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lege just now we know not; but as citizens of Ohio, we feel not a little ashamed to have one of our literary institutions present the unclean, tasteless, careless, ruinous condition which the College and yard at Oxford presented last August. There was the same tumble-down air about every thing, library and all, which one sees about a lazy, whiskey-drinking farmer's house in the Miami valley; while at Athens is the solid, comfortable, flourishing look that marks the sober Yankee or industrious Pennsylvanian.
We should have feared the young men would become contaminated, but their "Halls" showed they had resisted evil example. They were neat, tasteful, and well stored with books. Indeed, the Literary Societies of both Colleges are very useful aids to the Professors, and in all respects show their value. The Libraries both at Athens and Oxford are small.
In respect to studies and discipline, Oxford cannot be said to have a character at this moment, as the Faculty is not yet reorganized. When it is we trust every thing will start anew, the whole appearance of things be changed, and the Miami University "progress" as her sister among the Knobs has.
Though politics are out of our sphere, we cannot but refer to the various Conventions which have been held in Ohio during the past month, closing with one in our own city upon the day on which this number of our magazine should have been published. They shew, to say the least, a most remarkable excitement; such as the younger of us have never before seen. With the causes and probable results of this excitement in a political point of view, we shall not meddle; but the moral consequences are not forbidden us. We feel it proper then to say, in the hope that one or two may be led to think on the subject, that such excitement as we have lately witnessed, must, almost necessarily, be demoralizing. No matter how praiseworthy the cause of such a movement, it unfits men for sober and calm action; it leads to constant resort to grog-shops; and leaves the whole community in a state of feeling which it needs great care to counteract. Let our citizens then think of the need of vi gorous steps to prevent the evils we may rightly apprehend: we mean, in their families, and with those young men, particularly over whom they have authority or influence.
We also feel bound to express our fears that the course of the Whigs in some points, has tended to unfit our people for self-government. The great aim of the true Conservative party, from the time of Washington, has been to withstand demagoguism in all its forms. For one, we have no hesitation in saying, we think the Whigs, in the present canvass, have increased very greatly the spirit of popular flattery; the most dangerous enemy we have. One form of this has been, (as it appears to us, though we may be in error,) in the use which has been made of Mr. Van Buren's expenditures. To reprehend all needless luxury and expense, is well and wise, and still better is it to expose foolish imitation of foreign manners; but the spirit of too much of the abuse lavished on the President, has been, not a true spirit of democratic simplicity, but rather the spirit which would call forth the prejudice and hatred of the poorer classes against all luxury and taste.-With the ends which it is hoped to gain we have now no concern. The means used we fear have been, too many of them, demoralizing, and no end will justify such means. If our people are so low as to make a resort to slang and nicknames, necessary in order to reform alledged evils, they are not fit for self-government, and will soon cease to govern themselves. We do not believe they are so low, but they soon will be if the Conservative party in our land aim no higher than to find available candidates and popular slang-phrases.
FOR OCTOBER, 1840.
We not only believe that novels were meant to be read on steamboats, but almost belie
that steamboats were invented that we might fully enjoy novels: at any rate, one of the great advantages of steam navigation is that it enables us to read books which we never could get through at home. During a late trip up the river, we were thus enabled to master two of James', one of Marryatt's, and one of Ward's books, upon which, with some others, worth reading on shore, we now offer a word or two.
Mr. James' novels, The Duke of Guise, and the King's Highway, are, like most of his stories, full of interest, but devoid of that power which marks Scott, the power of creating living men and women. His characters have little that is individual, unless they are historical, and then they are commonly exaggerated. Compare his Henry of France, Henry of Guise, and Henry of Navarre, three grand characters,
with Scott's James in Nigel, Charles in Woodstock, Louis, and Charles of Burgundy, in Quinten Durward, or with any other of his historical portraits. James, like a common portrait painter, gives the features, color and posture, but it is all a copy, not a creation; correct but lifeless. Scott conceives his subject so vividly as to create it anew, and paints a living man, whose original is in his own brain, and not a dead copy, the original of which is in the writings of Hume or Sismondi, nor even of Clarendon or Froissart.
Mr. James, however, though far inferior as an artist, and therefore less valuable as an historical illustrator, is in this last character a very valuable as well as most voluminous writer. Scarce a month passes without a new novel from his desk, and yet none of them are worthless; many are excellent, and full of true reflection. The King's Highway is valuable as an historical sketch, not of individuals, but of society; and from its suggestions many trains of
thought may spring, well worth dwelling upon. In truth, as Macauley says, we may find our civil history in one writer, our religious annals in another, our constitutional and literary records in a third, or all united, it may be, in the Pictorial History, now in progress; but in our novels only, can we hope to see the actors of History erect, clothed and moving.
