Sidebilder
PDF

ment and the most curious information.

A Picture of the United States of America at the commencement of the nineteenth century, by M. Bonnet, Professor of the Law of Nature and Nations, &c. Paris, 1816.-About twenty years ago, the same writer published a work under the title of “The United States of America towardsthe close of the eighteenth century.” His avowed object at that period was, to encourage emigration to this land of promise, and he professes to have the same end in view at present. The professor is, therefore, throughout, an ardent encomiast. Bating, however, some little exaggeration in both, his statistical statements arc authentic, and his general views justified by facts. That this is the most prosperous and thriving of all countries, that it is the best refuge of the unfortunate or proscribed of the old world, cannot admit of a doubt. The tendency of M. Bonnet's work, is, to produce these impressions, especially on such of his countrymen as wish to better their condition. He recommends the state of New York to them, and so far exalts the advantages which it holds out, above those of the other members of the union, as to induce the suspicion that he is himself a proprietor of lands in that state, or subsidized by those who are. Although the learned professor has not produced such a volume on this country as we could wish to see from some foreign pen, and as it deserves, yet it is infinitely to be preferred to the crude, purblind speculations of Beaujour and Turreau, on the same subjects. Neither of these

writers had an opportunity of becoming well acquainted with the American character, manners, or institutions in their real spirit. They lived among us as recluse and mutes; the first, insulated by his inability to speak our language, and his affected contempt of American society! the other, by the turpitude of his habits, and the general grossness of his character. What Beaujour has furnished of statistics, was unskilfully gleaned from our daily papers; he has done little more than repeat Volney, as to the climate and face of the country, without having the candour or the judgment to remark the changes wrought since the period of Volney's observation. The circumstances which he cites as illustrative of American character and manners, are fictitious for the most part, or greatly overcharged; and the obloquy which he lavishes upon the profession of the law in the United States, is manifestly the offspring : of private pique, or of prejudice contracted amidst village-litigation at home. The chevalier Beaujour may be placed on the same shelf with such observers as general Pillet. The pamphlet of Turreau, ostensibly, concerning the United States, is, in fact, a laboured denunciation of republicanism, of the maxim of the sovereignty of the people, of the influence of commerce upon the character of society, and of our commercial connexions with England. He has obviously mistaken - - 4. altogether the spirit and effect of our institutions, but has thrown out several observations which furnish matter for wholesome reflection. There is more in his pamphlet worthy of attention, than in the ostentatious volume of Beaujour. * A work of particular importance and utility to youth, is now proposed to be published at Paris by subscription. It is an Abridgment of Ancient and Modern History, for the use of the rising generation, by the Count de Ségur, the well known ambassador to the court of Catharine II. and editor of the Politique detous les Cabinets. He is a member of the French Institute. The work will comprise 37 vols. in 18mo. and the price of subscription for the whole is only 60 francs, somewhat more than 12 dollars. Nine of thc volumes containing the part of Antient History, were to have appeared in November, 1816. The Count de Ségur has always been considered as one of the most elegant writers and accomplished statesmen of Europe. The task which he has imposed upon himself for the improvement of youth, may be expected therefore, to prove superior in the execution to any of the kind ever before accomplished. We do not, indeed, know of any very good course of history destined to o the same purpose. The Ancient History of Rollin, so common in the hands of youth, is liable to many objections; the “Course of History” of the Abbé Condillac is, indeed, excellent, but rather fitted for the more mature age. Of this, there is, we believe, no English version. The Universal History of Bossuet, although a chef d'oeuvre of generalization, is too much of a mere outline as to facts, and of too lofty a pitch for any other than minds of much elevation. The English Universal History, a voluminous and irregular, though learned and accurate compilation, deserves a place in every library as a work of reference, and in no other respect. Such abridgments of history as

Vol. I.

those of Russel, Bigland, &c. may have a temporary success from the absence of something of the sort more tolerable, but are in themselves even below mediocrity.

