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Ellis does not follow the profession of building | netic reading ; the one languidly, contemptuously, with more substantial materials than words. Only with a secret (though unacknowledged) wish that fancy what an awful visitation he would be to a he may fail; the other with eager interest, and a quiet old gentleman, whose home was not exactly strong desire to succeed. We shall not consider square :
that we have any proofs worth attending to on Sir, your house is not square ; it is an absurd- this subject until the experiment has been tried, in ity. Houses are intended to be square. Until the first place, far more extensively than it has yet your house is square, to roast a leg of mutton in been tried ; and, in the second place, by teachers it properly is physically impossible. I must who look upon phonetics as a humbug, as well pull it down immediately, and rebuild it in ac- as by teachers who look upon heterics as an anticordance with my own views of what is proper." quated absurdity. But whatever the result of “ But the inconvenience ?"
such experiments, they will not affect the point “Nonsense, that is only your fancy! There which we have been considering, nor the conwill be no inconvenience; on the contrary, you clusion which we think we may say we have will find the proceeding rapid and delightful.” proved—namely, that the proposed phonetic re“ But then the expense ?"
form is false in principle and impossible in practice. Expense! there will be no expense—at least, Lastly, we beg to assure Mr. Ellis and his none that you will feel. While your house is friends, who brand us and the like of us with the down you will not want to give so many dinners, titles of obstructionists, advocates of heteric ab
surdities, &c., that the irregularities of English “ But how am I to know that I shall be any spelling afford us no particular pleasure, and are better off when you have made all these alter- looked on by us with no particular affection. If ations?'
a spade” a spade, it is only because it “Sir, I have proved it, demonstrated it-on is a spade; we should be glad if it were otherpaper. See, here are my plans and estimates."
but the fact is so, and we submit. “ But I like my old home as it is.”
If we have not bandied any compliments with “Sir, you are a bigoted, stupid obstructive ; and Mr. Ellis, it is because nobody who is in earnest it is plain from what you say that you hate the does so with his adversary; and we are not in the poor, and have no true feeling for art.”
habit of tilting at a man unless we sincerely beIn the midst of his vast schemes for “revolu- lieve that he deserves to be knocked over. We tionizing English literature” and regenerating must, however, in justice to ourselves, say, that mankind, we every now and then find Mr. Ellis we shall have been greatly misunderstood if any altogether shifting his ground, and talking of the of the preceding observations lead to the impresspelling reform as merely a device for facilitating sion that we desire to set Mr. Ellis down either the teaching to read. This is quite a different as an ignoramus or an impostor. A mischievous question. Phonetics may be or may not be the enthusiast we do hold him to be, but the praise readiest way of teaching English; but that is quite of learning and labor no one can deny him ; unapart from the consideration of what English shall luckily, they only serve to make him more misbe. Both Mr. Ellis and Dr. Latham affirm that chievous. We have already suggested what is it can be proved that children can be taught to the class out of which the phonetic converts are read and write English better by first teaching chiefly made, but we have no desire to speak of them phonetics and then heterics, than by begin- them disrespectfully; on the contrary, many of ning at once with the latter. If so, let them be them belong to a body which must have the symtaught so by all means; it is a practical educa- pathy and good wishes of all. Anybody who will tional question, to be solved by those who have stand for half an hour at the door of Mr. Pitman's practically to educate, and into which we do not phonetic dépôt in Queen's Head Passage, and intend to enter, except so far as to observe that we mark the character of the people who go in to cannot attach much importance to the experimental make purchases, will see that they are for the proofs adduced, because it seems scarcely possible most part those intelligent, but half-educated artito try the experiment fairly. At any rate, we sans and mechanics, in whom the thirst for knowlmust decline to accept conclusions, unless drawn edge burns, perhaps, more fiercely than in any from a far wider field of observation than appears other ranks, whether above or below them. It is to have hitherto been examined. For, first, we lamentable to see these men, with but little time believe that all who have been concerned in teach- and little money to devote to intellectual and litering agree that there is a remarkable difference in ary pursuits, wasting that little upon a delusion the readiness with which children acquire reading, which will cheat them of a year or two's toil and even where in intelligence and in all other circum- then leave them in the lurch, without having done stances there is apparently the greatest equality ; them any good, or given them anything of which and, secondly, if there is anything which more they can make the slightest use. It is for this than any other thing contributes to the rapid ad- cause that we have undertaken to accelerate, so vance of a pupil, it is the amount of interest in far as in us lies, the decease of phonetics, which that advance felt by the teacher; and we can well otherwise would have been suffered to live their imagine the difference between the styles in which day, and depart in the course of nature, without a phoneticist (however desirous to be fair) sets any molestation from us. about his experimental teaching of heteric and pho
From the New York Tribune.
length into harshness and acerbity. We weary of The History of the United States of America. By the cold blooded impartiality, which is never be.
