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HISTORY OF THE ATLANTIC TELEGRAPH. By Henry M. FIELD, D.D. New York: Charles Scribner & Co. For sale by Ingham & Bragg, Cleveland, O.
This volume contains the interesting history of one of the grandest achievements of modern times, viz: the laying of the Atlantic Cable. Few who read, over their morning coffee, the account of yesterday's events in Europe, think how much this privilege cost, and under what difficulties and discouragements it was secured. All honor to him whose sublime faith, heroic courage, and long-protracted toil were at last crowned with almost miraculous success. In a word, the author of this book has a story worth the telling, and he tells it most worthily.
THE BIBLE READER: Being a New Selection of Reading Lessons from the Holy Scriptures for the Use of Sehools and Families. By WILLIAM B. FOWLE. Now York: Published by A. S. Barnes & Co.
We do not understand how such a book as this ever “ saw the light.” It certainly was not called for, and can serve no useful purpose. The intimation in the author's preface, that the Scriptures are little read in our schools because teachers can not make suitable selections, is ridiculous. Our advice to teachers is to take the Bible into their schools, and eschew this “Selection,” howsoever excellent and appropriate the extracts may be which compose it.
SPENCERIAN Covy-Books. Common School Series in Five Numbers. New Standard
Edition. New York: Ivison, Phinney, Blakeman & Co.
The new edition of this popular series of copy-books contains several improvements, which we are disposed to credit to the practical skill of M, D. L. Hayes, one of the associate authors, who believes it possible to push the Spencerian System of Penmanship so close up to perfection that there shall, at least, be no room ahead of it for any other system.
It strikes us that this belief is already well-nigh realized. From our stand-point it looks as though the system is hard by perfection, if it does not touch it. The copies which are progressively graded, are accompanied with concise explanations and cautions (printed in an attractive form above them), and illustrated with simple diagrams designed to indicate the analysis of the letters, and to show how the elementary lines and letters are to be adjusted to the ruling. The ruling of the first-book regulates with mechanical accuracy the height, slant and spacing. But one thing more is needed, viz: to move the pen for the pupil. Indeed, the ruling of the entire series is admirably adapted to the wants of the learner. In short, these copy-books will do.
THE LITTLE CORPORAL: Published Monthly by Alfred L. Sewell, Chicago, Ill.
Terms, $1.00 a year.
“ The Little Corporal” closes the first year of its warfare against wrong with the cry of victory sounding all along its columns. Hear the publisher's bugle rally for the new campaign:
During the year 1867 the paper will only grow better and better. Our old contributors will all continue to write. The CORPORAL will carry on his battle flag the names of Emily Huntington Miller, Thomas K. Beecher, Lucia Chase Bell, “Uncle Worthy” (Dr. Worthington Hooker, Professor in Yale College), Emily J. Bugbee, Anne Alder (Felicia H. Ross), Edward Eggleston, Julia M. Thayer, Glance Gaylord, Luella Clark, Geo. W. Bungay, Grace Granger, Paul Peregrine, Deane Wallace, Vivia Dare, E. H. B. (of the Monosyllable Stories), Julie Sonneaur, Erwin House, and all the other names which have appeared during the past volume, besides many new names, which will come to add life and vigor and beauty to our pages, and make the readers glad. The past year has been a great success. Let the coming year be doubly successful. I want the list to go over 100,000.
Hark to the voice of THE LITTLE CORPORAL. He calls again for volunteers. He wants no cowards, no skulkers; all such may seek some other standard. But all those who are willing for another year to battle for the right, the good and true-to help to purify and glorify, by true living and doing, our free and freedom loving America—to all such, Attention! Fall into line !-right! right! right! FORWARD
We like this rally. It has the ring of success in it. And hat champion of the right deserves success more than this sparkling, trenchant, and instructive juvenile paper. Its subscription list which has reached 35,000, ought to be doubled during the present year. Send ten cents to the publisher, and get a sample copy containing an announcement of premiums for clubs.
