« ZurückWeiter »
NEW PUBLICATIONS RECEIVED.
Essays on the Progress of Nations in Productive Industry, Civilization, Population, and Wealth; illustrated by Statistics of Mining, Agriculture, Manufactures, Commerce, &c. By Ezra C. Seaman. Detroit: M. Geiger & Co. 1846. 8vo. pp. 455.
A Grammar of the Greek Language. By Alpheus Crosby, Professor of the Greek Language and Literature in Dartmouth College. Second Edition. Boston: James Munroe & Co. 1846. 12mo. pp. 464.
A Discourse of the Baconian Philosophy. By Samuel Tyler, of the Maryland Bar. Second Edition, enlarged. Frederick City, Md.: Schley & Haller. 1846. 12mo. pp. 426.
Appleton's Literary Miscellany, Nos. XVII. and XVIII. The History of Civilization from the Fall of the Roman Empire to the French Revolution. By F. Guizot, the Prime Minister of France. Translated by William Hazlitt. Parts V. and VI. New York: D. Appleton & Co. 1846.
Select Treatises of Martin Luther, in the Original German, with Philological Notes, and an Essay on German and English Etymology. By B. Sears. Andover: Allen, Morrill, & Wardwell. 1846. 12mo. pp. 382.
Memoirs of American Governors. By Jacob Bailey Moore. Vol. I. Governors of New Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay. New York: Gates & Stedman. 1846. 8vo. pp. 439.
Gesenius's Hebrew Grammar, Fourteenth Edition, as revised by Dr. E. Rödiger. Translated by T. J. Conant, Professor of Hebrew in Madison University. With the Modifications of the Editions subsequent to the Eleventh, by Dr. Davies, of Stepney College, London. To which are added a Course of Exercises in Hebrew Grammar and a Hebrew Chrestomathy, prepared by the Translator. New York: D. Appleton & Co. 1846. 8vo. pp. 405.
Hebrew Grammar of Gesenius, as edited by Rödiger, translated, with Additions, and also a Hebrew Chrestomathy. By M. Stuart, Professor of Sacred Literature, Theological Seminary, Andover. Allen, Morrill, & Ward well. 1846. 8vo. pp. 360.
Encyclopædia Americana, Supplementary Volume: A Popular Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, Literature, History, Politics, and Biography. Vol. XIV. Edited by Henry Vethake, LL.D. Philadelphia: Lea & Blanchard. 1847. 8vo. pp. 663.
An Address to the Society of Middlesex Husbandmen and Manufacturers, delivered at Concord, October 7, 1846. By John G. Palfrey, of Cambridge. Metcalf & Co., Printers. 8vo. pp. 24.
Jack Datchett, the Clerk, an Old Man's Tale. Baltimore: H. Colburn. 1846. 12mo. pp. 101.
Wiley and Putnam's Library of American Books. Nos. XXI. and XXII. The Early Jesuit Missions in North America. Translated by Rev. William Ingraham Kip. New York: Wiley & Putnam. 1846. 2 vols. 12mo.
Protection and Free Trade compared, in their Influence on National Industry and the Balance of Wealth and Power. Salem. 1846. 8vo. pp. 24.
Papers on the Slave Power, first published in the Boston Whig, in July, August, and September, 1846. By John G. Palfrey, of Cambridge, Middlesex County, Massachusetts. Second Edition. Boston: Merrill, Cobb & Co. 8vo. pp. 92.
The Early New England Home: a Thanksgiving Sermon. By Frederick A. Whitney, Minister of the First Church, Brighton. Boston: Leonard C. Bowles. 1846. 8vo. pp. 11.
The Rights of Labor. By Calvin Colton, Author of The Life and Times of Henry Clay. New York: A. S. Barnes & Co. 1846. 8vo. pp. 96.
The Pre-Adamite Earth: Contributions to Theological Science. By John Harris, D. D., President of Cheshunt College. Boston: Gould, Kendall, & Lincoln. 1847. 12mo. pp. 294.
Cyclopædia of English Literature: a Selection of the Choicest Productions of English Authors, from the Earliest to the Present Time, connected by a Critical and Biographical History. Edited by Robert Chambers. No. I. Boston: Gould, Kendall, & Lincoln. 1847. 8vo. pp. 84.
The Doctrines of Spinoza and Swedenborg identified, so far as they claim a Scientific Ground; in four Letters. Boston: Munroe & Francis. 1846. 12mo. pp. 36.
Astronomical Observations made under the Direction of M. F. Maury, Lieut. U. S. Navy, during the Year 1845, at the U. S. Naval Observatory, Washington. Vol. I. Published by Authority of the Secretary of the Navy. Washington: J. & G. Š. Gideon, Printers. 1846. 4to. pp. 543.
NORTH AMERICAN REVIEW.
