Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

epoch, when the cuneiform system of writing was invented and the great cities of Babylonia built, lying far behind him. An insight into this epoch, and into the growth of the primitive hieroglyphics into cuneiform characters, has been afforded us by the recent French excavations at Tell-Ho. The statues found at the latter spot, wrought in hard diorite which had been brought-so the inscriptions upon them inform us—from the Sinaitic Peninsula, remind us most forcibly, both in style and in posture, of the famous diorite statue of the Egyptian king Khephrên, the builder of the second pyramid of Gizeh, which is now in the museum of Bûlak. Mr. Petrie has pointed out that the scale marked on a plan in the lap of one of the statues from Tell-Ho agrees with that used in Egypt in the age of the pyramid-builders. It seems difficult, therefore, to avoid the conclusion that as far back as the era of the fourth dynasty-approximately fixed by Dr. Wiedemann in his new book at B.C. 4875—an Egyptian school of sculptuary existed among the quarries of Sinai, which transported its works to Memphis on the one side and to Babylonia on the other. light this throws on the antiquity of human culture in the lands to which we of the nineteenth century are offering the civilization of the last three hundred years !

A. H. SAYСE.

III.-GENERAL LITERATURE.

BIOGRAPHY.—Mr. Bell has done a real service in introducing us to a man of true genius, whose works have sunk into a mysteriously swift and complete oblivion.* Judging from the extracts furnished by Mr. Bell, Charles Whitehead's poem, “The Solitary," and his novel, “Richard Savage,” were both very remarkable works. The poem is quoted with high praise by Christopher North in the "Noctes,” and was warmly admired by D. G. Rossetti. One of his sonnets, which struck Rossetti much, appears in the letters of the latter, with quite a number of curious little improvements unconsciously contributed to it in passing through Rossetti's own mind. Whitehead was a friend of Dickens and Jerrold, and for thirty years wrote for some of the best English periodicals, and yet, though he is scarcely twenty years dead, his name is absolutely forgotten. Mr. Bell has not been able to recover many particulars of his career, but it seems to have been sadly marred by intemperance, and to have ended in a death of neglect and want in an Australian hospital. Mr. Bell writes in an excellent style, and his critical remarks are full of thoughtful good sense.—The story of the successful is much less interesting than that of the unhappy ; but surely the life of the late Master of the Mint might have made a much more interesting narrative than that which has just been furnished by Dr. Angus Smith. It was prepared by Dr. Smith as the Graham Lecture to be read before the Glasgow Philosophical Society, and the writer himself owns that it is neither artistic nor complete, but merely contains materials that ought to be preserved for future use, and could be preserved nowhere better than in the transactions of a learned society. A good portrait accompanies the volume.—The literary interest of misfortune, to which we have just alluded, cannot be better exemplified than in the history of the last of the Stuarts; but the life of the Countess of Albany contains many other sources of interest besides that, and none of these lose anything in the skilful hands of Vernon Lee. The sketches of the Young Pretender, of Alfieri, of the general society of the time, are exceedingly well done, full of forcible and picturesque presentation and of psychological insight.—Signor Dupré says he preferred publishing his autobiographyş during his lifetime, because he would have to say things that were not agreeable of some people, and he desired to be still alive to correct them if they were wrong or wanting in chivalrousness.

“A Forgotten Genius : Charles Whitehead.” A Critical Monograph. By H. D. Mackenzie Bell. London: W. Swan Sonnenschein & Co.

+ “The Life and Works of Thomas Graham, D.C.L., F.R.S." Illustrated by sixty. four Unpublished Letters. Edited by J. J. Coleman, F.I.C. Glasgow: J. Smith and Sons.

“ The Countess of Albany.". By Vernon Lee. London: W. H. Allen & Co.

"Thoughts on Art and Autobiographical Memoirs of Giovanni Dupré." Translated from the Italian by G. M. Peruzzi. Edinburgh: W. Blackwood & Sons.

Any way, this rule is a useful safeguard against thoughtless or malicious giving of offence, and the book is remarkably free from anything of the kind. On the other hand, it contains many interesting incidents and suggestive remarks.