Linguarum totius orbis Index Alphabeticus, quarum Grammaticae, lexica, collectiones verborum recensentur, patria significatur, historia adumbratur, by Dr. Vater, Librarian of the King of Prussia.-This is a work of the same nature as the well known Mithridates of Adelung, or General Science of the Languages of the Earth, in German, the first volume of which appeared at Berlin, in 1805, and the two last in 1812, and 1813. Something of the same kind has been attempted in English, in the “Catalogue of Dictionaries, Grammars,” &c. of William Marsden, London, 1796. The work of Dr. Vater will be found the most methodical, convenient, and complete. Every such polyglot lexicon is of great importance in tracing the origin of nations, and elucidating the general history of mankind. Lexicon universale librorum sive plenus index omnium ab anno 1700 ad finem 1810, in lucem editorum librorum, in Germania et lingua et litteris cum ea conjunctis terris impressorum, cum notatione locorum quibus impressi sunt hi libri; bibliopolarum et pretiorum, primum a G. Heinsio institutum. Editionova. 4 vols. in 4to. Leipsic, 1815. The two works here mentioned, may furnish an idea of the kind of labour to which the German scholars devote themselves. It is incredible what a multitude of universal histories, abridgments of 2 Y

universal histories, &c. they have produced within the three last years. Every branch of science, letters, and the arts, has had its historian, who has traced it with unwearied patience, and the utmost attainable accuracy, from its seminal principle, through all stages of growth, and in all its branches. German literature is, therefore, by far the most copious and ready index to human knowledge, although it has not made a positive addition to the stock, in any way commensurate with the industry and bibliomania of the school.

How the Dutch are disposed to employ themselves, may be seen from the following prize-question, proposed in 1816, by the university of Leyden. “Cum subinde officia officiis repugnare videantur, num incidere possint causae, cum aut plané pugnent, aut incerta sit agendi ratio; et quae in omnibus hujusmodi causis sit norma, cur parere et quam sequi oporteat?” A question worthy of the days of St. Thomas Aquinas.

Three hundred florins were offered at the same time for the dissertation which should best establish the divine authority of the Catholic efistle of St. James. Besides her universities, Holland possesses several academies of sciences and letters, of which the chief is the Institute of Sciences, Belles-lettres, and Arts, of Amsterdam. Its Memoirs are respectable, and its annual reports indicate much activity in the culture of all the branches of knowledge within its province. Ancient literature has a multitude of votaries, some of whom deserve to be ranked with the German professors in

*

point of erudition. Vander Palm is a profound philologist and orientalist, as well as an eloquent preacher. His translation into Dutch of the prophet Isaiah, with notes, is a work of great learning and ingenuity, and his last volume of sermons, Derde Zestal, &c. cannot be too highly commended. Poetry is by no means neglected among the Dutch. They publish annually a quantity of verse, some of which deserves no inconsiderable credit. The odes, and other compositions of Feith, are read with pleasure every where.

The attention paid to the fine arts in Holland, may be estimated from this circumstance, that, at the last biennial exhibition of native pictures at Amsterdam, there were one hundred and forty-two of the large size, besides miniatures, drawings, engravings, &c. Of the painters who contributed, thirtytwo belonged to the city of Amsterdam alone.

The History of Poetry and Eloquence from the end of the thirteenth century down to the present times, by Bouterweck. Gottingen. 10 vols. 8vo.—It is by works of this character that the Germans entitle themselves to be described as the most useful labourers in the field of literature. To Bouterweck the world is indebted, besides, for an invaluable History of the Literature of the Southern Nations. The History of the Commerce of the Ancients, by M. Heeren, and the General History of Literature, of which M. Eichorn is the principal editor, are treasures of the most serviceable erudition. The works of Sterder, and Jean de Muller, geniuses of the first order as philosophers,

historians, and prose writers, the Life of Charlemagne, by Hegewisch, the History of Gustavus III. King of Sweden, by Posselt, the History of the Germans, by Schmidt, deserve particularly the attention of the students of history and of the German language.

The German school of literature, and particularly Mad. de Staël, have been attacked with great powers of erudite criticism and sportive wit in a work recently published in Paris, under the title of the Anti-Romantic, or, an Examination of some new works, by the Wiscomfite de S. The author is a most able advocate of the French principles of composition, and had already given, incognito, to the public, an ingenious treatise on the True Causes of JVational Felicity and JVational Misery.