A. P. Peabody
ART. I. Sketches of Modern Literature and Eminent Literary Men (being a Gallery of Literary Portraits). By GEORGE GILFILLAN. Reprinted entire from the London Edition. New York: D. Appleton & Co. 12mo. pp. 492.
In a recent article on the Progress of Society, we represented the present age as characterized beyond all preceding times by professed reverence for intellectual attainments and achievements, but as still grossly deficient in that spiritual culture, without which intellect lacks its true nobility, and falls short of its mission and destiny. We propose now to point out some of the intellectual characteristics and tendencies of our times. The aim, indeed, seems at first sight vast and vague; but our discussion will be greatly simplified and brought within reasonable bounds, if, instead of attempting to enumerate in detail all the prominent features of the age, we fix its position, and unfold the principles which inspire its life and direct its energies. In order to do this, we must consider the route in which, and the ends for which, the intellectual effort and enterprise of civilized man have hitherto been directed.
The ages that are gone have been busy chiefly about the material world, —grappling with problems presented by the outward universe. Man awoke into being, surrounded by baffling mysteries. He found himself among existences and objects whose origin, uses, adaptations, and harmonies it surpassed his skill to trace, beneath heavens whose cirNo. 135.
cuits, though obviously connected with his welfare, daily presented more and more perplexing intricacies, depths which filled him with awe as they quaked and heaved beneath him, and inflamed his cupidity, as they disclosed their glittering treasures for his use and ornament. On his soul was written the divine mandate, "Subdue the world, and use it." He had the consciousness of lordship, even while he trembled in ignorance before his meanest subject. And in establishing his supremacy over the material creation, he has been conducting three distinct, yet concurrent, mental processes, from the creation until now.
The first and lowest, yet in some aspects the most essential of these processes, has been that of mechanical invention, which commenced with the rude needlework of our first parents in Eden, grew into distinct arts and trades among the unspiritual posterity of Cain, has given increased power, wealth, and luxury to every successive generation, and now culminates in the mighty Babels that weave raiment for the world, in the steam-ship that stems the Atlantic storms, in the harnessed lightning that rides post from city to city.
The second process has been that of philosophy, which, while practical skill has wrought on things known, has toiled in the realm of the unknown, sought out occult causes and harmonies, and laid bare the springs of nature's mechanism. For the first five thousand years of human history, philosophy floundered in palpable darkness, made a hundred blunders to one discovery, and was completely outstripped by practical skill, which seized on the obvious uses of many portions of creation, the nature of which was utterly unknown. The Jews, who, till the Christian era, alone believed in one God, were but little addicted to philosophical speculation. The nations that loved to investigate the causes of things believed in many jarring and malignant deities, holding joint or conflicting sway over the various departments of nature; and they had not, therefore, even the idea of unity, harmony, design, or adaptation, to guide them in their researches, and to lead them to look upon every part of the system in its relation to other parts or to the great whole. Indeed, it took a full thousand or fifteen hundred years after the Christian era for the human mind to become so imbued with the belief of one God, as to make this fundamental truth of theol
ogy an axiom of science, a stage of progress marked by the gradual development, and at length by the full enunciation, of the inductive philosophy. But so soon as man awoke to the distinct consciousness of the beneficent harmony that pervades the universe, science stood firm upon the earth, and measured the heavens. The track of sun and star has been marked by human compasses; unwieldy Jupiter has been tumbled into the scales, while the vibrations of the harp-string have been counted, and the shape of the dew-drop and the falling tear expressed in algebraic formulas. The recent discovery of Le Verrier's planet has affixed the irrefragable seal of verity both to the established theory of the universe and the modern apparatus of mathematical analysis, while the resolution of many of the nebula by means of the Earl of Rosse's telescope has driven back the chaotic wave that threatened to sweep over the whole domain of physical astronomy, and to carry us back to a cosmogony as wild and vague as that of Lucretius. As we now look through the universe, we can find no fact which cannot be traced to its class and its law; and though there are unquestionably higher generalizations to be reached, we still have attained a point at which ignorance no longer stimulates inquiry.
The third process referred to is that of the imagination in poetry and fiction. It has been in the region of the unknown that fancy has built her chambers of imagery. In the earlier times, when all the ordinary phenomena of nature were wrapped in mystery, fancy could find vacant room enough for her creations about the daily path and among the familiar incidents of common life. The great poems of antiquity derived their interest from marvels which have now ceased to find a place in prose. The management of the expedition of the Argonauts, achieved by the joint and most potent aid of celestial and infernal deities, would not now transcend the scope of a passed midshipman, and of the heroes of the Trojan war few would rise above the rank and file of a modern army. The Odyssey is founded on the mysteries and perils of a coasting voyage, which one of our New England skippers would make alone in a sail-boat, and deem it no matter of wonder or boasting. Meeting the other day with a shipmaster, who had recently passed through the Strait of Messina, to get a load of salt at a Sicilian port,