Imagini ale paginilor
PDF
ePub

a

a

was generally found in monastic establishments. We find the monks in battle royal with the populace (obviously an ancient gown and town row) because the commonalty set up mills of their own to grind their corn instead of bringing it all to the Abbot's mills. We find the abbots themselves flirting with gay ladies from the neighbouring county, and entertaining them liberally at their tables. We find the ladies trooping in from the country no wise unwilling to share, so long as be pleased, the abbot's good cheer. Nor was the cloister itself free from the entrance of these dangerous snares ; highly born and titled dames and damsels being permitted to repair to the sacred precincts, whenever they wished to consult a favourite brother. The book abounds with good stories, one of the best of which is how a rich lady in the neighbourhood, fearing her house might be robbed by burglars, sent a heavy chest to be stored in the Treasury of St. Alban's, and how, sometime afterwards, when things were a little quieter, she came to the Treasury, and, to the horror of the surrounding monks, showed it, when opened, to contain only sand and lead. “I put nothing in the chest,” said she in reply to their cries of amazement, “but lead and sand; and I did this to be safe from thieves generally!” We are not told whether the monks accepted this questionable compliment with a good grace, but we suspect they were wise enough in future not to receive deposits without knowing what like they really were.

Dr. Davidson's “ Introduction to the Study of the New Testament,” in two volumes, which completes his former work, in three volumes, on the Old Testament, is, we fear, one of a class which will not really satisfy any one. The adherents to the Strauss notions, and the advanced thinkers, not to say infidels, of modern Germany, will complain of it as not going nearly far enough-as having accepted essential parts of their theories, apparently without the courage to carry them to their legitimate and necessary conclusions; the maintainers of the old view—of that bound up with every Church, Greek, Roman, or Protestant-will condemn it, as condescending to views advocated by men who have practically rejected Christianity, in rejecting the miracles upon which it relies for its evidence. We must also admit that Dr. Davidson is, to our inind, singularly indistinct and inconclusive; so that it is very hard to say, in many sentences, what is the definite meaning he wishes us to accept as his own. At the con clusion of his volumes, we are still left in doubt as to what he is himself; perhaps, we shall not offend the laws of charity when we presume him to be a Christian, because, though he will not say so definitely and decisively, he clearly inclines to the belief that portions of the New Testament have been given to man by Revelation, and, therefore, as containing matter which must be considered supernatural. At the same time, there are not a few other passages from which it would be impossible to divine of what religion the writer really is.

The third and fourth volumes of Kinglake's “Invasion of the Crimea" will please those who were content with the former volumes, and those only. We find in it the same picturesque description, but the same want of accuracy in details ; only there is this in favour of the present volumes, that we do not meet with abuse like that heaped in the former ones on the devoted heads of Napoleon and St. Arnaud. Historically these volumes take the reader to the end of the Balaclava charge.

Among the works of less importance on Historical, Biographical, or Miseellaneous subjects which have issued from the press either in this year or towards the close of the preceding, we may briefly enumerate the following, premising

LIBRARY

[ocr errors]

that many of them will be found not wanting in interest to the more special class of readers to whom they have been addressed.

“Saints and Sinners,” by Dr. Doran, two vols. A very interesting collection of anecdotes drawn from all sorts of sources; just the kind of book which might have been expected from Dr. Doran's previous literary productions.

Memorials of the Rev. V. B. Shrewsbury,” by his son, John V. B. Shrewsbury. A fair notice of a good, hard-working, but not very discreet Methodista preacher.

“ The Church and the World;" Essays on questions of the day, by various writers. Edited by the Rev. Orby Shipley, M.A. A collection of writings which will be doubtless accepted by the Ritualists with the favour they deserve.

“ The American Beaver and his Works." By Lewis H. Morgan. This, though an American work, has naturally had a considerable circulation in this country, and deservedly too, as it contains a most valuable account of one of the most energetic little animals in existence.

“Lord Byron, judged by the Witnesses of his Life,” two vols. This is a work, long expected as long promised, by the famous Countess Guiccioli. It adds little to what we knew of Byron; and, considering who the writer was, and what her chances of knowing were, we put it down again with no little disappointment.

Plowden, Walter C.“ Travels in Abyssinia,” &c. &c. This book, by a former English Consul in Abyssinia, will repay reading at the present time, when our memories are naturally full of the exploits of our own army. It may also correct some notions about the people of the country which have been somewhat widely spread about.

“Benjamin Franklin, Autobiography of.” Edited by John Bigelow. It is not clear how far this work is to be considered authentic, but the balance of the evidence is in favour of its having been a sort of rough draft of the original MS. The Autobiography which has been usually, we may say always, accepted as genuine, was published many years since.

Marcus Kean. "Towers and Temples of Ancient Ireland.”

Baijkuli, C. W. “A Summer in Iceland.” Translated by the Rev. M. R. Barnard.

Blackburn, H. “Artists and Arabs.”

Nettleship, J. T. “Essays on Robert Browning's Poetry.” Clever and ingenious papers, by a young but ripe Oxford scholar.