The work by Capt. Marryatt, to which we gave some hours, was The Phantom Ship, and we were pleasantly disappointed in it. We think it one of the best tales of a supernatural kind that we ever remember to have seen. The supernatural is not so much pasted upon the natural, as infused into it. In various characters, at all times, and in connection with the most matterof-fact details, the wonderful comes in and tinges the whole, without destroying its probability. The character of the heroine, Amine, we think a new one in fiction; and a most interesting one. Her bold, warm, high-minded, strongminded, and yet wholly wo manly character, is, we think, very well sketched. She is perfectly individual; is alive, and excites the interest of a living being. Lady Laura, in James' Highway, his heroines in general, together with all of Cooper's, and many of Scott's, are painted dolls: Amine is, with a few of Sir
Walter's, and all of Shakspeare's, a woman, full of strange, inconsistent, and unintelligible feelings, but feminine in all. Her changes respecting religion, her treatment of the Catholic priest, her last acts, are all more like real life than novel-writing.
Mr. Ward's "Fielding" we were disappointed in also, but the other way. We could never get through De Vere or Tremaine, but we presume they have merit. Fielding we made an end of, but for ourselves, found no merit in it. The writer appears to be a man who has lived among the aristocracy of England, in as great ignorance of the mass as his hero. He tells us of content in lower circles, of happy batchers, and worthy squires, as if he were a discoverer. His men and women are posts with labels on them, his sentiments superficial, his philosophy shallow, and his social and political views Tory in the narrowest sense. He does not seem to dream of progress at all; the German peasants, happy and stationary, appear to him the perfection of man. Slavery, or the state of the Hindoos, Mr. Ward would think the best possible condi tion for human beings, provided the masters were merciful. He has no faith in the Christian view of man and his powers, and that want of faith is a key to his whole system; as
indeed it is to the whole Tory system.
Another book of a novel character, though no novel, which we read, was Brownson's new views on religion and society. Mr. B. is held in such horror just now, because of some late heterodox political views, that it is as much as one's life is worth to mention him without execration. The Dial, of Boston, is pronounced "libertine" and "licentious" for no greater crime than praising Mr. B.'s "philosophical analysis," and "fearless energy." (See Cin. Chron., Aug. 5th.) However, though we believe our Whig friends have deceived themselves into thinking Mr. B. an enemy of all goodness,because he looks upon Priests and Ordinances as William Penn and his band of Friends did and do; and though we fear their eyes are blind to his true power and worth, because they differ from him on some points, yet we feel obliged to say that we think few writers of equal clearness, vigor and boldness have appeared in these United States.
Right or wrong, he has a mind of his own, and does not follow any leader, as most of us do, like blind mice holding by the tails of a few open-eyed ones. We do not believe there is as much thought, well
expressed, and deserving careful consideration, in any equal number of periodical pages, as there is in the pages of Brownson's Review, beginning with its establishment, and coming down to this time. The very article on the Laboring Classes, which has shaken our nerves so, we think worthy of careful study. We believe with Mr. B., that the cause of Property against Birth being decided, that of Man against Property must come on and be tried; and all this howling and shrieking of Conservative men and women seems to us like the uproar by which the Peruvians tried to stop the moon's eclipse. As respects the spirit of Mr. B.'s article, and the mode of action he proposes, we are in the strongest opposition to him: we think his spirit unchristian, and his plan of action unwise; but we believe him as honest as Luther, as fearless as Knox, and as capable, either for good or evil, as any writer of our day.
Of his ability, we think his "New Views" good proof; we deem them conclusive as to his "philosophical analysis," and "fearless energy."
Of the Dial itself we had intended to speak this month, but as a few days will bring us a new No., we defer it; as also a notice of Mr. Macauley's Miscellanies.
WHAT IT IS, AND WHAT IT IS NOT.
(CONCLUDED FROM THE SIXTH NUmber, page 247.)
BUT I must proceed to my last argument, which is a plain one, founded upon facts, open to every one who can read his Bible. I state it in the words of Mr. Thirlwall: the discrepancies found in the Gospels, compel us to admit that the superintending control of the Spirit was not exerted to exempt the sacred writings altogether from errors and inadvertencies;** nay, he speaks of the more rigid theory of inspiration' having been so long 'abandoned by the learned on account of the insuperable difficulties these opposed to it," that it would now be a waste of time to attack it."t
I have very frequently heard it affirmed that, in the sacred writings, no case can possibly occur of self-contradiction or erroneous statement; that the very idea of inspiration, is utterly opposed to all supposition of the presence of error; that the occurrence of such a blemish would prove, that the writer was not so under the immediate teaching and superintendence of Almighty God as to be preserved from error; or, in other words, that he was not inspired; that the erroneous passage must indeed be rejected, but, with it, the whole work
*Schleiermacher's Critical Essay on the Gospel of St. Luke. Introduction by the Translator, p. xv. +Pp. xv. and xi.