whether from ignorance or European superciliousness, the British compilers almost totally ignored the existence of any eminent Americans: they likewise allowed their political prejudices to interfere with their better judgment, and omitted the names of many European celebrities, whose lives or opinions happened to clash with their individual mode of thinking.

The extent of their shortcomings in this respect may be estimated from the fact that Dr. Hawks has been obliged to add some thousands to the names comprised in the English publication; and though the names of his collaborateurs and assistants are not appended to these added notices, they furnish us with intrinsic evidence that the excellent plan of the English publication has not been departed from, but that the various departments of American intellect have been separately intrusted to writers whose acquirements and experience peculiarly adapted them to form a competent opinion. This work brings us down to the year 1855, and is by far the completest universal biography that we have anywhere seen it contains upwards of a thousand pages of small, clear type, and a large portion of the names are illustrated with choice portraits and engravings.

As a labor-saving-machine to the literary student its value is incalculable; it is in harmony with the age of telegraphs and railroads, and may be looked upon in some sort, as a royal road to knowledge. How often, in the course of our desultory reading, do we come across a name of which we desire to know something more than the volume in our hands reveals! How much more frequently in composition or conversation, do we find ourselves at a loss for a date, a locality, or some biographical item connected with a character which it would profit us to introduce! In such perplexities, this cyclopædia will prove a Jove's shoulder, (such as the lazy rustic prayed for,) to help our mental cart-wheel out of the rut in which it has stuck fast. It is a library in itself, and should not be missing from the shelves of any who aspire to a general acquaintance with belles lettres.

Life of George Washington. By Washington Irving. Vol. III. New-York: G. P. Putnam & Co.

DISAPPOINTMENTS per se are neither pleasant nor unpleasant. They are a kind of neutral quality, depending upon extrinsic circumstances for their good or evil report. The quince is in itself a most insipid fruit; if you preserve it in sugar, its flavor is agreeable; if you pickle it in salt, the reverse. When Moses, in the "Vicar of Wakefield,” made such a bargain, as he thought, for the gross of silverbound green spectacles, he must have known that a disappointment awaited him: a delightful one if the eye-assisters were of the value represented: a very bitter one if they turned out to be, as they did, the merest trash.

This little analysis of the word “disappointment,” was suggested by the occurrence of that word in Mr. Irving's preface to the present volume of his noble "Life." When he commenced the compilation, it seems that his materials, for a full portrait of the Father of our Country, were limited-so to speak — though

larger and of more varied interest, than any other biographer had either the means or the industry to collect. He "informed his publishers," therefore, as he tells us, the "that he should, probably, complete the biography in three volumes," upon faith of which assurance or probability they "worded their advertisements," and so forth.

As soon, however, as it became generally known that such a competent biographer was engaged in the construction of a literary monument worthy of him, whose deeds, whose virtues, whose genius and self-sacrifice the world has not yet found marble white enough or gold that is pure enough to record-as soon as it became known that Mr. Irving had devoted the ripe summer of his years to the payment of a tribute which no other pen could pay so fitly as his own, a thousand treasured documents, long locked up in privacy, were tendered for his aid; his materials were increased by copies of private letters, important memoranda, authentic anecdotes and curious biographical or contemporary details which were preserved as precious heirlooms, in families whose proudest boast it is, that their progenitors shared the confidence of Washington.

His resources, thus expanded unexpectedly and beyond his hopes, he now apologizes, forsooth! for "laying his third volume before the public, with his task yet unaccomplished." His apology reminds us of the pleasant badinage with which a rich and generous old gentleman of our acquaintance sometimes surprises a mendicant by the unlooked-for greatness of his bounty.

In our April number we promised an extended review of the whole, when the third volume should appear: this promise was, of course, based on the supposition that the third would be the last, and is, therefore, nugatory from the non-fulfillment of the condition for the present. Renewing it for whatever volume shall be the last, we can only say of the one now under review that it is full of many thousand interesting facts which never before saw the light-that it gives us the completest picture ever drawn of the period which is mirrored in its pages, and that it is illustrated with maps, diagrams, plans, engravings, and battle-charts, which enable the most inexperienced mind to see and understand the various movements of the grand drama which resulted in the independence of our country. Full many a field, over which the farmer now drives his plough, between Oswego and Albany-or along the shores of the Hudson, or the Brandywine--without a thought of the great past which lies interred in the clods beneath his feet, will be regarded as a Marathon or Thermopylae when reviewed in connection with the illustrations which adorn this volume.

Vagabond Life in Mexico. By Gabriel Ferry. New-York: Harpers.

