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142): “ For myself, I think the cheap little paper of the Common School Union of far more value and importance to the formation of the public mind and public morals of the rising generation of the United States, than all the other newspapers, magazines and reviews put together.” It is a remarkable fact that the publication of the monthly paper here referred to (immense as Mr. Buckingham describes its circulation) was closed some two years since, as we suppose, for the want of support!
We have only space to add, that New-York politicians will be amused to read our author's grave account of the governor, lieutenant-governor, the comptroller and his deputy, the treasurer and his deputy, the attorney general, surveyor general, the secretary of state and his deputy, four canal commissioners and three bank commissioners, as constituting " what is called “The Regency,' or effective force of the executive.”Vol. II. p. 20.
Such specimens of running and flying carelessness, of ludicrous misconception and reckless statements occur very frequently on the pages of this work, and render it almost worthless for the purposes of accurate information. It is, however, pleasantly written, and contains a vast variety of extempore remarks and discussions, and hastily formed conclusions, soine of which are worthy of consideration. The author character izes us as a newspaper-reading people, and he seems to have constructed his work to meet what he conceives to be the prevailing taste of the age both here and in England. But we apprehend he has even exceeded the demand in this respect, and given us a work so like what Carlyle calls the “ strawthreshing” of the daily press, that, even by those who are contented with this kind of intellectual entertainment, it will scarcely be preferred ; its chapters having as little connection with each other as the successive numbers of a newspaper, and its subjects being as multifarious and incongruous as the topics of those ephemeral sheets, which even critics do not criticise.
A beautiful engraved likeness of the author appears as a frontispiece of the first volume, and the work contains numerous wood-cuts, illustrating American scenery, institutions, structures, etc. It is well “got up” by the publishers. It is dedicated by the author, in due form, to His Royal Highness, Prince Albert, who, it appears, approving of “the feelings of good will towards the American people, under which this work was undertaken,” has promised it his “full sanction and patronage.”
9.—The Life and Times of Red-Jacket, or Sa-go-ye-wat-ha ; being
the Sequel to the History of the Six Nations. By William L. Stone. New-York and London : Wiley & Putnam. 1841. pp. 484.
Much praise is due to Col. Stone for his valuable contributions to the history of the aborigines of our country. Our own nation has no fabulous age to which it can trace the history of its origin. The beginning of our existence as a people was in the possession of a degree of light and knowledge, which the nations of the old world have attained only after the lapse of ages. But, to make room for the millions to which we, in the good providence of God, have been multiplied, we have displaced a people whose origin, to use the language of our author, “is lost in the shadowy obscurity of tradition for ages before the sound of the white woodman's axe rang upon the solemn stillness of the forest-continent," and who perhaps, by a different course of treatment by us, might have been raised to the civilization, the liberty, the law, and the religious consolations which we possess. From us, indeed, these blessings demand the highest expressions of gratitude and praise to the Giver of all good. With the enjoyment of these favors, however, we have the lingering consciousness of guilt ; "the voice of” our “brother's blood crieth from the ground,”—from the beautiful fields which we cultivate ; and if the judgments which it demands are delayed, it should at least remind us of the duty we owe to the remnant of that devoted race which still survives among us, or trembles along the borders of our advancing possessions. We should, therefore, be deeply concerned to know their history, especially during the progress of that desolation to which our own arms have reduced them, that we may the better understand and feel our obligations.
Such are the considerations which should commend to the grateful regard of our countrymen the labors of Col. Stone in the present work, which is the execution in part of his design to compile a complete history of the great “Iroquois Confederacy," with the addition of the Tuscaroras, constituting what is usually called the “ Six Nations.” An exceedingly interesting and somewhat extended portion of this history was given to the public, some three years since, by the same author, in connection with his “Life of Brant.” After the death of Brant, Red-Jacket became the most distinguished man of the Six Nations. Our author has accordingly chosen to weave into the “ Life and Times of Red-Jacket,” the subsequent por. tion of his proposed history, and promises, if life and health are spared, to take up the earlier periods of our Indian history in subsequent works. The present volume appears to have been compiled with great diligence, and contains a vast variety of interesting matter, and much that will be new to most readers. It is written in the lively and characteristic style of the author, and will be found no less entertaining than instructive. The title is preceded with an exquisitely beautiful engraved likeness of Red-Jacket, and the volume is executed in superior style by the publishers.
10.—Philosophy of the Plan of Salvation. A Book for the
Times. By an American Citizen. New York: W. M.