OUR YOUNG FOLKS. An Illustrated Magazine for Boys and Girls. Boston: Ticknor & Fields. Terms, $2.00 a year.
The late improvements in the illustrations of this popular juvenile magazine are noticeable indications of its ability not only to hold its own, but to grow better as it grows older. Full-page illustrations, some of them colored, and all from designs by eminent artists, are now given regularly. The new volume, we are glad to say, is to be under the same editorial management which has thus far proved só acceptable, and the list of contributors includes the names of all the favorite writers of the past year with important accessions. The leading story of the year will be a vivid picture of the life of American boys and girls a century ago, under the appropriate caption of " Good Old Times.” Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe will continue her admirable contributions, and Bayard Taylor, Whittier, Longfellow, Reid," Carleton," " Aunt Fanny," Miss Prescott, and other capital writers, will keep her company. Each number will contain a song composed expressly for the magazine, and especially adapted to the month in which it appears.
The above are some of the attractions specified in the publishers' new prospectus, and as they know how to perform what they promise, the readers of “Our Young Folks” for 1867 ought to be counted by hundreds of thousands. The publishers offer a prize of $200 for the largest club; $150 for the next largest ; $100 for the third largest; and $50 for the fourth largest. For each club of twenty-five new subscribers, a prize of $5 will be given.
ATLANTIC MONTHLY. Published by Ticknor & Fields, Boston, Mass. Terms $4.00 &
This excellent magazine enters on its nineteenth volume with an array of distinguished names and sterling articles that promise well for the coming year. The January number contains the first instalment of Dr. Holmes's story, “The Guardian Angel," in which will be found the same old charm that so fascinated the readers of the Autocrat, the Professor, and Elsie Venner ; a humorous story in verse, by James Russell Lowell; a graphic sketch of Henry Ward Beecher's church, with some perti. nent reflections upon modern church-going, by James Parton; a legend in verse, told as only Whittier can tell it; a poem entitled “ Terminus,” (on Growing old,) by R. W. Emerson ; a spirited and faithful translation of the contest between Achilles and Agamemnon, from the First Book of the Iliad, by W. C. Bryant.—Mr. Higginson contributes a Plea for Culture; Mr. Trowbridge furnishes another of his attractive stories under the title, The Man who stole a Meeting-House ; Bayard Taylor tells a characteristic story of The Strange Friend; Mr. Shanly gives a humorous sketch of Capilary Freaks; E. C. Stedman offers a poem on Pan in Wall Street; and Walter Mitchell describes the Kingdom of Infancy. The story of Katharine Morne, by the author of “ Herman," is continued. Topics of current political interest are thoroughly treated,--the Causes for which a President can be Impeached are lucidly set forth, and Frederick Douglass makes a powerful Appeal to Congress for Impartial Suffrage. The number closes with notices of several popular new publications.
THE FORCES OF HUMAN NATURE UNDER CULTIVA
Education begins its work upon what is already perfectly constituted. Human nature is far on its way of growth before the teacher comes with his rough instruments, to dig about and trim it in supposed timely preparation for the descent of sunlight and shower.
The first step in teaching, in training the life, the whole life of body, mind and soul, is to accept this truth in its full meaning. It may be justly said of teachers, that they do not stop at the outset to ascertain the number, character, and relations of the forces or energies which they assume to be able to direct in the right roads to knowledge, to wisdom, and to power.
We ought not to extenuate our conceit by saying that it is not peculiar to the schoolmaster “to put on airs,” to assume that he is able to do those things that he is but poorly capable of doing. I never knew'a man or woman who was not deemed competent by one person, at least, to teach school.