MISCELLANEOUS.—No movement of this century is more remarkable or more pregnant with great social results than the movement, simultaneously going on in all countries during the last twenty years, to admit women to the same education, the same careers, the same political and legal position as men. A record of this interesting movement has now been provided by Mr. Theodore Stanton, in a series of separate essays, written for the most part by women who have been themselves leaders in it, on the history of its development, or of its particular branches in the different countries of Europe.* Mrs. Fawcett, for example, writes on the Woman's Suffrage Movement in England ; Mrs. Grey, on the Woman's Educational Movement; Mrs. Hoggan, on Women in Medicine; Miss Boucherett, on the Industrial Movement; and various foreign ladies on the work in Germany, Sweden, Russia, Spain, &c. Mr. Stanton himself contributes, besides the preface, the article on France. The work will be found replete with interesting and, in many cases, novel details about a movement of growing importance.Mr. John Ashton has hit on a very good idea in collecting for us the numerous caricatures on Napoleon I. that appeared in this country during the great war, and supplying along with them the historical and other explanations necessary for understanding them.f Gillray and Rowlandson generally signed their caricatures, and where caricatures are not signed, Mr. Ashton has accepted the authorship assigned them by the British Museum authorities. His explanatory remarks are also free from any pretension to higher criticism, but they are sufficient for their purpose; and on the whole he has produced an entertaining and in many respects instructive book, which shows us in a striking way the current popular conceptions of our great enemy, and enables us to perceive clearly the decided advance we have made in the art of caricature.-In “The Battlefields of Germany,”ť Colonel Malleson describes the principal military events that occurred on German soil from the outbreak of the Thirty Years' War to the battle of Blenheim, and he proposes to follow up the subject, if the present volume is well received by the public, by two further volumes, one on the battles of the period between Blenheim and the French Revolution, and the other on those between the Revolution and our own time. The book is written with care. The author has not only read much, but, to ensure accuracy and vividness, he has visited almost all the battlefields he describes; but his descriptions are, after all, not very vivid, and though he brings us, as he says, “ into inspiring company,” we are, as a matter of fact, but little inspired by it. It comes within his purpose to unfold the causes of the battles and the events that led to them, and the work would be improved if these

The Woman Question in Europe.” A Series of Original Essays. Edited by Theodore Stanton, M.A. With an Introduction by Frances Power Cobbe. London: Sampson Low & Co.

+*" English Caricatures and Satire on Napoleon I.” By John Ashton. London: Chatto & Windus.

“The Battlefields of Germany.” By Colonel G. B. Malleson, C.S.I. London: W. H. Allen & Co.

were more effectively explained. At the same time the book is one of honest workmanship and solid value.—The admirers of Thoreau will be glad to welcome a second volume of selections from his journal. Thoreau seems to have contemplated writing what he calls “A Book of the Seasons, each page of which should be written in its own season and out of doors, or in its own locality, wherever it may be," and the probability is that the fragmentary passages that have been found in his journal were suggestions and materials for such a work. Those bearing on spring have already appeared under the title, “Early Spring in Massachusetts,” and now we have a companion volume on summer, marked by the well-known characteristics of the writer. It may be added that the work is accompanied by a map of Concord and its vicinity.

* « Summer." From the Journal of Henry D. Thoreau. Edited by H. G. O. Blake. London : T. Fisher Unwin.

THE BRITISH NAVY.

HE condition of the navy has at length become a question of

recognized public importance, competing in interest even with the startling usurpation lately attempted by the House of Lords. The popular interest in the navy, naturally enough, turns primarily upon our acknowledged deficiency as regards the numbers of our iron-clads; but there are other parts of the subject which, to say the least, are fully as important as the length of our list of ships. Notwithstanding the very good service which has been rendered by the press, and primarily by the courageous action of the Pall Mall Gazette, it seems doubtful whether the true character of the naval problem has yet been at all thoroughly considered. The unblushing boldness with which the multiplication of unarmoured ships for war purposes is advocated, seems to indicate that the causes which brought about the employment of armour in the navy are being lost sight of, and, if we are not very careful, we may be forced into an expenditure of several millions sterling, and then find our last state but little better than our present.

Down even to our own day, naval battles were fought in wooden ships, armed with guns firing solid, and therefore unexplosive, shot. A limited use of explosive-shell-fire from mortars had been made in the navy for some years before ; but the destructive efficiency of explosive projectiles fired from ordinary guns was dramatically demonstrated by the Russian Heet in the Black Sea, late in 1853 ; aud, as Sir Thomas Brassey states in his work on the navy, “ The massacre of the Turks at Sinope, occurring at a moment when the public feeling of several powerful nations was strongly directed towards war, attracted special attention, and revealed very plainly to all, that the shell-guns with which Russia and most Western States had armed

VOL. XLVI.

TT

« ForrigeFortsett »