In some respects this is an extraordinary production. It is by “an American Citizen," and "published for the author.” The edition is very small, and pecuniary profit does not enter into his plan. We are told in the Preface, moreover, that “ with the exception of a few gentlemen, who kindly assisted in revising the sheets and reviewing the authorities and notes, it is not probable that any individual out of the writer's family will be able to conjecture, with the least degree of probability, who is the author."
We give the “occasion of the work” in his own language. “During some of the first years of the writer's active life he was a skeptic ; he had a friend, who has since been well known as a lawyer and a legislator, who was also skeptical in his opinions. We were both conversant with the common evi. dences of Christianity ; none of them convinced our minds of the divine origin of the Christian religion, although we both thought ourselves willing to be convinced by sufficient evi. dence. Circumstances, which need not be named, led the writer to examine the Bible. The result of the examination was a thorough conviction, in the author's mind, of the truth and divine authority of Christianity. He supposed at that time that in his inquiries he had adopted the only true method to settle the question in the minds of intelligent inquirers; subsequent reflection has confirmed this opinion.” “The author commenced a series of letters to convey to his friend the evi. dence which satisfied his own mind beyond the possibility of doubt. The correspondence was, by the pressure of business engagements, interrupted. The investigation was continued, however, when leisure would permit, for a number of years.
The results of these investigations are contained in the following chapters.”
The discussion is introduced by the following positions : “Man will worship; " " he will become assimilated to the character of the object that he worships ;" “ the character of heathen deities has always been defective and unholy;" “from this corrupting worship man has no power to extricate himself.” Hence it follows that “a pure object of worship should be placed before the eye of the soul ;” and the revelation of such an object “should be accompanied with sufficient power to influence men to forsake their former worship and to wor. ship the holy object.” The way is thus prepared for an examination of that system which purports to be a revelation from God. The author begins with the bondage of the Israel. ites in Egypt. The miracles wrought for their deliverance dethroned every false deity, and revealed the I AM–Jehovah. When they reached Sinai they were prepared to receive the Moral Law. The course of training to which they were subjected for ages gradually enabled them to comprehend spiritual truths, and, at the same time, effectually cured them of their propensity to idolatry. Passing to the Christian dispensation, the writer shows that Jesus Christ, -God manifest in the flesh,-is precisely the model, the teacher and the Saviour which we need. In the progress of this discussion, the reader will find many interesting thoughts, particularly in those chapters which consider the Levitical economy. The writer is evidently a scholar, and a reflecting, earnest inquirer after the truth, and his book is well suited to the wants of those who are still encompassed by the snares from which he has so happily escaped.
11.--Letters from Abroad to Kindred at Home. By the Author of
“ Hope Leslie,” “ Poor Rich Man and the Rich Poor Man," " Live and Let Live.” In two volumes. New
York: Harper & Brothers. 1841. pp. 275, 297. Every body reads the works of Miss Sedgwick. She writes to be read, by conveying useful instruction and information in an easy and entertaining style. The present volumes are the result of her late tour of a few months in Europe. They convey the impressions of things,—men, manners, scenery etc.—just as they were made on her own mind; and though the subjects of her sketches are familiar to most American
readers, she has succeeded better than most writers in making us almost feel that we have seen them with our own eyes. The freedom of her style, however, betrays her into the use of occasional expressions which might better have been spared. But it is in vain to attempt to criticise such a writer in so brief a notice as we can devote to these volumes. They are beautifully executed by the publishers.
12.-Higher Arithmetic, designed for the use of High Schools,
Academies and Colleges. By Geo. R. Perkins, A. M.,
H. Stanwood & Co.: Rochester. 1841. pp. 252. This book is intended to supply a deficiency in the series of text-books, now used in the schools of this country. The author remarks, with justice, that “among the multiplicity of works which have appeared within a few years, there seems not to have been any material change; they all wear nearly the same aspect. Whilst other school books have been rapidly improving, our arithmetic has remained nearly stationary." This treatise is not designed to teach the elements of the science, but rather to assist those who have become familiar with its fundamental rules. We approve both the object and the execution of the work. Indeed we are not acquainted with any book in the language which is equal to it.
13.-The Widow Directed to the Widow's God. By John Angell
James. With an Introduction. New-York: D. Apple
ton & Co. 1841. pp. 205. Although our religious literature has many excellent treatises for mourners, it has none which are addressed specifically and solely to the widow. Mr. James conceives that “ she needs a special message of comfort from the Lord, a voice which speaks to her case alone, a strain of consolation which, in its descriptions and condolence, is appropriate, and exclusively so, to her.” No one could have been selected with ampler qualifications for this tender office. Aside from the native kindness and generosity of his heart, the providence of God has obliged him to prove the efficacy of the consolations which be extends to others.