Putting aside all assumption, let us look at our work as broadly and deeply as we may be able to do, to ascertain, each one for himself, (1) the nature of what is to be cultivated; (2) when to begin the work; (3) how to proceed; and then we can intelligently determine (4) whether to undertake or decline the business of teaching
I think it will be generally admitted, that, as yet, there has been no satisfactory setting forth of human nature entire, in relation to the laws and circumstances which govern its growth. Until this is in some measure done, we can not agree upon any common means, the using of which will, without doubt, aid these laws in the development of human character. And let us remember that the office of education, at the expense of the State especi ally, is not to make a book agent, a lawyer, a merchant, or a congressman, but a man rather,-a man according to the meaning of the word, “ One who thinks."
A great writer on the science of mind gives us a valuable hint with which to start. The subdivision of the intellect into faculties is abandoned, and laws of thought and laws of action are treated of. For example, that we remember being known to us all, it is less important to seek for the precise locality, and to know what that subtle something is that remembers, than to learn what are the conditions, circumstances, and events, which most favor an exact and tenacious remembering. This much being found out, we shall not be at a loss for a method of educating the memory. We shall have solid ground to stand upon.
Atoms crystallize, plants grow, animals act, and men think, all under law, and each succeeding stage of being is in some way influenced by the laws that governed its predecessors in the order of existence. We can not alter the constitution of things; and when we interfere through ignorance, or wilfully, with the course of law, evil is sure to result. By law we mean a form, an order of effects, a rule of action, a way of doing. From a merely human point of view, physical laws are the harmonizing relations of things: laws of life are vital processes of growth; laws of thought are conditions of mental activity; and moral laws are right ways of doing.
Every law is framed for a purpose. In the realms of nature of mind, and of human action, every consistent, permanent law is for the best,-is prescribed by an authority that commands our respect. We can not do otherwise than submit to these “powers that be." A man, conscious of the right to do as he pleases regardless of all restraint, may prepare his ground, and plant his corn in October, and he may give as a reason for his folly that this was the only time he could spare for this work, forgetting nature's all-controlling law that “there is a time for everything."
This leads me to remark that all special laws which are truly such, will be found to be but parts of more general and more comprehensive laws. This man who plants corn in October might say, "I will accomplish my purpose if I have to erect a hot-house over every hill to shelter it from the unfriendly season.” But the chief good he could thereby accomplish, would be to afford amusement to his neighbors.
Now such conduct by a farmer would not be more inconsiderate of natural laws than the notions of some educators are of the laws of mind. The great Bentham, and following him a Mr. Simpson, who has written a "Philosophy of Education," recommend that the following subjects be taught to children between the ages of seven and fourteen: Reading, writing, arithmetic, mineralogy, botany, zoology, geography, geometry, history, chronography, drawing, mechanics, hydrostatics, hydraulics, pneumatics, acoustics, optics, chemistry, meteorology, magnetism, electricity, archæology, statistics, English, Latin, Greek, French, German, physiology, technics, book-keeping, etc., etc.
This list of subjects is considerably abridged for want of space, and is taken from a list given by Mr. Payne in a paper read before the College of Preceptors in England, April 11, 1866. Mr. Payne says: “One would have thought such a monstrous proposition would have never met with a seconder. But it did. It took in Mr. Simpson; whether any school of pupils was ever got to take it in, I have never heard.”
I might give other examples of less flagrant attempts to override the laws which govern the culture and development of the human powers, but nevertheless meriting the condemnation of wise teachers. The notion that we should teach everything, or a little of everything, is becoming quite too popular. Nothing can be fraught with more danger to true education. The opposite idea, which is the truth, must come to be held and acted upon.
There are certain great analogies running through nature and human nature which seem to reflect upon each other in such ways as to lead us to view them as but links of one whole. Whether there be a preëstablished harmony between mind and matter, we can not tell, but we are assured that thought is often flattered with finding in nature remarkable counterparts to its own efforts. And this is no longer merely conjecture. Scientific discovery is daily bringing us into a more familiar acquaintance with the voiceless but profoundly significant forces of the world