Richard HILDRETH. In three volumes. Vol. trayed into emotion, even by the fate of a Warren, III. New York: Harper and Brothers. or the character of a Washington. We would
We have now the completion of Mr. Hildreth's gladly exchange the presence of a skeleton, howelaborate History of the United States, from the ever accurately and scientifically strung together discovery of the American continent, to the organ-on wires, in whose eyes there is no speculation, for ization of the government under the federal consti- an hour's communion with a living and breathing tution. The work is sustained with uniform ability man, with the warm atmosphere of humanity about and interest throughout the wide field of historical him, although he could lay no claim to an icy, bloodinvestigation which it undertakes to traverse. The less, ideal perfection. The preternatural calmness three volumes before the public everywhere display of Mr. Hildreth, which at first inspires an easy conthe marks of profound original research, a critical fidence in his qualifications as a guide, often ascomparison of authorities, a strenuous devotion to sumes the appearance of a Mephistophelian indifthe subject of inquiry, a calm and temperate judg- ference, with no faith in human excellence and no ment in the balancing of evidence, and a sturdy sympathy with human passion. adherence to the common-sense view of the facts
This characteristic is more conspicuous in the and events that pass under the notice of the writer, volume before us, on account of the deep interest with a rigid abstinence from all excursions of the inspired by everything relating to the history of fancy, or indulgence in theory and conjecture. The the period which it describes. It takes us into work, as now completed, forms an accurate and the very midst of the revolutionary struggle, places well-delineated map of American history. It pre
us by the side of its cradle, and conducts us to its sents every essential feature of the landscape.
It glorious termination. It relates the story of the omits nothing important to the justness of the rep
Boston town meetings, of the continental congress, resentation. The whole is arranged in orderly of Lexington, of Bunker Hill, of Saratoga, of proportions, with a constant regard to the principles Monmouth, of Arnold and Andre, of Lafayette and of historical perspective, and finished in a style of Kosciusko, with as much apathy as if the whole neatness, and often of elegance, which gratifies the narrative was devoted to the adventures of a comsense of literary art, though it makes no preten- pany of trappers, or the fortunes of a trading exsions to the exquisite and dainty refinements of pedition. The closing paragraph of the history composition, which, in the hands of Washington affords as good a specimen as any of the manner Irving, Macaulay, and Bancroft, have been used we have commented on. The style is clear as the with such delightful effect to relieve the monotony most transparent crystal, and not without pretenof historical narrative.
sion to a certain degree of grace.
But what a A work of this character is indispensable to the frigid, colorless, soulless winding up of the grand student of American history. It is an admirable drama, in which the conduct of our fathers has introduction to the profound study of the origin commanded the admiration of the world! Yet and progress of our present institutions. It lays this passage is enthusiastic, compared with many open the whole field of inquiry with singular pre-others, in which a natural glow seems essential cision and distinctness, points out the situation of to life. all the prominent landmarks, lingers with consider
The dying embers of the Continental Congress, able fulness of detail around the most important barely kept alive for some months by the occasional and attractive spots, and sets forth the relative attendance of one or two delegates, as the day apposition of the principal characters and incidents proached for the new system to be organized, quietly - with a clearness of description that will enable the went out without note or observation. History knows reader to inspect the ground more minutely for Charles I., the French National Assembly, are alone
few bodies so remarkable. The Long Parliament of himself, with the confidence arising from well-to be compared with it. Coming together, in the digested preparatory knowledge.