WE have not much faith in the bona-fide existence of Señor Gabriel Ferry, as an individual, but his book has delighted us. It is just what we had a right to expect it would be from its title-a series of adventures among the manvais sujets of priest-ridden, revolutionary Mexico. We are introduced to bull-fighters, thieves, assassins, and similar "minions of the moon." We share the pleasures and perils of Señor Gabriel, now drinking aguardente in his worshipful company at some dirty way-side inn, and now barely escaping the knife of some ill-looking, unwashed bravo. Our perceptions of right and wrong are hardly as active as they should be while we skim through his jaunty pages. Thievery does not seem as

bad in Mexico as elsewhere, and as for assassination, murder, and other such trifling peccadiloes, why, they are merely the institutions of the country! Señor Gabriel is no moralist, for what would a moralist be doing among such vagabonds? But he is something better for all author-purposes—he is a lively, rollicking chronicler of Mexican manners and customs, some more honored in the breach, than the observance. His book recalls the lesser novels of Cervantes and Le Sage, with this exception, he neither indulges in, nor describes intrigues. You wonder if Guzman d'Alfarache and Lazarillo de Tormes did not emigrate to that New World, and open branch houses there each in his peculiar line: at any rate, some of their descendants must have done so, you think, and must be doing a thriving business. Not, perhaps, with gentlemen who have cut their worldly eye-teeth, like Señor Gabriel, but among los gringos generally. Read "Vagabond Life," and be thankful that you are not a vagabond.

Sketches and Adventures in Madeira and Portugal. By the Author of "Daniel Webster and his Cotemporaries." New-York: Harpers.

WE didn't read "Daniel Webster and his Cotemporaries" when it came out, not having, in our private capacity, much liking for that sort of thing: but if it was as good as some portions of these "Sketches and Adventures," it was well worth the reading. Books of Spanish travel are by no means rare, as every body knows; but none with which we are acquainted are so good that another should not be added to the list. A really good book on any subject is never de trop. The one before us describes a "run" through the regions specified in the title: it commenced in October, 1852, and ended late in June, 1853, à period of about nine months, during which time Mr. March learned to talk as well as walk Spanish. His chief tutor in the first-named accomplishment was procured for him, of course at great expense, by a good-natured but rather worldly friar of the order of St. Francis. She was a feminine, and her name was Dolores, (the tutor, not the monk.) As the man in the play says, it seems to us that we have heard the name before. His acquaintance happened in this wise. He wanted to go to a great Bull Fight in Seville, at which Cuchares, the successor of the famous but now defunct Montez, was to assist, and not wishing to enjoy the fun alone, his obliging friend, the Franciscan, introduced him to Dolores and her mother. The former accompanied him to the bull-fight, which, by the by, is graphically told, and explained to him a good many Cosas de España. He was an apt scholar in his innocent way, but not so apt as the old lady wished; for when the priest sounded him on his intentions, which were honorable, we are happy to say, a hint was thrown out that he might make a settlement on Dolores, and enjoy her virgin affections while he remained in Seville. The hook was well baited, but the fish was no gudgeon. He didn't bite at it. That COSA was not in his line. (No joke intended here!)

But this and many other things-how Mr. March tasted a variety of wines in Madeira, their names, and how they were compounded; how he wore the majo costume, and attended a beggar's ball in Granada; the old cathedrals that he visited; the muchachas that he was gallant to, etc., etc.—are they not all written out at full length in his book? Go to that if you would know more. Apropos of Spanish books. We had on our table for notice "The Attaché in Spain," published by the Appletons; but before we could read it some of our good

friends attached it for themselves. To judge of it by the title that we glanced at, we should say it was lively and piquant. Unlike Mr. March and Señor Gabriel, its anonymous author moved only in the first circles, among the hidalgos and nobles, the Sangre azul of Spain, a gentleman among gentlemen. Balls, fêtes, political intrigues, noted men and women, figure in his pages: come like shadows, so depart." It is not a book to remember, but it is just the book to read once, amusing, graphic, and spiced with courtly wit.

Wau Bun, or the "Early Day" in the North-West. By Mrs. John H. Kenzie. NewYork: Derby & Jackson.