A History of the Establishment of the Greek Colonies, by M. Raoul-Rochette. Paris. 1814.— This important work carried off the prize offered, in 1813, by the French Institute, for the best investigation of the subject. It fully merits this high distinction. It contains a complete and luminous account of all the Greek colonies, the history of which fills an interval of nearly sixteen centuries, and is closely connected with that of the mother country, and of the cotemporaneous nations of antiquity. A great many important points of geography and chronology are involved in this subject. Greece, in establishing numerous, important colonies in different parts of her territory, in the

islands which she inclosed, in

Italy, Gaul, Iberia, Epirus, and

Illyria; in the islands of the Medi

terranean, in Upper and Lower

Asia, in Egypt and Lybia, origi

nally bound them to herself only

by the ties of gratitude and affec

tion, and by a long continued conformity of religious worship, and

of laws. This colonial policy, which underwent a change

through the ambition of Athens and Sparta, only in the latter days of independent Greece, was quite the reverse of that of our modern nations. These have established and maintained their colonies in a state of almost absolute dependence on the mother country. So striking a difference called for an investigation into the effects of the Grecian policy; effects, from which important conclusions might be drawn as to the wisdom of the modern. The enquiry, no less useful than interesting, has been pursued, for the first time, in the most satisfactory manner by M. Raoul-Rochette. The lights to be drawn from Spanheim, Bougainville, St. Croix, and Heyne, are far from being sufficient. Brougham, in his able work on Colonial Policy, has but slightly touched on the colonization of the ancients. The conduct of the federal government of the United States towards its territories or colonies, even surpasses in liberality and in sound wisdom, that of Greece. The colonial policy of the British government was, and is, in its general tenour, much more sagacious and generous than the systems of the other European powers.

History of France during the Wars of Religion, by Lacretelle the younger. Paris, 3 vols.-This may be ranked among the best of the historical works which have appeared in France of late years. The author had already acquired some reputation in the department of history, and is professor of this branch of knowledge in the college of France. •

An Essay upon the Life of T. Wentworth, Earl of Strafford, Prime Minister of Charles I. and upon the general History of England, Scotland, and Ireland, at that period, by Count Lally Tolendal. Second edition. Paris.-This work has attracted much attention in France, both on account of the general reputation of the author, and the affinity of the subject to the French revolutionary history.

A History of all the Religious Sects which sprung up during the eighteenth century, by Gregoire, Member of the Institute. Paris.The Author enumerates sixty-two of these sects. Accuracy as to details of worship and doctrine, was scarcely attainable in a work of the kind; but whatever could be had by diligent research, is here presented in an agreeable and instructive manner. The history of religious sects is a necessary part of that of human nature, and the mere accumulation of materials for the former, is, therefore, an important service rendered to the cause of knowledge in its most useful branch.

Travels in Austria, by Marcel de Serres, 4 vols. 8vo. Paris. 1815.

—A full account, particularly geographical and statistical, of that country. The materials of this writer are authentic and abundant, but his style is diffuse and heavy. Nothing but a sturdy resolution of being informed, can carry a reader through the work; yet it is a compilation that should be within reach. It is the best on the subject out of the German language.

History of the French Expedition to Egypt, by P. Martin, Engineer of the corps of roads and bridges, Member of the Committee of Sciences and Arts of Egypt, and one of the Editors of the Description of that Country; published by order of the French Government, 2 vols. 8vo. 1815.-The author of this history was present in Egypt during the whole course of the expedition, and always in a situation to be fully and correctly informed. He has divided his history into three parts: the first, treats of the conquest and administration of Egypt under Bonaparte; the second, of the government of Kleber; the third, of that of Menou. The account of M. Martin, is the only complete one extant. The Memoirs of General Reynier, though valuable in what they convey, are far from embracing the whole subject. The Narrative of the same expedition, by Miot, Commissary of War, is full of important details, but is more limited in its scope than the History of Martin, and terminates with the embarkation of General Desaix for Europe, whom Miot accompanied on his return. These works, together with the volumes of Sir Robert Wilson, and the late Colonel Walsh, concerning the

English expedition to Egypt,

« ForrigeFortsett »