Rogers, J. E. Thorold. “A Manual of Political Economy for Schools and Colleges "—who, we firmly believe, would be far better employed on their history and mathematics, than by taking Mr. Rogers for their guide and master.

Smith, Goldwin. “The Reorganization of the University of Oxford.” A book by a kindred spirit with the writer last noticed. What may be the future of Oxford, beset as she now is by foes without, and betrayed and misrepresented by far more treacherous friends within, we cannot presume to say; but, we devoutly hope that ages may pass away before her “reorganization ” be carried out as Mr. Goldwin Smith would desire.

Freeman, E. A. “History of the Norman Conquest of England.” So hard a student as Mr. Freeman has repeatedly shown himself to be could hardly produce a work that was not worthy of perusal. His present one is no exception to his previous writings, but is smart, clear, and entertaining. We are not sure that he has added much original matter to what was known before; but what he has done, he has done well.

[ocr errors]

a

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

“Journal of a Voyage to the Mediterranean by Sir Kenelm Digby, 1628," edited by John Bruce, F.S.A., is a curious relic lately discovered in MS. form among the collections of W. W. E. Wynne, Esq. It is interesting, though not rich in detail, and has, we need hardly add, been edited right well by the experienced hands of Mr. Bruce.

Senior, Nassau W. “Journals, Conversations, and Essays relating to Ireland," a very clever and amusing book, which, if carefully read, would at the present time be of some use in correcting numberless fallacies and sophisms recently put forth anent Irish tenure of land, and the English Church in Ireland.

Blanc, Henry, M.D. Narrative of Captivity in Abyssinia.” This book ought to be read in connexion with Mr. Consul Plowden's Memoirs noticed above. We have heard so much of the doings of King Theodore during the present year that Dr. Blanc's book does not seem to add much to our knowledge. When, however, the world has forgotten about Theodore, Dr. Blanc's book will be useful in refreshing its memory of a very disagreeable story.

Robertson, J. B. “Lectures on the Life of Edmund Burke."
Marshall, John. “Outlines of Physiology,” two vols.

Dashwood, J. B. “ The Thames to the Solent, by Canal and Sea ; or, The Log of the Una boat. Caprice.' There is quite a literature of its own now by daring and ingenious men who have been up and down all sorts of out-of-the-way lakes and rivers in small boats, sometimes by themselves, like Macgregor. Of this class the one before us is a good specimen, albeit that it contains no very startling adventures.

Bateman, J. The Life of the Rev. H. Venn Elliott.” A life of a good hard working man, who must still be well remembered by hundreds in the seat of his long ministry, Brighton. We fear were Mr. Elliott to wake up again some morning and revisit the scenes of his former life, the Ritualistic follies in course of perpetration there would awaken him to even fiercer indignation, than did, some seventeen years ago, his horror lest the Crystal Palace should be opened on a Sunday.

Bremer, Charlotte. “ Life, Letters, &c., of Frederika Bremer." We suspect that Miss Bremer's character can be better judged from her numerous works than from this dull and ponderous biography.

Every one will rejoice at the continuance of the Wellington Despatches by a third volume which refers to the critical period from December, 1825, to May, 1827. The chief occurrences related in these papers are the Duke's mission to St. Petersburg at the accession of the Emperor Nicholas, the death of the Duke of York and the appointment of the Duke of Wellington as Commander-in-Chief, the selection of Canning to succeed Lord Liverpool as Premier, involving as it did the resignation of some of the ablest of his former colleagues, and the negotiations between England and Russia with reference to the Greek rebellion.

The Manual of the Ancient History of the East till the Median Wars," by F. Lenormant, in two volumes, is a very clever and thoronghly French sketch of the earliest period of the world. It must not, we think, be looked at as more than a sketch, but, as such, it is well done. The author, strange to say, seeing that he is a Frenchman and secretary to the Institute, believes in Moses and in Genesis, not to say in not a few other things, the “ wise men " of this land have long since pitched over as delusions.

" The Conscience—Lectures on Casuistry,” by the Rev. F. D. Maurice, is well worth reading as is nearly all that comes from the pen of Mr. Maurice. There

а

is not much that is new in these lectures, but we mark the same vigorous intellect, the same clearness of perception, and the same high morality which has enabled Mr. Maurice for so long to do so much good work.

A new edition of Mr. Edward Walford's “County Families of the United Kingdom” enables us to call renewed attention to one of the most useful compilations of this hard-working and painstaking student. Considering the range of Mr. Walford's labours, we may well congratulate him on the few errors discernible in his excellent work.

John Franklin Swift, latest of San Francisco (we presume), has written a book entitled “Going to Jericho." His sketches of various parts of the world besides Jericho are often entertaining, some times decidedly broad, and always Yankee. Many, too, of his tales belong to the Munchausen school.

A Chapter of Autobiography,” by the Right Hon. W. H. Gladstone will, we imagine, satisfy no one who is not prepared to hand himself over, body and soul, to the present views and doctrines of the Premier.