first instance, a mere collection of consulting deleWe freely accord these inerits to the present gates, the Continental Congress had boldly seized volumes, and would thus be understood to give the reins of power, assumed the leadership of the them a high degree of commendation. It is a rare insurgent states, issued bills of credit, raised armies, thing for an author to be so consistent with him- declared independence, negotiated foreign treaties, self, throughout the construction of a laborious
carried the nation through an eight years' war; work, as Mr. Hildreth has been in the composition mother country an acknowledgment of the sover
finally, had extorted from the proud and powerful of this history. He is never seduced, for a mo- eign authority so daringly assumed and so indomment, from the plan which he has adopted. He itably maintained. But this brilliant career had accomplishes whatever he undertakes. He pur- been as short as it was glorious. The decline had sues the idea which he has chosen for his guide commenced even in the midst of the war. Exwith an austere tenacity of purpose, which, applied hausted by such extraordinary efforts—smitten with to the moral relations of life, would make one a
the curse of poverty, their paper money first devery anchorite of virtue. But as an excess of debts which they could not pay, pensioners on the
preciating and then repudiated, overwhelmed with goodness becomes repulsive in its severity, so the bounty of France, insulted by mutineers, scouted at form of history adopted by Mr. Hildreth falls at | by the public creditors, unable to fulfil the treaties
they had made, bearded and encroached upon by the Nature Pursued,” who died in 1774, the date of state authorities, issuing fruitless requisitions which Dean Tucker’s proposal alluded to by Mr. Hilthey had no power to enforce, vainly begging for
dreth. additional authority which the states refused to grant, thrown more and more into the shade by the very contrast of former power—the Continental Mother and Child.—The Cleveland True DemCongress sunk fast into decrepitude and contempt. ocrat, in speaking of Mr. Dodge's concert in that Feeble is the sentiment of political gratitude! Debts city, gives the following history of one of the songs of that sort are commonly left for posterity to pay; of the evening : While all eyes were turned-some with doubt and some with apprehension, but the greater part with In December, 1827, Mr. Blake with his wife and hope and confidence—toward the ample authority infant daughter were travelling over the Green vested in the new government now about to be or- Mountains, in Vermont, in a sleigh. A snow storm ganized, not one respectful word seems to have been came suddenly upon them; and so wild and thick uttered, not a single reverential regret to have been did the snow fall, that soon the horse refused to dropped, over the fallen greatness of the exhausted stir. Mr. B., realizing his position, determined to and expiring Continental Congress.
seek aid at the first house, and, protecting his wife The exceptions we have made are not intended and child, started off. Soon the cold numbed him,
and he fell, unable to move. to derogate from the singular value of Mr. Hil
His wife, as is supposed, alarmed at his absence, dreth's history, as a lucid and accurate portraiture quit the sleigh, and determined to seek him. When of the scenes which it depicts. They only confirm, within thirty rods of him, she was overcorne. Knowwhat we before remarked, that he has accomplished ing her fate, she stripped herself of the thickest what he proposed to himself, and in that point of part of her clothing, and wrapped up her infant view, he may be said to have attained distinguished daughter, and in a cold snow-blanket, as her wind
ing-sheet, died. The frigid tone of the composition, we
In the morning, travellers passing that way, disare confident, proceeds from principle, and not from covered Mr. B., with his feet and hands badly inability. It was essential to the realization of frozen. “Are others near?" was the first question. Mr. Hildreth's conception of a genuine historical He was unable to reply, but pointed with his frozen work. It does not arise from any deficiency of hands in the direction of his wife and child. Part imagination or constructive power on the part of of the travellers pushed on. Soon they came to the the writer. In other works he has exhibited a
body of his wife, all lifeless and cold; and lifting glow and depth of feeling, a facility of vivid, pic- up the infant from its snowy bed, were rejoiced to turesque description, and a power of poetical elo- Mrs. Seba Smith put these events into stirring quence, that give him an eminent rank in the song, and that song Mr. Dodge sang with great department of graphic and pathetic composition. effect. But imagine the state of feeling in the If he had seen fit to exercise these talents in the room when it was announced that Mr. Blake and creation of his history, it might have proved a more
his daughter were present! Not a dry eye was
seen in the room. generally popular work than the present, though it
We subjoin Mrs. Smith's song: would not easily have surpassed it as a source of authentic reference to the curious student.
The cold wind swept the mountain's height, The index which accompanies this volume is
And pathless was the dreary wild, very full and satisfactory. It, in fact, presents, in
While, mid the cheerless hours of night,
A mother wandered with her child. its regular sequence, a great number of excellent
As through the drifted snow they pressed, chronological tables, which give a key not only to
A babe was sleeping on her breast. the work, but to the subject of which it treats. We cannot say as much of the list of authorities.
And colder still the winds did blow, This is a bare catalogue of books, arranged with
And darker hours of night came on, some reference to the order of subjects, though in
While deeper grew the drifts of snow,
Her limbs were chilled, her strength was gone. apparent confusion, and presenting no clue what
“Oh God!" she cried, in accents wild, ever to the special evidence for the statements and
“If I must perish, save my child.” opinions in the body of the work. A history loses in real utility, and, to the genuine lover of his
She stripped her mantle from her breast,
And bared her bosom to the storm, torical research, in attractiveness, by presenting no
While round her child she wrapt the vest, facilities for its own verification. The reader loses
And smiled to think that it was warm. as much by the want of a minute indication of the
With one cold kiss, one tear she shed, original sources, as would the student of law by And sank upon her snowy
At dawn a traveller passed by,
And saw beneath the snowy veil, Chap. XXXI., by which Dean Tucker, the cele- The frost of death was in her eye ; brated writer of pamphlets on politics and finance Her cheeks were cold, and hard, and pale. during the American revolution, is confounded He moved the robe from off the child, with Abraham Tucker, the genial and humorous, The babe looked up, and sweetly smiled. though often grotesque, author of “ The Light of