IF we may credit Mrs. Kenzie's unpretending narrative, and it bears on its face the unmistakable evidence of genuineness, "the times that tried men's souls" were not confined to the Revolution. The Pioneers of the West, as late even as

1838, had a very hard road to travel. What with the primitive mode of conveyance in those days and regions, the hardships and diseases to which they were liable, and the unsettled state of our relations with the various Indian tribes, it was a marvel that so many lived, and were so hardy and enterprising. In its way Mrs. Kenzie's book is as good as a novel, and it is from just such books that half the novels in the world are written. We do not expect the novelist to travel over the ground, or to mingle in the events that he describes; but we have a right to expect faithfulness and truth in his descriptions, and these for the most part can be got only from authentic narratives and books of travel. Were we ever to write a Western novel, but we never shall, we should make beforehand a study of movement and character from such books as "Wau Bun." It possesses a great deal of interest for the general reader; the life that it paints is so different from all that we are accustomed to in our great Eastern cities and towns, while to those who live in or near the localities mentioned in it, it must be a source of agreeable information. Most of us like to know how things were before our time. If our fathers achieved any thing worthy or remarkable so much the better for them; it increases our curiosity concerning them ten-fold. For our own part we should very much like to know the history of the spot of ground on which our present domicile stands; and still more the history of the men, women, and children, who have occupied the little room in which we pen this notice. If the inhabitants of Chicago have the same feeling, they will doubtless purchase a fair number of copies of "Wau Bun." Mrs. Kenzie, who, by the by, draws very prettily, gives us a sketch of her husband's house, as it was years ago. It is a niceish country cottage with a long portico, and four Lombardy poplars standing in front of it like sentinels. It was the first house built in Chicago. This was in 1831. We won't run the risk of a bullet in the thorax, or what would be nearly as bad, an indignant letter from some public-spirited Chicagan, by guessing how many houses, hotels, churches, etc., there are there now. Statistics is not our present intention. In addition to the cottage just mentioned, there are sketches of "Four Leg Village," at the entrance to Winnebago Lake; "Winnebago Fort," "Big Foot's Village and Lake," and "The Grand Chûte, Fox River," as they were before they took the Sarsaparilla of civilization. (You remember, reader, the two famous cuts in Dr. Townsend's almanacs, one of a gentleman, badly afflicted with an indefinite number of running sores, labelled, "As I was before I took the Sarsaparilla;" another of the same gentleman, looking younger

and happier, and dressed in a suit of new clothes, which we presume were bought on the strength of Dr. Townsend's recommendation, with never a pimple on his face, labelled, in larger type, As I WAS AFTER I TOOK THE SARSAPARILLA!) Well, "Wau Bun" gives you the West before it became what it is; before the sores of its early rough-and-tumble life, and the daily danger of losing one's scalp had subsided into the new clothes and unpimpled beauty of its present civilization. The change is striking. The book, as we said, or meant to say, a few paragraphs back, is interesting. It is simply and pleasantly written, amusing in some portions, and tragic in others. The Indian massacre in Chicago is painfully exciting. We congratulate Mrs. Kenzie on what she has lived through.

Paul Ferroll. New-York: Redfield.

PAUL FERROLL is a remarkable book, and had it been published ten or twenty years ago, before the present inundation of trashy novels commenced, it would have been, what every silly story now pretends to be, a sensation-book. There is stuff enough in it to make the reputation of any half-dozen modern authorlings. It is not a pleasant book: on the contrary, the impression it leaves on your mind is grim and melancholy. But it is full of power, sound, legitimate, healthy power. Paul Ferroll is a man of fine talents and iron will. In youth he loved a noble girl, from whom he was separated by the machinations of a woman who afterwards became his wife. The book opens with his taking an early morning ride, from which, however, he is diverted by the intelligence of his wife's murder. She is found in her room stone dead. He is terribly shocked, but his iron will supports him through the horror of his situation. His gardener is arrested on suspicion, but finally cleared for want of evidence. Paul sends him to America, and leaves the neighborhood himself, but only to return to it again, a married man. His second wife is his first love. You suspect all along that he is the murderer, but you can not prove it from the book, it is so skillfully managed. You know that he walks the world with a terrible secret in his heart; but neither his wife, nor his child know it, he is so serene and impassible. He shuns society, and lives in the bosom of his family, in the light of his wife's eyes, in the warmth of her smiles He is happy, or rather he would be, but for the price of blood. The cholera breaks out in his neighborhood, and he shows himself the most active and practical philanthropist. Where the danger is greatest there Paul Ferroll is to be found. He is a stranger to fear. He seems to bear a charmed life. There is an outbreak or rising of the peasantry, which he quells by shooting the ringleader. He is tried for his life, and hardly escapes hanging. But he does escape, so inexorable is his destiny. In the course of time his old gardener dies, and his wife returns to England. At the time of the murder she had robbed her mistress of certain jewels, which she has not the wit to conceal. She is reärrested on the double charge of robbery and murder, and convicted of both. To save her life Paul Ferroll comes manfully forward, and proclaims himself the murderer. He is arrested, tried, condemned. It breaks his wife's heart. She dies, and he escapes to America. Such is the story of Paul Ferroll-a bare and meagre, but awful tragedy. It is admirably wrought out. Painful at any time, it is doubly so at present, it is so true a picture of certain morbid tendencies of the English mind. It is a dark comment on the Palmer case.

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