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the first session of the twenty-fourth Congress, and noticed by us in a late number,* proposes the preparation and publication of an extensive work, containing the entire statistics of the United States, in the broadest sense of the expression ; so as to exhibit, that is, the actual state and condition of the United States, in respect of the surface, soil, and natural resources of the country; its productions; the industry and commerce of the inhabitants; their relations, social, religious, and political, and the relations of civilization and social improvement, so far as they can be indicated by specific facts; - all this information to be collected and published under the authority of the United States. Professor Lieber gives a sketch of the particular classes of facts which such a work should comprise; he shows the utility of it; the attention bestowed on the subject by other nations; the impossibility of the task being thoroughly and satisfactorily executed, except by the aid and through the agents of the government; and the consequent duty of the Federal Government to undertake it.
No decisive action upon the subject has yet been had in Congress; but, either in the comprehensive form proposed by Professor Lieber, or if otherwise, then in connexion with the taking of the census as suggested by the Editor of the Almanac, we think it is an object, the favorable consideration of which, by Congress, would receive the hearty sanction of the people of the United States.
12. — First Exhibition and Fair of the Massachusetts Charita
ble Mechanic Association, at Faneuil and Quincy Halls, in the City of Boston, September 18th, 1837. Boston; published by Dutton & Wentworth, for the Association. 1837.
In the first place, it gives us an opportunity to express, under the form which etiquette allows to such journals, our satisfaction at the exhibition it describes, and to offer our thanks to the Mechanic Association for the rich treat they afforded us at their Fair. We know not when we have attended a more interesting exhibition. There is a peculiar beauty in mechanical work of every kind, when well executed; no matter what is the object of the article, no matter how homely the purpose to which it is to be applied, how awkward the form, how ungainly the motion,
North American Review, Vol. XLIII. p. 264.
still there is beauty in it if well finished. A simple knife, a door-latch, a bit-stock, a carpenter's rule, has its own beauty, unlike that of any thing else; and it is a kind of beauty which all people enjoy. The most uneducated and unrefined perceive and appreciate it, the most learned and polished are equally touched by it. We certainly never witnessed an exhibition, from which greater numbers could derive pleasure than from this. For ourselves, it seemed as if we could never be tired with looking and admiring, and we came away from the halls with a feeling of strong gratitude to those who had offered us such a beautiful entertainment.
Had we been asked to give an account of what we had seen, we fear we should have made but a lame story of it. In the immense number and variety of the objects, the eye was wearied with looking, and the brain with comprehending; so that if we had been urged to describe the fair, we should have been disposed to answer in schoolboy phrase, “I knew till you asked me.” The pamphlet before us helps us out of this difficulty; it classifies the objects, and by its brief descriptions calls many to mind which we should have entirely forgotten, and presents vividly before us many that we remembered but indistinctly and confusedly.
To attempt to give an account of those articles which pleased us most by their elegant finish, their ingenious contrivances, or their useful purposes, would occupy far more space than the limits of this notice allow. We wandered through a labyrinth of beautiful objects in every department of the mechanic arts, constantly finding cause for new interest and delight to the last. To endeavour to comprehend or even to see all the works with which the fair abounded, would have been foolish. Those who have peculiar interest in any one of the mechanical arts, would undoubtedly have found room for the gratification of their tastes and the improvement of their knowledge in that branch. Those who have only a general interest in the advance of those arts, would derive great pleasure, though less improvement. It was much like going through a great library. We saw there the means of studying many, perhaps most of the branches of mechanical art; but to the casual observer this was all that the time allowed ; and we passed on, looking at the various beautiful objects, with much the same feeling that we should experience in looking at the backs of books in a rare collection.
There were other effects of the exhibition on the minds of many, probably more important than these. The idea of the labor which produced all, was almost frightful. And yet it was VOL. XLVI.-NO. 98.
encouraging. It seemed as if the nerve and sinew of our community were laid open to us. In the midst of the excitement, civil, religious, and political, which prevails over the whole land, it was comforting to think that here were the results of the labor of a great number of people, who are constantly and steadily at work in some productive occupation ; who have the firmness and stability of good men ; who form one of the largest classes of our citizens; and who will perhaps be the very last to abandon the principles in which they have been educated as American citizens. They seem to partake of the solidity and strength of their own machines.
Besides this, we were much impressed with the high finish of every thing we saw. Many a man whose walks are in intellectual paths might learn a good lesson from this. How perfect were the machines ! how beautiful the workmanship of everything ! how admirable the finish! Here, indeed, we seemed to have found perfection. The trades are dissatisfied if their work is not completed thoroughly, and as well as it can be. And shall the scholar, the professional man, be willing that the finish of his own education, the tools he has to work with, the armor in which he is to fight, should be incomplete, slovenly, and clumsy ?
We trust that the exhibition will be continued annually after this; and we will venture to promise the gentlemen who manage it, that a more popular haunt will never be found in Boston, than the halls they may fill with their beautiful productions.