Mr. C. L. Eastlake's “ Hints on Household Taste in Furniture, &c.,” contain under a style often serio-comic much valuable information and still more valuable suggestions as to what decoration is in good taste and what is not. We fear, however, that in this country the rapid growth of commercial wealth, will long interfere with the cultivation of a really pure taste ; while, in many of our more common productions, the steam-engine, which has introduced cheapness, has, at the same time, banished the minute care given to such work by our forefathers.

“ The Sacred City of the Hindus,” by the Rev. M. A. Sherring, is an interesting account of the ancient town of Benares, with a learned preface by Mr. FitzEdward Hall.

“The Architectural History of Ely Cathedral,” by the Rev. D. J. Stuart, will repay attentive study on the part of all who have a taste for either the early annals of our country or for ecclesiastical architecture. Indeed, it may be doubted whether there is any church in England, except probably Westminster Abbey, which surpasses Ely in historical interest, while details from the carved work at Ely are known to have supplied models to many other English buildings.

“Ships and Sailors, Ancient and Modern,” by G. C. Cotterill and E. D. Little, is an entertaining book made up of all kinds of sketches drawn from very varied sources, but more or less connected with ships, as the title suggests. "The Great Unwashed,” by a journeyman engineer, will attract many

readers other than those of the classes to whom it more especially refers. It is written by a man who, evidently, has had long experience among the people about whom he writes, and shows also considerable literary ability. The writer is strongly opposed to most forms of trades' unions, and, especially, to the spouters and stump orators, of whom we have heard so much since the Reform League forced itself into notice.

“ The Upright Man,” a memorial of the Rev. Corbett Cooke, Wesleyan Minister. We feel persuaded this excellent man, whom we regret not to have known or heard of while in the flesh, was all that his congregation-his best judgesseem to have thought him. Yet still we object to the title. Heads of churches or sects—if energetic enough—are generally deemed “the” men by their happy followers. Nor can we doubt that, if nicely questioned, Dr. Cumming or Cardinal Antonelli, his Grace of Canterbury or his Holiness the Pope, would aver that they were each and all, in their respective positions, “upright men.”

[ocr errors]

a

9

“ Walks in the Black Country,” by Elihu Burritt, is a fair description of this marvellous district of iron manufacture. It is written for Americans, and will probably be more read across the Atlantic than here.

Curtius, Prof. E. “ The History of Greece.” The boys of the next generations, to say nothing of the alumni of our universities, will not be able to plead for their ignorance lack of the materials of Greek history. We should have thought that Grote and Thirlwall, not to forget Mure, would have been enough for most students, but now we have a fourth historian in Professor Curtius, who has produced an able work, well translated by Mr. A. W. Ward.

Spedding, James. "Life of Bacon,” vols. III. and IV. The new volumes keep up, as might have been expected, the full character of the earlier ones, but are much over-laden and far too copiously illustrated by notes, and by detached essays on all sorts of subjects on which it pleases Mr. Spedding to write dissertations. We regret this : every Englishman must be anxious for the fame of Lord Bacon, and Mr. Spedding has done much for this. At the same time few readers will bave leisure for volumes so ponderous and so closely printed as these last.

Whymper, F. “ Travels in Alaska.” These travels in a district of NorthWest America, but little hitherto known, will interest the politician scarcely less than mere readers of travels. The territory in question is that which has been recently bought by Mr. Secretary Seward for eighteen dollars the square mile, and which has been praised or denounced as valuable or worthless, chiefly as the talkers loved or hated Seward and his policy. Mr. Whymper thinks that, on the whole, though its climate is very severe, it will be found to pay under the energetic rule of the Americans. Sitka, its capital, possesses the curious property of having two Sundays in each week; the Russians having reached Alaska from the east, while the Anglo-Saxons came from the west. The Russian Sunday therefore falls on our Saturday. The same is, we believe, true of some of the Dutch Settlements in the East Indies.

Sharpe, Samuel. History of the Hebrew Nation and of its Literature." Mr. Sharpe is well known for his many papers and books in illustration of Egyptian history, and for the publication of numerous transcripts of the Hieroglyphical Inscriptions, a species of work, in the furtherance of which, he has shown great liberality and zeal. Scholars, indeed, differ much as to the value of his own knowledge on such matters ; but no one can deny him the possession of great, though often misapplied, erudition. We are not sure that he will gain much credit by the present publication, especially as the advocates of his views can fall back upon his master in such theories, M. Ewald.

“Megha-Dūta; or, Cloud-Messenger," by Kalidasa. Translated by Colonel Ouvry. This famous sanskrit poem was first translated into English verse many years ago by the late Professor H. H. Wilson. Colonel Ouvry has now given us a translation in prose which is accurate, though rather dry.

Chesney's, Lieut.-Col., “Waterloo Lectures” throw light on many points which have been hitherto misunderstood, especially as to the actual service which the Prussians did towards the close of that memorable day. He has also shown that, if English writers on this subject have made abundant blunders, these are not comparable with the studied fal noods put forth by Buonaparte himself at St. Helena, with the view of exalting his own skill and prowess, and of discrediting the real ability and good actions of his Marshals.

The “ Collection of English Chronicles,” by Jehan de Waurin, which has been

« ÎnapoiContinuă »