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to avail itself of the literary treasures descended from its ancient masters. Yet this people, so sensual and sluggish, we are apt to confound in imagination with the sprightly, intellectual Arab. Both indeed have been subjected to the influence of the same degrading political and religious institutions, which on the Turks liave produced the results naturally to have been expected; while the Arabians, on the other hand, exhibit the extraordinary phenonenon of a nation, under all these embarrassments, rising to a high degree of elegance and intellectual culture.
“ The empire, which once embraced more than half of the ancient world, has now shrunk within its original limits; and the Bedouin wanders over his native desert as free, and almost as uncivilized, as before the coming of his apostle. The language, which was once spoken along the southern shores of the Mediterranean, and the whole extent of the Indian ocean, is broken up into a variety of discordant dialects. Darkness has again settled over those regions of Africa, which were illumined by the light of learning. The elegant dialect of the Koran is studied as a dead language, even in the birth-place of the prophet. Not a printing-press at this day is to be found throughout the whole Arabian Peninsula. Even in Spain, in Christian Spain, alas ! the contrast is scarcely less degrading. A deathlike torpor has succeeded to her former intellectual activity. Her cities are emptied of the population with which they teemed in the days of the Saracens. Her climate is as fair, but her fields no longer bloon, with the same rich and variegated husbandry. Her most interesting monuments are those constructed by the Arabs; and the traveller, as he wanders amid their desolate, but beautiful ruins, ponders on the destinies of a people, whose very existence seems now to have been almost as fanciful as the magical creations in one of their own fairy tales.”— Vol. 1. pp. 311 - 315.
After this introductory sketch of the people against whom hostilities are to be directed, the war of Granada opens, and proceeds at intervals along the work, interrupted occasionally by chapters of domestic interest, or of other foreign relations, until the fall of Granada, the subsequent insurrection, and the final submission to a formal Christianity of all who did not prefer to expatriate themselves under an edict of banishment. Among these interruptions to the mere military narrative, is the generalizing chapter before spoken of, on the conduct and policy of the war, and an interesting chapter on the introduction of the Holy Inquisition into Aragon and Catalonia, after long but unsuccessful resistance.
At the close of this war Columbus is taken up, and fitted out for his first American voyage. He of course reappears, from time to time, as the progress of the history brings him back from bis several voyages, until he is finally dismissed, at the dying scene, with a well-drawn character.
Then follow the Jews and their expulsion, already noticed in another connexion, and the chapters on Castilian Literature, also noticed by comparison with Bouterwek, which close the First Part of the History, devoted chiefly to affairs of an internal character, preceding the foreign wars.
The Second Part, which chiefly embraces all the foreign relations of the government, opens with the Italian Wars, resumed at intervals, until their final conclusion, and agreeably broken meanwhile with chapters on the Moors, on Columbus's relations with the Court, on the Spanish Colonial Policy, the political negotiations with France, and a short war of invasion by that power, as these events successively occur. A chapter is devoted too to the alliances and deaths which occurred in the family of the Catholic sovereigns, near enough together to permit them to be thus grouped and disposed of in a single view, instead of constantly breaking in, abruptly, as in strict chronology they might, in the midst of other affairs. Two other chapters are devoted to that phenomenon, Ximenes, who suddenly comes out of monkish obscurity, a hermit, reluctantly dragged to light, to fill the posts, first of Queen's confessor, and next of Archbishop of Toledo and Grand Cardinal of the empire, successor to the great Mendoza, nicknamed "third King of Spain.” He instantly sets about extensive schemes of monastic reform, with a zeal, energy, perseverance, and intellectual power, which nothing could resist. With the same irresistible devotion to his cause, he pours out bis whole soul upon the conversion of the Moors; thence originate that insurrection which led to a short second war, and the edict of expulsion, pronounced at his instigation, against those who remained obstinate in their heresy. Thus prevailing by force, where persuasion was hopeless, he accomplishes his end; — Spain is wholly Christian ; — and the reader is carried forward again into the regular stream of the narrative.
At the close of that third glorious Italian campaign, which ended in the complete triumph of the Great Captain in the war for the partition of Naples, when the kingdom had attaived its very height of prosperity and renown, our attention is drawn to a painful chapter indeed, the last illness and death of Isabella. Throughout the narrative, her personal history is constantly interwoven with the progress of affairs, by authenticated anecdotes of lively interest, so that she gains, by the beauty and purity of her character, and her admirable conduct in every relation, that sort of hold on our affections, which might rather be looked for in a mere biographical memoir. The moment of her death seems to be the destruction of all that has kept alive the intensity of bistoric interest, as if she were the main object of the work; and the death-scene, the will, - so characteristic of her, - and the funeral solemnity, are brought before us, as if the author too felt that he had lost the heroine of his tale. The chapter closes with a character so admirably drawn, that nothing but its length can excuse us from withholding it. The parallel with Elizabeth of England, which so naturally suggests itself, and redounds so infinitely to the honor and advantage of the Castilian Queen, is particularly striking.