The Editor of this journal finds it proper to give notice, that the transmission of books, by authors or booksellers, cannot be considered as imposing on him any obligation in respect to such works, beyond that of entering their titles in the List of New Publications. He is often made acquainted, in this manner, with works, which he is gratified in having opportunity to commend. But the question, whether books, coming in this way, shall be passed by, or noticed with praise or with censure, has been, and will continue to be, determined on the same principles as if they were obtained by purchase.
Several Critical Notices, which had been prepared for this number, some of them in type, are unavoidably omitted.
QUARTERLY LIST OF NEW PUBLICATIONS.
ANNUALS, The Token and Atlantic Souvenir. A Christmas and New Year's Present. Edited by S. G. Goodrich. Boston. American Stationers' Company. 8vo. pp. 312.
The Parlour Scrap Book. Comprising Fourteen Engravings, with Poetical Illustrations. Philadelphia, Carey, Lea & Blanchard. 4to.
The Literary Souvenir, for 1838. Edited by William E. Burton. Philadelphia. Carey & Hart. 8vo.
The Christian Keepsake, and Missionary Annual, for 1838. Edited by Rev. John A. Clark. Philadelphia. Williain Marshall & Co. 12mo. pp. 312.
The Youth's Keepsake. A Christmas and New Year's Gift for Young People. Boston. T. H. Carter. Philadelphia. Henry Perkins. 18.no. pp. 192.
The Lady's Annual Register and Housewife's Memorandum Book, for 1838. By Caroline Gilman. Boston. T. H. Carter. 8vo. pp. 140.
The Western Address Directory, with Historical, Topographical and Statistical Sketches, (for the Year 1837,) of the principal Cities and Towns in the Mississippi Valley. Intended as a Guide to Travellers. By W. G. Lyford. Baltimore. 1837. pp. 448.
The Annual Register of Indian Affairs, within the Indian, or Western Territory. No. 3. Shawanee, (Indian Territory.) Isaac M'Coy. pp. 82.
BIOGRAPHY AND MEMOIRS. The Lives of Jonathan Edwards and David Brainerd. Being Vol. VIII. of Sparks's American Biography. Boston. Hilliard, Gray & Co. 12mo. pp. 373.
Memoir of David Harris Clark. By E. B. Barrow, jr., Late Pastor of the First Free Presbyterian Church in New York. New York. John S. Taylor. 18mo. pp. 108.
Memoirs of Aaron Burr, with Miscellaneous Selections from his Correspondence. By Matthew L. Davis. Vol. II. New York. Harper & Brothers. 8vo. pp. 449.
EDUCATION. M. Tullii Ciceronis de Claris Oratoribus Liber qui dicitur Brutus. Edited by Charles Beck, Professor of Latin in Harvard University. Cambridge. John Owen. 18mo. pp. 145.
An Elementary Treatise on Algebra, to which are added Exponential Equations and Logarithrns. By Benjamin Peirce, A. M. Boston, James Munroe & Co. 12mo. pp. 276.
mitting the doubts entertained of its propriety by persons eminent in literature; and he did it with considerable, but far from perfect success. There is throughout the “Leo the Tenth "a want of sufficient unity of design, and a want also, particularly striking in the early part, of that unity of interest, which is the great charm of personal history, more easily imparted to it too, than to a narrative of the more complex relations and infinite details which make up national individuality. Yet we see at once that this combination, if it can be accomplished in a national bistory, must give to it a zest, denied to the drier narrative of mere political intrigue and military operations. “In perusing the pages of Livy or of Tacitus, of Hume or of Gibbon," - it is the just remark of Roscoe,)
" we find no parts which interest us more than the private and personal memorials of those great and illustrious men who have acted a conspicuous part in the public events of the age.” He might have added, --- and no parts equally instructive, for the common business of life.
Some of the most celebrated historians have endeavoured to relieve the tediousness of long-continued narrative, by putting into the mouths and breasts of their heroes fictitious harangues and imaginary arguments, inferences only of the writer, probable perhaps, but not proved by historic testimony to have been real grounds either of reasoning or action. This, which is intolerable, (although commended by so acute a critic as Mably,) confounding all boundaries of knowledge and destroying all confidence in historic truth, our author does never,
or at least, so very rarely, that after careful search we are unable to note more than one exceptionable deviation from his general rule. We shall presently point it out. But while he carefully avoids drawing on such fictitious sources of interest, he constantly illustrates by authentic anecdotes, and intersperses well attested sayings of the actors on the scene, with ample biographical notices of leading characters. This we hold to be not only allowable, but commendable, if it be so done as not to break in violently on the unity and continuity of the main action; and the extent to which it has been successfully done in this work, the author may well claim as a new and useful improvement in historic composition
So of his chapters on Castilian literature. How strange!
that in the history of an age and empire, amidst wars, and politics, and legislation, the admitted province of the