After this irreparable calamity ten chapters yet remain ; and the reader will be surprised to find, if he has never experienced it, how soon after the loss of the lady of his love, he can begin to resume an interest in the petty affairs of this transitory world. Respect for Isabella's dying injunctions, the desire to see her last will faithfully complied with, and the old regard we have acquired for Ferdinand, in spite of his repulsive qualities, as the husband of her own choice, and the constant object of her tender attachment, begin to stir up a little moderate desire to see him fairly settled and sustained in the Regency of Castile, “while opposition musters, and rebellion growls.” Thus we become embarked anew on the sea of politics, our interest rallying chiefly for a while on this point, so immensely important to the prosperity of undivided Spain. Philip of Austria, his son-in-law, soon begins to set up pretensions of his own in right of his wife Joanna, the proclaimed heiress of the Castilian crown; and, notwithstanding his own and bis wife's absence in Flanders, demands of Ferdinand to resign his regency into the hands of a Flemish favorite. Presently Ferdinand, to the unutterable dismay of the romantic, strengthens himself by a new alliance of marriage with a princess of France. Soon after Philip and Joanna, arriving from Flanders, take possession of their Castilian
made out by any one, who chooses to look with microscopic eye at any work of philological disquisition ; and yet these mistakes may have a scarcely perceptible effect upon the substantial value of the book. But several of the errors of interpretation that we have pointed out, in the notes upon this tragedy, seem to us of a different description, and to merit consideration ; though we repeat, that on the whole, we regard it as a valuable addition to our means of classical instruction.
10. — Speech in Behalf of the University of Nashville, delivered
on the Day of the Anniversary Commencement, October 4th, 1837. By Philip LINDSLEY.
This is one of the most truth-telling and amusing speeches we have ever had from the great West. It is an upright and downright defence of University systems in general, and the Nashville University in particular. Mr. Lindsley talks to the westerners in their own free and bold fashion, and we venture to say they like him all the better for it. He tells them, in a style bordering on conversational plainness, as many truths as they can digest before another commencement, on all the great topics of liberal education ; and scatters, with the breath of a most searching ridicule, the prejudices and absurdities with which, it seems, Nashville, like some other cities, is overflowing, in relation to the University. There are those, we doubt not, who have been shy of the University, ever since the last anniversary. The benefits of scholarship, the advantages held out by Universities, the causes why so many young men fail to make the best use of them, and the remedies which ought to be applied to existing defects, are discussed with thorough knowledge, a fearless spirit, and uncompromising independence.
We notice, in passing, the following remarks. “Both Harvard and Yale usually employ six or eight tutors, according to the actual number of students, averaging commonly between two and three hundred. These perform all the drudgery of elementary drilling, and attend the daily routine of recitations in the classroom; while the professors read lectures, and maintain the dignity of science and of the Senatus Academicus.” Now the worthy President must have been dreaming of some University in the fabled Atlantis, in the isles of the Blest, or perchance in Nephelococcyggia, when he uttered that last sentence. Such a professor would be worth travelling a hundred miles to see.
Sure we are, that he cannot be found in New England. Our naturalists have
no such class, and would not know what to do with him, or where to arrange him. Such beings, we are told, have been, but they
Famam tantum accepimus. They are the Ichthyosauri and Megatheria of our academical antiquities.
are no more,
11. - The American Almanac and Repository of Useful Know
ledge, for the Year 1838. Boston. Charles Bowen. pp. xii., 336.
Tuis important annual has now reached its ninth volume; and every succeeding year has added to its value, and to its general credit and reputation. The astronomical department of the work, under the charge of Mr. Paine, is unsurpassed, either in scientific accuracy, or practical usefulness, by any of the European publications of the same nature ; and the miscellaneous department, prepared by Mr. Worcester, contains a mass of statistical information, of indispensable daily use, which no other book affords, and much of which would otherwise be wholly inaccessible to the community at large. We trust the work will continue to receive the extended public patronage, which it so richly merits.
In addition to this brief notice of the Almanac itself, we wish to call the attention of our readers to a suggestion in the Preface, which we regard as an interesting one.
“ In conducting this work,” says the Editor, “we have frequently found it impossible to procure the information wanted. The statistics of the whole country can never be collected by one individual, nor by a society formed for the purpose. If the work is ever accomplished in a suitable manner, it must be done under the direction of ihe government of the United States. And, if the national government should connect this object with the taking of the next census, the design would certainly commend itself to every man of enlightened views; and it would redound to the lasting honor of the administration that should first introduce the system.”
We heartily concur with the Editor in the opinion that a vast deal of statistical matter, highly interesting and useful to the whole country, might be well collected under the authority of the Federal Government, in association with the usual census of the United States; and we sincerely hope this object may, at the proper time, engage the attention of Congress.
An undertaking of this kind has, indeed, already been proposed to that body, as a distinct measure, on its own particular merits, by Professor Lieber, of South Carolina. His Memorial on the subject, presented to the Senate of the United States, at